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Character Interview: Sarah Rosenfeld from Sophia Bar-Lev’s novel, THE SILVER LOCKET

Book Cover - The SIlver LocketWe’re thrilled to have here today SARAH ROSENFELD from Sophia Bar-Lev’s new novel, THE SILVER LOCKET. SARAH is a 23-year-old nursing assistant living in Boston, Mass.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sarah.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Given the intense emotional components of my story, I think the book portrays an accurate and penetrating look into my mind and soul. As you know, sexual assault leaves far more than physical bruises, it is intensely traumatic and when followed by an unexpected and untimely pregnancy, you have the recipe for potential disaster.  I am thankful that my story ends in a reconciliation that was beyond my wildest dreams and the journey to that point is unfolded from chapter to chapter in a sensitive yet very realistic manner.  Yes, I do feel I was fairly and compassionately portrayed.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I do think the author did a good job. Having been forced to cope at a young age with the loss of my parents, I struggled with feelings of rejection and abandonment. It is my hope that my eventual triumph over those fears will inspire the readers to find within themselves the courage to overcome whatever fears that haunt them.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Persistence.  I struggle but I do not give up.

Worse trait?

Fear of abandonment.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Jennifer Garner – I admire her and think she’d play a fantastic ‘Sarah’.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My husband, Joe, the love of my life.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

In the chapter where I finally decided to come clean with Joe about the baby I had when he was away for nearly a year, working in Arizona during the war.  Joe was a diabetic and couldn’t qualify for military service. As jobs were scarce in Massachusetts at the time for a man of his skills, he went to Arizona to work for nearly a year.  It was a difficult separation for both of us and the attack happened shortly after he’d left.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

I would not want to be my assailant’s mother because of the terrible heartache that was hers regarding her wayward son.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

(Sarah smiles) – It’s the best part and that’s all I’m going to say.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

I think it would have to be a sequel to THE SILVER LOCKET and I’d recommend she pick up right where this book ends and chronicle the important midlife years of a wife and mother.

Thank you for this interview, Sarah.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I certainly hope so!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoA native of Massachusetts, Sophia Bar-Lev divides her time between the Fort Worth, Texas area and Israel.  A former school teacher and adult education lecturer, Bar-Lev now devotes the majority of her time to writing.  Sophia Bar-Lev is also the author of Pasta, Poppy Fields, and Pearls and Pizza and Promises. The Silver Locket is her latest novel.

Connect with the author on the web:

http://www.sophiabarlev.com/

http://www.sophiabarlev.com/#!blog/cnf7

https://www.facebook.com/SophiaBarLevAuthor

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Title:  THE SILVER LOCKET

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Author:  Sophia Bar-Lev

Website:  www.sophiabarlev.com

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

When The Silver Locket opens, it’s July 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But for two young women in a small town in New England waging their own personal battles, the struggle is way too close to home.

When extraordinary circumstances bring these two women together, one decision will alter the course of their lives.  And with that one decision, their lives will be forever changed…and forever intertwined.

Were these two women thrust together by happenstance—or fate?   A tragedy. A decision. A pact. Lives irretrievably changed. A baby girl will grow up in the shadow of a secret that must be kept at all costs. But will this secret ever see the light of day?  And what happens when—or if—a promise made must be broken?

Adopting a child is not for the feint of heart—but neither is being adopted…

A sweeping and suspenseful story that unfolds in a different time and a different place, The Silver Locket explores universal themes that ring true even today. Secrets. Unbreakable bonds. The healing power of love.  Deception. Anguish.  Redemption.

In this touching and tender tale, novelist Sophia Bar-Lev weaves a confident, quietly moving story about adoption, finding hope in the face of hopelessness, and how true love can overcome any obstacle. With its brilliant juxtaposition of the wars fought both on the battlefield and internally, The Silver Locket is a poignant novel, resplendent with drama.  Featuring an exceedingly real and relatable plot, and characters that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned, The Silver Locket is a sterling new read.

