Ellen Sussman's 5 Best Evers

ParadiseGuestHouse_o-1Today's guest: Ellen Sussman Why we love her: She hooked us with her engrossing novel, French Lessons!

Her latest: The Paradise Guest House (Out March 26th!)

The scoop on it: A riveting and poignant novel of one woman’s journey to Bali in search of love, renewal, and a place to call home—perfect for readers of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Alex Garland’s The Beach.

It starts as a trip to paradise. Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an American adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white sand beaches. Yet three days after her arrival, she is caught in Bali’s infamous nightclub bombings, which irreparably change her life and leave her with many unanswered questions.

One year later, haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Most of all, she hopes to find Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks. She hasn’t been able to forget his kindness—or the spark between them as he helped her heal. Checking into a cozy guest house for her stay, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who improbably becomes crucial to her search. Jamie has never shied away from a challenge, but a second chance with Gabe presents her with the biggest dilemma of all: whether she’s ready to open her heart.

Our thoughts: Big fans of Eat, Pray, Love, we also loved this novel about a woman searching for love.

Giveaway: 1 signed copy! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. The winner will be selected on Sunday, March 24th after 12pm PST.

Fun fact: You can read an excerpt of The Paradise Guest House here.

Where you can read more about Ellen: Her website and Facebook.


Ellen_SussmanBEST SONG: Hey Jude. The Beatles. Who else? I was a crazy Beatles fan when I was a kid. I carried Paul’s photo in my wallet and told everyone he was my boyfriend. And then I grew up with them, changing my musical tastes with each of their albums. When Hey Jude came along I was knocked out by it. I played it over and over again until I had it memorized. It still plays in my mind in the middle of the night.

BEST BOOK: This is the hardest one for me. Every year I’ve got a few new best ever books. As a kid it might have been Nine Stories by JD Salinger. Let’s go with that one because it was probably the most influential. I learned so much about writing by reading those stories. And I read them many times, waiting for their secrets to be revealed.

BEST MOVIE: I’m going to cheat a bit here. My husband’s favorite movie is The Usual Suspects. He has watched it so many times that he knows every line by heart. I don’t re-watch movies – I see them once, love them and let them go. So I’ve seen Usual Suspects more than most movies (just to keep him company once in a while) and I’m wowed by it each time. Beside, I’m a little in love with Gabriel Byrne.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: My first day in Paris. Age 33, husband and baby in tow, second baby in the oven. Crazy time to move to Paris but why the hell not. I remember walking down those gorgeous streets, ogling those beautiful people, and thinking: this is my home. I live here.

And it felt like that almost every day for five years.

BEST ADVICE: Go Big or Go Home. A student of mine said that in class; I think I was the only one who had not heard the expression before. In my life I go big. In my writing I wasn’t challenging my characters to go big. So this one became my writing mantra.

Thanks, Ellen!