Review – Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren


Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

 

Buy Love and Other Words Today

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BFF K’s Review of Love and Other Words

What to say about another impeccably written, unique, emotional, heart-felt story from two romance masters? Buy it! Read it! Listen to it! Love it! That pretty much sums it up!

Love and Other Words is a deeply moving story of innocent, bone-deep-love, heartbreaking loss and the wondrous gift of a second chance. The story is a rich and stirring account of first love broken up by misunderstandings, poor decisions, youth, and loss and mended together by devotion, time, and intention.

Macy and Elliot are meant to be and there is really nothing that can completely sever their bond and commitment to one another. Their story is told in chapters alternating between past and present. But, each is gripping and impactful.

I did a combo read and listen of Love and Other Words. Many of the most emotional bits were listened to in the car during my commute. I think that’s the only thing that saved me from body-wracking-sobs during parts of the book. Just thinking about it makes my heart both heavy and full of hope. I don’t think it’s possible to read this story and come away unscathed. It will mark your heart, leaving you stunned and pondering the characters, their love and their second chance for days and weeks to come.

Buy it! Read it! Listen to it! Love it!

An advance copy of this book was received. The reviewer purchased the audiobook copy. Receipt of the advance copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

About the Authors

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY AND #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 30+ languages.

You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com or at @seeCwrite (Christina), @LolaShoes (Lauren), or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.

Review – Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

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Marriage of Inconvenience, an all new romantic comedy standalone in the USA Today bestselling, Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity-and heart-all in one piece.

Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent-or as trustworthy-as she thought?

 

Review of Marriage of Inconvenience

I’m not sure what to say about another immensely satisfying story, delivered by one of my favorite authors, centering around some of my most anticipated characters….How about: delightful, engaging, sweet, sentimental, heart-felt, smart, challenging, wicked funny, everything-I-hoped-for, and MORE!

I have been looking forward to Dan and Kat’s story since I read the very first Knitting in the City Series book. It’s been such a long and wonderful wait and it was worth every minute! Dan and Kat are perfect for one another, they’re hot for each other and they’re both delightfully awkward. After learning that a misunderstanding has kept them apart for years, and that Kat is desperate for a husband, the two find themselves in a marriage of convenience that is actually quite inconvenient. The story is just everything….(see the above list!)

There aren’t enough adjectives in my vocabulary to tell you how wonderful this book is, how much I adore these characters and how sad I am that this book-journey is coming to an end. I will always have a special place in my heart (and my library) for Janie, Sandra, Elizabeth, Ashley, Fiona, Marie and Kat and all of their incredible loves. While individually these books are about strong, smart, quirky heroines who find their own unique loves. Collectively this series is about a group of friends/soulmates who find love, strength, support and acceptance from one another.

I will continue to read every single book written by Penny Reid, but there will never be another group like the Knitters or a way to express my love and gratitude for these characters and this series.

An advance copy of this book was received. The reviewer purchased the audiobook copy. Receipt of the advance copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt

Staring at his chin, because I couldn’t quite lift my eyes any higher, I cleared my throat. “Should we get ready for bed?”

“Sure,” he said, his voice a rumble. Dan’s eyes were on me, I felt the weight of them.

My hands came to the hem of my skirt and I hesitated, feeling winded for some reason. Sneaking a glance at him, I immediately wished I hadn’t. His gaze was watchful, but it was also unmistakably hot in a way that seemed at once both avaricious and accusatory. The vice tightened around my lungs.

Kiss him! Just freaking kiss him! You want numbered steps? Fine. You kiss him- check. He kisses you back- check. Then you make out- check. Check the boxes.

I licked my lips, balling my hands into fists at my sides again, preparing to follow my hasty list.

But then he said, “Undress me.”

My breath caught. On instinct, my eyes lifted and collided with his in much the same way our bodies had collided at the top of the stairs just moments ago. Jarring. Startling. Thrilling. This time I couldn’t look away because this time I was falling. He made no move to catch me.

“What? What did you say?”

His eyes narrowed, which served only to increase the intensity of his gaze from smolder to inferno. “Take my clothes off.”

I stared at him, licking my lips again, and shaking my head. That wasn’t one of my steps.

Lifting my chin, I moved to kiss him. He leaned to the side, evading me even as his eyes dropped to my mouth.

“Take off my shirt and I’ll give you a kiss.” He’d used his naughty-secret voice.

An explosion of heat erupted in my belly, and now I was hot all over. I couldn’t figure out if the heat was embarrassment or arousal or both.

He didn’t give me a chance to figure it out. His hands lifted and he undid his cuffs; then they moved to the top button of his shirt.

“You better take over,” he said darkly, “or else you’re not getting that kiss.”

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About the Author

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Connect with Penny:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Newsletter: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

www.pennyreid.ninja

 

 

New Release – Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

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Marriage of Inconvenience, an all new romantic comedy standalone in the USA Today bestselling, Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid, is LIVE!

 

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There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity-and heart-all in one piece.

Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent-or as trustworthy-as she thought?

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Read Today!

BFF K’s review coming soon, she’s savoring this incredible story! <3

Amazon US

Amazon Universal     iBooks     Nook     Kobo

Add to GoodReads

 

About the Author

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Connect with Penny:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Newsletter: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

www.pennyreid.ninja

 

 

Review – Spark by S.L. Scott

 

Title: Spark
Author: S.L. Scott
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

~FREE in Kindle Unlimited~

One break is all The Crow Brothers need and we’re about to get it.

Johnny Outlaw, rock legend and lead singer of The Resistance, is here to watch us play. But he’s not the only familiar face in the crowd-killer little body, heart-shaped face, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Hannah Nichols sitting at the bar makes it hard to concentrate, sparks already reigniting. The beauty was never a groupie and tonight she’s not here to catch our show. She came to drop a bomb. “You have a son.”

She underestimated me. I’ll prove to my son, and her, that I can be the dad he needs.

What is it about musicians? Why are they so damn sexy?

My heart was Jet Crow’s the moment he opened his sexy mouth and sang that first song. One stolen night with that man would never be enough, but I’m not here to fall into his bed. Again. I’m here to fight for custody of a son he’s never known.

