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Archive for July, 2009

I recently received three children’s books in the mail and although we’d never done this genre at WGR, I agreed to do these because I’m a mother and my kids have always been crazy for books. All three of these charming books were very well received by the children I tested them on. They all have subtle, but important social lessons presented in fun ways. Both the stories and reviews are short, so all three are posted here together.  

busy-busThe Busy Bus

By Marsha Casper Cook

Cronos Press, October 2008

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Busy-Bus-Collection-Short-Childrens/dp/1604140631

Website: www.michiganavenuemedia.com

A wonderful little collection of rhyming poems with titles such as, Terrible Twos, Uncle Edward’s Pig, Tough Jake, Fair Weather Heather, and many more. The kids loved this book with its bright, cheerful pictures, perfect for younger children. They got the giggles when I read Whose Smelly Socks Are Those and I have to admit it, so did I. There are poems in this collection that are just for fun, but others teach social lessons in a subtle way, while keeping the children engaged and having a good time. Try this one on your kids, I think they’ll enjoy it and you’ll be introducing them to the world of poetry if you haven’t already.

–Willow

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magical-leaping-lizardThe Magical Leaping Lizard Potion

By Marsha Casper Cook

Fideli Publishing Inc.; 1 edition (March 9, 2009)

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Magical-Leaping-Lizard-Potion

Website: www.michiganavenuemedia.com

Isabella Pimpinella and her dog Milly Van Dilly are getting together with the other junior witches to make the legendary Magical Leaping Lizard Potion. If they do it correctly, they’ll be able to fly and become full-fledged witches. Something that all junior witches dream of.

I enjoyed the story and graphics in this little book very much. Then I passed it to an eight-year-old girl to read for feedback. Her mother said she’d read it over and over. When I asked the little girl if she’d enjoyed it, she said she loved it and wanted to know where she could get the next one. Obviously this would be a great series for younger girls.

–Willow

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snack_attackSnack Attack

By Marsha Casper Cook

Fideli Publishing Inc.; 1st edition (January 1, 2009

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Snack-Attack-Marsha-Casper-Cook/dp/1604141239

Website: www.michiganavenuemedia.com

Addison Apple is a little boy who doesn’t like the oatmeal his mother makes him eat for breakfast. Liking cookies and candy much better, he secretly feeds the oatmeal to his dog, Sammy, and then sneaks into the cookie jar to fill his tummy.

The mother in this delightful story comes up with a unique way to deal with her son’s aversion to nutritious food. It’s not a remedy I’d recommend, but makes for a charming story. I read this book to a five-year-old and a three-year-old. With shouts of ‘again, again’!! I’d say it was a hit with both of them. It also teaches an important lesson in a fun way.

–Willow

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edge-of-winterThe Edge of Winter

By Luanne Rice

Bantam Books (c) 2007

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Winter-Luanne-Rice/dp/055358765X

 

For my family, the third week in July is Lake Week. Every year I look forward to this seven-day hiatus from my real life; a week of beach, bonding with family, and of course, books. On the day before we left, I searched through my TBR pile for the perfect beach read, thinking something sunny and glamorous and oh so romantic would be just the thing. I don’t know what made me grab Luanne Rice’s The Edge of Winter. Set in a small Rhode Island community in late February, the book hardly seemed to fit the bill. But after skimming the first two pages I found myself at the point of no return, and so I packed the book into my beach bag, along with my sunglasses and my jumbo-sized coffee cup. I’m so glad I did. Filled with complex relationships, The Edge of Winter is a heartwarming story of hope, redemption, and second chances.  

