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

 

   

That’s What She Said – EXCLUSIVE Interview with Alice Clayton

The BFF’s are so excited for today’s release of Cream of the Crop, book 2 in the Hudson Valley Series by Alice Clayton. AND, today we bring you an EXCLUSIVE Interview with Clayton in the newest edition of “That’s What She Said!” BFF K’s review coming very soon!

But first, here’s a little info on Cream of the Crop

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

And, don’t forget about Nuts, Book #1 in the Hudson Valley series!

That’s What She Said

I was thrilled with the opportunity to interview Alice Clayton….I mean really! Alice Freaking Clayton answered my questions about one of her books…Pinch me now! I have enjoyed so many of her incredible stories including the Wallbanger series and Nuts, Book 1 in the new Hudson Valley Series. I hope you enjoy the interview below.

BFF K: I want to talk mostly about NUTS! I listened to Roxie and Leo’s story on audio and loved absolutely every second of it! Let’s dish (see what I did there?) about NUTS and the Hudson Valley Series.

Farmers are the new It Boy in the Hudson Valley series and I have to agree completely! What inspired the Hudson Valley series and these smoking hot FARMERS?

Alice Clayton: I LOVE a farmer. Oh my goodness do I love a farmer. I got the ideas for this series out of the blue one day when Mr. Alice and I were visiting our local farmers market. There was a new farmer one day, and sweet Christ was he hot. Hudson Valley series was born!

__________

BFF K: You write about farming in great detail. (My hubby is an agronomist; I completely followed your terminology!) Are you familiar with agriculture or did you have to do extensive research on farming and farming practices?

Alice Clayton: I definitely did my research, particularly into the world of CSA’s and how easy it now is to support your local producers. I’ve been trying to eat locally as often as I can for several years now, and I’m so happy to see how many people now are enjoying and eating local.

__________

BFF K: California Roxie has to reconcile herself with Bailey Falls Roxie. I LOVE the way that Chad Bowman helped her to discover a new side of herself that was ok in Bailey Falls. I also LOVED Chad’s husband Logan. I really don’t know that I have a question about this….It was just one of my favorite parts of the book! What else can you tell me about Roxie’s transformation and the roll Chad and Logan play in that experience?

Alice Clayton: I loved the idea of going back home to your small town, and finding out that the biggest crush you had back in school is still as handsome and gorgeous and sweet and kind as ever, but that the quarterback has a husband! I see Chad and Logan as kind of the town criers, the greek chorus in these stories, just inserting themselves into the narrative enough to push these girls along. You’ll be so glad to know they are all over CREAM OF THE CROP as well.

__________

BFF K: I know that Nuts and Cream of the Crop are both standalones, but will we be seeing Leo and Roxie in this next book?

Alice Clayton: YES! The gang is all back together again.

__________

BFF K: The Achtung Baby album played a big role in Roxie’s childhood and her relationship with Leo. Do you personally love that album? What other albums do you love? Will music play a role in Oscar’s story too?

Alice Clayton: U2 is hands down my favorite band in the world. I love them more than words can say. And that was the first time I ever saw them live, the ZooTV tour. That album is incredibly important to me, especially Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World.

__________

BFF K: Oscar is our next It-Boy Farmer. Can you give us a sneak peak into who comes after Oscar?

Alice Clayton: It’s all Archie Bryant…

__________

Rapid Fire

Eric Ripert or Anthony Bourdain? Both at the same time

Farmer or Chef? Farmer

Amazing Race or Survivor? Amazing Race

Dukes of Hazzard or Little House on the Prairie? Little House

Cake or Pie? Pie

Bono or R.E.M.? U2

Small Town Diner or Exclusive Restaurant? Diner

Manhattan or Los Angeles? Manhattan

Sugar Snaps or Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brie? Brie

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream? Whipped Cream

 

BFF K:  Thank you so much to Alice Clayton for taking the time to answer my questions about the Hudson Valley series and playing our silly rapid fire game! We adore your fabulous books and can’t wait for everyone to get a peek at the newest hot farmer in the Hudson Valley!

signoff_K_sm

 

 

 

About the Author

New York Times Best Selling author ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop).

