Archive for August, 2011

Political Figures

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

You may have missed these recent biographies of iconic political figures - three Presidents and a legendary Senator.  Each of the four books presents a fresh, intimate, and sometimes surprising view of its subject.

  Colonel Roosevelt  by Edmund Morris (Find in our catalog)

Summary: “Of all our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is the only one whose greatness increased out of office. When he toured Europe in 1910 as plain “Colonel Roosevelt,” he was hailed as the most famous man in the world. Crowned heads vied to put him up in their palaces. “If I see another king,” he joked, “I think I shall bite him.” Had TR won his historic “Bull Moose” campaign in 1912 (when he outpolled the sitting president, William Howard Taft), he might have averted World War I, so great was his international influence. Had he not died in 1919, at the early age of sixty, he would unquestionably have been reelected to a third term in the White House and completed the work he began in 1901 of establishing the United States as a model democracy, militarily strong and socially just. This biography by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, is itself the completion of a trilogy sure to stand as definitive. Packed with more adventure, variety, drama, humor, and tragedy than a big novel, yet documented down to the smallest fact, it recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history. What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine? Colonel Roosevelt begins with a prologue recounting what TR called his “journey into the Pleistocene” – a yearlong safari through East Africa, collecting specimens for the Smithsonian. Some readers will be repulsed by TR’s bloodlust, which this book does not prettify, yet there can be no denying that the Colonel passionately loved and understood every living thing that came his way: The text is rich in quotations from his marvelous nature writing. Although TR intended to remain out of politics when he returned home in 1910, a fateful decision that spring drew him back into public life. By the end of the summer, in his famous “New Nationalism” speech, he was the guiding spirit of the Progressive movement, which inspired much of the social agenda of the future New Deal. (TR’s fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt acknowledged that debt, adding that the Colonel “was the greatest man I ever knew.”) Then follows a detailed account of TR’s reluctant yet almost successful campaign for the White House in 1912. But unlike other biographers, Edmund Morris does not treat TR mainly as a politician. This volume gives as much consideration to TR’s literary achievements and epic expedition to Brazil in 1913-1914 as to his fatherhood of six astonishingly different children, his spiritual and aesthetic beliefs, and his eager embrace of other cultures – from Arab and Magyar to German and American Indian. It is impossible to read Colonel Roosevelt and not be awed by the man’s universality. The Colonel himself remarked, “I have enjoyed life as much as any nine men I know.” Morris does not hesitate, however, to show how pathologically TR turned upon those who inherited the power he craved – the hapless Taft, the adroit Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson declined to bring the United States into World War I in 1915 and 1916, the Colonel blasted him with some of the worst abuse ever uttered by a former chief executive. Yet even Wilson had to admit that behind the Rooseveltian will to rule lay a winning idealism and decency. “He is just like a big boy – there is a sweetness about him that you can’t resist.” That makes the story of TR’s last year, when the “boy” in him died, all the sadder in the telling: the conclusion of a life of Aristotelian grandeur. From the Hardcover edition.”

  A Complicated Man: the Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him by Michael Takiff (Find in our catalog)

Summary: “Though Bill Clinton has been out of office since 2001, public fascination with him continues unabated. Many books about Clinton have been published in recent years, but no single-volume biography covers the full scope of Clinton’s life from the cradle to the present day; and books on Clinton have tended to be highly polarized, casting the former president in an overly positive or negative light. In this, the first complete oral history of Clinton’s life, historian Michael Takiff presents the first truly balanced book on one of our nation’s most controversial and fascinating presidents. Through more than 150 chronologically arranged interviews with key figures including Bob Dole, James Carville, and Tom Brokaw, among many others, this book goes far beyond the well-worn party-line territory to capture the larger-than-life essence of Clinton the man.–From publisher description.”