 

Character Interview: Dana McGarry from Lynn Steward’s literary fiction ‘April Snow’ – Book Two in the Dana McGarry Series

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have you here today Dana McGarry from Lynn Steward’s novel April Snow, Book Two in the Dana McGarry Series. Dana is a thirty year old teen accessories buyer at B. Altman department store, living in New York City, New York.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Dana.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Yes, I was fairly portrayed. Lynn understood that I was stressed and conflicted about my desire to suddenly end my marriage last December when I discovered my husband’s affair, and she helped me work it out with a kind priest, who I met in London, and through dear friendships in New York. I have no regrets. We had many good years and fond memories, but Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]the marriage was beyond repair. Lynn has also experienced challenges at work and she understood how important it was for me to create The English Shop, in the vein of the new women’s department at Brooks Brothers. It’s very frustrating when senior management is set in their ways, not willing to think outside the box: if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Lynn had the same problem, people underestimated her, so she did an excellent job painting the two sides of my personality: I am accommodating but at the same time ambitious and determined.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Fortitude and independence. 

Worse trait?

Too intense.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself)   Kristen Bell. 

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Mark Tepper, president of the Tepper Display Company.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I met my boyfriend’s spoiled college age daughter and she was cool to me. 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

My boss, Helen Kavanagh, the divisional merchandise manager at B. Altman. She was an obstructionist in book one, A Very Good Life, and she’s obstinate in April Snow. She’s only in her late forties, but she’s inflexible and controlling. She resists my suggestions at every turn. I would not want to treat my staff that way and stifle their creativity.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I am convinced that the right choices were made.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I would like an exciting career in the fashion industry, more romance, and a handsome and charming soul-mate!

Thank you for this interview, Dana.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yes you will! There are five volumes in the Dana McGarry series and the synopses for the remaining three are written. Lynn tells me that I will love the English influence and characters in the next book, so I’m looking forward to it! As you will learn if you read April Snow, I’m an Anglophile!

Title: April Snow

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Lynn Steward

Website: www.LynnSteward.com

Publisher: Lynn Steward Publishing

Website/Amazon

At the cutting edge of women’s fashion in the 1970s, a visionary young woman subdues her desire for love to remake retail at New York’s most glamorous department store.

Newly single, Dana McGarry learns she must divorce herself from more than a bad marriage to succeed. Not only must she prove to family and friends that she can make it on her own, but she also must challenge an antagonistic boss who keeps standing in her way. Moving out of her comfort zone and into the arms of a dynamic businessman, Dana bets it all on a daring new move that will advance her buying career, But at what price?

Her dreams within reach, Dana’s world is shattered in a New York minute when a life is threatened, a secret is revealed, and her heart is broken.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynn Steward photo in library

Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. April Snow is volume two in the Dana McGarry Series. A Very Good Life was published in March 2014.

Interview with Margay Leah Justice, author of ‘The Scent of Humanity’

Margay Leah JusticeDescended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter, knitting her way through a stash of yarn that almost rivals her tbr pile!

Her latest book is the romantic suspense/women’s fiction, The Scent of Humanity.

For More Information

About the Book:

The Scent of Humanity 2Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. In theory. But in one small town, in one family, that theory is put to the test.

Growing up in a rural town in Massachusetts was supposed to be safe, but for SILVIE CHILDS, that safety was shattered by a kidnapping attempt that forever changed her life. Now, nearly twenty years later, that sense of safety is challenged again by the kidnapping attempt on her young niece, and Silvie is left struggling with one question: How can something like this happen twice in one family?

It is a dilemma shared by NICK FAHEY, the detective assigned to the case. Arriving on the scene of the abduction attempt, Nick expects to run a routine investigation. Until he meets the victim, the niece of a woman he once considered a dear friend. Unfortunately, these days Silvie Childs can barely stand the sight of him.

Once there was a time when Silvie Childs worshipped Nick Fahey, believing he could do no wrong. Until the accident that nearly killed her brother; the accident that Nick reportedly caused. Coming on the heels of her own near abduction, the accident skewed Silvie’s ability to trust men – especially Nick. But now, with the attempt on her niece’s safety, Silvie finds herself in the untenable position of having to trust Nick to bring the kidnapper to justice.