There’s just one problem. Those sparks between us have become flames. If we’re not careful we’re both going to get burned.

 

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Review – Spark by S.L. Scott

 

Swoon. This book is going to make you swoon. You’re going to fall in love with Jet right alongside Hannah. And you might even develop a little girl-crush on Hannah while you’re at it! Spark is just soooo good!

Jet Crow is on the cusp of BIG things. With his brothers, Rivers and Tulsa, they make a living doing what they love in the Crow Brothers Band. Their band has just captured the attention of Johnny Outlaw and the Resistance and they’re all on the cusp of making it big. (If you have read the Resistance, you’ll love this intersection with Spark! If you haven’t read it, you’ll want to after you meet the fellas in Spark!)

In the midst of all of this, Jet becomes a father. He finds out he is the father of a 6-year-old boy and it rocks his world in the very best way. He doesn’t step up begrudgingly, he embraces his new roll and his priorities instantly change putting Alfie first.

Through it all, he is working out his growing feelings for Hannah. She’s an incredible woman whose life intersects with his in unexpected ways. And, he is just the swooniest, most amazing….I have so many passages highlighted and they give me all the butterflies and feels when I read them!

Spark has everything you want in a Rockstar Romance, but so much more with the surprise kiddo and family dramas. I so highly recommend this book. When you finish, you can wait (not so patiently) with me for the next books in this exciting series! Spark is a must read!

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

About The Author

 

Living in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.

 

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://www.slscottauthor.com/
The Scott Scoop: http://bit.ly/2TheScoop
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slscottpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/slscottauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.l.scott/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/slscott1
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/SLBookbub
Amazon: http://bit.ly/SLScottAm
Book + Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/slscott
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Slscottauthor
Huffington Post Contributor Page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sl-scott/
S.L. Scott FB Reader Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/slscottbooks
S.L. Scott GR Reader Group: http://bit.ly/SLScottGRGroup

 

 

 

Review – Cake: The Newlyweds by J. Bengtsson

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Jake and Casey are BACK!
CAKE: The Newlyweds by J. Bengtsson is NOW AVAILABLE in ebook, paperback & audio!

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You thought their story was over… but a love like theirs has no end.

Fate doesn’t own Jake McKallister. At least that’s what he tells himself. Life is better than ever. He’s at the top of his game, performing to sold-out crowds the world over.

He has his health and a solid, fun-loving family to keep him grounded.

And he got the girl – the beautiful, quirky girl he’s just made his wife.

Yes, life is good. If only fate would stop screaming in his ear.

Lucky is the word to best describe Casey McKallister. Life is not just great… it’s amazing.

She has an awesome, devoted support system, a nerd’s dream job at a prestigious accounting firm, and, best of all, she’s married to the hottest rock star to ever roam the earth.

Yes, life is perfect… until it comes crashing down around her.

They say love concurs all. That’s what Jake and Casey are counting on.

 

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BFF K’s Review of Cake: The Newlyweds

 

Cake: A Love Story and the first three books in the series were among my most favorite books of 2017. So, I was thrilled to see a new book coming in the series and it did NOT disappoint! Cake: The Newlyweds was sweet and LOL-funny while being a bit tearful and heart-wrenching at the same time!

Jake and Casey experience many of the issues and emotions of any newlywed couple. But, add to it Jake’s traumatic past, his challenging career and some unexpected tragedy and you have a tale that does more than just check in with your favorite characters, it moves their lives and stories forward.

My only criticism is that I would have liked Jake’s trauma story to be a little more developed. This story found Jake continuing to work through personal issues related to his childhood. I wish there had been a few more scenes with him working through those issue, it was all tied up a little too neatly for me. I think it could have been even more substantial.

Cake: The Newlyweds is another great love story for Jake and Casey. But, it’s also a wonderful check-in with Kyle and Kenzie, Emma and Finn and some of the other members of the family. I really liked the scenes with Quinn and Grace and I’m excited to see where their stories go. AND, there were a couple of scenes that made me laugh until I cried.

This book has it all – highs and lows, terrific characters and unique storylines. You need to read the first three books in the Cake Series for maximum enjoyment. Then you’ll be sure to find Cake: The Newlyweds is just the icing….on the Cake! 😂

PS – the Audio Version is Andi Arndt and Joe Arden and sure to be AMAZING!

An advance copy of this book was received from the author. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

READ BFF K’s Reviews of the other books in the Cake Series!

A Series Review for Cake: A Love Story

 

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Start reading CAKE: A Love Story NOW!
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-A reclusive rock star going through the motions-

Jake McKallister might have been a rock star, but he was no ordinary one. Surviving an unspeakable crime as a young teen had shaped him into a guarded workaholic, and he now lived his life trying to forget. If it hadn’t been for music and the redemption he found through it, he might not have survived. Career success came easily for him. Personal connections did not.

-A vivacious college student embracing life-

When outspoken and fun-loving Casey Caldwell was paired with the famously reserved musician for a friend’s wedding, she was prepared for the worst. What could they possibly have in common? She was a bubbly talker; he was a media-shy loner. His life was filled with music; she couldn’t carry a tune. She’d enjoyed a happy childhood; his was a well-publicized nightmare.

-Their worlds are about to collide-

Despite their obvious differences, Jake and Casey found each other, and her light balanced out his darkness. Would their love be strong enough to survive the weight of his tragic past?

 

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About the Author

J. Bengtsson lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. Her favorite things to do are laugh, go for walks, and hang out with family.

Connect with J.!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jbengtssonauthor/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CakeALoveStory
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/chhhbX
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2rxHjuK
Join her Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebananabinder/

 

 

Excerpt – Icing on the Cake by Ann Marie Walker

Icing on the Cake

by Ann Marie Walker
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Notting Hill meets The Prince & Me in Icing on the Cake, the second standalone laugh-out-loud romance in Ann Marie Walker’s Wild Wedding series

Cassandra Miller doesn’t have time for men. She’s far too busy trying to open a cupcake shop with her silent partner and best friend, not to mention catering her brother’s wedding. And let’s face it, it’s not like Prince Charming is going to stroll into the bakery and sweep her off her feet.