She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and has finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.

Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog.

People Magazine says of Alice: “Clayton is a master at balancing heart, humor and plenty of action between the sheets.” 11/24/14 issue

That’s What She Said – Author Interview with Daisy Prescott

WeWereHere 3 (1)

In the 90s …

texting involved paper and a pen …

… our selfies were Polaroids …

… our favorite music was on mix tapes.

Sex was dangerous, music was raw, and falling in love felt nostalgic.

We were friends and lovers.

We thought we knew everything.

We knew nothing.

We were here.

Set in the early 1990s, a time before the internet, social media, and smart phones, We Were Here is the prequel to Geoducks Are For Lovers. This book can be read as a standalone.

“This story has it all! Just like a mixed tape; we get a dose of steamy romance, angsty ballads and sweet love songs woven together in a compelling, heartwarming and sometimes heartwrenching journey of self-exploration.” Helena Hunting, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Links to purchase We Were Here

Amazon      iBooks      Barnes & Noble      Kobo

Read BFF K’s Review of We Were Here by Daisy Prescott

That’s What (Mostly) She Said

Exclusive Author Interview with Daisy Prescott

____________________

BFF K: This entire book brings back college memories for me. It is so much fun to immerse myself in the 90’s again! What was the most fun part of writing a book set in that era? What was the most challenging part?

DP: Most fun was reliving my college memories, as well as SO and readers sharing their own memories from the 90s as I was writing. I’m not saying several events in the book happened in real life, but I am saying details were changed to protect the guilty. The pop culture and music references were tons of fun to write and revisit.

The most challenging part was returning to a time where communication and keeping in touch were more complicated. We take being constantly connected for granted these days. Communication, or the lack of, is a big theme of We Were Here.

____________________

BFF K: Why did you decide to revisit the gang?

DP: After I published Geoducks in 2013, I still had these characters in my head. Because Geoducks is a reunion book, writing the beginning made sense. New Adult/college romance has been a popular trend and I wanted to put my own spin on a NA book. There is so much nostalgia right now for the 90s, the timing was perfect to write these characters’ backstory.

____________________

BFF K: Because of the way the books have released, most of us have come to love you through Geoducks Are for Lovers. If someone is new to the Modern Love Stories Series, would you recommend reading Geoducks Are for Lovers first and then We Were Here or switch it around now that both are released?

DP: I think you can read them in either order. Several of my beta readers had not read Geoducks because I wanted to know if WWH could stand on its own without knowing the future versions of the characters. When my betas loved WWH, I knew it could work either way.

I’d say if you are the type of reader to peek at the ending, read Geoducks first. Otherwise, read We Were Here first. I think readers will want to read the other book either way.

____________________

BFF K: Evergreen State College is a real place! How are you so familiar with the college? How did it come to be the birthplace of the Modern Love Stories Series? What are the similarities between Evergreen in real life and Evergreen in WWH?

DP: I have friends and family who attended Evergeen. It’s an amazing, creative, non-traditional college. Geoducks Are for Lovers was my working title and originally I had the characters attending a fictional college in the Pacific Northwest. SO reminded me that Evergreen’s mascot was the geoduck (Go Speedy!), so Evergreen made perfect sense and gave another layer of meaning to the weird title.

Things I kept the same: I generalized Evergreen to make the college experience more universal for readers. However, the campus references are all real places at Evergreen. Culturally, Olympia and Evergreen were at the center of the grunge and Riot Grrrls music movements. I couldn’t write a book set at Evergreen in the early 90s and not mention these things. That “three piece with some Zen Buddhist name” Ben mentions? Nirvana, who played on campus and around Olympia at the time.

There are are a lot of small details that I fictionalized for the story. Specific differences include: the grading system (Evergreen doesn’t give grades), class types, and living situations (most students live off campus after first year or in on-campus apartments).

____________________

BFF K: How did this wonderful cast of characters develop in your head? Was it one character first and then the others or did you start with the idea for the group first and then develop each of the characters?

