Allie Larkin

Allie Larkin's 5 Best Evers

41RBv6xyW4L._SL500_SS500_ Our guest today: Allie Larkin Why we love her: Her novels are a PERFECT escape after a long week.

Her latest: Why Can't I Be You

The scoop: At one time or another, everyone has wished they could be someone else. Exploring this universal longing, Allie Larkin follows up the success of her debut novel, Stay, with a moving portrait of friendship and identity.

When Jenny Shaw hears someone shout “Jessie!” across a hotel lobby, she impulsively answers. All her life, Jenny has toed the line, but something propels her to seize the opportunity to become Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Lonely in her own life, Jenny is embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends—and finds unexpected romance. But when she delves into Jessie’s past, Jenny discovers a secret that spurs her to take another leap into the unknown.

Our thoughts: We couldn't put this sparkling novel down!  Make sure to grab yourself a copy.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose winners after Noon PST on March 3rd.

Fun Fact: Allie's beautiful dog, Argo, graced the cover on her debut novel, Stay.

Where to read more about Allie: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


STAY.AllieLarkin.Face_BEST SONG– Hannah & Gabi by The Lemonheads. Short, sweet, and simple.  An all-purpose song.  It’s had different meanings to me over the years and because of that, it’s the only song that ends up on nearly all of my project playlists. If I skip over the bar chords, I can almost play it on the guitar. Almost.

BEST BOOK– Song of the Lark by Willa Cather.  One of the books I read over and over again in high school (when I should have been reading assigned books for English class).  I re-read it as an adult and found it even more compelling. She’s my favorite author and it’s said to be her most personal work. It’s a complex (and somewhat sad) statement on artistic life and sacrifice.

BEST MOVIE – Doc Hollywood.  I adore old movies and would love to tell you that my favorite is something classic and classy like Charade or Arsenic and Old Lace, but the truth is when I’m having a cruddy day and I need to crawl in bed with ice cream and a movie, the movie is always Doc Hollywood.  It makes me feel better.

BEST LIFE MOMENT – Meeting my husband. I’d gotten roped into going to a picnic. In the course of mingling, I kept seeing the same guy over and over again.  He said “hi” and I thought immediately, ‘he’s important.’ It was a very specific thought, even though I didn’t know what it meant yet. And, of course, he turned out to be the most important.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE – Just make icing. Years ago I read a brilliant blog post (and I wish I could remember where and who wrote it). The basic gist was: why bother making cupcakes if you really just want to eat the icing. It changed my life. I try to give myself permission to think about the core of what I need or what makes me happy and cut straight to it.

Thanks, Allie!

Allie Larkin's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We've had a TON of fun the past few months with 5 Do's and a Do-over.  Some of our fave authors have given us pearls of wisdom and a few things they wish they could have done over.  But the seasons are changing and you know what that means...time for a brand spankin' new feature!  Look for it later this week with a FABULOUS author to kick it off. Speaking of FABULOUS authors, we've got one for you today.  We simply adore Allie Larkin and her debut novel Stay.  It's fun, touching and made us want to adopt a another dog!  Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and pick yourself up a copy of this feel-good story.  Trust us, you'll be so happy you did!

The skinny on Stay: Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke since their first day of college. Six years later, Peter is marrying Van's best friend, Janie. Loyal to a fault, Van dons her pumpkin-orange, maid-of- honor gown and stands up for the couple, struggling to hide her true feelings even when she couldn't be more conspicuous. After the wedding, nursing her broken heart with a Rin Tin Tin marathon plus a vodka chaser, Van accidentally orders a German Shepherd puppy over the Internet. When "Joe" turns out to be a hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak, Van is at the end of her rope-until she realizes that sometimes life needs to get more complicated before it can get better.

Doesn't that sound good? Leave a comment and you'll have a chance to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday September 4th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1. Do lean on your friends.  I have a bad habit of squirreling away when the going gets tough.  In the past year, I’ve pushed myself to reach out more when I need a shoulder and a kind ear.  It makes all the difference.  None of us are in this alone, so there’s no point in being stoic.

2. Do make time to move.  I am a better friend, writer, wife, and dog owner, if I take the time to exercise every day.

3. Do savor success.  When life gets fast paced, it’s really easy to move on to the next thing without taking full stock in accomplishments.  Celebrate, even if it’s small, like a good glass of wine, a favorite food for dinner, or even just an hour or two of quiet time to take a bath and read a book.  A little celebration goes a long way.  My celebration usually comes in the form of chocolate.

4. Do live with dogs.  Our German Shepherds, Argo and Stella make my life better.  Sure, I am constantly picking dog hair off my clothes, but I laugh every day, feel loved and appreciated every single second I spend with them, and always have someone to play Frisbee with.

5. Do what you love.  It’s kind of a cliché to say do what you love.  Actually, I’ve never liked how that statement gets thrown around in a way that ignores the constraints we all have in our lives. Not everyone can throw caution to the wind, ignore responsibilities, and just do what they love whole hog.  Life is more complicated than that.  But we can all find a way to put elements of what we love into our day, even if it’s something simple like playing music or writing or painting for twenty minutes in the morning, or after dinner.  Just because you might not be in a position where you can follow your passion with reckless abandon, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to sneak things you love into your day.