Henry has been a prince his entire life but for one wild wedding he wants to be nothing more than an “Average Joe”, or in this instance, “Average Hank”. However, when a case of mistaken identity and a batch of burned cupcakes ends in a night of passion, Cassie and Hank must decide if theirs is a recipe for disaster or the makings of true romance.

Visit the BFF Book Blog Facebook Page to enter to win an Amazon Kindle Copy of Icing on the Cake by Ann Marie Walker!

Read BFF K’s 5-Rated Review for Icing on the Cake!

(Spoiler Alert – she LOVES this book!)

 

Excerpt

He lifted his head and when his gaze met hers, he smiled. Shy and sexy all at once, Cassie knew without question it was the sort of smile that meant nothing but trouble. The kind that got him whatever he wanted. The kind that was absolutely irresistible.

And as if that wasn’t enough, he had the whole sexy accent thing going for him.

The stranger leaned closer, close enough for her to smell the faint scent of his soap. It was clean and yet a little spicy and made her want to lick his neck. Because yeah, that was something a perfectly sane woman would do.

The energy between them crackled with anticipation. Then again, maybe it was all in her head. Maybe she’d finally read one too many romance novels and her brain was permanently rewired to think every handsome stranger had the potential to be Mr. Right. Or at the very least, Mr. Right Now.

A beat of silence ticked between them offering her the perfect opportunity to play it safe, to explain what she actually meant and end the whole matter with an awkward laugh. But this handsome stranger had awakened something deep inside her and for once in her life Cassandra Miller didn’t feel like playing it safe. Instead she felt wild and reckless, and the last thing she wanted was to end the moment in any way at all. In fact, she wanted to prolong it, to suspend it in time like something from The Matrix. Then maybe she could even step back and watch from all angles because holy hell, this gorgeous stranger was going to kiss her. Right there. In the shop. With her hair up in a messy bun and flour and dough all over her hands. And what’s more, she was going to let him. So instead of playing it safe, Cassie lifted her chin just as he dipped his head and then . . . .

About Ann Marie Walker

Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

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Review – Icing on the Cake by Ann Marie Walker

 

Icing on the Cake

by Ann Marie Walker
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Notting Hill meets The Prince & Me in Icing on the Cake, the second standalone laugh-out-loud romance in Ann Marie Walker’s Wild Wedding series

Cassandra Miller doesn’t have time for men. She’s far too busy trying to open a cupcake shop with her silent partner and best friend, not to mention catering her brother’s wedding. And let’s face it, it’s not like Prince Charming is going to stroll into the bakery and sweep her off her feet.

Henry has been a prince his entire life but for one wild wedding he wants to be nothing more than an “Average Joe”, or in this instance, “Average Hank”. However, when a case of mistaken identity and a batch of burned cupcakes ends in a night of passion, Cassie and Hank must decide if theirs is a recipe for disaster or the makings of true romance.

 

BFF K’s Review of Icing on the Cake

Fun, sweet and beyond the standard trope of the Royal Romance, I loved Icing on the Cake and think this is Ann Marie Walker’s best story to date! The tale is charming and lol-funny and definitely one to add to your TBR!

Cassie and Henry are sweet characters. It’s so easy to invest in their happiness; and also to see that their greatest happiness comes when they’re together! Henry is anything but an “average Hank” and a name change certainly can’t mask his darling smirk and roguish charm. Cassie is drawn to him in a way she’s never been attracted to another man; and he feels exactly the same about her. In so many ways they’re able to be their true, authentic selves with one another. Even if Hank isn’t completely on the up and up.

I know that I’m not the only one counting down the days until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the Royal Knot. (110 days at the time this review posts live!) There’s something about a royal love story. Particularly when the heroine is a commoner AND an American – SWOON! If you’re patiently biding your time until the Royal-I-Do’s, Icing on the Cake is the perfect way to pass the time!

I think you’ll love Cassie and Hank’s story and cheer for their HEA! You should definitely one-click this one TODAY!

 

 

 

 

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

Giveaway

Enter to win a Royal Romance Pack + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

About the Author

Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

 

 

Review – The Art of Us by Hilaria Alexander

 

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Two years ago, his kiss left her reeling, but she pushed him away and they never spoke of it again.

Lena Andrews is bad at love, and has no intention of getting better at it.

Men are good for one thing, and love isn’t it.

She’s perfectly okay with finding happiness in her job as a comic book artist.

Yet, she can’t shake the memory of her coworker’s kiss.

Amos St. Clair has stayed the hell away from Lena Andrews for the last two years.

Work has filled his time and he’s on the cusp of making a name for himself. When an opportunity to complete a project that’s dear to Lena’s heart presents itself, Amos seizes the opportunity – even if it means being with the woman he’s avoided all this time.

Through their mutual passion for art and each other, their love blooms like a lotus flower out of a dark, muddy pool. But, is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges posed by the most important job of their careers?

 

 

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BFF K’s Review of The Art of Us

The Art of Us is a breath of fresh air! It’s a unique, original story that exposes the reader to a whole new world through well developed and engaging characters. This is a story that should not be missed!

Lena is strong and independent. She’s reluctant to let others in or share any vulnerabilities that may expose her to unhappiness or heartbreak. Even when it comes to her co-worker and secret crush Amos.

Amos is drawn to Lena, but frustrated that she won’t give him the time of day! He patiently bides his time chipping away at her rough exterior. When he finds opportunities to deepen their relationship – he takes them!

The world of comics/manga/animation was a whole new ball game for me, but I loved it! I had so many questions, I requested an interview with the author! This book is about travel, opening yourself to new experiences and relationships, working hard and living a full life. Amos and Lena are a wonderful couple and their journey is incredibly fulfilling.

The Art of Us is full of surprises, some angst, a little steam, big heart and a whole lot of hope. You’ll fall in love with Amos right alongside Lena. I strongly recommend this unique and endearing story!

 

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

Check out BFF K’s EXCLUSIVE Interview with Hilaria Alexander in our newest installment of “That’s What She Said!”

 

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Giveaway

Click HERE to enter the Release Day Giveaway!