DP: My original inspiration came from watching The Big Chill. A few weeks later while I was talking with a group of friends planning to attend their 20th college reunion, I wonder what a Gen X version of that movie would be like. I started with Maggie and I knew there would be a second chance love story for her. Then the characters began to take on their personalities and histories. When I decided to set it at a beach cabin, I knew it would have to be on Whidbey, my former home and one of my favorite places on the planet.

____________________

BFF K: There is not much in the book about the families’ of the gang. (I think that’s two-fold: they are each other’s family and it is so descriptive of the 80’s and 90’s latchkey kids.) But, in your head, do you envision a family-centered backstory for any of the characters? What is Quinn’s family like, how about Maggie’s?

DP: It was deliberate. In college, we break away from our biological families and build independent friendships and romantic relationships which take priority. That’s a big focus of We Were Here.

During the road trip, the characters share bits about their families when they talk about names. There are a few other details scattered throughout the book and also in Geoducks.

We get a glimpse of Quinn’s family life in his intro. In high school, he ran away for a few weeks and “camped” on the beach. In my head, that’s when he came out to his family. He’s the gay, artistic son of a retired Marine, so we can fill in some things about their relationship from those details.

Maggie’s family life is revealed in the beginning of Geoducks, so I didn’t want to repeat it too much. An only child, her parents are married, she’s close with her grandmother on Whidbey… in many ways, she’s blessed with a close family.

____________________

BFF K: Have you ever spent Halloween in the Castro District?

DP: I have indeed! I went to college in the Bay Area. I think I went to the Castro for at least three Halloweens. Castro hosted the best street parties ever!

____________________

BFF K: Will we get Quinn’s story? (Please! I love him so much I just want a whole book of Q!)

DP: I love Quinn! However, I don’t think he’ll get his own book. But… see the next question. (cough)

Quinn is happy in Geoducks. We get small future glimpses of his life in Ready to Fall, Missionary Position, as well as the short, Give and Take. He likes to show up in other people’s books. (cough)

____________________

BFF K: In this book, Lizzy broke my heart. I LOVE her so much. What was Lizzy’s story between the end of We Were Here and her death? She received a post card from England, but wouldn’t tell Q who it was from or any details. Did she ever reconnect with **Spoiler Free**? What was Lizzy’s life like? Were the friends with her when she passed?

DP: I love Lizzy, too! I can’t answer these questions because …

Lizzy is getting her own book!

I dropped this as an Easter Egg in WWH’s end matter. Happily Ever Now is Lizzy’s story. It begins about five years after college while she’s living in NYC. We’ll see lots of Quinn, some Maggie and other cameos!

Tentative release date is Winter 2017, but if I can get it out quicker, I will. I’ve had this book outlined since it popped into my head while driving last year. I needed to publish We Were Here first to introduce Lizzy. Now that you’ve met her, I promise you’re going to LOVE her book, especially if you like second chance love stories. Ahem.

____________________

BFF K: Which Modern Love Stories Series character is your favorite to write?

DP: I love writing Quinn. He’s so fun, but also cuts through the noise with emotional truth like no other. I love his flirty, clever, confident personality, and his big heart. Selah is a close second. Ben surprised me. His section of We Were Here is one of my favorites. I love Maggie, but I’m still mad at her for some of her behavior in Geoducks. I know it sounds crazy, but she wouldn’t do what I wanted. At all. I think she gets her stubbornness from me. I love writing all of them! I think that’s how this book ended up being SEVEN POVs.

____________________

RAPID FIRE

(Note from Daisy: I decided to ask SO these questions instead. These are his answers, with my commentary.)

(Note from BFF K: SO is her husband!)

Backstreet Boys or New Kids On The Block: No comment.

Teen Line or No Teen Line: Teen Spirit?

River Phoenix or JFK Jr: River Phoenix

Singles or Reality Bites: Singles

Chore Wheel or Every Man for Himself: Every man for himself (obviously-D.P.)

Study Abroad or Stay at Home: Study Abroad

Nirvana or Pearl Jam: Never live in a world where you have to chose.

Flannel or Rugby: Flannel if it’s more “formal”.

Hairstyle, Scrunchie or Crimped: Scrunchie

(sidenote: SO had long hair in the early 90s. See Singles answer above.)

Spinal Tap or Rocky Horror Picture Show: Spinal Tap

Beaches or Steele Magnolias: Steel Magnolias (side note: he answered without hesitating.)

Mix Tape, Better to: Give or Receive: Better to be both a giver and a receiver. 😉

(winky emoticon added by Daisy)

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME ON THE BLOG TODAY!

XO,

Daisy

I’m grateful to Daisy for answering my most burning questions about We Were Here and for simply being amazing! I <3 you more than Quinn loves snappy Dolly Parton quotes! <3 😘
BFF K.

Daisy’s We Were Here Playlist on Spotify

About the Author

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USA Today Bestselling Author Daisy Prescott writes romantic comedies with heart.

Her Modern Love Stories feature characters in their thirties and forties finding and rediscovering love in unexpected and humorous ways. Her Wingmen books star regular guys who often have beards, drive trucks, and love deeply once they fall.

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband and an imaginary house goat. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

To learn more about Daisy and her writing, sign up for her mailing list here

Send her an email at: daisyauthor@gmail.com

Twitter | Facebook | Author Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

 

 

That’s What She Said – Author Interview – Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers

 Below is the BFF’s exclusive interview with Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers.

Also posted today – BFF K’s Review of Reclaim Me.

Be sure to check that out too!

RECLAIM ME
Chasing Fire #3
Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers
Releasing October 20th, 2015
Berkley Intermix
As the heart-pounding Chasing Fire trilogy concludes, a dangerous entanglement leaves Hudson and Allie wondering how much they’re willing to risk for the love they can’t live without…
There’s almost nothing Alessandra Sinclair wouldn’t do for Hudson Chase. He was her first love, and she’s determined that he’ll be her last. But when the terrible truth Hudson has been hiding comes to light, Allie finds herself caught in a
deadly game of cat and mouse with a man from her past who’s determined to use what he knows to ruin Hudson. Now, the only way to save the man she loves may be to lose him forever…
Hudson has always known that the secrets he keeps could be his downfall, but he never expected them to put Allie’s life in danger as well. It’s time for him to come clean–before everything he’s ever wanted is destroyed…
Includes previews of REMIND ME and RELEASE ME, the first two books of the Chasing Fire trilogy.

 

That’s What She Said – Author Interview with Ann Marie Walker and Amy K Rogers

BFF’s: What are some of your favorite books and who are your favorite authors?

AM: My favorite author is without a doubt Sylvia Day. She not only develops strong emotional connections with her characters but she definitely knows how to write a sexy male lead!

A: Hands down J.R Ward. Her powerful, well developed, not to mention sexy male characters, strong women that compliment their partners, and witty, no holds barred dialog.

____________________

BFF’s: Tell us about your writing partnership- how did you meet, are these the first books you’ve written together? How does the writing process work for you?

AM&A: We met on twitter actually, fangirling over our favorite books, and decided to give a joint venture a try with the Chasing Fire series. As for our process, let’s just say it involves Google docs, lots of pictures of David Gandy, and the occasional lemon drop martini.

____________________

BFF’s: How did you develop the storyline for the Chasing Fire series?

AM&A: We started with a spin on Jane Austen’s Persuasion and then played a game of “What if?” changing plots lines and characters through a series of Skype brainstorming sessions. Obviously our finished product is very different, but the premise of the former boyfriend returning as the now successful man remained.

____________________

BFF’s: Which book in the series was your favorite to write.

AM: I think my favorite book to write was RELEASE ME. By the second book the characters had really come into their own in terms of dictating how they needed to be written. And while that was also true in the case of RECLAIM ME, the final installment of the trilogy was rather bittersweet to write.

