jodi picoult

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Kaira Rouda

Happy Launch to the amazingly talented, Kaira Rouda! Her debut novel, Here, Home, Hope is a must-read for any woman who's ever thought about changing her life. Which, let's admit it, is pretty much all of us!  We'll admit that we've each had a "mid-life" crisis meltdown (or five!). So when we read, Here, Home, Hope, we were seriously LOL'ing  (and you know it takes a lot to get a real LOL out of us!) as we thought about our own lives.

So Liz was beyond honored to be asked by Kaira to blurb for her book.

And here it is... (so official!)

“A must read for anyone who's had their own mid-life crisis, Here, Home, Hope reminds us that it's never too late to reinvent ourselves.” – Liz Fenton, author of I'll Have Who She's Having, The D Word and creator of Chick Lit is not Dead

Synopsis of Here, Home, Hope: Kelly Mills Johnson is a 39-year-old mother and wife stuck in the rut of her middle-American suburban life.  A routine relationship with her lawyer husband, two uber-successful businesswomen for best friends to envy and an all-around predictable existence motivate Kelly to reinvent herself.

In an often-times humorous manner, Kelly begins diving into new projects (armed with Post-it notes and a Things to Change list), revisiting old memories and rediscovering passions.  Whether she is taking care of the anorexic teenager dumped on her doorstep, making up with an old high school friend or avoiding the boozy advances of her divorced neighbor, Kelly’s insistence on moving her life in a new direction and finding the perfect blend of home and career is inspiring and entertaining.

And if you leave a comment here, you could be one of the five lucky winners of a copy of Here Home Hope! We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Wednesday, May 4.


1.  How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?

Yes, well that is the question. I looked back at my files and I would guess, since 1997 – the year I first started querying literary agents – that I’ve approached/pitched about 300. That’s funny, actually. And sort of depressing if you let it be.

My first agent very much believed in my manuscript, WARNING. We met at the Antioch Writer’s Workshop and we had it sold, too, to a huge editor at a big house. The famous editor actually called me. I’ll never forget it. She loved the book. The next day, she died in a taxi in Manhattan. I didn’t have a contract.

My second agent was wonderful. I found her because she was in the same literary agency as my nonfiction agent who represented REAL YOU INCORPORATED. My second agent helped me understand what was selling, what the basic structure should be. She helped me draft the very first version of what is now HERE, HOME, HOPE. But she was, as all agents are, extremely busy. When we didn’t get a hit, she needed to move on.

So, the answer is, I haven’t found the one. Would I love to have a partner to guide my career and to help me through the next book, to help place it and make it better? Absolutely. Will that person come along? I don’t know. I guess it all depends on whether HERE, HOME, HOPE resonates with people – whether readers like it and want to read more. I hope that happens. I hope an agent comes into my life. It’s tough going it alone, it really is. But, given the choice of going it alone, or never going for it – I decided to go for it.

I’d love “the one” beside me.

2.  What was your rock bottom moment during the process?

December 13, 2010. I’m not kidding. I realized it is all up to me. I’m publishing my first novel with a small press and I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a big six publisher. For the first time in my life I don’t have a full time job. I have four kids – one in college and one about to go. I had that ….oh my goodness what are you thinking moment. It comes back, quite often. But I’m trying to climb out of the bottom.

I know I’ve written the best novel I can. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve partnered with the best publisher, publicist, event planner and support folks I can. My family is behind me. I have hope.

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

About 2 ½ years.

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

With a bottle of champagne and a walk on the beach with my husband, my biggest fan.

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

I truly believe things happen when you’re ready; if I had been ready sooner, I would have published the novel sooner. That said, I wish I would have had the confidence to publish the novel sooner.

6.  Who is your writer crush?

Jenna Blum. She’s an adventurer, an author of amazing range and a great supporter of other authors. That said, I’m also enamored with Eleanor Brown, Beth Hoffman and, from a very far distance, Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult who stick up for women writers whenever they can. Love that!