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About the Author

Hilaria Alexander never thought she’d be a writer one day. Reader? Yes. Book hoarder? You betcha. Then, she started reading romance – that’s when she felt the need to write a story. Unfortunately, she didn’t listen to her gut, and talked herself out of it A MILLION TIMES. She finally gave up a few years ago, when the urge to write was stronger than self-doubt. She loves funny, sexy romances wrapped with a huge happily-ever-after bow at the end. Her inbox is always open if you want to chat about one of her books.

 

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EXCLUSIVE Interview – That’s What She Said with Hilaria Alexander

 

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Two years ago, his kiss left her reeling, but she pushed him away and they never spoke of it again.

Lena Andrews is bad at love, and has no intention of getting better at it.

Men are good for one thing, and love isn’t it.

She’s perfectly okay with finding happiness in her job as a comic book artist.

Yet, she can’t shake the memory of her coworker’s kiss.

Amos St. Clair has stayed the hell away from Lena Andrews for the last two years.

Work has filled his time and he’s on the cusp of making a name for himself. When an opportunity to complete a project that’s dear to Lena’s heart presents itself, Amos seizes the opportunity – even if it means being with the woman he’s avoided all this time.

Through their mutual passion for art and each other, their love blooms like a lotus flower out of a dark, muddy pool. But, is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges posed by the most important job of their careers?

 

 

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That’s What She Said Exclusive Interview with Hilaria Alexander

When BFF K finished The Art of Us, she immediately had to know more about the story and the world created in the story! We hope you’ll enjoy this sneak peek behind the scenes of The Art of Us!

 

BFF K: This book was so detailed and in a world that was completely foreign to me (manga/cartoon) how much research did you have to do? Is this something you enjoy? Where should a newbie start if they want to check some of this out?

HA: I grew up in Italy and I’m an eighties child. When I was a kid, Japanese anime were extremely popular. I watched tons of robot-sagas like Voltron and lots of “magical girl anime” by Studio Pierrot like Creamy Mami and Magical Girl Emi. The heroine was usually a young teen who was in possession of a magic wand and could transform into an older girl, kind of like Erica Raymond becomes Jem from Jem and the Holograms. When I was in high school, I watched the anime version of Marmalade Boy by Wataru Yoshizumi and Neighborhood Story by Ai Yazawa before I even read the comics. Later, I decided to start studying Japanese and as my love for Japanese culture grew, so did my interest for manga (Japanese comics).  Some of my favorites were Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue, centered about a young greaser/gang leader who starts playing basketball to win the heart of the girl he loves, and Neighborhood Story by Ai Yazawa. If you’d like to check out some manga, I would suggest picking up Shojo Beat by Viz Media or checking out their site. Most popular anime series started out as a manga. Sailor Moon (Naoko Takeuchi), Inuyasha (Rumiko Takahashi), Vagabond (Takehiko Inoue), are all great series that started as a manga.

 

 

BFF K: I know you spent time in Japan in college. How much of this experience made an appearance in The Art of Us?

HA: Some details are definitely taken from my experience overseas. I don’t have a lot in common with the heroine of my story besides the fact that she was also an exchange student and lived for a time in Japan with her best friend. The house were Lena and Maggie lived is an accurate description of the house where my best friend and I lived. It was within walking distance from Shibuya, one of the busiest districts, but it was far from glamourous. However, I did love that little neighborhood a lot. The places described in the novel are places I traveled to – there was so much more I wanted to include. The story about Lena never seeing Mount Fuji or the one about the old lady from the hostel in Nikko are things that happened to me in real life.

 

BFF K: Tell is about the unfinished manga IRL that inspired this story.

HA: It’s called Nana and it’s by Ai Yazawa. She is hands down my favorite artist. Her style is so unique, and her stories are beautifully crafted. Nana is about two best friends, Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki, who meet on the train to Tokyo and end up sharing an apartment by accident. The first volume came out in Japan in 2001 – just when I started my year there as an exchange student – but nothing new has been published since 2009. The manga is on indefinite hiatus. Ai Yazawa was ill for a while, and then there were rumors she was well enough to go back to work. However, nothing new has been published and no one knows what’s the author’s ailment or if the story will ever be completed. It’s the BIGGEST cliffhanger of my life – I believe the millions of people who read this manga will agree. Even if it’s incomplete, I highly recommend it.

These are “adult” manga and they are just as addictive as romance novels.

 

BFF K: Lena’s relationship with Rika-san was so lovely. What inspired that relationship? Do you have a mentor like that for your writing?

HA: I have a lot of women who inspire me to be a better writer and better human in general, but I don’t have a mentor quite like Rika-san – I just tried to imagine how I would feel if I found myself in that kind of position. I think Lena’s reluctance to go to Japan at first was really because she didn’t want to disrespect her idol. She loved her too much and didn’t want to “humiliate” her like that.

 

BFF K: I’ve seen your Pinterest boards but for those who haven’t, tell us about your inspirations for Lena and Amos.

HA: Ahhhhh! I love Pinterest. I don’t always have a clear visual of my characters, so Pinterest helps. My inspiration for Lena is Marion Cotillard – I think I had a hard time picturing Lena at first. I have been thinking about writing this book for the last two years and since the beginning I always had a very strong idea of her personality more than her looks. Marion Cotillard embodies in movies quite often those traits that made Lena who she was: strong, yet extremely fragile, feminine, but with an edge. My inspiration for Amos is Adam Driver. When I imagined Amos I thought of someone who had to be solid, strong, comfortable with who he was. He needed to be strong and patient enough to carry Lena’s pain and her insecurities. Coincidentally, the name Amos means brave. I know not everyone finds Adam Driver attractive – but he’s a fantastic actor and I’ve liked him since I first saw him on Girls. I might be biased, but I find his character on Star Wars one of the most compelling villains ever.

 

BFF K: I LOVED the cameo from Amira Farouk from Lost in Scotland! Will Amira be getting her own story?

HA: Maybe someday. Never say never. I would like everyone to get their own story, but time is against me. I would really like to write about Amos’ sister Charleigh. I’m dying to write a book set in the kitchen of a restaurant.