  Edward Kennedy: a Intimate Biography by Burton Hersh (Find in our catalog)

Summary: “A historian and journalist combines extensive research with observations from his long-time acquaintance with Kennedy to recount the influential senator’s life, including the Chappaquiddick accident and Kennedy’s behind-the-scenes efforts to bring down Nixon.” “A reporter who covered much of Edward Kennedy’s career, Hersh delivers a massive biography of the late “liberal lion” of the U.S. Senate. The author’s friendship with Kennedy has allowed him to include extensive new information on the Chappaquidick affair and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne (which came close to ending his political career), as well as on Richard Nixon’s vendetta against Kennedy, and on Kennedy’s behind-the-scenes role in the congressional investigations that led to the end of Nixon’s presidency. The book also deals frankly with Kennedy’s struggle with alcohol, and with his fear that he would be assassinated like his older brothers–a fear shown to be real after his death with the revelation of hundreds of death threats. Likely to be the definitive biography of Kennedy for some years to come, this eminently readable book will be a treat for readers interested in American politics and, especially, in the important role of that the Kennedy family played in politics for almost a half-century. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (”

  Washington: a Life by Ron Chernow (Find in our catalog)

Summary: “In “Washington : a Life” celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation, dashing forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man, and revealing an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people.”  “From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of George Washington. In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master. At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency. In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America’s founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.”


Book to Movie – I Don’t Know How She Does It

Friday, August 26th, 2011

  Coming on September 16 and starring Sarah Jessica Parker, the movie based on the book I Don’t Know How She Does It: the Life of  Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson (Find this book in our catalog)

Summary from our catalog: “For every woman trying to strike that impossible balance between work and home-and pretending that she has-and for every woman who has wanted to hurl the acquaintance who coos admiringly, “Honestly, I just don’t know how you do it,” out a window, here’s a novel to make you cringe with recognition and laugh out loud. With fierce, unsentimental irony, Allison Pearson’s novel brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of working motherhood at the start of the twenty-first century. Meet Kate Reddy, hedge-fund manager and mother of two. She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. In Kate’s life, Everything Goes Perfectly as long as Everything Goes Perfectly. She lies to her own mother about how much time she spends with her kids; practices pelvic floor squeezes in the boardroom; applies tips from Toddler Taming to soothe her irascible boss; uses her cell phone in the office bathroom to procure a hamster for her daughter’s birthday (“Any working mother who says she doesn’t bribe her kids can add Liar to her résumé”); and cries into the laundry hamper when she misses her children’s bedtime. In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Allison Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women-the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, the despair-as no other writer has. Kate Reddy’s conflict –How are we meant to pass our days? How are we to reconcile the two passions, work and motherhood, that divide our lives? –gets at the private absurdities of working motherhood as only a novel could: with humor, drama, and bracing wisdom.


One Summer by David Baldacci

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

David Baldacci’s summer offering (Find this book in our catalog) is an emotional rollercoaster. Keep your tissues close by because there are some teary moments. Jack is terminally ill with a rare disease. He is coming to terms with leaving his wife & three children, but is determined to live until Christmas. Lizzie is Jack’s beloved wife. Through letters that he is writing for her to read after his death, he pours his heart out to her. It is an unimaginable tragedy then, when Lizzie is killed in a car accident as she is out fetching Jack some medication. The children are sent to relatives & Jack is left to die alone. However, while in a local hospice, a miracle occurs & Jack begins to recover. No one has ever heard of anyone surviving his disease & he becomes the Miracle Man. Once he recovers his strength & is discharged from hospital, he must begin to put his life together & reunite his family. Over one summer he must prove that he can be a father again. Baldacci ties things up nicely in the epilogue except in a small quibble it would be good to know more about what happens to Sammy & what happened with the court case that seems to have been forgotten at the end. This is a heart wrenching story with a feel good ending. The summer setting in South Carolina makes it a good beach read.

Posted by Julia

License to Pawn

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

  License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and my Life at the Gold & Silver by Rick Harrison with Tim Keown (Find in our catalog)

Fans of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars will want to read this book by store owner Rick Harrison. Rick as well as show stars Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumlee all contribute their personal story and how the show’s success has impacted them. An easy enjoyable read with just enough information to satisfy the reader’s curiosity but avid fans may be wishing for more. Limited family and store item photos included along with a better understanding of the world of pawnshops.

Posted by Shelley D.

2011 “A Banner Year for Epic Fantasy,” Says Library Journal

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Popularity of A Dance With Dragons Shows Resurgence of Epic Fantasy

  July marked the publication of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons (Find in our catalog), the long-awaited fifth book in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. No doubt the success of HBO’s adaptation of Martin’s Game of Thrones, which introduced new readers to the medieval world created by the “American Tolkien,” helped assure A Dance With Dragons’ blockbuster bestseller status: first day sales were more than 170,000 print copies and 110,000 ebooks.

This is what it says in our catalog about the book: “In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance-beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind. Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever. Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone-a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice. From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.”

The website Epic-Fantasy.­­com has this definition of Epic Fantasy:

“Epic Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy and very similar to high-fantasy where a seemingly average person undergoes many trials and ordeals which develop him or her into a hero capable of feats needed to thwart challenges of an epic scale. The work takes place in an imaginitive world and often the setting is medieval in nature, complete with swords, castles, strange creatures and a magical system.”

A Fresh Look for Epic Fantasy

With the rise in popularity of the subgenre, Epic Fantasy writers are looking for new ways to build worlds and craft epic stories. According to LJ, there is a continued shift away from the romantic heroic Tolkien tradition to “grittier, more morally complex stories that feature antiheroes and depict worlds where good and evil war not only against each other but within the souls of each character.”

If you like the elaborate worlds built by writers such as George R. R. Martin, you may also like these traditional fantasies with a new twist available in the library:

  The Magician King by Lev Grossman

“The Magician King” is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic–an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces Julia, a powerful new voice whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.” “Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.”

   The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind

The Omen Machine revisits Goodkind’s conflicted “Sword of Truth” protagonist, Richard Rahl. “”Hannis Arc, working on the tapestry of lines linking constellations of elements that constituted the language of Creation recorded on the ancient Cerulean scroll spread out among the clutter on his desk, was not surprised to see the seven etherial forms billow into the room like acrid smoke driven on a breath of bitter breeze. Like an otherworldly collection of spectral shapes seemingly carried on random eddies of air, they wandered in a loose clutch among the still and silent mounted bears and beasts rising up on their stands, the small forest of stone pedestals holding massive books of recorded prophecy, and the evenly spaced display cases of oddities, their glass reflecting the firelight from the massive hearth at the side of the room. Since the seven rarely used doors, the shutters on the windows down on the ground level several stories below stood open as a fearless show of invitation. Though they frequently chose to use windows, they didn’t actually need the windows any more than they needed the doors. They could seep through any opening, any crack, like vapor rising in the early morning from the stretches of stagnant water that lay in dark swaths through the peat barrens. The open shutters were meant to be a declaration for all to see, including the seven, that Hannis Arc feared nothing.” …Terry Goodkind returns to the lives of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell–in a compelling tale of a new and sinister threat to their world.”


Nonfiction – The Hinges of History

Friday, August 19th, 2011

  The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (Find in our catalog)

One of the world’s most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things , by Lucretius ”a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.

  How the Irish saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill (Find in our catalog)

This is another book about how ancient manuscripts and their preservation in monasteries have shaped our civilization today.  This is one of Thomas Cahill’s series that he named “The Hinges of History.”  This is what it says in our catalog: “Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become “the isle of saints and scholars” — and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization — copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost — they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.”


Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Pickard’s tale of revenge & forgiveness (Find in our catalog) received starred ratings from both Publisher’s Weekly & Booklist. Jody Linder is stunned when her father’s killer is released from jail for a new trial. 23 years after the murder, Jody is about to start a new job in the small town of Rose, Kansas, where she lives near her grandparents. Billy Crosby, once a worker on the family ranch, a drunk, & possible wife-beater is the accused. There is not much sympathy for him in Rose, but Billy’s son, now a lawyer, is convinced that his father was not the murderer. Tempers flare as Jody and her family are forced to face the past. Storms of rain & lightning add atmosphere as they sweep across the town, increasing the tension in this well-written book.

Book to Movie – One Day

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

  One Day, based on the novel by David Nicholls (Find in our catalog), opens Friday, August 19. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star as college graduates who meet in 1988. They lead largely separate lives but connect again once a year for 20 years.