For fifteen-year-old Mickey Halloran, it has been a winter of changes as she and her mother, Neve, rebuild their lives in the wake of a painful divorce from the father who seems to have forgotten her. As if being abandoned by her father wasn’t bad enough, Mickey and her best friend, Jenna, seem to be growing apart. As they brave the elements and ride to a secluded cove in a state park one frozen February morning in the hope of spotting a rare snowy owl, Mickey senses their childhood love of bird watching is something Jenna might be outgrowing. Leaving the park, Mickey is injured when her bicycle skids on a patch of ice. She is aided by Shane West, a reclusive surfer boy she knows from school, and park ranger, Tim O’Casey. When Neve shows up at the emergency room, Mickey learns that a warrant has been issued for her father’s arrest for nonpayment of child support. Mickey struggles to work through her feelings of betrayal. When it seems things can’t get much worse, her beloved snowy owl is injured and Neve, Tim, Shane and Mickey, along with Tim’s elderly father, Joe, WWII veteran and bird rehab specialist, must all pull together to save the owl. Thus begins an emotional journey that explores the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, best friends, and lovers of all ages.

Though painted on the canvas of a stark winter beach, the setting is utterly beautiful, sprinkled with wildlife, glittering waves, and the first hints of spring. The characters are well drawn and likeable, and the plot is multilayered and symbolic. The owl’s damaged wing seems to represent the faltering relationship between Tim and Joe, while a mysterious WWII U-boat that lies beneath the cold, still water represents the deep secrets of the past. The author skillfully weaves all of the story elements together to an ending that is both satisfying and memorable.

I found The Edge of Winter to be a most heartwarming and compelling read, and I’m anxious to check out many more titles by this talented author.

— Honeybee

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the-last-sin-eaterThe Last Sin Eater

By Francine Rivers

Paperback, 1999

Tyndale House

ISBN-10: 0 8423 3571 4

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Sin-Eater-Francine-Rivers/dp/0842335714

Allegory, Appalachia and Advocates: I’ll use these three words to describe this unique novel. I bought this book a year ago after reading other books by Francine Rivers. I had no idea what the book was about and to be honest, it’s not the type of title that normally appeals to me, but since her other books were so good, I bought it. I guess I must have read the first chapter or two because I found a bookmark placed between pages 20 and 21. I can’t remember why I set it aside originally, but I’m glad I decided to give it another try this week. The book starts off kind of slow and it took me a couple of chapters to get used to the mountain dialect, but it quickly grew on me and the book became enjoyable to read. The premise of the story fascinated me and I feel I got to know the characters right away. I was easily drawn into their lives. The author keeps interest high by hinting of things to come and leaving questions unanswered for a time then returning to them in later chapters.  Events and ideas are masterfully woven together and as an added bonus – – – I loved the ending!!!

Set in the mountains in the 1800’s Cadi Forbes narrates the story of her ancestors and an ancient burial practice involving a sin eater. According to the author’s note “The sin eater was a person who was paid a fee or given food to take upon himself the moral trespasses of the deceased and their consequences in the afterlife. Sin eaters were common in the early nineteenth century in England, the Lowlands of Scotland, and the Welsh border district. This custom was carried over by immigrants to the Americas and practiced in remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains.” Chosen by lot the sin eater in this story became an outcast who lived apart from all others high in a mountain cave and only entered the community at the time of death. Children and adults were cautioned never to speak of him and never, ever dare peek at him during a burial service, for doing so, it was feared, would bring curses down on them. This fictional account tells the story of the last sin eater to be appointed deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Strong, stubborn, Cadi Forbes has done something she thinks only the sin eater can help her with. She has lost a sister and her mother’s love, and after the passing of her dear granny she just can’t rest until she finds this man. Her journey is one of discovery, intrigue, and redemption, as she seeks the truth that turns her isolated community inside out.

Although normally only summoned in times of death, Cadi is determined to seek the sin eater out in life to beg him to take away the guilt for what she has done. Who is this sin eater? Does he help the dead? Can he help the living?

In the midst of the wondering and worrying about the sin eater Cadi becomes soul mates with Fagan the son of the feared and self-proclaimed community leader, Brogan Kai.  To truly help Cadi, Fagan must come to terms with family secrets in a community where questions are unwelcome but truth finds a way to push up to the surface. It’s never easy to confront your own family or to hear of their hand in tragic events. Will Fagan stand for truth even if it means going against his kin? This is a book filled with suspense and a book filled with hope. Readers are reminded that freedom can stand stronger than oppression, fear, and guilt. Readers soon realize that Fagan has his own secrets and his own reasons for seeking the sin eater. The two children work together with the help of an elderly neighbor and a local outcast to try and find answers. As they are seeking this sin eater, they learn that a “Man of God” has come to the area? Just as they have their own reasons for meeting the sin eater they are both curious to find out what this man of God has to say. Does he speak the truth? Will what he says be accepted by the people and what will happen if they won’t listen? Will a child lead the way? And . . . if tradition is broken what will become of the man they call the sin eater? I won’t answer these questions nor tell too much more of the plot because it unfolds as it goes and I’d hate to spoil it for anyone.

If you like a book full of rich descriptions and wonderful characters this is a book for you. These characters have depth and personality. You will grieve with them, pity them, fear for them, and rejoice with them. There are many characters to like in this book. There are plenty to dislike as well. Even the unlikeable characters are well portrayed and well defined by the author.  Themes in this book include mistakes and forgiveness, standing up for what’s right and going against the establishment, folklore and truth. The story is compelling and will make some readers stop and think about truth, traditions and why we do what we do when we do it. I was pleased to see that Rivers addresses the Appalachian culture with honesty and care. She does a great job presenting the tribal character of a mountain culture and easily moves the reader from feeling pity for these people to really relating to the emotions and frustrations they face due to tradition, isolation and a lack of options. Although the notion of the sin eater was new to me, the ultimate redemption presented is a familiar truth. I enjoyed my time with Cadi and Fagan and found myself cheering them on in more than one chapter.

This is a Christian novel that can also be classified as historical fiction. The biblical references are accurate and well placed. The historical aspect was well researched and respectfully presented. The biblical references are so entwined in the story that they don’t come off as preachy or forced. I believe even readers who don’t normally read Christian literature would enjoy this compelling story. The book contains adventure, danger and coming of age of the two younger characters. The characters are presented in a realistic way and placed in a captivating setting that fits the time period and honestly portrays the traditions of the mountain people.

I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the mountain flowers, herbs and plants. It was interesting to be exposed to some of the truths, traditions, fears and beliefs of the mountain people. Although this book doesn’t take long to read, it is suspenseful, heartwarming, and well written. I recommend it for all readers. It would be a good choice for a family read aloud or a book club selection.

–Pearl

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2ndChance-JamesPatterson2ND CHANCE

James Patterson with Andrew Gross

(c) 2002 Little, Brown and Company

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/2nd-Chance-Womens-Murder-Club/dp/0446696633

 

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and company, so when I came across 2ND CHANCE, the second book in the series, at a used book sale, it seemed the perfect opportunity to see for myself what the Women’s Murder Club was all about.

The story opens with a horrific tragedy – a shooting spree at a church in a low-income San Francisco neighborhood which claims the life of an eleven-year-old black girl. As homicide detective Lindsay Boxer sorts through the wreckage of what appears to be a racially-motivated hate crime, a second shooting occurs, tearing the city wide open. With the political powers that be putting pressure on the police department, Lindsay decides she is going to need a little help from her friends; Claire Washburn, the city’s medical examiner, newspaper reporter Cindy Thomas, and Jill Bernhardt, Assistant District Attorney. As these four brilliant minds begin to piece together the clues, it becomes clear that the crimes are not just a racially-motivated killing spree, but part of the chillingly calculated agenda of a madman.

I have to say that so far every good thing I have heard about the Women’s Murder Club series is true. The premise is delightful – a city’s best and brightest women working together to get the job done. But far from being Superwomen, Patterson shows his readers just enough of the girls’ private lives and struggles to make them endearing and most of all, utterly human. The chapters are short and sharp, with most under five pages in length, making for quick and easy reading and adding greatly to the aura of suspense. 2ND CHANCE is a nail-biter if ever there was one!

I look forward to experiencing the rest of this wonderful series.

— Honeybee

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marsha-casper-cookThe girls at WGR are pleased to welcome multi-published author Marsha Casper Cook to our website today. Marsha, thanks so much for granting us an interview!

1.)   Marsha, it looks like you are a very accomplished author with experience in writing screenplays, children’s books, romance novels, and memoirs. What is your favorite area of writing and why?

I enjoy writing so much that it doesn’t matter what project I’m working on at any particular time. I do however have a problem that I’m sure most writers at one time or another go through. Whatever project I’m working on is probably not going to be as good as my next project. I think for me that might be a form of writers block. Shortly thereafter, I make up my mind and focus. Once I focus I keep reminding myself that I will make it better when I do a rewrite.  

 2.)   Your book, Sala: More Than A Survivor, chronicles the life of a remarkable woman. Please tell us how you happened to meet Sala, and what she is like in real life.

I met Sala several years before I wrote her story. We met at a health club on the track. Sala had always talked about her life as we walked. She talked and I listened. She had no idea I was a writer, but the fact that she was a Holocaust Survivor made me realize her life was so different than anyone I had ever known.  Sala is a wonderful speaker and a very intelligent woman. She sometimes feels that she has not had the education that most of us in the United States have had. That is where she is wrong. She has been through  more than most, which is why when she is a speaker at Holocaust Museums and schools, her lecture is one that causes the room to become still. A pin could drop and you would hear it. Young and old enjoy her truthful and captivating experiences. I have noticed that when the audience leaves the room they have a look on their faces that always astonishes me. Her message is well taken and always the same. Life is to live and whatever trauma we may have to face, God will give us the strength we need to go on.    

3.)   Sala’s story, dealing with her time spent in a Nazi Concentration camp, was troubling for our reviewer to read. Was it a difficult story to write?

It was very difficult to write. I had no idea how horrible and terrifying it must have been for a young girl to endure until I interviewed Sala for her memoir. I cried during the interviews. Sala was so very strong and I admired her strength as she told me her story.   In fact, there were days when I wanted to stop, but I kept on going knowing in my heart that this was a story that had to be told. Sala would hand me a Kleenex and we would continue.

4.)  Please tell us about some of your other books.

I have written three children’s books that were so much fun to write. I had worked in the medical field for pediatricians for several years before I began to write. I loved hearing laughter from children, so I decided to write poems that would be fun to read out loud. I knew the children’s market was tough, but I continued to practice until I got it right. I still get excited when a mother or father comes up to me and tells me how much their son or daughter enjoyed one of my books. Once you get the attention of a child, it’s the greatest incentive one could have to continue on. They say laughter is the best medicine and I think they’re right.

On the other hand when I wrote Love Changes, which was my very first try at writing, I knew that I needed to research and come to an understanding as to why a mother would not want to raise a child with special needs .I volunteered at a school and helped serve lunch and share in some of the free time activities of special needs children. I became emotionally involved almost instantly. I finished the book but never did understand how that could be possible. Writing Love Changes changed my life and for the longest time my character remained a part of me. I learned how to love every moment of my life and to care deeply for everyone close to me. At that time I never thought I was to become a caregiver for my mother after her stroke. This experience prepared me to become good at it and never sorry that I was dealt that hand.  

5.)  I noticed on your website that your screenplay, Romancing Gracie, is currently pending production. How exciting! Please fill us in.

There are so many different production companies ready to look at scripts hoping to make the best picture of the year. Selling a screenplay is very difficult, but not impossible. Getting an option to make a movie is very exciting, but sometimes it takes years to get a project off the ground. That’s where my script is at right now. We hope that it will happen, but there are so many variables in movie making all we can do as writers is keep writing and hope the options we receive turn into a well written movie that audiences will enjoy.   

6.)  Your company offers many services to both aspiring and established authors. What can you tell us about Michigan Avenue Media?

Michigan Avenue Media is trying to break new ground. There are so many wonderful writers out there that will never have their books published. The next best thing to traditional publishing is self-publishing. We try to help new writers create their books. We will coach them if needed. We will help them edit their book to make it look professional. My advice to unpublished writers is that a self-published author has a good chance of networking to get their story out there. It’s always better to have a property to show. A book is rarely thrown away, but pages stuck in a drawer will eventually be thrown out by someone. Books usually move from location to location and may somehow land on the right desk and become a best seller or a movie.      

7.)    When you get a break from your busy writing schedule, how do you like to spend your free time?

I love to see movies and get involved in conversations with people. I learn about life through others words. I especially enjoy conversations with men and women older than myself. It’s always been interesting for me to hear stories about how it used to be. I have always realized that no matter how old one gets, they have life experiences to share.        

8.)  What new works by Marsha Cook can we look forward to?

I am now working on a new screenplay and a novel.

9.)  Where can we get the latest updates on you and your books?

As soon as I have new information about myself or my clients, I post it on my websites.

www.michiganavenuemedia.com  and www.marcusbryan.com

10.)  Thanks again for visiting with us today, Marsha. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

Yes, I have one message. Please don’t stop writing. It would be a shame to miss the next best seller or the next Academy Award movie. If I had given up years ago, I never would have had any of my books published or screenplays optioned for a movie. Dreams do come true, mine did.

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four-wives-paperbackFour Wives

By Wendy Walker

St. Martin’s Griffin Edition – April 2009

ISBN: 978-0-312-36772-5

Website: http://wendywalkerbooks.com

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Four-Wives-Wendy-Walker/dp/0312367724

Affluent suburbia with its tree lined streets, pretty homes, and lush green lawns. An idyllic setting, but like the black fungus invading the verdant lawns, a plague of discontent has settled over the wives of Hunting Ridge. Four wives, four friends, living lives that are inherently the same, yet different. All stay at home moms, all filled with the same discontent, but using different means of coping.

Gayle Beck comes from ‘old money’ and takes pleasure in the social status it guarantees. Her life appears perfect to anyone looking from the outside. But inside her beautiful 1890’s farmhouse, things are far more sinister and getting worse each day. She deals with her husband’s rage, and a young son who continually grows quieter and unhappier. Gayle wonders how much longer she’ll be able to keep up the appearance of a woman in control; even with the aid of the many pills her doctor prescribes.

Janie Kirk is a woman of great beauty and expert homemaking abilities. She’s the perfect wife and mother. Janie likes her life in Hunting Ridge, but grows restless and dissatisfied with her passionless marriage and the husband who doesn’t know nor does he care to know the real woman he’s married to. Turning to a torrid affair could spell the end of everything for Janie.

Marie Pesseti, a part time divorce attorney struggling to have it all. Marie was going crazy being a full time, stay at home mom and opened her own small law office specializing in father custody cases. She feels she’s losing her husband and daughters to the Hunting Ridge way of life, which she abhors. Working a difficult case and dealing with a cute new intern, Marie is close to taking a step that may change her life forever.

Love Welsh, a former child prodigy and illegitimate daughter of the great Alexander Rice is Marie’s next-door neighbor. Love is having a difficult time keeping things together, her home is a mess and she rarely has time to do much more than brush her hair. She knows her life is a wreck and worries constantly about her children, but can’t seem to find the energy to rectify it. A letter from her estranged father causes the ghosts from Love’s past to resurface and things go from bad to worse. Love develops horrific, debilitating back pain, but all the medical tests fail to explain the reason for it.

When it fell to me to read and review FOUR WIVES, I wasn’t sure if I could do it justice. It just isn’t my kind of story. There’s nothing I dislike more than reading about women with expensive educations, too much money and do too much whining. Women who have it all, but are never happy. Women who are doing what many women would love to do—stay at home and raise their children instead of going to a back breaking job and leaving the kids in day care, so they can make enough money just to get by. But keeping an open mine, I turned to the first page. The excellent writing pulled me into the story. The phenomenal characterization kept me there.

Although I found these four women unlikable, I liked them anyway. All four women are devoted mothers and fearful of making any choices that would adversely affect their children. I became absorbed in their lives and couldn’t stop turning the pages. Even though their lives are so far from my own, I could see tiny pieces of myself in each of them. I too have suffered from a bad marriage, dissatisfaction, depression, restlessness, and bone deep weariness. I too have had to keep my silence, and make tough choices for the good of my children and my sanity.

The characters created on these pages are so real, I could easily picture them as friends or sisters and like my own family and friends, I took them into my heart, faults and all. I rooted for them to make the right decisions. I wanted to shake Gayle and kept hoping she’d tell her shrink to F-off, and then kick her good for nothing husband out of the house. Marie is a snotty little witch devoted to family, loyal to friends, full of strength, courage and integrity. I loved her and could definitely see her as a best friend. I wanted to alternately hug Love, and shake her. And Janie, I wanted to slap her, hug her. I cried for her. And in the end, she broke my heart.

Ms. Walker is a gifted writer and knows how to keep her reader’s eyes glued to her words. Skillful plotting builds the tension page after page. I kept waiting for the hump to come. The one where the story loses me for a while and I can put it down to tend to necessary chores. It didn’t happen and the chores were left until I’d turned that last page. I highly recommend this book to all women regardless of their life’s circumstances.

FOUR WIVES is about women and sentiment, passion and marriage, motherhood and most of all friendship. I defy you not to find a small bit of yourself within its pages. It’s been several days since reading this story and I can’t get these women out of my mind. They aren’t easy to forget and I imagine will be with me for a long time.

  –Willow

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–Working Girl Reviews

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com

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wendy walkerWorking Girl Reviews is excited to welcome Wendy Walker to our blog today.  

1.  Wendy, thanks so much for visiting with us and answering a few questions. Your novel, FOUR WIVES is up for review here at WGR. Tell us about the book and what inspired the story.

Four Wives was inspired by my life as a stay-home mom in the suburbs. All around me, I saw women who were conflicted by their deep love and commitment to raising their kids and the empty space that existed having left their other callings. This issue formed the first character I developed for the novel, whose name is Love Welsh. As I thought about this community and the people around me, I saw other issues worth exploring and I created characters and plot to give life to those issues. At the same time, I wanted Four Wives to be a fun, fast-paced read with lots of suspense. What resulted, I hope, is just that – a great read with deeper issues that linger long after the book is finished.

2.  FOUR WIVES paints a portrait of life in the suburbs as idyllic on the surface, but far from rosy in reality. Do you feel this could be true of any community—city, rural, small town, or more a symptom of wealthy suburbia?  

I think because these small, insular suburban communities are so homogeneous, there is a greater propensity to hide any thoughts or feelings that truly question the life choices that have been uniformly made. Here is an example of what I mean. Most of the families in these communities have working dads and stay-home moms. The women will talk about their discontentment with this situation up to a point, but it is only with their trusted friends (and sometimes not even then) that they will confess a deeper unhappiness that might lead to a change such as going back to work or even divorce.

3.  Your bio states that you’re a former commercial litigator and investment banker. Does this mean your desire to write came later or was it put on hold while pursuing your other career?

It came later for sure. I quit work as a lawyer when I had my first son. I really wanted to create more balance in my life, which had been so focused on work. But as I settled into stay-home life, I realized I was growing anxious and unhappy, so I tried to find something I could do in a few hours here and there each week that would be intellectual, meaningful and also a potential gateway to a career that I could pursue while being at home with my kids. Writing was what I found, and of course it had been in the back of my mind somewhere. My first inclination was actually to write legal thrillers!