 

RAPID FIRE with Hilaria Alexander

BFF K: We do a fun rapid fire round with all of our That’s What She Said interviews, give us your quick answer to the following tough choices!

HA: I’m just going to say this rapid fire is cruel. There is no good answer! LOL!

 

Books or Manga?

Sorry, Manga. I have to say Books.

 

Mountains or Ocean?

Oceans. I’m a sea person.

 

American Pop Music or Japanese Pop Music?

I wouldn’t be who I am without American Pop Music.

 

Sushi or Steak?

Sushi.

 

Sake or Sapporo?

Sake.

 

Camaro or Prius?

Prius.

 

Reading or Writing?

Reading was my first love, but writing is something I never thought I’d fall in love with.

I choose writing.

 

Comic Book Store or Shoe Store?

Comic Book. My feet are big, I have a hard time finding the right shoes.

 

Rosetta Stone or Language Classes?

Language classes. It’s more fun if you’re interacting with other people.

 

A HUGE Thank You to Hilaria Alexander for sharing some insight into The Art of Us! We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of That’s What She Said! If you haven’t picked it up yet, we can’t recommend it strongly enough – this is a wonderful story!

Check out BFF K’s 5-Rated Review of The Art of Us!

 

RELEASE DAY The Art of Us Hilaria Alexander Teaser

 

About the Author

Hilaria Alexander never thought she’d be a writer one day. Reader? Yes. Book hoarder? You betcha. Then, she started reading romance – that’s when she felt the need to write a story. Unfortunately, she didn’t listen to her gut, and talked herself out of it A MILLION TIMES. She finally gave up a few years ago, when the urge to write was stronger than self-doubt. She loves funny, sexy romances wrapped with a huge happily-ever-after bow at the end. Her inbox is always open if you want to chat about one of her books.

 

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Exclusive Interview with Forever My Girl Director Bethany Ashton Wolf

 

The motion picture Forever My Girl releases this Friday, January 19. Today the BFF’s are thrilled to bring you an EXCLUSIVE interview with the screeenwriter/director, Bethany Ashton Wolf! Check out the interview and let me know what you think of the movie – I’m headed to see it ASAP!

 

 

 

 

 

That’s What She Said, Exclusive Interview with Bethany Ashton Wolf

BFF K: How did you learn about Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin?

The production company, LD Entertainment, had just read a screenplay of mine that I had written called Other People’s Love Letters that had just been bought by a studio, and they loved the script, then asked my agents if I wanted to read Heidi’s book and consider coming into pitch my take on it as a screenplay and for the big screen. I read Heidi’s book, was passionately inspired by it, and then I immediately saw the whole milieu that I wanted to create for it for the big screen. Every storyline, set piece, character, their back stories, arcs, the periphery characters around them and their back stories, to every little detail in the film that I was visually seeing in my head, from Josie’s pink shimmering gown as she walks across a vast green field with a vermillion sun setting, with to go on a romantic date with Liam, to what Liam’s dad is cooking on the stove when he has Billy over to his house for the first time, to every song in the film and where I would place each song. Needless to say, I was extremely ignited and creatively inspired as an artist. Thank you, Heidi!

BFF K: Are you a reader? Who are some of your favorite authors? How about your favorite genres? 

I’m a voracious reader. My taste is somewhat eclectic, but I am a romantic at my core. Classics: my favorites are Dickens, Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Maya Angelou. Current authors: Rebecca Wells, Sue Monk Kid, Janet Fitch, Kathryn Stockett, Cheryl Strayed…are all some of my favorite reads. I have been writing back-to-back screenplays as of late, so I have been reading Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul over and over again to keep me centered.

BFF K: Do you have plans to turn any other beloved novels into books? 

I do! Myriad plans! I love book adaptations in all different genres.

BFF K: Tell me about the process of bringing the book to the screen, particularly the development of the music.

The development process was effortless with LD. I remember when I first walked into their conference room to pitch them my take on it for the big screen, and I saw a family at that conference table. And I remember thinking, I don’t just want to sit at this table, I want to break bread with the people at this table. And we did. We broke bread together from that very first meeting. They said yes in the room to my pitch, and off I went to write the first draft of the screenplay.

One thing that I have learned about myself as a screenwriter from doing this professionally for over a decade now, and I learned this very early on after one of my first screenplay assignments for a production company, was that I don’t like to hand in a formal outline before writing my first draft. I’m so meticulously detail-oriented creatively, and I visually see everything so vividly out-of-the-gate, that if I take the time to write a formal outline/treatment to hand in, that I start writing the first draft into that outline, and then I as though some of the magic that happens for me in the very first draft of my screenplays, it loses a little of my fizzle because I’ve used too much of it already in the outline/treatment.

There is something fantastical that happens for me in the process of writing my first draft, and if I place too much perfunctory efforts on a treatment, the mystery and the magic of leaving myself open to just seeing where the writing takes me each day, I lose some of that magic. I love having it all figured out, but opening myself up to the unexpected and the unknown part of the journey of a first draft. It feels exciting and less like a writing assignment. If it starts to feel like work, then it doesn’t feel like art to me.

And so LD understood that in me as an artist and took that leap of faith with me as a writer, and then after the first draft was done, we would meet about once every 3 months, as they were navigating multiple film projects, and I was navigating three screenplay assignments simultaneously.

But each time we would gather, it was a beautiful, loving, open conversation and discussion about the script. We would just break bread together as I moved the screenplay along while collaborating with them. Coming from an indie filmmaker background, I didn’t know until my first studio screenplay assignment in 2010 how much I would adore collaborating with studios and production companies on my screenplays. It’s a labyrinthine journey we all go on together, and I absolutely adore it.

On the music front, this is a fun anecdote: early on in development, I kept passionately emphasizing to the production company how vital I thought the country music was going to be to this particular film. I strongly felt that the music was equally as important as the screenplay, and that I wanted to simultaneously work on developing the music while developing my script. But it is a very hard thing to pitch something audible to a room instead of something visual. So I went out on my own without telling anyone to later surprise them, and I started working with Brett Boyett and Jackson Odell to develop all of the original songs for the film. My plan was to bring it into the next development meeting and have Brett and Jackson, with their guitars and amps, play all of the songs live in their conference room. I did just that. Without anyone knowing beforehand, I brought in Brett, Jackson, and a female singer that I hired for the day and surprised the room with an impromptu live jam session.