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

My new puppy, Tucker. I cannot stop smiling at him. He is a living, walking Teddy Bear.

8.  GNO drink of choice?

Dirty martini. Stuffed olives. But most of the time, it’s Chardonnay. California, preferably.

9.  Favorite trashy TV show?

Housewives of ______ fill in the blank. I am fascinated, but not usually remembering to tune in. When I do, love it. I do have Bachelor/Bachelorette moments, too.

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

Whichever celeb happens to be denigrating women at the moment…pick one. There are many. That sounds snarky, but it drives me crazy. We need to stand up for ourselves, for other women. Stick together.

Thanks so much for having me here!

You're welcome, Kaira! xoxo, L&L

For more information about the incredibly talented Kaira Rouda, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!



5 Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about...Wendy Wax

March is going to be a great month!  Not only  will we be featuring fantastic authors like Sarah Pekkanen and Jodi Picoult, we'll also be revealing the mystery author we've been hinting about on our Facebook fan page.   But right now we're ecstatic to find out five things we didn't know about...Wendy Wax! We first discovered Wendy  last year when we devoured THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER, a wonderful story about four best friends who discover how little they know about each other. We LOVED it!  Now comes MAGNOLIA WEDNESDAYS.  After she's fired from her job as an investigative reporter, Vivian leaves the big city after her life falls apart to write an anonymous column about suburban life in the South.  But after moving in with her recently widowed sister and her teenaged children, Vivian learns more about herself and the suburban life she mocks in her column than she could have ever imagined.

And we loved learning 5 things we didn't know about Wendy. We smiled at the very cool way Wendy met her husband and loved learning more about her secret chocolate addiction.  And how can you resist anyone that quotes Gone With The Wind?

And, today, we have not one but TWO giveaways.  We have three copies of MAGNOLIA WEDNESDAYS-just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! can also enter for a chance to win a cougar tank top from by leaving a comment about which twenty-something you secretly pine over. (We have a special place in our cougar hearts for Robert Buckley!)

1.  I met my husband completely by accident the first and only time I ever took the Carey Bus from JFK to Grand Central while visiting New York City. That was twenty-six years ago just after my mother, who thought I’d never fall in love or get married, asked, “What, do you think you’re going to be walking down the street and it’s just going to…happen?”

2.  I’ve read Gone with the Wind way too many times. It’s the reason I originally chose to attend the University of Georgia even though I knew no one there, and why I’m able to recite large portions of dialogue by memory. I fell in love with Clark Gable the first time I saw the movie and have never understood how anyone could choose Ashley Wilkes over Rhett Butler. Ever. Under Any Circumstances.

Whenever possible during an argument with my husband, I try to work in at least one, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”  and have even considered uttering the occasional ‘fiddle-dee-dee!”

Speaking at the Margaret Mitchell House last June when The Accidental Bestseller came out was an incredible thrill.

3. Birthdays in our family always begin with birthday cake (preferably chocolate) for breakfast. This began in my single days when a roommate and I started the tradition. It feels wonderfully decadent and allows you to get to the best part of the day first thing. I’m not all that into delayed gratification, which sometimes makes writing a four hundred page manuscript, well, difficult.

4.  I hosted a live radio show in Tampa, Florida called, Desperate & Dateless, back when I was both. Every Friday from 8:00PM to Midnight I would take calls from men and women and match them up on the air.

One couple called into the show from their honeymoon to thank me. It was great to hear from them, but I thought they should have had better things to do!

5.  I am a chocoholic. There, I’ve said it out loud. I’ve been this way since birth (I think it’s genetic) and crave it pretty much all the time. (Even at breakfast on my birthday—see #3 above) When I was pregnant with my sons, I considered it the fifth food group. A day without chocolate is, well, I don’t even want to go there!

To read more about the fabulous Wendy Wax, head on over to her website or become a fan on Facebook.

xoxo, Liz & Lisa