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At BEA I sat down with Liane Moriarty, author of the newly released Big Little Lies. Liane is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children.

 

 

How did you get started as an author?
About ten years ago, I got a phone call that would change my life. It was my sister calling to tell me that her YA novel, Feeling Sorry For Celia, had been accepted for publication. My sister and I had always wanted to be authors. When we were children, our Dad would commission us to write novels for him. At the time of my sister’s phone call, I was working as a freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites to TV commercials. Although I occasionally wrote short stories and first chapters of novels that didn’t go any further, I’d let my childhood dream slide. My sister’s news was the inspiration I needed to get me back to the keyboard.  In a fever of sibling rivalry I wrote a children’s book which was enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia. I calmed down, and two years later, my first novel, Three Wishes was published around the world.

Do you have a sibling rivalry continuing on, now that you’re successful as well?
No, now we’re both published writers (as is my younger sister) we’re all just happy for each other. Although we do become quite competitive about material. For example, when one sister uses an old family story.

All writing materials aside, what material items in life could you not live without?
Well I couldn’t live without one cup of coffee a day, and without books – does that go without saying (laughs). And chocolate and champagne. Is that enough? And if I had all those things together then I wouldn’t need anything else.

How do you get into the writing mood? Do you have a particular place you like to write, do you listen to special music?
I have two small children so I only have a very limited time to write, so I don’t really have the luxury anymore of ‘getting into the writing mood.’ I just have to sit down and write.

Would you say that would be your top writing advice for aspiring writers, just sit down and write?
Yes, you can spend too much time asking questions about writing and wondering about writing and thinking about writing. In the end you just have to write.

If you were going to pick any country in the world or any city to live in which one would it be? (If you couldn’t live in Sydney.)
I’d live in a mountaintop castle near my family and the beach, where I could ski from my castle door and have a swim before breakfast at the beach. It’s a fantasy question so I’m allowed a fantasy answer!

What skills or talents do you admire most in other people?
I admire all those skills and talents I lack – the  ability to sing, to act, to sew, to speak other languages fluently, to cook gourmet meal without making a mess etcetera, etcetera!

Your books focus a lot around personal relationships and family dynamics. Do you find a lot of your personal life transitioning and spilling over into your writing, or do you like to keep the two separate?
Little bits and pieces of my personal life certainly seep into my writing. And that’s why I find that my characters are getting older as I get older, they’re aging along with me. So I’m sure one day I’ll be writing a book set in a retirement village.

If you were to describe why you think reading is important in one sentence, what would you say?
Reading is important because its one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, I also think that if its not a pleasure for you, that’s OK. For some people life’s greatest pleasure is music or art or scuba diving. I just think its important to find time for what makes you happy.

What are your other hobbies or pleasures?
I love snow skiing and bushwalking, and spending time with my children.

What is your favorite place in the U.S. that you’ve visited? Have you done much travel in the US?
I had a skiing holiday in Aspen once, many years ago, and loved it.

BigLittleLies_LianeMoriarty

 

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads. This is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.



This has been an exciting time for our podcast. After posting my interview with Damien Echols and Lorri Davis last week, the Beaks & Geeks Soundcloud page more than doubled in track plays. Listeners from all over the world were excited to hear the happily married couple talk about the West Memphis Three case, relationship advice, and moving to New York City.

A Huffington Post article this morning listed 5 Books That Will Rip Your Heart Out (In a Good Way), which features our titles: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. I interviewed Jean on the Beaks & Geeks podcast a few weeks ago for her new novel, Mambo in Chinatown, and she could not have been a more excellent guest. She’s intelligent, funny, and sweet, and it’s no surprise that her novels are heartwarming. fireisland Amy’s interview with Jojo Moyes will launch soon, so keep an eye out for it.

Can you believe a week from today will be August 1st? Wow, the end of summer really snuck up on us there, didn’t it? Time for last minute sick days, I mean vacation days to the beach. I haven’t even made a dent on all fifty seven thousand summer reads I planned on finishing. After two beach trips, one to Spring Lake, NJ and another to Fire Island, NY (pictured right) you’d think I’d have made it through more than two books…. Can someone please teach me how to speed read?