Don’t be afraid of rejection.  I spent a lot of time in my twenties too afraid to reach for the things I wanted because I might get rejected.  I didn’t try, because I didn’t want to fail.  I’d aim low and I was rarely surprised by the result.  But, once I got over my fear of rejection, my whole life changed. I wish I’d gotten over it much much sooner.

Rejection is nothing more than one person saying, “Hey, whatever you’re offering isn’t what I’m looking for.”  It doesn’t devalue you as a person and it doesn’t mean you or your work isn’t worth believing in.  All it means is that a specific person with their own specific set of likes and dislikes is saying no right now.  Of course, it feels better to hear yes than no, and it’s okay if you need a moment to collect yourself and move on from rejection (ice cream and romantic comedies help).

Very few people ever get exactly what they want by just sitting in standby and hoping something great will happen.  Getting rejected means you put yourself out there.  That’s something to be proud of. Don’t let the fear of no keep you from trying. And if you keep trying, maybe next time you’ll hear yes.  I saved every single one of my rejection letters.  To me, they are a badge of honor – I put myself in the game.

Thanks Allie! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Allie, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook or Twitter.


Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Eve Marie Mont

We've been loving all the fantastic books about dogs lately.  From Stay by Allie Larkin to You Had Me At Woof by Julie Klam we've been in doggy heaven.  And this week is no exception!  Today, the fabulous Eve Marie Mont, debut author of Free to a Good Home, is hanging out with us here at  CLIND. And let's just say, she's definitely Lit IT Girl material! In Free to a Good Home, Noelle Ryan works as a veterinary technician at a New England animal shelter, helping pets find the perfect homes. If only it were as easy to find the same thing for herself. After discovering that she can’t have children—and watching her marriage fall apart after a shocking revelation by her husband—Noelle feels as forlorn and abandoned as the strays she rescues.

We enjoyed Free to a Good Home and think you will too.  It's funny and touching at the same time-no doubt the reason we finished it in record time!

And now you have a chance to win this fabulous book. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies.  So. Freakin'. Easy!

SO... read on to discover more about the fantastic Eve-we think you'll enjoy her answers as much as we do! (Anyone who makes a Dawson's Creek reference is a friend of ours for life!)


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I wrote a novel before Free to a Good Home that never got published, and I probably queried over 50 agents for that one. My search for representation for this book was a little more focused, hovering around the 30 mark. After six months of nibbles and rejections, I followed up with a handful of agents who hadn’t responded yet, and one of them said my manuscript must have gotten lost in their vetting system. So I sent it to her again, she read it, loved it, helped me revise, then signed me on at Kimberly Cameron & Associates. Her name is April Eberhardt, and she’s a pro!

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? My earlier novel was ultimately rejected by every agent I sent it to. One small publisher requested the full manuscript, and I spent two months with my fingers crossed, hope and anxiety coursing through my veins. Finally, the editor wrote me a letter saying they couldn’t publish my book because my characters drank too much, and the love interest was not “sufficiently paramount” in the heroine’s life. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the right publisher for me, but it was a crushing moment all the same.

3. How long did it take to write your book? Because Free to a Good Home was my second book, I didn’t obsess about it quite as much as the first. It took me about a year to write the book, then my agent and I revised it for two months to get it polished for editors.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? My husband bought me a bottle of champagne and St. Germaine, and we went to our favorite BYOB and ordered every course on the menu. On my release day, we went on a field trip to local bookstores where my husband took dorky pictures of me holding my book.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I’m an introvert by nature, so I’m still unsure about social networking. When I first got my book deal, I started a website, Facebook page, and blog without really knowing how to utilize them. Looking back, I wish I’d found a mentor who could have guided me through the process. I also wish someone had given me the magical formula for getting a book blurb!

6. Who is your writer crush? Right now, probably Jonathan Tropper. His books are so smart and funny, but there’s tons of heart there. My brooding high school self would have said Neil Gaiman. Oh, and Elizabeth Berg is still my all-time favorite.

7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Often when I’m writing, my dog will lie next to me and lean her head against my arm while I’m trying to type. Book blogs also suck considerable time. And Goodreads—love that site!

8. GNO drink of choice? My standby is a gin and tonic, but if it’s a special occasion, I’ll ask for a White Cosmo. If the bartender doesn’t know how to make it, it’s Grey Goose vodka, white cranberry juice, St. Germaine, and a splash of lime. Tastes like lychee fruit!

9. Favorite trashy TV show? Definitely Vampire Diaries. My husband totally makes fun of me for this because I am so not a vampire junkie in general. I only read the first Twilight book, never watched an episode of True Blood, and didn’t read Anne Rice, even when everybody and her grandmother were reading Anne Rice. But there’s something about Vampire Diaries that makes me giddy. I like to think it’s not just that every character is ridiculously good-looking. Incidentally, one of the writers, Kevin Williamson, also wrote Dawson’s Creek, a guilty pleasure of mine ten years ago. He’s brilliant at playing with the audience’s allegiance to the characters—I never know who to root for from week to week.

