That’s What She Said – Kim Holden Author Interview

Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

BFF K Gave Bright Side a 5-Rating!





Bright Side is by far the saddest book I have ever read in my entire life. It is also one of the most uplifting stories filled with incredible characters and amazing life lessons. When I finished, I had a few questions and Kim Holden was gracious to answer those for me. I share her answers with you below in our 2nd edition of….

That’s What She Said

An Author Interview with Kim Holden

BFF K: Let’s get this out of the way….why did you write such a gut wrenching book? What was the inspiration behind the book?

KH: I really didn’t intend for it to be gut wrenching. When I started
writing Bright Side I wanted to create the most believably positive female
character I possibly could. (That’s still what the story’s all about for
me.) Halfway through the book I completely changed the storyline to what
Bright Side is today. I don’t outline, the story just evolved. It did end
up a bit heart wrenching, but I like to think of it as uplifting as well.

BFF K: Did you cry your eyes out when you were writing it?

KH: I didn’t cry while writing Bright Side, but I felt it. I felt the
emotions the characters were going through and it made me sick to my
stomach for days.


BFF K: Was Kate inspired by anyone in particular? Her perspective on life and her huge heart and her lack of judgment are inspiring!

KH: Kate is truly the person I’d like to be when I grow up. She’s a mash-up
personality-wise of all of my favorite women in my life. I’m very, very
lucky to know them.


BFF K: Do you personally relate to Kate or are you more like one of the other characters?

KH: There’s probably a little bit of me in all of the characters. I hate
being late like Keller. I don’t generally dance unless I’ve had a few
drinks like Shelly. I tend to drive a little bit like Kate. I LOVE music
like Kate. I hate the cold like Kate. My son’s unofficial name is dude –
that’s a little Gus. And I love pretty fiercely like most of them do. 🙂


BFF K: I love the music component to the story! Do you have a playlist of songs that you listened to as you wrote the book? Are they available on Spotify?

KH: I’m obsessed with music. I listen to it all the time, but especially
when I write because it feeds emotion. The playlist is on Spotify thanks to Cristal from the Bright Side family.

Here it is:
Bright Side Playlist

(Potential Spoiler Warning)
I cannot write without music—physically, psychologically, emotionally
impossible. The writing process for this book started late 2012 and
wrapped up early 2014. These are the songs that I fell in love with for
the first time, or the hundredth time, while writing Bright Side. They
inspired the overall vibe of the story and its characters, or in some
cases they inspired very specific situations or even entire chapters.
Kate’s passion for music is my own, though I can’t play an instrument and
I’m completely tone deaf when it comes to singing. Like Kate, I LOVE me
some strings, especially in unexpected places—they make any song sexy.

And I’ve got a HUGE thing for California bands. I’m lucky to say I’ve seen
most of these bands perform live (many of them while I was writing this
book)—the rest are on my bucket list.

We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow, Soko
If Bright Side has a theme song … this is it. It’s like being privy to the
internal dialogue that goes on inside Kate’s head. Just Kate talking to
Kate. And it’s far from depressing, it’s realistic and encouraging. And
the strings … ahh the strings. They’re magical and so, so pretty.

400 Lux, Lorde
This is Kate and Gus. Their friendship. Solid. Laid-back. True. Easy.

Eula, Baroness
My husband says this song is Rook. I’m not going to argue with him. When
he’s right … he’s right. It is Rook.

Sleeping Witch, Royal Thunder
I saw this band play live while I was writing Bright Side. They opened up
for Baroness and I’d never heard of them. They. Blew. Me. Away. The lead
singer’s voice is a wall of sexy, aggressive, raw power – it’s
intimidating. If Shelly had a theme song, this would be it.

Jump Into the Fog, The Wombats
The Wombats’ lyrics are smart and clever. This song is no exception. It’s

Bug Eyes, Dredg
Dredg is the most underrated band on the planet. Bug Eyes is one of my
favorite songs. They’re also from California, so naturally Kate would love
them. Phenomenal live.

