Hope your Thanksgiving celebration was joyous and guilt-free. Yes, you probably ate as much as I did (and enjoyed every minute of it) but here’s great news. This Monday is December 1. A perfect time to make the 100th promise of the year to lose weight. It’s a Monday, it’s a new month, and Pluto entered Capricorn for the first time in 246 years. I have no idea what that means in the scheme of things, but astrologers promise that it’s a very positive alignment when it comes to transformation. That’s all the evidence I need. Yay Pluto!
I’ve been considering the new Prevention Magazine Flat Belly Diet because it INSISTS that you enjoy dark chocolate, olives, avocados and nuts. But then mid-way through the explanation came the possible deal breaker. No coffee or tea. Really? But this is a Starbucks nation. How could they even suggest that we go cold turkey on caffeine…
I shot off a quick e-mail to the authors of the new book who developed this sure-fire-losethebellyfat-it-won’t-hurt-a-bit program to express my dread of living a day without my hazelnut coffee. Fortunately they wrote back and sad it’s just for the first four days to get rid of the bloat. After that, if I must, I can return to coffee and tea on a limited basis. So that sounds a little more doable, although I’ve never gone four hours without coffee. Four days won’t exactly be a walk in the park… I’ll let you know what I decide.
Meanwhile, let’s get to a book that is an absolute guilty pleasure- The FIdelity Files by Jessica Brody
(St. Martins Press, June 2008). This dazzling debut novel is the story of a beautiful, L.A. woman who works as an undercover “fidelity inspector.” Working under the code name Ashlyn, Jennifer Hunter is hired by suspicious wives and girlfriends to test the faithfulness of the men in their lives. Except every one in Jennifer’s life thinks she is an investment banker…
But Jen’s double life starts to take its toll and her friends and family suspect that the reason she never dates is more complicated than the demands of her supposed “investment banking” career. And when a suspicious email surfaces with her picture on it warning men of her real motives, Jen fears that her secret identity is in danger of being uncovered. Just when it seems like nothing is going her way, Jen meets sexy, sophisticated Jamie Richards. She knows there’s no room for real romance in her life, yet she finds herself drawn to him. But before she retires her secret agent self for the sake of true love, she takes on one last assignment – a job which will permanently alter her perceptions of trust, honesty, and love.
Here is what critics are saying:
“Alias meets Sex and the City…an excellent debut.” -Bookluver
“Sensational!” -Literary Lotus
“You’ll be hooked!” -Minneapolis Star Tribune
A USA Today Hot Summer Reads Pick!
I have not yet had the pleasure of reading this intriguing, put-your-feet-up-by-the-fire book, I am looking forward to it. Recently, I interviewed the lovely author to find out more. Here is Jessica and what she said:
Saralee:Your heroine is an investment banker rather than let’s say a corporate chef. How well do you this turf?
Jessica: Before I became a full-time writer, I worked in a very corporate environment. And like all corporate jobs, there were a certain number of “alcohol-related” events that I was expected to attend. I would often find myself at work happy hour functions in nearby bars, observing the interactions between single and non-single co-workers as their behaviors gradually declined from professional to something else entirely. Something hardly capable of being described as “appropriate.”
Witnessing these “indiscretions” upset me on a profound level. I secretly wished that someone would tell the “conveniently” absent significant others about what their husbands/wives/boyfriends/ girlfriends/fiancés really did while attending these “obligatory” and supposedly “uneventful” work functions. But I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to do it. I was brave enough to think it…but not exactly brave enough to go knocking on people’s doors with bad news. You know what people tend to do to “the messenger.”
So instead I created a character whose job and purpose in life was to do just that. To reveal the truth to anyone who wanted to know. To knock on all the doors that I never had the courage to knock on. An invincible superhero-esque woman whose quest is to fight against the evils of infidelity. But of course, she soon finds out…she’s not as invincible as she once thought.
Jessica: My friends are definitely in my books. There’s one in particular that stands out. One of Jen’s friends, Zoë, has a bad case of road rage. And she tends to talk on the phone while she drives, so Jen often finds herself on the phone with Zoë while she’s cursing out another driver. I have a friend who does that and that’s where I got the idea. This friend has read the book but I’m not sure how she feels about the similarities. She acts like she’s fine with it, but I guess you never know. She could secretly be totally offended.
Jessica: I can’t sing enough praise for Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It has “saved” so many manuscripts of mine. It’s meant for screenwriters but it works flawlessly for novels as well. It’s just a very intuitive way to write stories and make sure the audience isn’t bored to tears because nothing is happening for fifty pages. Now, I consult the book before I even start writing and I use his “beat sheet” to help me outline the major story points. It saves me so much time later on!
Jessica: How LONG it takes for a book to hit the shelves! Holy cow! I was a young woman when I sold that thing. I really wasn’t expecting it to take that long. I thought six months maybe, nine tops. But from the time I got the publishing deal to the time it was actually available in stores was 19 months! And I recently sold a YA novel to another publisher and that one is going to take 24 months to release. I’m still not entirely sure why it takes so long but that was definitely an unpleasant surprise. Especially for someone like me who get frustrated when it takes longer than ten seconds for music to download.
Jessica: The writing process is very random for me. It all depends on the day. Because I tend to be equally right and left brained, sometimes I feel as though the writing process is just a constant struggle (or sometimes clash) between the two sides of my brain to come up with a consistent way to write a novel. I write outlines, because my analytical side tells me it’s the right thing to do, but then halfway through the story, I come to the conclusion that I only write outlines so that I’ll have something to deviate from. I create complicated spreadsheets (a nod back to my days as a strategic analyst) for my storylines and page counts and pacing only to abandon them halfway through. And yet, despite this seemingly random chaos, it all feels perfectly natural to me. As if it was designed specifically for a purpose. So I suppose, my lack of a defined process is a process in itself.
Jessica: Of course I have all the regular fantasies like Oprah, Movie deal with an opening the size of Twilight, NYT Bestseller list, etc. But honestly, the one fantasy that I would really like to see fulfilled is just seeing someone reading my book in a public place. Like on an airplane or in the gym. I think that would be such an amazing feeling. Now, I just have to decide whether or not I would approach them and tell them I wrote it. Or better yet, ask them what they think without telling them who I am. I might not want to hear the answer to that though!