That trust is severely tested when, after only two months, the case is closed for lack of new evidence. Feeling betrayed by the system in which she works as a paralegal and by Nick, Silvie takes matters into her own hands. Contacting local news stations to generate interest in the case, allowing herself to be filmed hanging sketches of the suspect on telephone poles, she will risk her own safety to protect that of her niece. When her efforts re-open the wounds of her past, she is once again forced to put her trust in the one man who still has the power to hurt her – Nick

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Margay. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am actually multi-published. I actually have three books out there now.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

For the first two books, I went the small press route because it was easier than traditionally publishing. With this book, I chose to self-publish.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I think it was less than a year, so good turn around.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt amazing! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your name on the cover of a book and/or holding the product of all those years of work in your hands. And if I remember correctly, I think I celebrated by buying myself a little present!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I contacted a lot of blogs to do guest posts for them. A lot of online marketing.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve learned a lot about story structure and what works best from the editing process, which I employ more consciously now. And I’ve really learned the value of building a name for yourself in this industry.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I can’t say anything has, really. I am a research nut – I love the whole process of discovering new things – so I did a lot of research about the industry long before I ever got published. So I had a pretty good grasp of it before I was published.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Having someone tell you they liked your book.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Hone your craft. Research the industry. Know what to expect so there aren’t any surprises. And most important, love what you do. If you don’t love it, neither will anyone else because it’ll show.

Interview with Kaira Rouda: ‘Don’t give up. I published my first novel in my 40s’

Kaira Rouda 2Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother’s Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.

Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kaira Rouda. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

In the Mirror 3Thank you for having me here! I am actually multi-published! My first book was a nonfiction title, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. I am thrilled women entrepreneurs are reading and connecting with the book and its message – a message that, ironically, fits well in today’s publishing industry where authors must become entrepreneurs, too.

I followed that work with my first fiction novel, Here, Home, Hope – a story about a mom having a midlife crisis. My next novel, All the Difference, is a romantic suspense novel with a murder mystery and more. In the Mirror is my third novel and it asks the question: If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

My first book was mainstream/large publisher, my next was small press and my last two are published by my publishing company, Real You Publishing Group. Authors today have a lot of choices, at least the lucky ones do. I’m proud to be a hybrid author. I have a great literary agent who helps me navigate the process and most importantly, a loyal readership who in most cases doesn’t care who publishes the books as long as more keep arriving on their virtual or real bookshelves. That’s why I believe entrepreneurial authors will continue to asses all of the options available to them – and make choices based on what the market dictates and what the author feels comfortable with. Things are changing quickly, that’s for sure.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Both of my traditionally published books were 18 months from contract to publication.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Holding the finished book in your hand for the first time is a surreal experience. I remember, too, walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf, facing out, and it was probably one of the best moments of my life. It’s something I’d always dreamed about – and it came true. A really fun moment was finding my novel at the airport bookstore.

I celebrate each new release by reminding myself how lucky I am to be living the life of my dreams.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I did a huge radio and television tour for my first book. That was daunting. I also spoke at events around the country. For a shy author, this was a big step. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about all of that!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve learned the value of the re-write. Seriously, I hated editing and revision before but I’m starting to embrace the fun of it and it always makes my stories better.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

The supportive writing community is amazing. I am constantly in awe of the generosity of most authors. It’s exciting the support out there. And eventually, those divisive distinctions – Indie vs. Traditional – will disappear and we’ll all hold hands and support each other as an author community. (Seriously, it’s going to happen. And, the New York Times will review more women authors and ….)

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Writing – and being able to say that’s what I do for a career. It’s awesome!

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t give up. I published my first novel in my 40s. It’s never to late! So get going!

 

Book Review: ‘A Very Good Life’ by Lynn Steward

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]A Very Good Life is the first book in an exciting new series by successful business woman now author Lynn Steward.

In this story, which crosses over from the literary to women’s fiction to romance, Steward takes us to 1970s Manhattan, home of the sophisticated and the elite. There, we meet Dana McGarry.

Dana has everything — a successful job at a prestigious department store, a handsome lawyer husband, a beautiful home, and loving family and friends. But things aren’t always as perfect as they appear to be, aren’t they?

When Dana’s husband begins to drift away, and demands at her job require that she behaves unethically, her world begins to crumble. She finds herself at a crossroads. Will she make the right decisions and stay true to herself and her vision of what a ‘good life’ should be?

This was a wonderful read! It reminded me of novels I read years ago by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Female readers will no doubt empathize with Dana as she struggles to keep her career and marriage together. She is strong, but also caring and sensitive. Readers will also be swept away by the setting. With vivid detail, the author brings Christmas in 1970s New York City alive in all its splendor. I really felt transported in time and place, felt the snowflakes and smelled the holiday trees. The characters are sympathetic and interesting and, of course, the antagonist is just one of those persons the reader will love to hate.

