Last Updated on June 2, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle
What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
I recently finished reading Hilary Leichter’s upcoming Terrace Story. I’m a big fan of her 2020 debut, Temporary, so I was beyond excited when I got an advance copy of this one, which is coming out on August 29. It’s literary fiction about time and space and family and belonging. One blurber described the tone as “both breezy and earth-shattering,” and I think that’s the perfect description, actually.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
I finally got around to reading The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov back in January/February. I’ve read some Russian literature but hadn’t delved into Soviet stuff at all, so it was really interesting!
Do you re-read books And if yes, what was your last re-read?
Yes! My husband and I have this routine where, once we settle into bed for the night, one of us reads aloud to the other. Our usual go-to’s for this are historical romances that I’ve read before and loved so much I want to share them with him. We’re currently working our way through Meredith Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series. Those have all been re-reads for me.
On my own, I tend to re-read Jennifer Crusie, especially Welcome to Temptation. It kind of resets my brain when I feel stuck in my own writing.
What are your go-to genres?
I usually turn to historical romance when I want escapism, though I’ve also been loving romance-heavy historical-set fantasy/speculative fiction recently. Contemporary romance owns a large piece of my heart—it’s what I write, after all!—but most of what I read in that space is work-related nowadays. And I find literary fiction a great source of inspiration craft-wise, so I turn to that a few times a year as well.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I absolutely adored The Westing Game when we read it in fifth grade.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I only have my Kindle on my nightstand at the moment, because I have a ton of great e-ARCs on my TBR—Alix E. Harrow’s Starling House, Maureen Lee Lenker’s It Happened One Fight, Ashley Poston’s The Seven Year Slip, Holly James’s The Déjà Glitch, and Isabel Cañas’s Vampires of El Norte.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
Well, I mostly read ebooks, to be honest! I started reading on my phone when my daughter was an infant and never really broke the habit. But when I do read a physical book, I inevitably wind up shoving in some raggedy paper bookmark I got for free somewhere even though I have a collection of lovely high-quality ones I’ve been gifted over the years.
What is your ideal reading setting?
Comfy chair or couch, cozy blanket, a cup of coffee, a lit fireplace, and rain or snow outside.
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
Curious Iguana is both my local and favorite indie. They have a super cute store that’s staffed by really lovely folks, they strongly value diversity and inclusion, and they do so much for the community. If you’re ever in downtown Frederick, Maryland, you have to go!
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I called my dad something mean that I’d heard but didn’t know the definition of while playing chess when I was about eight. Looking back, he acted way more hurt by it than I’m sure he was in reality, but the guilt trip was highly effective!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
When I was in undergrad, I got a scholarship to do this really cool summer class where we went to Moscow and St. Petersburg to visit the places Dostoyevsky lived and retrace Raskolnikov’s steps in Crime and Punishment.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
I have a lovely little home office with a bunch of bookshelves, a big mauve velvet chair, and my beloved nineteenth century antique secretary desk that I found on Facebook Marketplace. Most of the magic happens there, but if I need a change of scenery, I usually head out to a local coffee shop for a few hours.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on the day I’m having. Sometimes the words flow easily, which is exciting and makes me feel like I could keep going forever. But sometimes the words aren’t there at all, and all I want to do is mope and/or take a nap.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have two completed manuscripts that live in a digital drawer, countless documents of anywhere from a few hundred to twenty thousand words that didn’t pan out, one book that’s about to head to copyedits to be published in 2024, and one that I’m currently about twenty thousand words into drafting that I hope will be published one day!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
My team sends me ones from trade publications, and my husband sends me any from Goodreads and Netgalley that he thinks I’ll especially appreciate. But I am trying really hard not to go looking for them myself these days. I firmly believe that reviews are for readers, not for me. That being said, I always love being tagged in (positive!) social media posts. It’s fun to see the beautiful pictures and graphics people have put together; bookish influencers are so talented!!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
If you wait until you know everything, you’ll never start, so just do the thing and trust that you’ll learn along the way.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
Spending time with my husband and our five-year-old daughter. Yelling at the cat to get off the kitchen counter. Going for walks. Going for drives. Listening to music. Meditating. Crocheting. Doing yoga. Cooking and baking. Trying (and failing) to keep plants alive.
What are your three favorite things right now?
- Ruen Brothers—I discovered this duo last fall and have been obsessed with their music ever since. I’m going to see them live this summer and cannot wait!
- Erin Langston’s Forever Your Rogue—I finished reading this brilliant historical romance weeks ago and am still swooning over it.
- Plain oatmeal made with milk and Michele’s Granola, a little bit of brown sugar, and walnuts—I ordered this at my favorite coffee shop for the first time recently, and it was a revelation.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
This is so difficult to answer when I feel like I haven’t traveled nearly enough, both in general and in recent years! But I do have a soft spot for Lewes and Rehoboth in Delaware. I love that it’s just a few hours away by car and that the drive is somewhat scenic, it isn’t outrageously expensive or crowded if you go during the shoulder seasons, there are some great places to eat, and the beaches are nice. Lewes has a great historic small downtown area, and Rehoboth has a fun stretch of stores (including a great indie bookstore!) and a boardwalk. Just an ideal place for a family beach vacation, in my opinion.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
When I have the time and ingredients to make it, I absolutely love recreating a bowl I used to get at Beefsteak in DC: quinoa; steamed cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, and green beans; julienned radish; roasted garlic yogurt; pepitas; kosher salt; olive oil; and smoked salmon. As for drinks, I’m a Diet Coke and Diet Dr Pepper fiend, but I also will never pass up the opportunity for a Shirley Temple.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
Abraham Lincoln. My late grandmother. My editor. My agent. Harry Houdini. Elizabeth Warren. What even would be the vibe of this party? I have no clue, and that’s why I’d want to do it.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, and who would play you?
It would be one of those indie comedies from the early aughts that were actually kind of depressing at their core. I have no idea who would play me since I’m horribly out of the loop when it comes to modern actresses.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
Rachael New has created something so dang fun with Miss Scarlet and the Duke. The show feels like an adaptation of a historical mystery romance series.
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
I’ve never once in my life sung karaoke, but totally would with the right amount of goading. Would it be okay to do “I Will Survive”? Is that like, so stereotypical it’s verboten or something?
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
I would take the wish-for-more-wishes route and get someone to publish a custom anthology of all my favorites. And about half of it would be Jennifer Crusie novels, probably.