10.  What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? My brother set me up a Twitter account just before my book came out, but it remains sadly neglected. I’m not much of a fighter by nature, but one of my feistier characters would love to have a go at the guy who called Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak pornography.

Thanks Eve! xo, Liz & Lisa

To read more about Eve, head on over to her website.  Or you can also find her on Facebook!

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Allie Larkin

Where do we begin? The brilliant, eye-catching book cover (it's her own German Shepard, Argo. Need we say  more?). The fantastic writing? The story that makes your heart melt over and over again? Since discovering Allie Larkin and devouring her DEBUT novel, STAY (in stores NOW), we're in love (yes, we've fallen hard- again!). STAY is the story of how heartbroken Savannah"Van" Leone, in love with her best friend's husband (ouch!), finds comfort in a dog "Joe" that she adopts from, um, Slovakia. Best part? She buys the dog over the internet while in a drunken vodka and Kool Aid haze after watching a Rin, Tin, Tin marathon. Hey, it could happen to anyone... Er, like the time Lisa picked up her home phone and called everyone in her address book (remember those?!) after drinking too many shots of Captain Morgan's that she chased with chocolate chips?!  This was in college, before cell phones, before internet. Before common sense & good taste in liquor. But we digress...

When Van discovers the pint-size dog she thought she ordered isn't so pint-sized (try 100 pounds!) she rolls with it. (At least Joe's vet is HOT!) She's someone you root for and someone you feel for. She's someone you can relate to- especially when you think of how lonely it can be to nurse a broken heart.  And when her best friend and her husband return from their honeymoon (yup, to make matters worse they recently tied the knot), Van must decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice to have the life she's always wanted.

After reading STAY, we had a million questions for this break out author. Because we're deep in the trenches trying to find an agent for our our next project and we know many of you are aspiring writers, we wanted to know everything about how Allie got her book from the computer to the bookstores. And because we're, well, US, we threw in some "hard hitting" Q's like her "GNO drink of choice".

And we have FIVE copies of her book to give away! You guys know the drill.... leave a comment to be entered and we'll randomly select the winners this Friday!

1. How long did it take to write your book?

STAY started as a writing exercise in a class in 2002.  I turned the exercise into a short story, and then filed it away for several years.  I revisited it for a writing group, and realized it needed to be a novel.  I wrote the first few drafts at a rate of eight pages a week for my writing group.  So, it took many years, but I wasn’t working on it full time until the very end.

2. How long did it take you to get your book published? What were your rock bottom moments along the way?

I had my share of rejection and mopey moments while I was trying to find an agent, but I really believed in the story and the characters, and that kept me going.

Two years ago, our dog, Argo, who is the inspiration for the dog in STAY, had a growth that turned out to be cancer. I was a wreck.  I had shelved STAY to work on something new.  But while we were waiting for his surgery date and through his recovery, there was so little we could do.  I felt like I needed to finish STAY.  I know Argo will never know one way or another that he inspired a book, but it was important to me to finish it. STAY is fiction, but it’s also a celebration of the way Argo has changed my life and made me a better person.  I’m thrilled that Argo recovered fully and has been a part of this whole process with me.

3. How did you get teamed up with your publisher? Why did you feel your publisher was a good match for you?

Rebecca Strauss, my agent, met with Erika Imranyi at Dutton, and gave her the manuscript.  Dutton is the perfect match for STAY.  They have an amazing reputation for strong commercial fiction, and give so much attention to every book they publish. Everyone I’ve worked with at Dutton cares passionately about what they do, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with them.

4. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently?

I feel really lucky, because my agent has been an amazing guide through this process and it’s really helped me to make decisions I feel good about along the way.  I don’t think there’s much I would change if I could.

5. What did you do to celebrate your book deal?

My husband took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, and I called a bunch of friends and cried at them.

6. Who is your writer crush?

When I read NAKED in college, I was positive David Sedaris was my soul mate and we were meant for each other.  Then I got to the chapter entitled “I Like Guys.”  I guess I’m not his type, and I’m married now anyway, but I’d be open to being just friends.

7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing?

Twitter and Facebook are big distractions.  Although, also useful.  When I’m feeling like I want to take a break, it keeps me home and in my office to spend a few minutes on Twitter.  Otherwise, I’d get the itch to run errands or go grab coffee, and might not make it back to my desk that day.

8. GNO drink of choice?

I love Campari & soda.  I get teased about it being an old lady drink all the time, but it’s my drink of choice anyway.  I also enjoy driving slow and going to bed early.

9. Favorite trashy TV show?

There was a BBC show called Hotel Babylon.  Most of the seasons are on Netflix.  I watched as many as I could get my hands on in an embarrassingly short amount of time.  And I plan to do it again when I can.  So fun!

10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with?

If @NathanFillion ever tweeted at me – war or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d pass out.

To find out more about this fab Lit It-Girl Allie Larkin, follow her on TwitterFacebook and visit her website. And definitely buy her book!

Thanks so much, Allie!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa