St- Regis

Anita Hughes' 5 Fave Vacation Spots

Lake-Como-by-Anita-HughesOur guest today: Anita Hughes Why we love her: Her books are a lovely escape from the daily grind!

Her latest: Lake Como

The scoop: Hallie Elliot has a perfect life. She is an up-and-coming interior designer in one of San Francisco’s most sought after firms, and has just recently become engaged to Peter, a brilliant young journalist. But when she stumbles upon Peter and her boss in what seems to be a compromising position, her trust in her perfect life is shaken.

So Hallie escapes to Lake Como, Italy to spend time with her half-sister, Portia Tesoro, an Italian blueblood dealing with the scandal of a public estrangement from her cheating husband. While staying in the Tesoro villa, Hallie falls in love with the splendor and beauty of Lake Como, and finds work designing the lakeside estate of a reclusive American tech mogul. The caretaker of this beautiful estate is a handsome man named Angus, and Hallie finds herself drawn to his charm and kindness, despite hints of a dark secret in his past.

But just as Hallie is beginning to find her footing on Italian soil, she uncovers a family secret that upends all the truths she’s believed about herself, and calls into question the new life she’s built in Lake Como.

Our thoughts: You'll love this delicious read--our fave of hers so far!

Giveaway: TWO copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners after 8am on August 11th.

Fun Fact: Anita lives at The fabulous St. Regis resort! #socool

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

Anita Hughes' 5 Fave Vacation Spots

20101121_fff_0023-editc1. Lake Como, Italy. I've always been fascinated by Lake Como. It is a magical setting - a gorgeous lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and grand villas dating back to the eighteenth century. Even though I felt like I was on vacation there when I wrote Lake Como, I'd love to visit again in real life. (I went once, when I was twelve). I'd particularly like to stay at The Villa D'Este which is one of the most famous hotels in the world and a favorite of movie stars and European royalty. And of course if I crossed paths with George Clooney's speedboat, that would be an added perk!

2. Capri, Italy. This is another place I visited when I was a child and absolutely captivated me. Capri is an island off of Naples you reach by ferry. What I love most about it is there are no cars. You wander around the main square without any fears of being run over. I would love to hike up to Anacapri (where Tiberius lived in Roman times), and explore the grottos (underwater caves) in a wooden boat. My favorite hotel is the Quisisana. It is a beautiful white building right on the main square with incredible views and gorgeous interior design.

3. Cannes, France. I guess one could say I'm fascinated by beautiful hotels perched on the water! The Intercontinental-Carlton in Cannes is on the Boulevard Croissette - the site of the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is also across the street from the beach, and the sand is always covered with yellow and white beach umbrellas. The Boulevard Croisette is lined with boutiques representing all the famous fashion houses and the people watching is spectacular!

4. Waikiki Beach. I know most people love the outer islands, but growing up in Australia, whenever we travelled to America we stayed in Honolulu for a few days to break up the flight. I fell in love with Wakiki Beach - the smell of suntan lotion, the tiki torches, the feeling that everyone was on vacation. I have a soft spot for The Royal Hawaiian Hotel - which is still painted pink, and I love the Halekulani - which is right next door and has a wonderful restaurant facing Diamond Harbor called "A Room Without A Key."

5. Laguna Beach, California. I might be partial because I live here, but it is a terrific town. The village center is filled with restaurants and galleries and tourist favorites like The Candy Baron and The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. There are always a few volleyball games going on at Main Beach and the gelato and frozen yogurt selection is fantastic. I am a huge fan of The Montage, The Ritz and The St. Regis, but some of the smaller hotels like The Surf And Sand are also fabulous.

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Anita Hughes

Today's IT Girl: Anita Hughes Why we love her: We LOVE discovering fab new authors and Anita is no exception!

Her debut: Monarch Beach

The scoop: Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and lifewhat it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down.

Our thoughts: We think you'll devour this lovely debut. (And we LOVE that it's set at The St. Regis in Laguna-one of our fave places!)

Giveaway: Five copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday July 8th after Noon PST.

Fun Fact: Although she lives in the States now, Anita was born in Australia!

Where you can read more about Anita: her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I queried quite widely - I got addicted to that send button on my email. Many agents requested fulls at the same time, which was fun.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter?  MONARCH BEACH started with a much longer title. (I love how titles changes after you finish a novel). One agent wrote "I would never represent a novel with a title that long." I was crushed.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? I actually love to write - there is nothing more fun than sitting down at my laptop and writing. I forget everything else (well, not my children or doing the laundry or making dinner) and just write.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best advice was to read the acknowledgments in books I loved. I learned so much - the names of agents, of editors, the team it takes to put a book out. I formed a real appreciation for the comraderie of publishing, and I'm thrilled to be part of it!

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?  My whole family are frozen yogurt fans. We went and got cones of Cake Batter frozen yogurt and then I came home and drooled over shoes online. I didn't buy any yet - it's a long way from the book deal to the release date - but I put several on my wishlist.

6. Who is your writer crush? I have a few - I love Allison Winn Scotch for her novels, her upbeat presence online and her advice to debut authors. I think Jennifer Weiner is fantastic and funny, and I really admire Emily Giffin - she writes wonderful books and knows how to engage her fans.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? I love to read, so one book wouldn't last very long. I would have to say OLD SINS by Penny Vincenzi. Penny is a British author who tells such a good story, you forget where you are.

8. What's on your iPod right now? Will you laugh if I say "One Direction?" My twelve year old daughter put it on there and they are really great.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Walking along the beach - the sight of the Pacific on a clear day cures almost every ill!

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Channing Tatum, hands down. He is everywhere right now. He makes very appealing eye candy as well as being funny and smart.

Thanks Anita!  xoxo, L&L