Category Archives: #authorinterview #authorchitchat #lafemmereaders

AUTHOR CHIT CHAT: Travis Myers + Natasha Myers Marsiguerra (Authors of sister margaret)

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a talented brother-sister duo who brings crime fiction right to your doorstep. I loved the first installment, Sister Margaret, in the Tommy Keane series, and guess what…the sequel, Hayden Jon Marshall, is also out now! Thank you, Travis and Natasha, for taking the time out to do this author chit chat.

1) What inspired you and Travis to write Sister Margaret?

It was just an idea really. Both of my brothers, Travis and Henry, are great storytellers and when people would listen to them go on a tear, the comment ”You should write a book” usually followed. I’ve always had a love for reading and writing and my brother Travis called me one day and basically asked me what I thought of a collaboration. I immediately said yes, not quite sure what I was getting myself into, but a couple weeks later Travis sent me the rough for Sister Margaret. And I absolutely loved everything about it, I loved it’s flow, details, characters, everything. These are characters that Travis all plagiarized from real life, and I mean that whole heartedly, I mean I knew these people and I know this neighborhood, so it all rang so true, I was immediately sold. Now as far as me not knowing what I was getting into… Well my brother can definitely tell a story, but have you ever read a 200 page sentence? Because that’s what I was delivered. My job was to rewrite, edit, format, and describe all the details of this fabulous little story. Overall it seems everyone is happy with the end product, which is absolutely thrilling for us.


2) When you first saw the cover for Sister Margaret, what were your initial thoughts?

I really liked it, again I am a big reader, and one thing I love is old noir novels and movies and I think Sister Margaret’s cover definitely has that feel, I mean it could have come off of a book from the 1940’s, the 1960’s, or today. I have to give Travis credit for the idea, and a wonderful artist named Phred Rawles credit for the work. We liked it so much, we already have had him do the covers for the next two in the series, Hayden Jon Marshall and Jenny Black. And they are both fabulous.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

Gee, I don’t know? Maybe something like ”Murder of a Nun” or ”Murder at our Lady of Good Council”? I really don’t know. But I can tell you why it’s called Sister Margaret – it’s because she is the victim, and we decided every book in the series would be named after the victim. One, out of respect for the victims, and two, because when a detective starts his case folder, the victim’s name is written on it, and therefore the name of the victim becomes the name of the case.

4) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters, who would it be and why?

Doreen, definitely Doreen. Now if I wasn’t married I’d be trying to get with Terry Callahan, because he is just so dead sexy. Tommy reminds me too much of my brothers and I already get enough of them. Doreen is loosely based off of a long time friend of both my brothers who I’ve met but don’t really know. And I just love everything about Doreen, she is a tough Detective from the Housing Division in Brooklyn, she is truly a hard girl, but is still very cute, very sassy, and an absolute dear.,

5) Do you or Travis have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

I know Travis has to be alone in his house. If anything distracts him, or he’s not in the right frame of mind he can’t write but at the same time, if he is in the right mood and conditions are the way he likes them, then he can write a third to a half of a book in one sitting, he just runs with ideas for eight to ten hours. Me, on the other hand, am completely opposite. I am married to a Sicilian and have learned the great art of tuning out, I can read and write anytime. I’ve worked on the book in my car waiting for my kids, I’ve worked on it in a bar, in the backyard, pretty much anywhere.

6) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

BUY OUR BOOKS PLEASE! I need to quit my real job! 😁 Other than that, I would truly like to thank all of our current readers, my brother and I are absolutely blown away with how great the response has been to Sister Margaret. We really had no idea it would sell any copies at all, never mind as many as it has, or that anyone would like it nearly as much as it seems everyone does. So yes…Huge thanks to all of our current fans. For our future readers all I can say is please give Sister Margaret a shot. It is a very realistic depiction of real Detectives doing real detective work, Tommy Keane is a great human being, and his life is intertwined with a cast of characters that anyone who likes crime fiction, or any fiction novels at all, will or should fall in love with. And I promise, the next four books in the series will definitely pull you so deep into Tommy Keane’s world you’ll feel like a regular at Bailey’s Corner Pub.

Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N 

SEQUEL OUT NOW!

