My eleventh novel, Best Friends & Other Liars came out on Friday! I am so excited…this book was in the works for literally four years—a labor of love…and many, many tears. (Mostly from changing things so many times over the years that I discovered land mines of inconsistencies throughout the novel while I was editing.
When I completed the novel I had 375 pages of laughter and lessons that two women learn on their one week vacation on a divorce cruise. When…neither of the two women are divorced. A little oversight on their part.
Leah hadn’t meant to be underhanded when she booked the cruise for Violet’s fortieth birthday. They had been friends since middle school. Ever since Violet had gotten her backstage passes to a Bon Jovi concert for her twenty-ninth birthday, Leah had been trying to find the perfect gift for her friend. A Caribbean cruise in her budget (she had a friend who worked for a travel agency and got a discount) was just what she was looking for.
She needed to hide the fact that it was a divorce cruise from her best friend until she knew that Violet couldn’t say no to the vacation of a lifetime.
I got many questions from readers about Best Friends & Other Liars over the last few weeks
I’d like to share some of my favorite questions with you guys.
Where did you come up with the idea for the “Divorce Cruise” in Best Friends & Other Liars?
We went on a cruise in 2015 (see, I told you this book was 4 years in the making). There was a group of women on the cruise. I came to discover that they were part of a Bachelorette party. The idea made me laugh.
First off, I’m not a big fan of lavish Bachelorette parties. Oh sure, go have a night of debauchery, but do you need an entire vacation? I mean, save that for your ten year anniversary when there are finger-paint hand-prints all over your couch and you hide in your closet eating Kit-Kat bars and drinking wine and rocking back and forth mumbling to yourself. Not that I would know from experience or anything.
I was rolling my eyes about this group of ladies and I commented to Hubby that their money would be better spent when the bride ends up divorced in ten years. (I may be a bit of a cynic…). And I remarked that she should bring the same group of friends when she gets divorced. Thus, the idea for the divorce cruise was born.
Which character are you?
I think this one of the most frequent questions that authors get. That and are your characters based on someone you know.
For the most part, in my books, all the players in the novel have pieces of people I know. That’s not to say any of them are completely one person I know or another. Things that happen to the characters may be things that I’ve experienced (or friends have), and my characters habits (good and bad) are often born out of the habits of me and those around me.
In this book I think the two main characters are a mash-up of me. Like Violet, I am a rule follower (to a point) who doesn’t like to inconvenience others. As a mom, I often feel pulled in different directions, not sure how to take time for myself. I’m very emotional and find myself crying at the drop of the hat, just like Vi. I don’t find myself timid or deferring to those around me as Violet does, though.
Like Leah, I’m outspoken at times and sarcastic, always. Incidents in my teen years really shaped who I became in my twenties and thirties, just like they did in Leah’s life. (Although I was never a man-eater like she is.) In a lot of respects Violet and Leah are two sides of the same coin. Which is probably why they have been friends for so long.
Violet (and to some extent, Leah) drink A LOT in this book. Was all that alcohol necessary?
Well first off, they were on vacation. Yes, I know, there are people out there that don’t drink alcohol ever…not even when they’re on vacation. But most people I know like to unwind with a cocktail or glass of wine on vacation.
I think that Violet was a bit uptight at the beginning of the book. She was having trouble reconciling the fact that she had left her kids for the first time. Plus, her husband had been pretty jerky about her going on the trip. She needed the wine and the Cosmos to relax her. Not to mention, Violet’s drunken antics not only provide a lot of the comic relief in this book, they’re a major part of one of the plot points.
Leah, well, she probably didn’t need that much alcohol.
What was your favorite part of writing this book?
I am a Pinterest junkie. For this book, I thought it would be incredibly helpful to “pin” characters from the book so that I had a better idea of what they looked like in my head. In reality, that led me down a Pinterest rabbit hole for DAYS, trying to get just the right characters.
And I ended up changing quite a few of them before the end of the book. (I originally thought Amy Adams would be great for the part of Leah and then I realized Blake Lively would be a better fit…yes, I’m pathetic.) I initially made this board a secret so people wouldn’t realize how insane I was, but this week I decided what the heck...and made it public. You can check out my Best Friends & Other Liars Pinterest board HERE.
I also LOVE cover design. I am hopeless at art and graphic design and all that, but I definitely always have a vision of what I want my cover to look like. It is because of this that I know I could never become 100% traditionally published. I seriously care that much about my cover art that I couldn’t give away that decision to someone else.
Not only did I pin covers from authors I wanted to model my own cover after, I spent countless hours working with designers to get the perfect cover for this book. As difficult as it ultimately was to choose between all the designs I ended up with in the end, I LOVED every part of this process.
What was your least favorite part of Best Friends & Other Liars?
The universal answer for all authors everywhere for everything they’ve ever written? Editing.
It’s just so time consuming and can be frustrating at times. Especially when you discover that you’ve changed your lead character from blonde to brunette three times in a book. Or, like I did in this book, have your main character experience trauma that you ultimately remove from the book. You have to go back and make sure you’ve taken any trace of this (ie. references) out.
As far as least favorite scenes? I really hate the scene in the beginning of the book between Violet and Richard in the kitchen. I seriously want to punch him in the face (much like Leah does for most of the book). Still, I know I must bide my time…
What was different about Best Friends & Other Liars?
Since this is my eleventh novel, I decided to be like a Disney movie and throw some Easter eggs into the novel. There’s one really obvious one, but there are a few hints that devoted readers of my other novels may pick up on. Okay, so basically, my mother.
I really enjoyed writing this novel and I hope you guys enjoy reading it. You can grab your copy HERE.