I walked the production company through every place in the film each song would go, and then I had the band play each song live for them. All went very well. It was a really fun meeting. Every original song that you hear in the film was played in that meeting 2 years before we commenced shooting. All of Brett and Jackson’s songs from that meeting are in the film. And then I worked hard at getting Brett Boyett hired as my music producer, and then Brett and I worked feverishly on more music and getting a country star lineup for the film and its soundtrack over the next two years together.

BFF K: What was your favorite part of the story to bring to the big screen? Were there any scenes that you really wanted to include but couldn’t for some reason?

I love and adore every single scene in this movie. They all have a sentimental story and personal experience behind each one that I shared with my actors and crew that I will always cherish. For me, as a filmmaker, it’s about the personal pilgrimage that I go on with my actors and my crew, and I think when I’m making it about that–when we are all standing in our truth together as artists and lifting each other up–it allows everything to take flight; it releases itself in cathartic, healing, and revelatory ways, and then I feel it translates into something profound and moving on screen…at least I hope it does for audiences.

I was able to shoot everything that I wanted, but I had to passionately and vehemently advocate relentlessly to get some of the scenes and set pieces that I wanted in the film. We were a modest production with a modest budget and a very short shooting schedule, but I knew that I was going to move mountains and will this film into bigger waters, and I needed certain scenes in the film to give it that romantic, sweeping, epic feel to sustain my lofty plans for it, but those moments in film cost time and money, and so while it wasn’t that the production company didn’t want to give me everything that I wanted to bring my vision to the screen, there were just practical, pragmatic challenges that we faced with a modest budget and short shooting schedule.

Coming from an indie background where I am used to raising my own money and producing my own film projects, I am extremely mindful and thoughtful of staying within the lines of a given budget, but I get really creative in finding ways to get what I need within those lines. I get really resourceful and innovative. That part gets really exciting when you figure out how to do it. I think because I’m also the screenwriter on my directing project and I’ve produced so much in the past, that it’s second nature for me to think of ways to get what we need without just demanding it as a director or going over budget.

I do a lot of what I call “trading” with the production company and my line producer. For example, one of the biggest things that I advocated fervently to keep in the shooting production was the whole romantic date night sequence with Liam and Josie. Without giving everything away, I had created a pivotal, protracting romantic arc that builds and builds to that whole romantic sequence, from Josie getting dressed for it at her house to walking across that green vast field at sunset with Liam waiting by a helicopter to whisk her away to a few things that come next that haven’t been revealed yet outside of the trailer, so I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, but I felt deep in my soul that we needed to keep every single piece of that sequence because it is one of the most visually stunning and most romantic sequences that I had ever seen on screen if we could find a way to keep it, and that sequence pulls you in and leaves you wanting more and more…again, at least I hope it does for audiences.

I remember that I was going to have to give up something in it: either the helicopter, the original jazz song playing live in the restaurant with a sultry jazz singer and an original song by Brett, or some of the sequences that follow that I don’t want to divulge if you haven’t seen the film yet, but it was (and is still!) all so delicious, and I didn’t want to lose any of it.

I remember looking at the screenplay and seeing what I could possibly lose that would equal the money that we needed to create what my team the whole romantic date night sequence in the script. I remember walking into our line producer’s office, Alison King, who handled our budget like a rock star, and saying to her “I’ll trade you 1 town festival, these 6 speaking roles, and this 2nd happy montage sequence if I can keep all of the romantic date night sequence intact.” She looked at our budget, studied my proposal and the script, then held out her hand and said “Done.” We shook on it, and the rest is history. The romantic date night sequence always screen-tests as the favorite scene in the movie by both men and women. It’s a feat we all worked really hard to achieve in the film in every aspect of it—cast, crew, my producers, production, my music department, my post team—so it’s a great feeling for all of us, seeing that sequence on screen play out the way that I had presented it to the team visually and audibly.

BFF K: Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe are perfect! I can’t imagine how difficult it is to find the right actors with the acting and musical ability required for the roles. What was the casting process?

For Liam Page, when we meet him on stage, he seems like the dreamiest, most charismatic, romantic guy on the planet…but then we soon see as Liam exits the stage and the spotlight who he really is in this moment in his life—the dichotomy between who he is on stage to who he is off stage. On stage, he is this ubiquitous, charismatic, magnetic guy…

…and then off stage, we see that he is self-absorbed, mercurial, caustic, high-maintenance, with this simmering angst and torment simmering underneath his skin that he doesn’t seem to even understand.

This is the state in which we meet Liam Page, and as an actor, it’s deeply complex, and then that actor has to exude a natural, gritty coolness with that misplaced angst, and to me, it felt as though we were going to be on the search for an actor that felt like a throwback to old Hollywood leading men—an amalgam of what Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and James Dean personified.

And then layer in that this actor also has to be an amazing singer and command a stage as a huge country star, playing to thousands upon thousands, it’s an extremely tall order.

My casting director, Jeanie Bacharach, happens to be a good friend of mine and has cast all of my film projects. I was lucky enough and so thankful to LD that I could have her as my casting director on this. Jeanie and I had been casting and reading “Liams” for weeks and weeks, and just not finding him at all.

We couldn’t cast any of the other roles without finding our Liam Page first, and without Liam Page, we wouldn’t have a movie…

…and then I would love to say for the poetic aspect of it that ALEX ROE was the last audition that we had set up on our long list of auditions, but he was the 2nd to last…and when he came in, he just blew us both away.

The beauty of Alex’s auditions was that it immediately stopped feeling like an audition and started to feel like he was my actor and I was his director, and we had the scenes up and were just working them in a rehearsal setting. It all felt seamless, and Alex and I had this immediate short-hand working together. It was an exhilarating feeling to have that exchange artistically.

Then, in the audition, after the scenes, it was time for Alex to sing (I had all of the actors who auditioned sing a song in the room; it was a given for me that my actor would really sing in the role), so Alex sang a song and played his guitar, and he again blew us both away.