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Author Chit Chat: John Marrs (What Lies Between Us)

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Words cannot express how excited I am to have John Marrs on my blog today! After reading three of his brilliant novels, he’s hands down one of my favorite writers. One of my top thrillers this year was What Lies Between Us. The dark quality behind this twisted plot stands out like no other. I highly recommend you pick up any novel by John Marrs, he will never disappoint you! Thank you John for taking the time out of your busy schedule to partake in my interview feature.

1) What inspired you to write What Lies Between Us?

My last two books included a police procedural followed by a high-concept thriller, so this time, I wanted to write something very character-led and that encompassed a long period in two people’s lives. I wanted to come up with a dark, claustrophobic story with plenty of twists and turns and that kept readers on their toes. Some have compared this to a cross between Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Olyphant Is Completely Fine. I find that very flattering.

2) When you first saw the cover for What Lies Between Us, what were your initial thoughts?

You normally receive a variety of cover concepts sent to you by your publisher and you tell them what you like and what you don’t like. I loved the vibe of this immediately. Earlier versions had no brickwork and it was my idea to have figures in the top and bottom windows and a window that lay between them. I’ve learned to be vocal about what I like. In the end, it’s my name going on the cover so I have to be confident that it looks good.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

The working title was The Woman Upstairs and that remained right up until we were in the editing stages. Then suddenly What Lies Between Us came to my mind and it worked perfectly. I think it’s my favourite of all my book titles. I actually prefer the original title of The One though. It was called A Thousand Small Explosions when it was self published and then became The One when a mainstream publisher approached me to take it on.

4) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters, who would it be and why?

None of them – they’re all mad! Possibly Laura in The Good Samaritan. She’s a very, very dark character, possibly my darkest to date and it would be interesting to be around her, albeit briefly. You wouldn’t want to get sucked into her world for long though. Oh and Joe Russell in Her Last Move. He was a good guy.

5) Out of all the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

It depends on when you catch me. At the moment, it’s What Lies Between Us because it’s still new and interesting to me, but on other days, it might be my debut, When You Disappeared. Welcome To Wherever You Are is still my only book that is self-published, so I have a soft spot for that one.

6) Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

When I’m writing, it’s always in silence. I can’t do background music. I always print the book out to do my edits, makes notes in coloured pens I buy from a shop called Muji and when I make the on-screen corrections, that’s when I’ll listen to my own playlists on Apple Music.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I welcome all readers – existing ones who have been there from the start and brand new ones who have only just hopped on board the crazy train. Without you, I wouldn’t be getting to spend all day living in my own imagination and trying to find ways to twist and turn you and lull you into a false sense of security. I am grateful to every last one of you.

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Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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John Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author. What Lies Between Us is his seventh book.

Follow him on his Website, Twitter and Instagram

Author Chit Chat: Jennifer Hillier (Little Secrets)

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Thank you Jennifer Hillier for taking the time out to partake in my author feature! I am a huge fan of her novels, Little Secrets and Jar of Hearts. Jennifer is a pro a creating a highly addictive plot with heart stopping twists you won’t see coming. If you haven’t read Little Secrets yet, you must get your hands on it ASAP!

1) What inspired you to write Little Secrets?

I’m most inspired to write about what scares me, and as a mother to a five-year-old son (who was four at the time I wrote the book, the same age as Marin’s son, Sebastian), the thing that scares me the most now is losing him. However, I didn’t want to focus the story on Sebastian’s kidnapping, or the investigation – I wanted to explore how his disappearance affected Marin, and how she coped with not knowing where her child was. This meant I had to imagine it happening to me – which, let me just say, is a mental and emotional journey I’ll never want to take again. But I find that when I allow myself to imagine worst-case scenarios, it deludes me into thinking I can somehow prevent them from actually happening in real life. And if they do, then hey, I’m prepared because I’ve thought them through already!

2) When you first saw the cover for Little Secrets, what were your initial thoughts?

The cover that’s on the book right now is the second one the publisher sent me. The first one was great, but I felt that it didn’t quite capture the intensity of the emotion in the book. So the publisher came up with this one, and I love it – it really fits Marin, and the story.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

I am terrible with titles! Seriously terrible, so I honestly don’t know. We went through dozens of possible titles before settling on Little Secrets, and of course now I can’t imagine it being called anything else. But the working title I had was “She & Her” (yes, it was awful), and the title I submitted the finished draft under was “The Darkest Dark” (which I think was slightly better, but still wasn’t right).

4) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters, who would it be and why?

I’d hang out with Sal, at his janky bar, and watch football. He makes a great amaretto sour and really delicious garlic fries that I hopefully wouldn’t have to pay for.