A: My favorite is probably REMIND ME. The first book is when Hudson decided he wanted to talk. He had something to say that he wasn’t going to drop. Also, watching him learn to let people inside and display his vulnerability, which is extended throughout the series as it is not easy to drop the walls. RECLAIM ME was, as Ann Marie noted, bittersweet.

____________________

BFF’s: Any plans to continue with stories for any of these characters? Let’s just put it out there, I’m mostly talking Nick and Harper! Please?!?! Even a short story!

AM&A: We’ve actually had quite a few requests for a book about Nick and Harper. Our official answer is…maybe 🙂

____________________

BFF’s: Does the fab David Gandy know you not only site him as your inspiration for Hudson Chase but that you dedicated all three books to him?

AM&A: Actually, David was kind enough to send a message the week before REMIND ME debuted wishing us luck with the series. During that conversation a screenshot of the first dedication was shared. And yes, there was quite a bit of giggling involved on our parts and there *may* have been an inadvertent use of an emoji.

____________________

BFF’s: Any favorite scenes?

AM: I think my favorite is the scene in RELEASE ME that takes place in Verona. Hudson’s text message/love notes to Allie while she’s on Juliet’s balcony gets me every time! That and of course the subsequent train sex.

A: RECLAIM ME. What can I say, a sexy alpha male with a puppy.

____________________

BFF’s: What is your next project solo or together?

AM&A: Together have a little something we are working on for Chasing Fire and Ann Marie just put the finishing touches on a new solo series proposal.

____________________

Rapid Fire:

Christian Grey or Gideon Cross

AM: Gideon

A: Gideon

Lake House or Penthouse

AM: Lake House

A: Penthouse

Snowmobile or Motorcycle

AM: Motorcycle

A: Oh, please, motorcycle. Vroom-vroom.

Allie’s Style or Harper’s Style

AM: Allie

A: Allie

Martini or Wine

AM: Martini

A: Martini

Kindle or Actual Book

AM: Kindle

A: Kindle.

Android or iPhone

AM: iPhone

A: iPhone

Twitter or Facebook

AM: Twitter

A: Twitter

Thank you so much to Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers for answering both our serious and silly questions! We are so grateful for your time and your mind-blowing talents. We look forward to reading more and more!

Praise for the Chasing Fire trilogy
“Exceptional…Seriously sexy and sinfully steamy. Can’t wait for more from this writing duo!”–New York Times bestselling author Tara Sue Me

 

“Walker and Rogers strike the perfect balance between blistering physical desire and heartfelt connections…”–RT Book Review
Buy Now
Check out the Complete First Chapter Exclusively at
USA Today’s Happily Ever After

Excerpt

Hudson stood with his back to her, his phone pressed to his ear as he stared out across the river to the lake, barely visible through the gray January fog. His tall, muscular frame filled the window of the small office, dominating the space just as he did the world below them. Nearly all of Chicago seemed his for the taking, and yet he’d made it clear that the only thing he wanted was her. And the attraction was more than just physical. It was an inexplicable pull they’d both felt from the very start, a yearning so strong it not only defied the odds, but logic and reason as well. With everything that hung in the balance, the two of them needed to keep their distance. Yet no matter what new development had brought him there, and what risk he was taking, there was no denying the thrill that shot through her just from being in the same room with him.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Authors

Though thousands of miles apart, Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers are in constant contact, plotting story lines
and chatting about their love of alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel, David Gandy. You can find them on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker and @Amy_KRogers.
Amy K. Rogers

 

Ann Marie Walker
Start the Chasing Fire Series Today!
Available Now

BFF K’s Review of Remind Me

Available Now

 

That’s What She Said – Author Interview – Andrea Johnston

I never thought that, at 40, this would be my life. Mourning the loss of the man I vowed to love for life was hard enough. Online dating, starting a business, and falling in love was never the plan.

Victoria Bennett has been blessed with a loving husband, a wonderful son and amazing friends. Always the organized planner, Victoria was thrown life’s curve ball when she found herself a widow and single mom before 40. After mourning the loss of her husband and rejoining her friends and family in her once simple life, Victoria finds herself venturing into the world of online dating with little success.