4.  On your website it says you were trained as a competitive figure skater and are a long time supporter and board member of the Figure Skating in Harlem organization. Tell us more about this organization and your involvement.

FSH is a fantastic organization that targets at-risk girls in Harlem. By providing them with a full-service afterschool program, which includes skating and educational components, the girls gain self-esteem and self-discipline. This program has incredible success keeping girls focused on their studies and themselves during years that often lead to teen pregnancy and substance abuse. I became involved at its inception almost 12 years ago because it was started by my best friend from college, Sharon Cohen. You can check out FSH at http://Figureskatinginharlem.org !

5.  You have a new release coming in September 2009 titled SOCIAL LIVES. Is it along the same lines as FOUR WIVES or totally different?

Social Lives has the same basic structure as Four Wives in that it follows a few characters whose lives are intertwined. This time, however, the women live in an even wealthier community driven by hedge fund wealth, and the issues that underlie the characters and plot are a bit more serious and timely. From teenage promiscuity to the predicament of a wife whose husband is about to lose everything to a hedge fund scandal (sound familiar?), this book moves quickly and surprises readers all the way to the last page.

6.  Some of WGR’s readers are aspiring writers and, as most writers looking to be published, they’d appreciate knowing what it was like for you. Was it a long process? Did you send a hundred or so submissions, receive any rejections…?

It was long, but worth it! I started writing as a hobby with intention and because I was having babies during the first five years after I began, it took me about that long to finish a novel. The key for me in finding an agent and eventually selling my first book was getting professional feedback and revising heavily. As a self-taught writer, I knew I needed this and I found a wonderful writing professor who critiqued my work. This was so important for me and I found an agent soon after by sending out about 60 submissions using the books that are out there on literary agents and the like. There are many ways to break in and the first things any writer should do are perfect their manuscript, use any and all connections to get their work read, and then blanket the market to find an agent.

7.  Besides family and writing, what are your other passions?

I’m not sure I even remember! I love seeing my close friends for hours at a time over dinner or a walk. I like to run and hike and do so almost every day. But really, my work is writing and I love it. For so many years, it was my escape from the daily grind of raising kids and taking care of a house and I still view every hour that I am writing as leisure time. That is the very best part of this job for me!

8.  What’s a typical day like in the life of Wendy Walker?

Wake up to three little boys climbing in my bed. Make breakfast, get them dressed, drive them to school or camp. Then a run in the woods, and home to work. I start out with some PR or editing side jobs, and then hunker down on the floor by my fire or by my picture windows in my study to write. There is always lots of coffee involved! I can do this indefinitely, but usually only have a few hours before it’s time to pick up kids and drive them all over for sports and activities. From 2pm on, I am a mom again and that consumes me completely. By 9pm, I am usually in my bed watching some TV while I wait for my oldest to finish reading and puttering in his room so I can tuck him in. Then I tuck myself in. Very dull, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

9.  Is there anything about you that your readers would be surprised to learn?

OK here goes. I actually don’t read as much as other writers do and I don’t read books in my own genre (yikes!). I find that if I do this, my own writing style and process starts to take on the tone of what I am reading at the moment. So that leaves vacations and plane rides, of which I have few. Instead, I watch movies and great character- driven TV to keep my sense of storytelling alert. Also, I am an editor for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, so look for my books under those titles as well!

10. Wendy, thank you for spending time with us today. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Where’s the best place to go online to find out more about you and your work?

I think the message I really want to convey is that while my work is packaged in a way that resembles Desperate Housewives and the like, my novels are truly driven by real-life issues that I believe impact women everywhere. I have been so pleased to find that readers relate to my characters and the struggles they face. This is always my intention when I sit down to write and I hope that readers who enjoy this type of book will find me! You can learn a lot more at wendywalkerbooks.com. Thanks so much!!

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