Alex is an athlete, an amazing soccer player, and he tackles his acting like an athlete, with that same focus and discipline…but at the same time, he allows it to come out of him from his gut up, and it’s unbridled, raw, and complex, which keeps it alive and intriguing. He is a remarkable actor. Truly.

There are very few actors who naturally and effortlessly have that swooning “it” factor while also being profoundly talented, and Alex has that. And then couple that with him being the kindest, most thoughtful, gracious, grounded guy, he is just a gem of an artist and human being.

FOR JOSIE, it was extremely important to me to create a leading heroine that isn’t a damsel in distress, waiting for the man to swoop in and save her. Josie truly has created a great life for herself when Liam returns home. She has already weathered her own storm and has come out the other end with peace, grace, and has created a wonderful life for her and her daughter, Billy.

However, at the same time, Josie wants to protect that wonderful life that she has created for her and Billy, and Liam returning threatens what she has worked so hard to achieve for her and her daughter.

And then add another layer, that Liam is the one love of her life, and so of course feelings are going to bubble up for her emotionally, and all of that is happening simultaneously, and it needed to exist in the actress playing her with such subtly and grace with an air of effortlessness but also with gumption. Josie is sweet, loving, giving, but also extremely strong. She is the epitome of a true steel magnolia. So again, it was a very tall order that we were searching for in our Josie, and Jeanie and I were again seeing hundreds of actresses, and we just weren’t finding her.

And then I saw Jessica Rothe, and she blew me away just as Alex had. She accomplished that extremely difficult, delicate balance in Josie, and made it all appear so effortless, but it’s not effortless to do at all as an actress. It took someone extraordinarily talented, disciplined, and focused, who could then portray it effortlessly. And Jess did just that. She is that talented.

Jess auditioned for me on her birthday on a Saturday at my house because she was on a TV show at the time, and that was the only day that she could get off and come in to audition. That right there showed me how her high work ethic was, and I loved that about her.

And just as Alex’s audition went, it immediately went from feeling like an audition to feeling like an actor and a director just working the scenes together. It was a seamless transition, and from that similar feeling that I experienced working with each of them separately, I knew that the two of them together would be pure magic. That they were cut from such similar cloth, as human beings and as artists, that it was going to light up the screen when they were together.

We didn’t even wait to do a chemistry test with them. They never met when we hired them both. It was one of those situations that if we didn’t move fast, we would possibly have lost Jess to the role, and I just knew in my gut that it was supposed to be the two of them together in this film. We all did: me, my casting director, LD. We took that leap of faith, and I think that is part of the undeniable, swooning alchemy that we see and feel between Liam and Josie.

It was also vitally important to me for Josie’s look and vibe to be effortless, as well. I didn’t want a girl suddenly putting on makeup and doing her hair when the guy comes back to town. Josie knows that she’s enough already. She doesn’t need to do anything to win back Liam. And Jess has that same vibe about her as a person, as well. She’s effortlessly gorgeous when she enters a room, in a T-shirt, jeans, and no makeup.

And Jess has these stunning, grey-blue eyes with this raspy, mellifluous voice that is so incredibly alluring. She reminds me of a modern-day Lauren Bacall.

So here I had these two lead actors that both felt like a throwback to Old Hollywood glamour but in a modern-day world. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was going to be something extraordinary and celestial transpiring between the two of them.

And Jess is just as sweet, kind, loving, and down-to-earth as Alex is as a person. I was truly blessed with the two of them as actors and as people.

Jess, Alex, and I also discussed before shooting that we wanted to show the playful side of Josie and Liam together. To find the fun in the two of them. I didn’t want two gorgeous people falling for each other just because they are both gorgeous.

Josie and Liam have this undeniable pull and attraction to each other, but I also wanted to underscore their humor, banter, and playfulness together. For us to see and feel on screen that they are truly best friends when we see them laugh together and take playful jabs at each other, that’s the icing on an already beautiful cake…because when you find your soulmate in life, you want all of those things, not just the attraction part of the equation. And I think that angelic chemistry that Jess and Alex have, the amalgam of all of those attributes in the two of them is what really makes them transcendent on screen. There was something deeply auspicious and fortuitous at play, and it was extremely exciting to get on board that journey with the two of them.

BFF K: No book to movie adaptation ever completely follows the story. But, there are some significant changes to this original story. Particularly the decision to make Noah’s character a girl instead of a boy. Can you tell us about that change? Why was that change made? Did it change how you approached the story? What will movie-goers and bibliophiles love about the change?

I have tremendous respect for Heidi, her book, and her work as a novelist. To give your baby to a production company knowing that their plan is to make changes with your art, your life’s work, that takes a strong, intrepid, egoless artist to take that leap of faith. I truly commend Heidi for being able to do that. Not all artists can.

When I was given the book, I didn’t meet Heidi or have any connection to her. I think the production company set it up that way so that the assignment could be done without any emotional attachments. There are all different kinds of adaptation scenarios, and this one was presented to me with very specific guidelines. It was a screenplay assignment, and the assignment was to find a way to lift the story off of the page, make the changes that were necessary to do that to turn it into a screenplay that could then be made into a film.

Heidi accomplished her artistry as a novelist in spades, and when a novelist is writing her novel, his/her job is not to think about how it will translate into a movie; the job is to tell the story in the most compelling way to readers, and that is what Heidi did. She accomplished that in the biggest and best of ways. Her book is a success and has many accolades. We are all here talking about this movie right now because of Heidi, her book, and the movement that she created in Liam and Josie.

She inspired me to want to go in and pitch this whole movie that I had flash before my eyes for it to work as a film. There wasn’t ever a clinical thought in my head about what to keep, what not to keep. It was a very innate process that unfolded as it unfolded from my brain to my pitch, all with admiration for this novelist that I didn’t know or meet that was comfortable with a screenwriter and director taking her book and letting me catapult it into all different directions that worked for the story being told on screen instead of being read on the page. As set up by the production company, I didn’t meet Heidi until we invited her to the set. It was a very joyful and celebratory experience. I put her into one of the scenes in the film. We all thought that would be fun for her. She was just the loveliest on set, and a beautiful human being.