Done With Love, Teenage Bottlerocket
You’ve gotta love any song that starts with “I got shit to do.” Teenage
Bottlerocket is the best punk band around.  I’ve seen them play live many,
many times. They never disappoint.

Waiting All Night, Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre
I can see Kate, Clayton, and Shelly dancing to this song, because I can’t
sit still when I listen to it. I love the energy—it’s happy. Happy is

Same Love, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
The first time I heard this song I was in the car with my husband and son
driving down Church Ranch Road to go to lunch on a Saturday afternoon. I
remember it vividly because we all sat in complete silence (which is hard
for P. and I) and listened to the entire song. When it was over my husband
and I just looked at each other. It was a look of agreement. A look that
said I am totally on board with everything that guy just said. I wanted to
roll down the window and scream, “Yes! This guy gets it! He gets it!” This
song is for Clayton & Morris and Romero & Dan.

Mutilate Me, Teenage Bottlerocket
Another of my favorite Bottlerocket songs. This song is for Peter and
Evelyn … from Gus … with love.

Lullaby, The Cure
I love The Cure … LOVE them. I remember hearing them for the first time
when I was in eighth grade and it literally flipped a switch inside me. It
was an epiphany. I finally understood what made music so magical and
inspirational. It fueled a lifetime love of music.

Angels, The xx
The xx is one of my favorite bands and Romy Madley Croft is my favorite
female vocalist. I could include every song they’ve ever recorded, but
chose Angels because it fit within the context of the story. It’s the
ultimate love song. This is how Kate sees Keller. If you have the chance
to see The xx live, do it!

My Song 5, Haim
This song is Kate. Everything about this song is badass. It’s confident
and doesn’t take any shit – just like Kate. This may be one of my favorite
songs of all time, I love it that much. Another California band. There
aren’t many female guitar players killing it, but Danielle Haim is. She.
Kills. Live.

Sex, The 1975
I would include every song by The 1975 on this playlist if I could because
they’re like children – hard to pick a favorite. I. LOVE. THIS. BAND.
Amazing, amazing, amazing live. This song is for Franco.

Panic Switch, Silversun Pickups
This song is controlled chaos, which makes it freaking genius. Love
everything about Silversun Pickups, but I especially love Nikki Monninger.
She is the most badass bass player ever, pretty dresses and all. And … yup
… California band.

Sweater Weather, The Neighbourhood
This song is Keller. It’s his heart and all the feelings it holds for
Kate. I listened to this CD over and over and over again while writing
this book. Yet another California band.

Nothing Left to Say, Imagine Dragons
This is the song Gus writes after finding out about Kate. This is the song
they record together. I listened to this song no less than two hundred
times in the days leading up to writing that chapter. Every time I hear it
I can see Gus in my head in the recording studio singing his heart out …
and it gives me goosebumps.

Northern Lights, Thirty Seconds to Mars
Though I love early screamer Leto (think The Kill), Mars latest album was
released while I was writing this book. This song is my favorite on the
album. It’s the oddball, and I mean that in the best possible way. And the
strings. I’ll say it again … the strings. They’re beautiful. This is the
kind of song I think Kate would write (at least in my head). And yeah, you
guessed it, California band.

Pictures of You, The Cure
Absolutely beautiful song. Breathtaking. Robert Smith is a god.

Let Her Go, Passenger
This song belongs to Gus and Keller. I heard this song for the first time
as I was working through the final few chapters in my head. I wrote those
chapters while listening to this song on repeat … repeat … repeat. It may
be the saddest song I’ve ever heard, but I love it.

Everything to Nothing, Manchester Orchestra
The title says it all. Manchester Orchestra tops my favorites list in two
catagories: best lyrics and best live performance. They’re perfect.

Favor’s Keeper, Index Case
This song is intense and desperate and passionate. And when it hits the
3:42 point hold on, because for the next three minutes it’s perfection.
This song is Gus at the end of Bright Side moving into my next book, Gus.
“And I loved you more.
Then I loved you.”
Best ending to a song ever written.


