About the story:
Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired. With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage. Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?
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Tell me about yourself. What’s a day in your life like? I'm a mom of two boys, so the day starts early! I kick-start with a big mug of flavored coffee after everyone gets out the door. Then, I generally spend an hour or more answering email, and chatting on Facebook or Twitter. If I'm working on a novel, I head to the library at our local university, where I'll spend a few hours writing. If I'm between novels, I'm writing guest posts, answering interviews, commenting on blog posts, or talking to readers. I'm home by 3 pm to do household chores like laundry, and clean up. I spend some time with my boys, grab them some snacks, and fix dinner. We eat at home most nights. At about 8:30, my younger son goes to bed after we read a few stories. I snuggle up with my Kindle or a good book after that and fall asleep by 9:30 pm.
What sets you apart from other writers? Gosh. First, have to say that no two writers are the same. After that, my work ethic is pretty rock-solid. It's rare that a day goes by that I'm not thinking about writing or daydreaming about plotting my next novel. I've seen rejection as a speed-bump, not an absolute. It's all about tenacity and believing in yourself. I'm also a big believer in supporting other indie writers. It's a lot of fun to have a team of smart, sassy talented authors on your side.
Who are your favorite authors? Oh, I have dozens. I adore Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, and James Patterson. Indie authors also make up a good portion of my faves: Juliette Sobanet, Dina Silver, Tracie Banister, and Jen Tucker.
We’re in a bar and I’m buying you a drink. What’ll it be? Red wine, please.
What are you currently reading? I am reading Cat Lavoie's debut novel, Breaking the Rules. She's visiting my blog in August!
What are your writing vices? Vices, vices, vices. I need flavored coffee. I need quiet. And a plot outline...I can't work without one.
If you could gift yourself one superpower, what would it be? The ability to change mean people into nice, caring, thoughtful human beings. Really.
How do you deal with rejection? Oh, I've come a long way on this one! I still have rejection letters from 2007 (first version of Stay Tuned). Now, present day, unless a letter is particularly scathing, I'm able to quickly re-focus and move on. Constructive criticism is helpful. Negativity isn't good for anyone.
Where did the idea for your novel come from? I'm a Northern transplant. There's a lot of me in Julia!
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What three items would you take? If I can't take my two boys, I'll need drinking water, a big, sturdy tent, and a stack of books.
What would I find in your couch cushions? (Cringe) .... Um, in my formal living room, some fuzz. In the family room where the boys hang out: Legos, crackers, and small toys that hurt when you step on them.
Do you ever encounter writers block? Not yet, thank goodness.
Do you have a day job? Mom, taxi driver, cook, and laundress.
Is your writing based on real life experiences or is it all imaginary? A little of both!
What does your main character think about you? Would she want to hang around you as her author? We are BFFs!!
Who would play the starring role(s) if your book became a movie? I would adore Amy Adams or Reese Witherspoon to play as Julia. For Shug, it would have to be someone dark and charming, like Henry Cavill from The Immortals.
If you’d like, provide a back cover blurb:
Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.
With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.
Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?
Would you like to say anything to your readers / fans? I love my readers to pieces!! I adore getting email and answer every message. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your reviews, recommendations, and kind words. I am so blessed!
Where link-wise can your readers / fans stalk you?
Lauren Clark Books Website
GoodReads Lauren Clark
Twitter Lauren Clark
Facebook Lauren Clark
As a writer, it can be difficult to find enough time in the day to get everything done. Would you like to share your favorite ‘quick and easy’ recipe?
Easy Mac & Cheese (My boys LOVE it!)
• 8 ounces elbow macaroni, about 2 cups
• salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
• 8 ounces Cheddar cheese blend or similar blend of cheeses
• 1 1/4 cups light cream or half-and-half
• 4 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
Heat the oven to 350°. Cook macaroni following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Scoop the drained macaroni into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, then top with about half of the cheese. Layer the remaining macaroni on the cheese layer and sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Top with the remaining cheese and dot with the butter. Pour the cream on top and bake for 25 minutes. Serves 4-6.
I’m a travel writer at Getaways magazine. Paid for the glorious task of gathering up fascinating snippets of culture and piecing them into quirky little stories. Jet-setting to the Riviera, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, basking on Bermuda beaches. It’s as glamorous and exhilarating as I imagined.
Okay, it is a tad lonely, from time to time.
And quite exhausting.
Which is precisely why I have to get organized.
I sink into my chair and try to concentrate. What to tackle first? Think, think.
Third reminder. Uh-oh.
Marietta rolls her eyes and jerks a thumb toward the inevitable. “Guess you better walk the plank,” she teases. “New guy’s waiting. Haven’t met him yet, but I’ve heard he’s the ‘take no prisoners’ sort. Hope you come back alive.”
I grope for something witty and casual to say, but all of a sudden, my head feels light and hollow.
I’ve been dying to find out about the new editor.
Every last gory detail.
“I’m still in another time zone,” I offer up to Marietta with a weak smile. My insides toss from side to side as I slide out of my chair.
Marietta tosses me a wry look. “Nice try. Get going already, sport.”
I tilt my head toward the hallway and pretend to pout. When I look back, Marietta’s already disappeared. Smart girl.
“Fine, fine.” I tug a piece of rebellious auburn hair into place, smooth my wool suit, and begin to march toward the inevitable.
Our new editor.
My neck prickles.
I’m not going to worry. Not much anyway.
My pulse thuds.
Not going to worry about change. Or re-organization. Or pink slips.
The Deep South is the perfect setting for Lauren Clark’s novels; contemporary fiction sprinkled with secrets, sunshine, and surprises. Her heroines are real women with real obstacles in their lives; challenges that require strength, sacrifice, and personal growth. And while it’s convenient to have a prince charming on standby, Lauren’s heroines are capable of creating their own happily-ever afters–with brains, not beauty, saving the day.
A former TV anchor, Lauren is a reformed news junkie, non-reformed coffee drinker, and certified library geek. She loves the color pink, her Electra Townie bike, and any place she can see the ocean and stick her toes in the sand. Lauren adores her family, paying it forward, eight hours of sleep a night, homemade macaroni and cheese, and true-blue friends.
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