Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Things You Won't Say by Sarah Pekkanen

Things You Won't SayOur book club pick of the month is THINGS YOU WON'T SAY by Sarah Pekkanen, one of our favorite authors, who is also published by Atria. (In fact, we're lucky to be doing a joint book event with her in Chicago on June 4th! Come and see us!) Sarah's book publishes tomorrow, May 26th, just in time to throw in your carry-on or beach bag for your summer vacay! We have one copy of THINGS YOU WON'T say for giveaway. Either comment here or on the post on our Facebook page, and you'll be entered to win. Contest closes Wednesday, May 27th at 8pm PST.

The scoop:  How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting—but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Things You Won't Say by Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah_pekkanenTHINGS YOU WON'T SAY is a very timely novel. Was there a newsworthy event that sparked the idea? Or what was the catalyst?

Fifteen years ago, I was a new reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspaper. One of my first assignments was to write an article about police officer Harold Carey Jr., who died in the line of duty. As I conducted interviews, the story that unfolded stunned me: Minutes before his death, Harold had been eating breakfast with a group that included Officer Lavon’De Alston, a close friend who’d encouraged him to join the force. Then a summons came in from their dispatcher: An officer was in trouble a short distance away. Few calls inspire such urgency among the brothers and sisters in blue, and the officers sprinted to their vehicles and sped, sirens blaring, to help.

At an intersection a couple of blocks away, the van being driven by Harold’s partner collided with the cruiser being driven by Lavon’De. Harold died at the scene. Lavon’De, who was badly injured in the crash, was devastated. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t stop thinking about Harold, the big, lovable man who’d nicknamed her “Shorty” and gobbled the rest of her pancakes when she couldn’t finish them.

Her anguish – as well as her sensitivity and strength – made a deep impression on me. It was wrenchingly unfair:  How could this happen to a police officer who was committed to helping people, to doing good, to saving lives? How could she endure the pain and guilt? Although the circumstances in my novel are different, my newspaper article “Officer Down!” was the inspiration for this book.

In it I wanted to explore what would happen to a good police officer who did the worst thing imaginable –shooting a teenager. In my novel, my police officer happened to be white, and the teenager happened to be Hispanic.

Now, my deadlines require me to turn in my manuscripts a full year before publication, so THINGS YOU WON’T SAY was already in the copy-editing stage when Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In THINGS YOU WON’T SAY, Michael Anderson, a white police officer, shoots Jose Torres, who was a Hispanic teenager, and some of the questions that arose for characters in my book – Would Anderson have fired if Jose Torres had been white? – echoed some of the questions swirling around the Ferguson case.

You always have a lot of fun with your fans--specifically, you have involved them when you're planning your book tours.  Last year, you had a cardboard cut out of Ryan Gosling with you. Any fun ideas planned for this year?

I love book signings, and am hoping to play some games with the audience. Winners will get giveaways for things like chocolates and copies of upcoming books! And I'm really looking forward to the event in Chicago on June 4, because it'll be a joint appearance with Liz & Lisa!

You've written six novels! Which of your characters would you:

A) want to have a drink with - Savannah from THE BEST OF US, because she lacks a filter when she talks and she's hysterical

B) want to be best friends with - Jamie from THINGS YOU WON'T SAY. She's a frazzled, funny, real mom who deals with the same problems and issues I always discuss with my own girlfriends

C) want to set your girlfriend up with - Trey from THESE GIRLS (he's a total hunk, and sensitive to boot!)

You've talked about juggling motherhood and writing--even penning parts of a novel while at soccer practice. Do you have a secret to to how you'll get your writing accomplished this summer, when the kids are out of school?

No. Any suggestions???? I need help!

Your seventh will publish May 2016. Can you share any details about it?

It's the story of a group of women who live in a small, close-knit neighborhood… and each woman is holding close a secret.

Thanks, Sarah!

2014: Bring it on!

happy_new_year_champagne_stemware_2014What a year 2013 has been! From turning 40 to our publishing deal with Atria/Simon & Schuster to getting through all five seasons of Breaking Bad, it's been a year of big things. And as I bid 2013 adieu tonight while watching the ball drop in Time's Square from the comfort of my couch, I'll be thinking about the things--big and small--that I'm most excited about in 2014.

Oh and because we had to do ONE LAST GIVEAWAY this year, leave a comment about what you're excited to do in 2014 and be entered to win a bundle of surprise books! We'll choose the winner on Sunday, January 6th after 12pm PST.  Happy New Year, everyone!

1. Juicing!

Yes, you read that right. I'm that wife who asked for and is ecstatic she received an appliance for Christmas. A good friend said to me, of course you did, you're forty and you're a mom! Welcome to the club.  The hubs and I are so overly-excited about the endless possibilities this juicer will bring us you'd think we'd just won the lottery. I'll definitely be reporting back on the kale, carrot and ginger concoction I plan to try first.