BFF K: Will there be follow-up books to Bright Side? I feel so invested in Gus, Keller, Shel, Clayton……I want to make sure they all end up ok.

KH: I’m working on Gus’s story now. It will be a follow-up to Bright Side.
I hope to release it in May.


BFF K: What is your next project(s)?

KH: See above. 🙂 After that I don’t know.


BFF K: I need massive amounts of wine and chocolate to pull my heart out of the Bright-Side-Funk. Have you taken out stock in companies that sell these items? It might be a good secondary investment strategy!

KH: Thanks for the tip. I’ll ponder that. 😉

Thank you to Kim Holden for being such a great sport about sharing her thoughts with me AND for Bright Side. I’m beyond grateful for both!


One-Click Bright Side on Amazon

About the Author

I (Kim Holden) live in the greatest city in the world: Denver, Colorado. Some of my favorite things: reading, writing, the two coolest guys on the planet (my husband and son), my bicycle, Facebook, iced coffee, and music. I also love dreaming. And speaking of dreaming, I have a bit of advice for anyone reading this … follow your dreams. It’s never too late. Get started today … heck get started RIGHT NOW! Make your dreams reality.
I love to hear from fellow readers. Love. It. Please come find me. We’ll hang out. It’ll be fun:
My Website

That’s What She Said: Ashley Pullo Author Interview

Five Friends.

Five narratives.

One Epic Soundtrack.

The Album
Location: New York City (TriBeCa, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill)

Setting: 1996-2013

Chloe LeGrange – talented musician searching for a purpose
Natalie LeGrange – lovable bad girl chasing her dreams
Adam Ford – perceptive attorney longing for a surprise
Zach Parker – philosophical Marine defending love
Chris Brooks – charming Texan with perpetual bad timing

Unexpected encounters and brushes with fate construct a web of stories about the journey of love and acceptance.

Fate, acceptance, sex, drugs, and really good music.


The Album is a journey following five friends over the course of two decades. Set against the timeless backdrop of New York City, their story is a classic retelling of what it means to follow your dreams, accept reality, and have a lot of fun in the process.

BFF K gave this book a 5-Rating!






This book is a must read, instant BFF Bestie!  It is so fantastic; an epic story of interwoven characters, spanning years, a few countries, countless pop culture references, heart-break, romance, incredible love, a little angst and moments that will make your heart plummet and soar. Read the review here. When I finished, I had so many thoughts and questions. So I reached out to the author and was thrilled to find she was just a clever, kind and generous as I hoped she would be. Please read her great thoughts below! 


Buy it today on Amazon


“That’s What She Said”

An Author Interview with Ashley Pullo for the BFF Book Blog

BFF K: I love the writing style for The Album. It’s so fresh and unique. Each chapter is from the POV of a different character, but…there are a few chapters from a 3rd person perspective. How did you decide which chapters to change your style? Why did you make that decision?

AP: Honestly, I was cleaning the bathroom with bleach when I realized the only way this would work is if the stories within the story each had a narrative voice. Admittedly, it was a writing challenge, but one that ended up being very rewarding. The third-person snippets are a technique I borrowed from Balzac – invite the reader into the scene and he/she will experience the journey as it unfolds.


BFF K: Did you have all of those 90’s pop culture references in your head or did you have to research them?

AP: Yes! My random knowledge is filed nicely and color-coded in my head. Lyrics from a dozen songs, the prices from a Taco Bell menu in 1995, relevant movies, Nickelodeon, the roller rink, Contempo Casuals, and Mario Lopez.


BFF K: Are you a current pop culture junkie too, or just a 90’s-early 2000’s specialist?

AP: I appreciate the decades in which I’m not only directly influenced by the popular culture, but also the cultural references that create a sense of nostalgia. One of the purest human emotions is memory. And the best way to make the past tangible is to have things like art, music, entertainment, fashion, and materials reflect specific moments from our lives.

