Tag: Fiction

New Release: THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS by Laurie Frankel

ThisIsHowItAlwaysIs_3rdpass_LA-felipe.inddTHIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS by Laurie Frankel / Fiction / Released in paperback Jan 23, 2018 by Flatiron Books

People Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2017
Amazon’s Best Books of 2017: Top 20
Amazon’s Best Literature and Fiction of 2017
Bustle’s 17 Books Every Woman Should Read From 2017
PopSugar’s Our Favorite Books of the Year (So Far)
Refinery29’s Best Books of the Year So Far
BookBrowse’s The 20 Best Books of 2017
Pacific Northwest Book Awards Finalist
The Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of 2017

This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

Interview: A.K. Smith author of A DEEP THING

rsz_anitaprofile_pic32016Debut Author A.K. Smith is the author of debut fiction novel, “A Deep Thing” (12-19-2016 from the Wild Rose Press). A.K has lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona and abroad in London and Mexico. She loves all things jungly, beachy and mysterious. Her mission is to write thrillers, suspense, and romance, which have the power to make you stay up late.

A new scuba diver, she counts diving in a cenote (underwater caves in the Yucatan) and surviving– one of her biggest achievements. Mexico has a special place in her heart; it’s where she escaped after walking out on Corporate America and where she fell in love on a sailboat. She is a graduate of Shippensburg University (BA) and has a Master of Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A.K. has written for various national and international publications and blogs including Flight Network, Examiner.com and has been a monthly travel columnist for Rocky Point Times Newspaper for the last six years. Published in various print publications including two cover features in Mexico Living Magazine she continues to trek the world to experience off-the-beaten-road destinations.

A.K. loves seeing the world; Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth (maybe even the moon)—she’s slowly getting there. She treasures her family, friends, and kindness. Check out her website at http://www.aksmithauthor.com or find her on Twitter, and Facebook. @aksmithbook

adeepthing_hdcover1. Tell us about your new release. What led you to write this book? A Deep Thing is a suspense novel with a love story. When a young widow is faced with the tragic death of the love of her life in a freak accident, she has to find the strength to move on. Nothing wakes you up more from your grief then discovering your husband led a secret life. The book journeys to the jungles of Mexico and the woods of Camp David.

My husband and I took a romantic trip to the Mexican Rivera Maya in the Yucatan and discovered cenotes. Cenotes are deep iridescent underwater caves with fresh water. Outside Porto MorelasMexico there is a road called “route de Cenotes” we hired a taxi driver to take us to see a cenote. We drove back uncommercialized dirt roads and in the middle of the jungle he let us out, and we walked back a jungle path to a beautiful hole in the ground. The water luminescent, we were in awe of our surroundings. You can dive, snorkel and swim in these wonders of nature, and the setting was surreal. When we returned home I couldn’t stop thinking about the cenotes, why had I never heard of them? Why were they so secret and on private land? What if?

2. Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? A Deep Thing, led me to cave diving, something I wasn’t sure I would attempt to do. We returned to the Riveria Maya halfway through my novel and dove the cenotes in Tulum. It was an incredible experience. My novel was born in the Yucatan.

3. How important is setting to your story? The setting is extremely important to me as a reader and an author. In the middle of the winter, I search for books that take place somewhere warm, an island, a beach, or a jungle. I love to learn about new places when I read. I yearn to be taken away to a new and exciting destination. A Deep Thing, leads the reader to the jungles and beaches of the Yucatan in Mexico and the woods of Camp David.

4. Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Not specifically. A few of my characters have the same last name of friends of mine, which helps me remember the characters, but then they are shaken up and mixed in with personalities of other people in my life. Many characters are unique combinations of different friends, family and strangers that would never exist.

5. Do you people watch for character inspiration? I do. People watching is fascinating. I love when I’m somewhere, and I can actually write or take notes while I’m people watching.

6. What do you hope readers take away from your work? When they close the book or read the last page, I want their mind to be racing. What if? I want the story to stay with them. My favorite books are the one where I remember the ending.


Book Excerpt: A DEEP THING by A.K. Smith

adeepthing_hdcoverBook Excerpt: A DEEP THING by A.K. Smith

Chapter 1

Were they still following him? Tim Jackson scanned the canopy of the lush jungle as the damp and musty scent of the wild eased his anxiety. The birds chirped in rhythm with the incessant buzzing melody of the insects creating an organic symphony. He turned his head slightly to the left. No, they weren’t out there yet, but eventually they would be. An acquisition of memories played in his mind as he rubbed a hand over the tightness in his chest.

