The nominees for Best Sequel:
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
The First Assistant by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare
Slightly Settled by Wendy Markham
Killer Cocktail by Sheryl J Anderson
Please vote for your favorite by commenting below. Everyone who votes is entered to win!
Q: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
About 1/3 of the way through a novel, I finally hit my stride and the writing begins to really flow. Up until then, I tend to go back and rewrite the early chapters over and over again, filling in the blanks, moving text, fleshing out characters, etc. Once it starts flowing, the writing takes on a life of its own and I can’t wait to get to my keyboard every morning!
Q: Did you always know you wanted to write?
Yes, I’ve known since third grade that I wanted to become an author one day. I was fortunate to have been encouraged by my teacher and my parents, who believed in me and supported me every step of the way.
Q: Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
The spark of an idea for quite a few of my chick lit plot elements and characters come from my own life. I also write suspense novels (under my own name, Wendy Corsi Staub), but usually turn to other sources of inspiration for those—newspapers, true crime stories, Dateline and 48 Hours. But no matter what I’m writing, my novels all start with a musing “what if…?”
Q: You write for more than one genre, do you find anything difficult about that?
Not at all, probably because I only work on one book at a time. I tend to live in my fictional world while I’m on a deadline, and I think it would be difficult to jump back and forth from happy-shoe-shopping-land to corpse-in-the-woods-land. Writing in different genres keeps things fresh and interesting for me.
Q: You worked for bookstores while you were in college, what kind of knowledge did you take away from those jobs?
I learned how the publishing business works behind the scenes—about relationships between booksellers and their customers, between booksellers and sales reps, booksellers and authors…really, the most important person in an author’s life is the person responsible for getting the book into a reader’s hands. As an author, I have tremendous respect for booksellers, and try to let them know as often as possible how much I appreciate their efforts on my behalf.
Q: I absolutely love the ‘Slightly’ series! How did you come up with the characters and their scenarios?
Thank you! Tracey is very loosely based on me, and the people in her life are based—again, very loosely—on people I knew when I was a young, single woman in New York City. Certain characters—Raphael, for example—are composites of people I knew. Others are purely fictional—her parents are nothing like my parents, her mother-in-law, Wilma, came out of left field. But others—Jack, Yvonne, and Will come to mind—are rooted in real people I encountered along the way to being married and settled down.
Q: Did you have a favorite writer while you were growing up?
I I was—and still am—obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder. In fact, this past summer, I dragged my family out to the Prairie. We visited “Little House” sites in Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota, and this coming summer, I’m going to be a featured speaker at “Laurapalooza,” the first-ever conference for Laura fans.
Q: You are always keeping busy, but when do get free time how do you spend it?
With my family! I’m a happily married mom with two boys who are growing up too fast, and we live our lives surrounded by hundreds of family members, friends, and neighbors. I like nothing better than to have a crowd around my dining room table eating homemade food. That, or traveling! I’ve embarked on a fifty-state book tour with my husband and sons in tow, and we complete a new leg every summer when school is out.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Do your homework! If you want to become a published author, remember that this is a business as well as an art. Learn how the industry works, network with other writers online and at conferences and chapter meetins, and read as much as you can about how to prepare and submit a manuscript. It’s a slippery uphill slope to publication for most writers, so be prepared to work hard. I promise there is nothing more rewarding than reaching the top!
Q: What would be or is your favorite place to travel?
Travel is my passion, and I’ve been to 47 states, all over Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I cherish our yearly trips to the Caribbean most of all, because it’s a week spent just with my family—I belong only to them, and I don’t bring makeup or bookmarks or shoes other than flip flops. Pure heaven!
Wendy Markham decided in the third grade that she would be an author. During her college years, she worked at two independent book stores, then moved on to New York to make her dream a reality. She there worked as a book editor for a Manhattan publishing house and account coordinator for a major advertising agency. Her first novel was a young adult thriller, Summer Lightening. Markham has since published in a variety of genres, including: suspense, horror, historical and contemporary romance, television and movie tie-in, and biography. She has also published titles under the name Wendy Corsi Staub (Markham is her writing pseudonym).
Markham grew up in rural southwestern New York before moving to Manhattan, and is a 1986 graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia. She has had over seventy titles published and is a New York Times bestselling author. Her Slightly series is a chick lit favorite, with titles: Slightly Engaged, Slightly Married, Slightly Settled, Slightly Single, and Slightly Suburban.
Wendy Markham currently lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband of eighteen years and their two children.
Official Website: http://www.wendycorsistaub.com/index.html
(Note: I am posting under the name Wendy Markham, as that is the name she uses with the chick lit genre.)
He’s going to propose. Any day now, he’s going to propose. Isn’t he going to propose? All Tracey Spadolini can think about is her wedding day. She is living with her boyfriend, Jack, and her mother has let it slip that he has asked for a family diamond ring. So where is the proposal? Days pass. Then weeks. Months? Tracey is going out of her mind, always prepared that the special moment is about to happen…then it doesn’t. Readers are on the edge of their seat, anxiously awaiting for Jack to pop that question.
Maybe Tracey shouldn’t have been so quick to let Jack move in with her. Her friends warned her against it, and now they are all happily getting married, with their perfect weddings and perfect husbands. And Tracey is still without that ring.
Slightly Engaged from Wendy Markham is engaging and comedic, with a fast paced attitude. Tracey is completely believable, a well developed character struggling not to become obsessed with her wedding, keeping those forty pounds off, and trying to get a handle on her career. The plot is smooth flowing and be sure to pick this up for a relaxing and light hearted read.