Oh yeah, pop-culture today is lame. It’s more about trends and scandals – a culture of technology and fear. I’m scared that my children will never understand what it feels like to listen to a record/tape, stand in line for concert tickets, save money for purple Doc Martens, eventually get to said concert to enjoy a night of lasting memories. It’s a shame.


BFF K: The characters in The Album collect vinyl records that remind them of events, times and places. I LOVE this idea! Is this something you do or how did you come up with this idea?

AP: I wish I had a vinyl collection! The records were a random idea that aided in linking the characters together.


BFF K: Are you fluent in French? The bits of the book with French were so lovely, how did those happen?

AP: Je parle français. One of the themes in The Album is the idea of perception. I wanted the characters to have distinct geographical traits, but also ignore the stereotypes often seen in movies or television. Zach only speaks French when necessary – as do I.


BFF K: Maybe I missed this, but I don’t think that Chris revealed to Natalie his relationship with Zach. Is there or will there be a scene where this happens?

 AP: Wow! See next question.


BFF K: I love how these characters are connected in ways they know and in ways they don’t know. What was your inspiration or thought process behind the interwoven lives and experiences of the characters?

AP: This is by far the most interesting question!

The inspiration came from a conversation my husband (then boyfriend) had about our separate trips to Italy. We discovered we were in Rome at the same time, years before we actually met. I’ve held on to that “random” idea for almost fifteen years…

And then I thought, wouldn’t it be brilliant to have the reader discover the connections. Allow the reader to decide if things were discussed “off-screen”. Let the reader act as an additional narrator!

Chris and Zach only knew each other as Ace and Frenchy. Adam never saw the girls outside the Tim Horton’s. Chloe never discovers the connection between Adam and Nat. Mr. Parker is simply a client. Pete’s sweatpants.

And trust me, there are a few more surprising connections that reappear in The Ballad. {insert winky face}


BFF K: Obviously, music is like a character in the book and I LOVE the Spotify playlists! Is music also a character in your life? Did you listen to these playlists while you were writing? Can I share the links?

AP: I’m a character writer. Part of developing a rich, fictional person is to give them a personality. All the songs chosen for the playlist and/or referenced in the novel are specific to their personality. I admit, there are some songs I don’t actually like, but this isn’t my playlist of Jams – it belongs to the five.


BFF K: Obviously, music is like a character in the book and I LOVE the Spotify playlists! Is music also a character in your life? Did you listen to these playlists while you were writing?

AP: I’m a character writer. Part of developing a rich, fictional person is to give them a personality. All the songs chosen for the playlist and/or referenced in the novel are specific to their personality. I admit, there are some songs I don’t actually like, but this isn’t my playlist of Jams – it belongs to the five.

(BFF K: The Spotify playlists are below the giveaway – you have to check them out, I’m in LOVE!!!)


BFF K: Are you a full-time author? What are you plans for future projects?

AP: I’m a full-time author and a part-time television junkie. I take both jobs very seriously.

Next up is my debut Young Adult novel, The Brat Pack! It’s like a genre all on its own – Urban Fantasy/Humor/Satire/Romance/Para-YA/Mosh Pit.  I can’t reveal too much, but I promise it’s true to my style of writing. Five strong characters, humor and heartache, and most definitely, pop-culture galore.


BFF K: So, you were voted most witty at Garland High School. Any other prestigious recognitions we should know about?

AP: Sadly, no. Can you give me a fake award?


BFF K: We award Ashley Pullo with the highest honor of:

Best First Author Interview To Ever Appear on the BFF Book Blog!

Thanks for popping our cherry…..That’s What She Said!


I am so taken by this book and the author that we’re giving you the opportunity to win some wonderful prizes in celebration of the book.

Thank you to Ashley Pullo for donating a SIGNED COPY of The Album to one lucky U.S. winner! And, a special shout out to Daisy Prescott, another one of my favorite authors for recommending this book and gifting me a copy. Show her some love in this Rafflecopter too. Both of these women are fantastically fun and you’ll love getting to know them and getting their newsletters!