This is what it says in our catalog: “Over twenty years, snapshots of an unlikely relationship are revealed on the same day–July 15th–of each year. Dex Mayhew and Em Morley face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.”


To Fans of 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

  View this video from The Guardian newspaper of Alexander McCall Smith walking around Edinburgh

Smith, author of the 44 Scotland Street novels, shows Sarah Crown around Edinburgh’s New Town, where many of his books are set, and introduces her to some of the locations – and even some of the characters – who appear in the pages.

Find 44 Scotland Street in our catalog

Summary: “Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh’s most colorful characters. There’s Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian-all at the tender age of five. Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.


Jen’s Jewels with Allie Larkin

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Sometimes life’s biggest disappointments ironically turn out to be blessings in disguise. Whether it’s not getting accepted into the college of your dreams or perhaps losing your one true love to a best friend, it feels as if the pain will never go away. And, just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, the unexpected happens and you’re back on top. The old adage rings true…tomorrow will be a better day.

This month’s Jen’s Jewels Allie Larkin touches upon this very topic of hope and redemption in her debut novel STAY. It’s the story of Savannah “Van” Leone who winds up broken-hearted when the man of her dreams walks down the aisle and marries her best friend. To help soothe the pain, Van adopts an adorable German shepherd puppy who manages to turn her life upside down.

As part of this interview, Penguin Books has donated five copies for you, my favorite wins, to try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end of the column! And, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your summertime reading pleasure.

Jen: As a debut novelist, your journey is just beginning. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into your life prior to publication, please share with us your educational and professional background.

Allie: I spent two years as a theatre major at Ithaca College before dropping out to “find myself.” Several years later, I went back to finish my degree at St. John Fisher College, focusing on communications and creative writing. I have worked as a bartender, headhunter, manager at a mortgage processing company, and a few things in-between.

Jen: Please describe for us your “Aha!” moment when you decided to take the plunge and pursue a career as a writer.

Allie: It crept up on me, really. I had professors at Fisher who really encouraged me to write, and I intended to write when I graduated from college, but life got in the way. About a year after graduating, I joined a writing group to get back to writing, and revisited a short story about a woman named Van and her friend Janie that I’d started in school. I just wanted to know more about the characters, so I kept writing. Eventually, I realized that I was writing a book and not a short story. But I was in denial for a bit. The idea of writing a book seemed too overwhelming, so I just focused on writing eight pages a week for writing group. When the first draft of the book was done, I decided to start researching how to find an agent. I’m not sure there was ever an “Aha!” moment, it was just a progression from one step to the next. And really, it was all about Van, the main character in STAY. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and that’s what kept me moving forward with my writing. Because of Van, everything else clicked into place, and I realized that writing is the thing I’m best at and what I love doing the most.

Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long did it take for you to complete your first novel? Did you outline the story first, or did it simply take on a life of its own?

Allie: STAY grew out of a writing exercise in a class I took at Fisher in 2002, and came out in hardcover in 2010. I wasn’t working on it exclusively, and I put it aside several times over the years, but it was a long journey. In addition to learning how to write a book, I had to figure out how to find an agent and navigate the publishing process.

I didn’t outline the story. Writing the first few drafts almost felt like watching a movie. I kept writing because I needed to know what would happen next. The story really did take on a life of its own. In later drafts I started thinking about structure and what needed to happen when, so everything would make sense. I had huge calendar pages taped to the wall in my office so I could figure out the exact timing of the story, and did some storyboarding.

Jen: Your debut novel STAY is a laugh out-loud story about a young woman named Savannah “Van” Leone who is desperately trying to move on with her life. I could not put it down! Bravo! How did you arrive at the premise?

Allie: Thank you so much! In the short story that started STAY, Van had confessed to herself that she was in love with Peter, even though Peter was married to her best friend, Janie. Just as an exercise, I decided to write what the wedding must have been like for Van. Once I wrote that scene, I realized that the story needed to start there. I got Van all the way through the wedding and back to Rochester and was totally stuck on what should happen next. I was outside raking leaves one day, and Argo, our German shepherd was hanging out in the yard with me. I thought about how he changed my life and realized that Van needed a dog. I also knew enough about her as a character to know that she wouldn’t get a dog for herself purposely. Joe coming into Van’s life was going to have to be an accident.