After hanging up her keyboard and focusing on new experiences and hobbies, Victoria is as surprised as everyone else when her favorite pastime leads to a new career and passion for life. When a friendship turns to romance, her life is once again thrown for a loop. Like everything new in her life she takes on the relationship with gusto, and a series of mishaps. 
Victoria soon learns that sometimes the life you’ve planned isn’t the life you lead. It is still your life, just your life rewritten.
Find on Goodreads

Buy Links

But remember: #DillonisMine

That’s What She Said – Author Interview with Andrea Johnston

BFF K: How much of Victoria is you?

AJ:  Oh goodness. Much of Victoria’s personality is me but also a little dash of various friends.

____________________

BFF K: Old-school rap? Is it really on your playlist? Did you have a writing playlist?

AJ:  Haha! It is! I am a child of the 80s & 90s and love LOVE old school rap and hip hop! I almost always had some sort of old school funk, hip hop, rap and R&B. Specifically the Beastie Boys station on Pandora.

____________________

BFF K: Who is your D.L. Cardwell? Meaning, if you could do a private event, small meet and greet with one author, who would it be?

AJ: What’s with the hard question??? There is a list. I would have a dinner party surrounded by amazing female authors but if I could sit down for 1 hour and enjoy a cup of tea with Jackie Collins I think my life would be complete.

____________________

BFF K: Are you going to open a P&Q? Can I come visit and read??? I love this idea!

AJ: Well, I’d like to have the home Victoria has and my own version of P&Q for my ‘tribe’. Of course you’d be on the list!!

BFF K: Thank you! If this ever happens, I’m totally there! <3

____________________

BFF K: Will we ever get a short story where we find out what Dillon said during the P&Q event???

AJ:  It’s something I have considered. I love Dillon. I would actually love to see this story from his POV.

BFF K: That’s even better than a short story! The book from Dillon’s POV?!?! I’m swooning just thinking about it. One or both of these things should happen!

____________________

BFF K: What’s next? Do we get Anna’s story? What about Charlotte? And when can we meet Liam???

AJ:  You’ll be happy to know I have started Anna’s story! I will say that she does meet someone and it is steamy. Charlotte talks to me constantly and is demanding her story be told. She’s a sad soul with a peppy persona. I can’t wait to share her with everyone. Oh Mr. Liam Laughlin when will you make your appearance? In due time ladies. In due time.

BFF K: Yes, I am very happy to know that! Ugh! Due time is hard…..I’ll be waiting not so patiently for all of the above!

___________________

Rapid Fire:

Tupac or Biggie? Tupac.

Red or White? White.

Cream or Sugar? Cream.

Kindle or Real Book? Kindle.

Comedy or Horror movie?  Comedy.

Cook or Dine out? Cook.

Brownies or Cupcakes? Cupcakes!

Thank you so much to Andrea Johnston for answering my most burning questions about Life Rewritten in this installment of That’s What She Said! I <3 you and I <3 this book!

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About the Author

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper. An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.  A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.
Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs.  When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

 

 

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That’s What She Said – Heather Lyons – Author Interview

 

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BFF K LOVED The Hidden Library! You can check out her 5-Rated Review! She had some very serious questions for Heather Lyons. Heather was kind enough to answer those below in our latest edition of, “That’s What She Said” author interviews! Enjoy!

The Hidden LIbrary Cover

Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .

Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.

That’s What She Said – Author Interview with Heather Lyons

BFF K: Let’s just get this one out of the way……When can we expect Book #3 in The Collectors’ Society series?

HL: I don’t have a set date yet, as I’m still working on it, but definitely this year!

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BFF K: Though they’re fiction, books become part of our lives and part of our view of time and place. As you’re working with these classics, does it almost feel like you’re re-writing history?

HL: You know, it’s funny you ask this, because it was a question I considered early on in the process and had to purposely choose to set aside for my own sanity’s sake. While I’m definitely utilizing classic characters within the world of the Collectors’ Society, this is also firmly my story (if that makes sense!).