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Spotify Playlists for The Album

 About the Author

Let me just preface by saying, I adore her. Ashley is generous, talented and funny. Check out our next post to learn more about Ashley as she answers BFF K’s questions about The Album in our VERY FIRST Author Interview, “That’s What She Said.” (Thanks for the title, Ashley!)

The Lone Star State will always be my home, but fifteen years ago, I took the plunge and became a New Yorker. NYC is an amazing place to find inspiration in my daily surroundings–the random and the ordinary that make up reality. My writing showcases inspired ideas, as well as my love for dichotomy, authenticity and humor.

When not sitting in front of the TV devouring my favorite shows, I can be found at a soccer game with my husband and two children.

Twitter: @ashpullo
Or find me at any local Starbucks around 3 p.m.


Review – Last Call by M.S. Brannon

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00026]


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00026]

Release Date: September 22, 2014

Genre: New Adult Romance

My name is Mariah Huxley, and I’m a reformed slut.

The only year I attended college, I spent on my back, living on a constant high from sex and booze. That was, until my wayward ways left me with the greatest responsibility one could have.

Fast forward seven years, and I am Mariah Huxley, a twenty-six-year-old, single mother, living in the unforgiving world as an adult. I work hard to take care of us, and I am happy. I’m happy until I close my eyes at night and realize that’s not the case at all. Something is missing. My soul, my body, and my heart—they’ve all been drained of anything exciting. That’s until the night I finally allow myself to live, and I meet him.

When he touches me, I awaken and slowly become resurrected. However, will the relationship we’ve started be one I’m prepared to handle? I am strong enough to endure many things, but am I strong enough to sustain this connection with him.

My name is Jason Cain, and I am who I am.

Some may call me determined, but the majority of society views me as a prick. To them, I’m an arrogant jerk who defies the standard rules of life to get what I want. I couldn’t agree more.

I was born on the streets, loved by no one. The only person I had was me. Once adopted by the state, I vowed to myself to become a man of means. I vowed to become a man who would be respected from the moment I walked in a room.

Fast forward several years, and I am Jason Cain, a thirty-two-year-old, successful entrepreneur, and self-made millionaire. My life is all about time, which includes making gut reaction business deals, growing my empire, and being in the company of beautiful women. I have time for only one thing, my satisfaction. That’s until the night she strolls into my nightclub.

When she touches me, I feel every wall I’ve built up slowly crumble around me. I disintegrate. However, will the relationship we’ve started be one I can leave behind? Or will I lose the part of me that’s kept me going my entire life? Am I strong enough to survive her?

Or will this be our last call?

 BFF K’s Review


I really enjoyed reading this book. Mariah is a single mom working hard and doing her best to raise her son and keep her sanity. She has a very colorful cast of characters that surround her. She meets Jason Cain, Miami’s most eligible bachelor, and their instant connection is remarkable. They’re drawn toward one another, but both have pasts and secrets that threaten their relationship. I was quickly turning the pages waiting to see how they would learn about and deal with those discoveries.

The writing is a little “rough”, i.e. some of the language or phrases just weren’t phrases I would ever use. I found it a little distracting. BUT, not enough that it detracted from my overall desire to see how the story ended. It’s a really interesting plot and laugh out loud funny at times!





I’m thrilled to have received an ARC and bring you a peak into this fun little romance!



I grasp his hands and look directly into his face. I’m going to tell him. The sex talk. We’re having it. Yep, we’re going to have it and it’s going to be now.

“Boning is another word for… p-p-p-poking someone with a chicken bone.” Bold face lie. Damn, I suck as a mother.

“Like when you get done eating a chicken leg, you just poke someone with the bone? Who’d you eat chicken with last night?” Royce is smiling with delight and so happy with the answer I’ve provided.

“Yep, just like that. I was with Aunt Shelby and Aunt Giselle,” I say, trying to get the disappointment out of my voice.

“Sweet, boning! I can’t wait until we have chicken again. I’m gonna bone everyone!” Royce hops off his lap and runs to his room.



I LOVE book playlists! This one is really, really good!

About the Author

M.S. Brannon

M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, she spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.

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