2. More binge watching

We just watched the finale of Breaking Bad two nights ago. (So. Effing. Brilliant.) And I may never watch TV the same way again. In fact, I know I won't. Not having to wait a week to find out what Walter White was going to do next was one of the best things that has ever happened to this highly impatient person.  The only question is what TV show should I binge on next? Recommendations, please!

3. More blowouts

I know Liz and I have talked incessantly about and posted, er, a lot of pictures of our obsession with having someone else blow dry our hair--DryBar, oh how we love you! This blowdry thing *might* have even ended up in the book we're currently writing: The Status of All Things. I realize I'm not J-Lo and probably don't need as many blowouts as I think I do (you know, like 3-4 a week), but if any of you know a way for me to wash my hair as little as possible while still making it look great, please let me know! I smell a dry shampoo obsession coming in 2014.

4. Changes to our website

2014 will mark the 5th anniversary of this site. That's cray-cray! Oops, forgot that's one of the 7 things I'm supposed to stop saying because I'm over forty.  Anyway, be on the lookout for a redesign as well as new features! And important news about our new domain name! Stay tuned...

5. Getting published

This is so big that Liz and I don't have the words for it yet. In fact, we probably never will. All we can continue to say is we're grateful to be living our dream and so happy to have your support and  that you put up with our shameless plugs. Like these:

See you in 2014!


Diary of a Debut: What's in a name?

pregnant-woman-with-bookMany people liken the publishing process of a debut novel to having a baby.  They've even coined a term: Book Pregnant. And we totally get it. Even though we haven't been puking each morning and craving crabs during our book pregnancy, there is a feeling of treading into uncharted territory with something you love and have poured your heart and soul into. (Although Liz is praying she doesn't gain 70lbs with this pregnancy...) We've been lovingly caressing the manuscript through the editing process and are anxiously awaiting the cover reveal.  So when our team at Atria felt that the title The Toast should be, well TOAST, it was time to go back to the drawing board.

To be honest, it wasn't a total surprise.  We had sent the manuscript to a freelance editor( the wonderful Emily Heckman, in case you need one), and she loved the book, but wasn't too keen on the title.  So we changed it before sending it on to Atria.  And then our editor at Atria loved the book, but didn't love the new title we had picked out. So we changed it back to The Toast, but we knew its days might be numbered.

So when we got word that it was time to pick a new title, we already had a list we had come up while sipping sake and eating spicy tuna rolls. (We do our best work that way!)

But no one really loved those ones either. (Did we mention that we suck at coming up with titles? Even while sipping sake?)

It was our fab agent, Elisabeth, that came up with a title that everyone loved.   (Thank GAWD she's good at it! #savedourasses)

So The Toast became Your Perfect Life.  Which is totally fine, because now we don't have to worry anymore about having two champagne glasses clinking on the cover. #soooocliche

And for a minute it felt odd, because our baby had a new name. But only for a minute--then we were seriously IN LOVE with our new title.  And we hope you are too.

Tell us what you think!  We have a SIGNED copy of Amy Hatvany's Heart Like Mine. (It's GREAT, btw!)  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Monday, May 27th after 8am PST.


BIG book deal news & BIG giveaway

Are y'all sitting down? We've got news.  BIG news. Our manuscript, The Toast, sold to Greer Hendricks at Atria Books! *jumps up and down and pees pants a little bit*

We signed with the fabulous Elisabeth Weed of Weed Literary last week (she reps a ton of our fave authors!) and received the a-mazing news that our book sold just days later.  In fact, our heads are still spinning as we write this because we've been girl crushin' like crazy on both Greer and Elisabeth for years!  Needless to say, we are excited, thankful and scared shitless all the same time. (To put it in perspective, all we can manage to say to each other all day is some combination of OMG, holy sh*t and WTF?)

The Toast will hit bookshelves in early 2014.  It's about two childhood best friends who wake up the morning after their 20th high school reunion to discover they've switched bodies and ultimately realize that sometimes it takes living someone else's life to appreciate your own. (And just in case you were wondering, it's NOT autobiographical!)

Ok, so get prepared y'all because we're about to get our sap on.

Thank you.  Yes, you. Each and every one of you who are reading this post.  It's because of your sassy comments, your kind words and your support-- not only of us but of Chick Lit Is Not Dead--that we are here today.  Whenever we got really down, all we had to do was pop over here and see how much y'all still LOVED reading good books written by women.  And it was that love that helped us keep our chins up all this time.

So, to show you how much we appreciate your awesomeness, (and because we are complete giveaway WHORES), we are giving away not one, but two HUGEASS STACKS OF BOOKS.  See for yourself. They're not just big, they're HUGEASS.  You know the drill: leave a comment and we'll enter you to win. We'll choose the winners on Sunday, October 7th after 6pm PST.

Now we're off to do the only thing you can do when you sell your first book: GO TO LAS VEGAS! We'll be the ones drinking champagne at the blackjack tables and, well, everywhere, sucking in our stomachs at the pool cabana and hanging out with Carrot Top. (Long Story!)

xoxo, L&L