“Tim, the boat is fixed, you ready?” Adam emerged in the light and held Tim’s gaze. “Everything fine?”

Tim stood, brushing a hand through his hair. “Yes, everything is fine. Is Colton ready to go?”

“Everyone’s ready.”

The chop hit hard, bouncing the thirty-four-foot Boston Whaler on the turquoise water for the first forty five minutes. As the boat entered the reef, it welcomed twenty minutes of a smooth ride and a race with a pod of playful dolphins. Their slick, pointy faces broke through the water with a smile, only to head downward in a rhythmic motion of up and down, daring the boat to follow. Colton and Adam, Tim’s dive buddies on many excursions, cheered the flippers on from the front of the bow. Sheer joy highlighted their facial features. Back in the open water, the chop returned, and the men settled in silence, taking in the vastness of the azure sea. Soon they reached Lighthouse Atoll, home of the Great Blue Hole in Belize.

Seen from above, the Great Blue Hole resembled a pupil, a large deep indigo circle surrounded by a ring of turquoise looking up as if beckoning to come closer. By boat, the almost perfectly circular reef with a diameter of 980 ft. and a depth of over 480 ft. painted a different picture. The sideways viewpoint created a kaleidoscope of luminous variations of blue and green, but it was not the magical glow of water that intensified the moment, it was the overwhelming feeling it created—the energy in the air charged, as if the intensity of the color was a mysterious vortex.

“It never gets old—I’m a pixel on the screen.” Adam said. “Just look at it.” Hundreds of shades of aquamarine color exploded in the vastness as far as you could see. Incredible beauty surrounded them. They were anchored now inside the reef in calm waters. Tim stopped writing in his logbook, captivated as always by this wonder of nature.

“You know, 10,000 years ago it was above ground, a limestone cavern, a cave at the center of a tunnel. The ceiling collapsed, and now it is an undersea mountain.” Tim spoke softly clutching the dive book. He pulled in then slowly released a deep breath, staring at the sea. “It is amazing, in the scheme of it all. We are just a ripple in the water.” He placed the dive book carefully in his bag and picked up his scuba equipment.

Adam and Colton joined him adjusting their gear. Their excitement was contagious. “You ready? Let’s do this!”

The dive in the Blue Hole was the first of three dives for the day, this one ten minutes long at 140 feet. Three divers plopped into the water. Only two would surface.

Interview with Sam Newsome

photo-3SAM NEWSOME Sam Newsome was raised on a farm in rural King, North Carolina. During his childhood on the farm, he learned to appreciate nature and family. He developed the work ethic that continues to benefit him. He received a bachelor of arts in American history with pre­medical courses from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971. He received his Medical degree from Bowman Gray Medical School (now Wake Forest University Medical School) in 1975. The patience and perseverance learned from his parents during his youth on the farm were valuable contributions to Dr. Newsome’s educational success. He married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Jo, in 1971 and they have resided in King since 1978. They have two children. Carlton lives in Raleigh and shares a love of words, while Justin, an engineer at B/E Aerospace, resides in Winston­Salem.

joe-peas-jpegTell us about your new release.

My new novel, JOE PEAS, explores the relationship of an itinerant Italian house painter with Dr. James King, a family physician in the small town of King’s Mill, North Carolina. Joe has led a colorful life as a rugged individual, while Doc leads a life filled with conformity.

They initially meet in a doctor-patient relationship, but then develop a bond that deepens when Joe breaks his hip and rehabs in Doc’s long-term care facility.

While he is in rehabilitation, he shares in the lives and struggles of other residents and begins to understand the meaning of friends and family. He helps with their problems and has a unique plan to help Doc.

What led you to write this book?

jackie_coverMy first novel, JACKIE, was well received. Since then I’ve been listening more closely to my patients. They have led rich lives and have wonderful stories to tell. They were inspirational in developing the characters in my new story. The new story enabled me to put some color into life in long-term care. It also allowed me to provide some health education.

Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book?

Research was largely getting up every morning and going to work. The bulk of the story occurs in the life and practice of a family doctor. Not much research is needed there. Parts of the book: World War II, the art world, legal affairs did require some time online and some friendly advice.

How important is the setting of your story?

I’ve spent my medical career in family medicine. I treat patients in my office, hospital, as well as in long-term care. I chose to highlight long-term care in this story because it is so misunderstood by most people. In long-term care, I see folks fighting severe illnesses who have led remarkable, vibrant lives.