5) Out of all the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

It’s like choosing between children! I feel guilty for picking just one, so I’ll pick two. Little Secrets, because there’s so much of myself in it, and Jar of Hearts, which was just a really fun book for me to write.

6) Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

Oh, I have so many. I need to write in the same spot every day. I need coffee. I need complete silence. I’m also very secretive – I don’t like to show anyone any pages, or discuss any part of the story until it’s finished. That last one isn’t always helpful, though – I need to learn it’s okay to ask for feedback if I’m stuck on something. Even now, six books later, I have a hard time asking for help. Early on in my career, I got too much feedback on a first draft that wasn’t yet complete, and it destroyed my confidence in what I was working on. I’d like to get past that, and try to remember that my editor is there to help me get to the finish line, not tear my work (and me) apart.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

Just that I hope everyone is well and safe during this strange time. And that I hope people are finding comfort, distraction, and entertainment in great books.

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Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi there, I’m Jennifer Hillier. I write about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. My newest psychological thriller, Little Secrets, is now available from Minotaur Books. I’m also the author of Jar of Hearts (Minotaur), CreepFreakThe Butcher, and Wonderland (Gallery Books).

I was in born in Toronto, but I spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all my novels are set. I’m a Seahawks fan but I married a Packers guy. We have a young son who looks most like me when he’s crying. My favorite author is Stephen King (but whose isn’t?). I’m afraid of the dark and can’t sleep unless I’ve checked the locks on the doors several times. I love writing when it’s raining, sleeping when it’s sunny, and reading after everyone else has gone to bed. I cherish my family (those who read, and those who don’t), and my friends (those who write, and those who don’t).

I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Crime Writers of Canada. I’m also a regular columnist at The Thrill Begins, where I talk a lot about my writing journey and dispense advice you may or may not find helpful.

You can also find me on Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but hopefully not every day.

Author Chit Chat: Samantha M. Bailey (Woman On The Edge)

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Thank you Samantha M. Bailey for taking the time out of your busy schedule to partake in my author feature. I am a huge fan of her thriller, Woman on the Edge and I highly recommend you check it out!

Congrats on your thrilling debut! What inspired you to write Woman on the Edge?

Thank you so much, Eleni! I was inspired by public transit. I think all writers are fascinated by the people around them. We observe what seem to be even the most mundane of situations and conversations, and for me, my best ideas come when I’m not looking so hard for them. Six years ago, I was waiting on a Toronto subway platform for the train when I saw a woman holding a newborn. She looked worn out and frazzled, as most new mothers do. As I did many years ago with my own two kids. I was curious what she was thinking about and how she was doing in this new life that we’re thrust into the minute our baby is put in our arms for the first time. I was afraid for her because she was so close to the edge. 

I imagined this mother asking me to take her baby, and I felt the exhilarating, heart-pounding excitement of a new story. Then my thoughts got darker. As the train pulled into the station, I scribbled the idea on an empty gum pack I found in my purse. By the time I’d boarded with all the other commuters, and happily, also the mother, who was nestling her baby against her, the premise for Woman on the Edge was born.

When you first saw the cover for Woman on the Edge, what were your initial thoughts?

I was so happy! I have zero visual design talent, so I couldn’t envision the cover I wanted. When Sherise Hobbs, my editor at Headline, my UK publisher, sent me and my agent the cover for approval, we both knew immediately it was the one. It was designed by Caroline Young, and I think she’s remarkably talented. We all loved the cover so much that my North American publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, wanted it, too. I hope readers love it as much as I do.

If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

That is one of the most interesting questions I’ve ever been asked. It was my editor, Nita Pronovost, and the Simon & Schuster Canada team, who came up with that title. It was originally titled “Jump,” and we all felt it wasn’t quite right. As we were brainstorming, I suggested all sorts of awful, cheesy titles that inspired a lot of laughs but weren’t what we needed. When Nita asked what I thought of “Woman on the Edge,” I loved the double meaning; how it captured the premise; and I was sold. So, I can’t imagine re-naming it, but sometimes in my head, I still think about it as “Jump” because I lived with that title during years of revisions.

If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters in Woman on the Edge, who would it be and why?

Morgan. I love and admire her. She’s a selfless, empathetic social worker who protects everyone else above herself and doesn’t let anything stand in the way of saving the baby she’s been entrusted to take care of. She risks her freedom and life for a child she’s just met, and to me, she’s a warrior.

Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

So many. I find comfort in routine. When I start a new book, I always buy a pretty, new notebook for my outlines, character sketches, etc. I buy a cheap, new pen because there’s nothing more exciting to me than seeing fresh ink on a clean page. I choose a different mug for each new story and drink coffee from only that mug for that story. I use cream and not milk when I’m working on a first draft. Oh my God, I sound so weird, but waking up in the morning and diving into my work-in-progress feels so good, and I love all my rituals associated with that. It’s pure joy.

Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

The biggest, most heartfelt thank you. It took me seventeen years, five books written, and two agents before the day I could finally walk into a bookstore and see my book on a shelf. Before I could tell my kids to keep going and never give up on their dreams because they can come true. In January, Woman on the Edge hit #1 on the Canadian bestseller lists for the first time, and I’ve never been more shocked and grateful in my life. That happened because of my readers, and all the people who support me: the bookstagrammers like you, bloggers, librarians, book sellers, and everyone who buys my book. You all changed my life.

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Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography – Hair/Makeup: Megan Fraser

About the Author:

Samantha M. Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, journalist, and freelance editor. Her work has appeared in Now MagazineThe Village Post, and Oxford University Press, among other publications. She was a writer-in-residence for Kobo Writing Life at Book Expo America 2013 and is the co-founder of BookBuzz, a promotional and interactive author-reader event held in New York City and Toronto.

Her debut psychological thriller, WOMAN ON THE EDGE, is a #1 Toronto Star and Globe and Mail bestseller, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and was a PW Best Books Pick of the Week. It was the December Fiction Book of the Month at Indigo Books and the Shopper’s Drug Mart January Book Lover’s Pick. It made the Pop Sugar list of “25 New Books to Add to Your Reading List This Spring” and She Reads’s “Fifteen Necessary Thrillers to Read in 2020.” WOMAN ON THE EDGE is published in North America with Simon and Schuster Canada, and the UK with Headline. It will also be translated in seven countries world-wide, including with Garzanti in Italy, Roca Editorial in Spain, Heyne in Germany, General Press in Hungary, Euromedia in the Czech Republic, Ikar in Slovakia, and Znak in Poland.

Samantha loves reading as much as she loves writing so if she’s not tapping away at her computer, she’s probably curled up on her couch with a book.

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Author Chit Chat: Amina Akhtar (#Fashionvictim)

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Did you ever want to get to know the author behind these amazing books we read? Well, look no further! On today’s Author Chit Chat, it’s an honor to have Amina Akhtar, author of Fashion Victim. For those of you not familiar with her debut, two words, it’s hysterically killer. No pun intended!

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1) Congrats on your thrilling debut! What inspired you to write #Fashionvictim?

Thank you! I wanted to combine my fashion background with my intense love of all things scary and horrifying. Seriously, I love horror so much. And Anya is that perfect mix of chic and creepy. I also really love the idea of a woman character just being unapologetically insane and homicidal.

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2) When you first saw the cover for #Fashionvictim what were your initial thoughts?

I laughed! I’m a few hours behind my publishers out here in AZ so I was in bed when I saw it. I thought it was hilarious.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

I can’t! When I came up with the idea and sat down to write the book, the title was already in my head. I feel it’s too much a part of the book to rename it.

4) In your past careers in the fashion industry, can you relate to your main character Anya in some ways?

Yes! I think we can all relate to wanting to get ahead, wanting to be liked. Or even just wanting something so badly you can taste it. And I always felt awkward and not really part of the fashion world which I wanted Anya to feel as well.

5) If you could hang out with one of your fictional characters in #Fashionvictim, who would it be and why?

Jack, hands down. He may be shady, but he’s so much fun. I’d hang with Anya if she promises to not kill me.

6) Do you have any quirks or rituals during the writing phase of a novel?

I take notes on my phone constantly. There are probably 50 current notes of random thoughts I have about a book that I don’t want to lose. So if you see me typing on my phone, I could be plotting how to kill you.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I hope they enjoy the book! I’m a big fan of reading whatever you want whenever you want. I don’t care if it’s a vampire romance novel or literary fiction: Read what makes you happy. And I hope #FashionVictim does just that.