Steward has created a wonderful world of drama in this new series. Book two is supposed to come later this year and I’m really looking forward to reading the new installment. If you love women’s fiction and are a fan of strong female protagonists, I recommend you pick this one up. It won’t disappoint.

Find out more on Amazon.

Visit Lynn Steward’s website.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

Character Interview: Dana McGarry from Lynn Steward’s literary fiction novel, A Very Good Life

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]We’re thrilled to have you here today Dana McGarry from Lynn Steward’s debut novel A Very Good Life.  Dana is a twenty-nine year old public relations and special events coordinate at B. Altman department store, living in New York City, New York.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Dana.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Yes, I was fairly portrayed. Lynn understood the unexpected and sudden challenges in my life, and she gave me the time I needed to work through them.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Lynn had the same problem, people underestimated her, so she did an excellent job painting the two sides of my personality: I am accommodating but at the same time ambitious and determined.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Fortitude and independence.

Worse trait?

Too intense.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?  Kristen Bell.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My husband, Brett McGarry.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I learned my husband took the free-spirited junior litigator from his law firm shopping for a professional wardrobe.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Janice Conlon, the junior litigator who seduces my husband, Brett.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Sad, but hopeful.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I want to have a little more fun, be adventurous.

Thank you for this interview, Dana.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yes you will! Lynn has written the synopses for four more novels in the Dana McGarry Series, and I was told to expect an exciting career in the fashion industry, and a handsome and charming love interest!

AVGL LS in libraryAbout the Author

Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.

About the Book

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.

Purchase on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Christmas is in the Air’ by Cary Morgan Frates, Danielle Lee Zwissler, Jennifer Conner, and Karen Hall


Christmas is in the Air Anthology 2

This is the second Christmas romance anthology from Books to Go Now that I have read this month. I loved the first one,Christmas Romance, and this the second one didn’t disappoint. Four talented romance authors, four sweet stories that will warm your heart this holiday season. And just like in the first one, there are dogs in this one, too!

In “Red Soles at Night Christmas Delight,” by Cary Morgan Frates, Audrey Wells is out of her wits when a dog jumps on to the deck of her boat and in the process throws her super expensive Louboutin shoes into the lake. The dog’s handsome owner has no choice but to dive into the freezing cold water to rescue them. Of course, Audrey ends up making sure he doesn’t get pneumonia. In a turn of fate, they end up spending Christmas Day together. A humorous and sexy story.

In “Yuletide Bride,” by Danielle Lee Zwissler, reporter Mary Simms is out on a mission. She wants to prove that the town’s Magic of Christmas Festival, where perfect couples are “matched” for life, is a sham. Will she have the courage to uncover the truth and destroy people’s belief in the tradition, even if it means destroying the happiness of some of the old couples involved? And what about James, the handsome lawyer who asks her not to go ahead with her story, and for whom she’s developing some serious feelings? Will Mary learn to have faith? An original, delightful story with a touch of mystery.

In “Christmas Gift that Keeps Wagging,” by Jennifer Conner, we meet Julian Barrows, a single dad with a kindergarten son who suffers from seizures; and Hannah, the beautiful trainer who specializes in seizure-detecting dogs. Their paths touch when Julian tries to get her dog for his son. The problem is, it’s incredibly expensive. Fate has other plans, and the magic of Christmas works its way into their lives…A heart-warming story with an ending that will pull at your heart strings.

The last story is “One Horse Open Sleigh Race,” by Karen Hall, where we’re transported to 1819 London, and where, after a most unexpected encounter, a wealthy earl and the feisty twin of the new clergyman find true love thanks to a Christmas sleigh race and an adorable “match-making” Scottie. Lovers of historical romance will relish this one.

This anthology has a tantalizing, charming cover. That’s the first thing that pulled me to the book, and it adequately illustrates the inside content. The four stories in this anthology are all about strong yet vulnerable heroines and sensitive, yet forceful heroes; about the spirit of the Christmas season and the magical effect it can sometimes have on people; about the hope and faith for true love and the attainment of that love.

Through the authors’ imaginations, I was transported to different places and times, relishing the characters’ fictional worlds and predicaments. I also love how the authors incorporate humor into their stories, and how the dogs play their important roles. Christmas Is in the Air is an upbeat, thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I’m sure readers of sweet romance stories will enjoy.

Find out more on Books to Go Now and  Amazon.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine. 

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