In regard to changing Noah to Billy, a boy to a girl, I wish I could say that I sat down and really thought about making that change before doing so. It was the most organic creative process that was flowing out of me all at once–seeing this movie in every detail with every new character, set piece, their arcs, back stories, forward stories, etc. and yes, I also saw a little girl instead of a little boy. It was just divine inspiration at the time, and I just saw Billy in full form, three dimensional, in my vision of the film.

It doesn’t mean that it could not have been made with another filmmaker creating it with Noah. I just knew where I could take this film in the way that it played out in the vision with the particular characters I had in that vision and their relationship to each other, and the heights that I could take it to as the storyteller for it on the big screen. Abby Ryder Fortson as Billy is such a unique young leading lady, and is exactly what I wanted for my Billy. That is a beautiful thing indeed, but it took incredible courage on Heidi’s part, for sure.

BFF K: Should first-timers read the book and then watch the movie or watch the movie and then read the book?

Hmmmm, interesting question! I think both should be enjoyed and appreciated, and it could go in either order, as long as the person has an open mind to go on two different rides, but rides that are deeply connected, have tremendous respect for each other, and love each other. The book and the movie are actually dating. I think they may be soulmates, too!

BFF K: When will the soundtrack for Forever My Girl be available for purchase?

The soundtrack is available as a digital download on opening day, January 19th.  Everyone can get it online from the Universal Music Group Nashville. I’m so excited to share that 3-year journey with you all with all of our original songs and vast array of country stars, singers, and musicians.  (www.UMGNashville.com)

10) Is there anything else you want us to know about the screenplay or film?

I would love for audiences to know that as sublime as our romance is in this film, that this film has many more layers to it. There is something for everyone in it: it is a romantic love story, it is a father/daughter story, it is a father/son story, a mother/daughter story, and a brother/sister story.

It is a story about not just romantic love, but familial love and the power of friendship and community. It is a story of atonement, redemption, joy, and happiness. It is a story about crossing over to find your own truth. Of finding your way back home to your true self. And it’s also a really fun movie! And if you love country music, get ready! I wanted to represent the vast array of country music that is very much alive right now. I wanted to represent classic country, anthem country, blues country, pop country, folk country. And if you think you don’t love country music, try us out. Audiences in screen-tests would say all of the time that they thought that they didn’t love country music until they heard our soundtrack. I love that. It’s just packed with feel-good music that gets into your soul and lights you up.

I hope you all relish and enjoy the ride of Forever My Girl. We hope to see you all at the theater with us on January 19th!

That’s What She Said – Rapid Fire

This is a fun game we play with our interviewees. You can just give a one word answer or give explanations – it’s totally up to you!

Country or Pop? Both!

Small Town or Big City? Both! But if I live in a big city, I like to be in a small community within the big city, like I do now.

Cozy movie night or Splashy dream date? Cozy movie night and an occasional splashy dream date.

Book or Movie? If I had to choose, movie!

Wine or Beer? Champagne!

Live Concert or Chilling with your headphones? Live concert!

Kimmel or Fallon? Depends on the night!

Big Wedding or Intimate Gathering? Intimate gathering, for sure.

Twizzlers or Red Vines? Red Viiiiiines for daaaaaays.

Star Quarterback or Rockstar? Rock star…or COUNTRY STAR! xxxx

Check out the source material! Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

BFF K’s Review of Forever My Girl

Check out the other books in the Beaumont Series


Forever My Girl (#1) – Released Dec 2012

 

My Everything (#1.5) – Released March 2013

When Nick Ashford lost his friend, Mason, he didn’t realize he was going to lose his family as well, but that’s exactly what happened. Alone and in a foreign country, Nick is working on rebuilding his life one patient at a time, that is, until a striking volunteer makes her presence known.

Can Nick finish his year in Africa without risking his heart being broken again, or is he willing to start a new chapter in his life before his return to Beaumont?


 

My Unexpected Forever (#2) – Released Sept 2013

I expected a life of music.I expected to raise my son.It took one look to make everything change.I never expected happiness.I never expected to find her.I never expected to feel desire.

I never expected I’d be a family man.

I never expected to be loved.

I never expected to fall in love.

They say you should expect the unexpected, I didn’t realize my unexpected would be the forever kind.


 

Finding My Forever (#3) – Released Dec 2013

Everywhere I look, my friends are settling down – marriage, children, white picket fences; but not me. Marriage isn’t in the cards for me. I’m a ladies man.

A rock star.

I was born and raised in the industry.

I love everything about my life, especially the attention from the women that my status brings me.

Women find me. I don’t chase. I know what they want and they know I’ll deliver.

But after one look, one touch, one night…

Now I’m the one doing the chasing.

I need to find a way to show her that I’m serious, that I can change.

I need to find a way to show her that I can love her fully, and only her.

I need to find a way to show her that she’s my forever.


 

Finding My Way (#4) – Released April 2014

Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him. Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.

Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.

Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.


 

12 Days of Forever (#4.5) – Released Feb 2015

Even though she’s living her life-long dream and dancing on Broadway, the city is a lonely place for Yvie James. The holidays are both her favorite time of the year and the worst. A last minute decision puts Yvie in Beaumont to spend time with her family.

Alexander Knight is new to Beaumont, but he’s making the best of it. His dream of running a successful business is within his grasp, and Xander has a dedicated client base most trainers vie for. On the surface, Xander is happy, but he works long hours for nothing more than to avoid going home to an empty house.

Thrown together for Christmas shopping, holiday gatherings with friends and family, and a special anniversary party, Yvie and Xander find themselves seeking solace in each other for an unforgettable, romantic winter.


 

My Kind of Forever (#5) – Released Sept 2015

Liam Page knows music and a life of solitude, but that all changed when he returned to Beaumont.

The once notorious bad boy lead singer of 4225 West is now living the domesticated life with his wife and high school sweetheart, Josie, and their son, Noah.

Life is good for the Westbury family, until Liam is called back to Los Angeles and the place where it all started for him.

Liam and Josie’s story continues in this last installment of The Beaumont Series.

 

  

 

About the Original Author

 

 

Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.

Originally from Portland, Oregon and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland Westie/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, is currently in production for a major motion picture