I’m super excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Paper Towns by John Green. After reading both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, I’ve wanted to read more of his work. Paper Towns is set to be the next movie by the renowned author, starring TFIOS actor, Nat Wolff, as Quentin Jacobsen. We even share a last name, so he’s clearly a fascinating guy. PaperTownsimageQ has an appealing, familiar voice, just as the protagonists in Green’s other great novels. Green is a master of creating a nostalgic story for the reader while also conveying insightful and compelling quotes that capture your heart. I don’t think a John Green novel is incapable of producing quirky quotes. Just listening to him ramble on about wearing makeup was enough for me to transcribe his one liners for my own amusement. One of my favorite quotes so far in Paper Towns:

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.” –John Green, Paper Towns

Are you enjoying your beach books? I’m interested to hear what you’re reading so maybe I can jump on the bandwagon with you this summer. Also be sure to comment and let me know if you have any speed reading tips. Ah, the woes of being surrounded by books. Life is good.

Thanks everyone, enjoy the rest of July! Stay cool.

-Lindsay


Julie-Strauss-GabelThe publication of Isla and the Happily Ever After is a journey that has spanned five years and taken me to Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, and, most especially, to Paris. But before I traveled the world with Stephanie Perkins and her three strong, smart, romantic heroines—Anna, Lola, and Isla—our story begins, uncannily, in my own hometown.

I was coming from an appointment and had just missed a train, keeping me longer in the town that had witnessed my own teen years. Stuck in that station, as I read the manuscript I was not just in the familiar geography of my adolescence, but also transported back to its awkward, exciting promise.

From that first manuscript, for Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins has realigned my thinking about contemporary romance for young adults. She is an author who understands her field so well, and she celebrates and then breaks the mold in subtle, smart, unexpected ways. It’s no surprise that Anna (and, after, Lola) quickly became a book so close to readers’ hearts. Only rarely do we get to discover a new talent both as comfortingly familiar and completely fresh as Stephanie.

Amazingly, we now find ourselves celebrating the publication of Isla and the Happily Ever After, the third book in this (very) loose trilogy. Fans have been waiting breathlessly to return to their beloved School of America in Paris, and to meet Isla at long last. Isla joins Anna and Lola to complete a triumvirate of incredible and vulnerable young women who find love and, most importantly, discover themselves.

Read More Posts From the Editor’s Desk.


Lindsay sits down with Damien Echols and Lorri Davis, authors of the memoir YOURS FOR ETERNITY. The book reveals their love letters written to one another while Damien was on Death Row for a crime he did not commit.

Read more here.

Edit: Due to an audio malfunction, we removed a clip where Damien mentions a few of the documentaries made about him. The titles mentioned were “Paradise Lost” 1, 2, and 3.

Twitter question credits: @cupcake_stacy and @talley_johnny


photoSome picture books begin with a submission from a literary agent. Some with an art sample mailed to an editor’s office.  Others, like Peanut Butter & Cupcake!, begin with a calendar and a bookstore and a blog.  I’d been a big fan of Terry Border’s blog Bent Objects for years. I’d laugh at his images of bananas cuddling (without their peels!) in bed and a packet of sugar holding a little umbrella over her head to stay out of the rain.  Then, in December of 2012, I went to a bookstore to buy myself a new wall calendar to hang in my office. I came across Terry Border’s 2013 Bent Objects calendar, with a little slice of bread covered in peanut butter handing a flower to a little slice of bread covered in jelly on the front.  The image made me smile, and I recognized the artwork from Terry’s Bent Objects blog, so I bought the calendar.  When work started up again in the new year, I push-pinned the calendar to my wall and showed it to my boss, Philomel’s publisher Michael Green.  He looked at the calendar, looked at me, and said, “Picture book?” “Oh!” I answered. “Yes! Picture book!”

So I did a bit of online research and found Terry, then found his agent, and discovered that Terry had been thinking about writing a book for kids for a while. He aged down that little slice of bread covered in peanut butter, and put him in a new town, on a quest to find a friend. Every sketch Terry sent over had me chuckling, and the final art was hilarious and clever and had me running to grab the rest of the Philomel editorial group to show them what had just arrived on my screen.  From Hamburger (who can’t be friends with Peanut Butter because he has to walk his hot dogs), to Egg (who cracks up), to Soup (who dips his spoon into himself to communicate), to French Fries (who’s running late and has to “catch up”), every little food object has a personality and a food pun all his—or her—own.  Of course, after Peanut Butter’s friendship overtures get turned down again and again, he finds one little food item who isn’t too busy to be his friend: Jelly.  (But let’s hope they don’t try to hug!)

I read an early proof of this book to my niece over Facetime, and she giggled each time Peanut Butter told the other kids that they’d “go together like peanut butter and….soup!” (Or egg or hamburger or French fries…) I have no doubt that kids and their grown-ups will enjoy this toast to friendship and food and fun.  Because, really, kids and funny stories?  They go together just like peanut butter and jelly.

Read More Posts From the Editor’s Desk.