Jen: Any story that involves a dog has me hooked at the get-go, especially one that has such an adorable cover such as yours. A question I just have to ask…did you have any input into the selection of your book jacket? And, why a German shepherd puppy?

Allie: The dog on the cover of the hardcover version is actually Argo, but I don’t personally know the paperback puppy. I didn’t have much say in the cover, but I absolutely love it. The back cover is adorable too. It has the cutest little puppy butt up at the top.

Jen: The story begins with Van walking down the aisle at her best friend Janie’s wedding. Unfortunately, she is marrying Van’s one true love Peter. Why does Van choose to keep quiet rather than fight for the man she loves?

Allie: Fighting for Peter would mean hurting Janie in a way that Van would never be able to repair. She knows that, and I think she’s very much torn between her love for Peter and her love for Janie. They are different kinds of love, but equally important, and it puts Van in a difficult place.

Jen: As Janie and Peter embark on their new life, Van is literally left alone to come to terms with her new existence. How do the recent events, including the death of her mother, affect Van’s feelings of self-worth?

Allie: Everyone deserves to have one person who will always put them first. For Van, that was her mother, and when she lost her mother, she felt like she’d been sidelined in the world. She felt like she was never going to be the most important person to anyone again.

Jen: In order to cope, Van purchases (drunk dials!) via the Internet a Slavic German shepherd. How does her drunken mistake turn into a positive dose of retail therapy?

Allie: Van becomes the most important person to someone again. She and Joe bond, and Van goes from being alone to feeling like she’s part of a team. Joe gives Van a family. She comes first to him, and that changes everything.

Jen: Due to the antics of her troublesome pup Joe, Van winds up meeting the handsome local vet named Alex Brandt. How does his down-to-earth attitude towards life and love help move Van in the right direction?

Allie: Alex is sweet and practical and very honest about his feelings. Van has spent so much time hiding her feelings and trying to read between the lines with Peter about his feelings. Alex’s openness changes things and gives Van a new idea of what a relationship should be.

Jen: When Peter and Janie return from their honeymoon, why does Van allow them back into her life?

Allie: The way we love people is complicated. Van struggles to be a good friend, and because she’s lost her mother, she’s very afraid of changing the terms of her relationships. Losing Janie and Peter forever isn’t an easy choice to make. As frustrated and hurt as Van is, she’s not ready to give them up.

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. First, please take us on a tour of your website highlighting points of interest.

Allie: has a Book page with the book trailer, links to the first chapter, audio book clip, and reading guide. There’s a Q&A and photos of me and Argo on the About page. There’s also an event page and links to my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Jen: Will you be participating in Author Phone Chats with book groups? If so, how would my readers go abut scheduling one? And, will you have a Reading Group Guide available?

Allie: I love talking with readers and am happy to chat by phone, Skype or Google. There is a reading group guide available on my website. And interested readers can go to the Contact page on my website to send me an e-mail and schedule a reading group visit.

Jen: In terms of social media, are you on Facebook? Twitter?

Allie: Yes! I am on Facebook and on Twitter as @AllieLarkin.

Jen: Are you currently at work on your next book? If so, what can you share with us?

Allie: I am current working on something completely new, but I do hope to check back in with Van in the future. I miss her and I have some ideas for the next phase of her life.

Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. Congratulations on your debut novel! I look forward to seeing your name on the top of the bestsellers lists for many years to come.

Allie: Thank you so much, Jen! I’m thrilled for the chance to chat with you.

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Allie. Please stop by your local retailer or library branch and pick up a copy of STAY today. Better yet, how would you like to win one instead?

Okay, be one of the first five readers to e-mail me at with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll win.

What is the name of Van’s best friend?

In September, I will be bringing to you my interviews with Susan McBride and Amy Ephron. You won’t want to miss them.

Until next time…