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BFF K: There were several boys in my high school who absolutely loved the Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I think they might be surprised with the direction the story takes in The Hidden Library. Do you worry what readers will think about your updates to some of their most beloved stories?

HL: It’s another question I’ve considered and then had to set aside, simply because it’s a terrifying prospect. I am keenly aware that there are beloved characters within my story, and I have done my best to stay true to their arcs and personalities. I did quite a bit of research for the series, both rereading the source materials and then hunting down scholarly analyses of the books and characters to better understand the significance behind the characters and their stories. From there, I crafted what I thought the characters would be like, given the foundations from the source materials. But in the end, I’ve told the most authentic story that I wanted to tell.

__________

BFF K: There are so many fantastic, iconic, rich characters available in the classics. How do you choose who is perfect for the stories in The Collectors’ Society series?

HL: Well, my reasons are multifold. First, I chose characters that I really liked or found interesting. Alice, for example, has always been one of my very favorite literary characters. Secondly, I carefully selected those whose stories and experiences best suited not only the Society’s needs but my own (haha). And then, finally, I tried to really dig deep and not go with the ones people would obviously expect, because where’s the fun in that?

________

BFF K: It is no secret that I absolutely adore Alice, I think she is one of the most phenomenal heroines I’ve ever read. How do you consistently give her thought process and dialogue both courage and vulnerability?

HL: Here’s the thing, if I can be honest for a moment. I chose to craft Alice the way she is for a lot of reasons, but the big one is that I’m tired of people complaining about so-called Mary Sues or Bellas. It seems like anytime a heroine or MC shows any emotion, she’s labeled one of those terms, and it’s maddening to read. Why is showing emotion such a bad thing? Why is vulnerability so looked down upon? I’ve always had a very clear picture that Alice is tough and capable, but she’s also got a distinct vulnerability to her. Her emotions, her experiences have shaped her personality quite distinctly. And while life hasn’t always gone the way she’s wanted, there’s very little she would ever change about her history. When I write her, I always keep in mind: 1) Victorian attributes; 2) queenly attributes; 3) the emotional scars she proudly carries with her; and 4) how she’s not down with anyone trying to make her feel like she’s anything other than what she is.

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BFF K: The Collectors’ Society timelines cover so much ground! You jump from place to place and century to century. Is there one place or time that you’ve enjoyed writing about more than another? Is there a genre you haven’t explored yet that we might get to see in the future?

HL: Wonderland is definitely fun for me to write, simply because it’s so incredibly vivid in my mind. I would love to really explore the Society members within a high fantasy or even sci-fi, to be honest.

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BFF K: For those readers who are going to be beside themselves until the next book in the series is released….Is there anything you can tell us about what’s in store for our beloved Collectors’ Society?

HL: The Society will be even more determined to hunt down the villain(s) behind the Timeline deletions, and Alice will be right there, leading the charge. I think readers will definitely delight in seeing Queen Alice, in OR out of Wonderland, kicking butt and taking names!

__________

A HUGE Thank You to Heather Lyons for taking the time to answer my burning questions about The Hidden Library and The Collectors’ Society. If you’re not already following Heather on social media, do it! She’s super sweet!

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Amazon ** Amazon UK ** Barnes and Noble **iBooks ** Kobo

 Don’t miss the first book in this series, THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!

The Collectors' Society front cover

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Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

 

 

 

 

Website | Author Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | THE HIDDEN LIBRARY Goodreads

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That’s What She Said – Kim Holden Author Interview

Secrets.
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!

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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.
Comfortable.

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
Gus.

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
amazing.

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!

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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:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KimHoldenAuthor
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7445352.Kim_Holden
My Website https://kimholdenbooks.com

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

Characters:
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

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

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

Genre:
Indie/Romance/Humor/Drama

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!

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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! 

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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.

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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!

Giveaway

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.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AshleyPullo
Twitter: @ashpullo
My NEW AMAZING WEBSITE http://www.ashleypullo.com
Or find me at any local Starbucks around 3 p.m.