Noted geriatrician, Dr. Kenneth Brummel Smith speaks of the past reputations nursing homes have had (some deservedly) of being ”snake pits.” The nursing home in my story mirrors my experience of a caring compassionate atmosphere.

Which is more important, character or setting?

My story is character driven. I wrote four character studies and introduced them into the story and to each other in the setting of a nursing home. Some have their story is revealed before a nursing home admission and others are revealed by their interactions with other residents and staff.

Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life?

Yes! There are several aspects of my patients seen in the characters of Joe Peas. For some of these I had to elaborate a bit. For others I had to tone down their stories since a true account would be asking my readers to suspend believability.

Do you people watch for character inspiration?

My profession as a physician is people watching. Sure, I watch people in the supermarket or at a movie. But people talk to me in the office in a one-to-one basis.

Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to share?

My favorite characters are usually in the book I’m currently reading. Right now I’m deeply involved in Gresham’s Sycamore Row, sharing life of attorney Jake Brigance of Clanton, Mississippi as he unravels the estate of Seth Hubbard while fending off new and previous obstacles. I’m actually listening to this as an audiobook and with all the deep-south accents I can actually smell the magnolias.

I spent many years sharing the life of Roland Deshane of middle earth and multiple alternate realities created by Stephen King in the Dark Tower series. The seven-book odyssey and his multiple other books with references to middle earth caught my attention for years on end. I’ve heard King say of himself that he writes by the pound rather than the word, and while that may be true, he certainly entertains and shows a broad span of literary inspiration from Sir Walter Scott to T.S. Elliot.

I feel a traitor to small presses everywhere to admit to such “popular” tastes, but how can you argue with success?

What do you hope readers take away from your work?

First, I want the reader to be entertained. That has to beevery author’s first goal. If they can’t slog through your book, they won’t get any of your other messages. I want my writing to deliver a celebration of the values of family, friendship faith and healing. I want to present my view that individualism has value while conformity is not always positive. My characters overcome obstacles and have positive outcomes. I have woven a significant amount of health education into Joe Peas. I think it actually helps the story.

Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?

Quirks! I have no quirks. Everything I do is logical and reasoned. Now everyone around me—WOW—they have quirks, but not me. OK, maybe I have one or two small oddities. Once an idea occurs to me I become obsessed. I can’t put it away in some dustbin the back of my mind till I’ve put it on a page.

What do you do when you are not writing?

First, I’m a doctor. I’ve worked years to gain the confidence and trust of my patients, and have been lucky enough to treat the same patients for forty years. I still do my office practice, hospital and nursing home rounds daily.

Which book impacted you as a teenager?

I remember early on reading the Hardy boy books. I love Jesse Stuart’s Hie to the Hunter. Then I became engrossed in James Finemore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. I also began to read science fiction in the form of H. G. Well, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur Clark.

Do you read the genre you write?

There are so many great new books and there are so many classics I never read when I had the chance. Yes, I read books in my genre. But I try not to limit it.

What is #1 on your bucket list?

At one time it was actually writing a book. Now it’s writing a book that will make a profit.

Have you ever written a scene that “creeped you out?”

Read my first novel, Jackie. That book was published in October 2013. There is a scene (you’ll know when you read it) that is so prophetic it’s scary.

Do you have a recurring theme to your books?

I think that to be a writer, you should have a message. I would love to write a great spy story with guns and explosions and all grades of violence, but that’s not where I live. I’m not a Clancy or a Ludlum or even a Cussler. I’m a family doc who has spent years listening to my patients. I hear their complaints and share their problems. The theme of my story is not dystopic, but present a positive outlook for human nature. Most of my characters change and evolve to positive outcomes. I also hear their stories.When those stories inspire a tale that benefits the reader, I have achieved my goal.

What’s next?

I’m thinking of writing a story based on the North Carolina outer banks involving a smattering of history and a lot of modern day discoveries of hidden treasures. I plan to focus on elementary school age as my audience. There’s nothing more than a few notes yet, just thoughts. As for questions I would like to be asked—Why do you write?

I think that’s a fair question. After all, with the advent of the small and independent press industry in addition to the traditional publishing venues, the printed word is more prolific than ever. Almost every day one of my patients will ask me about my books and say, “I’ve written one too.” With so much verbiage already out there, why write? I write to record positive stories inspired by my patients and encounters with a small amount of my own point of view. Hopefully, I present an uplifting message. I write because it gives me satisfaction to fashion a story similar to the way a carpenter builds a house. In short, I write because I must.