Thank you Amina for taking the time out to do this amazing interview! I cannot wait to read all your future books.
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Amina Akhtar is a former fashion writer and editor. She’s worked at Vogue, Elle.com, Style.com, NYTimes.com, and NYMag.com where she was the founding editor of The Cut blog.  She’s written for numerous publications, including Yahoo Style, Fashionista, xoJane, Refinery29, Billboard, and for brands like Bergdorf Goodman and H&M’s 10 Years of Style tome. After toiling in the fashion ranks for over fifteen years, she now writes full time in the desert mountains, where she’s detoxing from her once glam life. #FashionVictim is Amina’s first novel.

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AUTHOR CHIT CHAT: KAIRA ROUDA (BEST DAY EVER)

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Did you ever want to get to know the author behind these amazing books we read? Well, look no further! On today’s Author Chit Chat, it’s my honor to introduce Kaira Rouda. Best Day Ever was released last year, but this year the paperback is out and we’re here celebrating her release! Everyone please give a warm welcome to Kaira….

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1) Congrats on your recent paperback release! What inspired you to write Best Day Ever?

Thank you! BEST DAY EVER’s main character, Paul, popped into my head one day and demanded to have his story told. That’s literally how it happened, and I feel like I was along for the ride, so to speak. It was a fun book to write.

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2) When you first saw the cover for Best Day Ever, what were your initial thoughts?

I loved the red envelope cover and I love the blue paperback cover. They’re both gorgeous, and tie into the story.

3) If you could re-name your book title, what would you choose?

The title popped into my head at the same time as Paul, the first-person narrator. I love the irony and I wouldn’t change a thing!

4) Did you always want to be a writer or did you have other aspirations as well?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. It took me awhile to be able to do it full time, though, to have the confidence to go for it as a novelist. Along the way, there were four kids, many jobs, life and well, you know. Experiences add fuel to the writing fire and I thank all of the bad bosses of my past for giving Paul a voice and a point of view.

5) Out of the novels you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

That’s a tough one. My heart is close to both IN THE MIRROR, a poignant tale of a young mom fighting cancer, and THE GOODBYE YEAR, about a mom and son letting go during senior year in high school. That said, I love writing suspense, and exploring what goes on behind closed doors of seemingly perfect lives. I can’t wait for the Favorite Daughter to be out, May 21, 2019.

6) Tell us one unique thing about yourself, that you normally don’t share.

I love to hula hoop.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I’m so grateful to be able to have the career of my dreams. It’s because of the support of readers and bookstagrammers, bloggers and reviewers and Facebook fans. I pinch myself daily that this is all coming true. Thank you for reading my novels.

Thank you Kaira for taking the time out to do this interview!

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For more info on Kaira, follow her sites:

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Author Chit Chat: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (Girl’s Night Out)

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Did you ever want to get to know the author behind these amazing books we read? Well, look no further! On today’s Author Chit Chat, it’s my honor to introduce Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. You all have heard of Girl’s Night Out by now and let me tell you I loved every inch of that book. These two beauties sure do know how to capture a reader!

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1) Congrats on your recent release! What inspired you to write Girl’s Night Out?

Thank you! We were inspired by our own long-term friendships. They are so layered and complicated, but so wonderful at the same time.

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2) When you first saw the cover for Girl’s Night Out, what were your initial thoughts?

They had sent us three mock-ups. When we saw the one with the cenote, we instantly knew it was THE ONE.

3) If you could re-name your book title, whatwould you choose?

None! We came up with the name before we even started writing it, so we are very attached!

4) Did you always want to be writers or did you have other aspirations as well?

We both had other careers as we established ourselves as writers. Lisa, as a television talk show producer, and Liz in the pharmaceutical industry. Now we both write full-time.

5) I love your BFF dynamic, how long have you been friends and how did you meet?

We met our freshman year of high school, over thirty years ago! Lisa walked into Liz’s English class, and the rest is history! We also attended the same university and lived together. And joined the same sorority. And had the same major….

6) Did you two ever disagree on anything while writing this novel?

We did have some major problems while writing Girls’ Night Out, but not about the writing, per se. It was more about our dynamic as business partners and friends, and how that had evolved. We talk about the conflict in the acknowledgments section of the book.

7) Last but not least, do you have anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

Thank you so, so much for all your support! We are so grateful for each and every one of you!

THANK YOU SO MUCH LIZ AND LISA FOR THIS FANTASTIC INTERVIEW!

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For more info on Liz and Lisa, follow their sites:

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