Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah_PekkanenCalling all Sarah Pekkanen fans! Mark your calendars because tomorrow is a BIG day. May 6th is the release of Sarah's fifth (and we say, BEST!) novel, Catching Air--a story full of rich characters that will stay in your thoughts long after you've finished reading the book. So pre-order a copy for for someone you love, just in time for Mother's Day. We absolutely adore Sarah as a person because she's warm and hilarious (to have fun on her upcoming book tour, she plans to bring Ryan Gosling's head on a stick!) and we also love, love, love the way she writes. *swoon* We also have ONE copy (US) for giveaway. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. The contest will close at 8pm tonight (May 5th).

The scoop: From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont.

In her previous works including The Best of Us, “rising star” (Library Journal) Sarah Pekkanen captivated readers by penning “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” novels (Booklist) that had readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). Now, in Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.

Where you can read more about Sarah: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah_Pekkanen_author_photo1. Catching Air is such a great title and we love the tie in to the novel. So which came first--the title or the idea of catching air when snowboarding/in life? Tell us the story behind it. 

I'm so happy you love the title, because this is the first book I've titled on my own (even though it's the fifth one I've written!) For some reason, titles are the hardest part of the process for me. They're like a specialized form of haiku - you have to inject so much meaning into a few small words. But CATCHING AIR came to me early on, a gift from the title gods. I knew I wanted to set the novel near a ski resort, so I began to Google ski terms, and stumbled upon CATCHING AIR. I knew the term would convey something my characters were seeking, and I also hoped it sounded catchy and memorable.

2. After reading your book, we now have a VERY strong desire to open a B&B. you made it sound so desirable. What kind of research did you do?

Ha! Well, it IS a lot of work (remember how stressed Kira became while planning for the wedding?) I actually read Running a Bed&Breakfast for Dummies (hey, if the title fits!) and did some on-line research. I knew I needed to weave in realistic details, such as the required visits by health inspectors, but for me the fun part was focusing on the very different guests who visited the B&B, and their interactions with my three main characters. In a way, the guests gave my main characters a chance to intimately glimpse other lives and relationships - you learn a lot about people when you're staying in close quarters - which was a kind of gift, as it helped them sort out what they truly wanted in life.

3. You usually check into a  hotel to finish the book you are working on. Can you share some details about that process? Why a hotel and is it always the same one? Do you have a routine? How many words do you typically write?

I do! I have a busy life, with three active boys who attend three different schools, so my writing time is very fractured. Sometimes I need a chunk of time to concentrate - this usually comes toward the end of the book, when I'm struggling to synthesize story lines - so I pack a little bag and head to a hotel for an intimate 24-hours with my laptop. Other than perhaps stepping out for a quick meal or coffee, all I do is sit there in my pajamas and write, write, write. Usually I go to one of the Kimpton hotels in D.C., since they're so pretty (and they have a complimentary wine hour in the evening) and I can get anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 words written, depending on the complexity of the scenes.

4. We are still thinking about the characters from Catching Air. Are there any characters from your novels that stick with you more than others?

Thank you! I have such affection for all of my characters - they're kind of like my children, in a way. I feel oddly protective of them, maybe because I know they're doing their best, despite their flaws. As with my kids, it's impossible for me to pick a favorite from among my books and characters.

5. We just read that you're planning your next book tour. What can you tell us about it? (No pressure, but we hope you are coming to L.A. and Chicago!)

I think I will be coming to Chicago though not L.A. this time, sadly. Last year I did a mini-tour with Jennifer Weiner, which was amazing, and I learned so much from her (plus she's one of the funniest women on the planet, so we had a blast together!) I'm thrilled that my publisher Atria is sending me on my first solo book tour for CATCHING AIR. It will be a whirlwind, as I'll be in each city for about 24 hours, but I'll be hitting Lexington KY, Mobile AL, Memphis TN and New Orleans, as well as Bethesda, Baltimore. Arlington VA and Chicago. I've been giving a lot of thought to book tours and what I can do to make the experience enjoyable for readers. It's truly an honor when readers come out to see an author, so I want to do everything I can to make the experience fun. I don't plan to just stand up at a podium and read from my novel - in fact, I don't think I'll read from it at all! Instead, I'll tell funny stories about the creative process, and do giveaways of books by new authors that I love (including YOUR PERFECT LIFE!), plus a few other surprises.

Thanks, Sarah!