Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Five -- Tracy Bilen

Today's interview features Tracy Bilen, author of WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, published by Simon Pulse in May. She has traveled Europe, studied at the Sorbonne and shares my love of quiet trips through a winter forest (she cross-country skis, I snowshoe!)


1.  What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A transporter. From Star Trek. Because I love to travel but hate getting there. Airplanes make me sick, so just thinking about taking a plane anywhere spoils the fun.

2.  What is your favorite word?

Plethora. Because it’s the first fancy word I ever learned. I don’t ever say it out loud, but I THINK it a lot.

3.  What word do you like the least?

Purchase. O.K., so there’s a lot of other words I don’t like, but this is one that my husband says all the time and to me it just sounds way too formal. I like buy. Not purchase. BUY.

4.  What other profession would you like to learn?

I’ve thought optometry would be cool (I like the part where they ask, “Is it better one or better two?”)
When I was a kid I definitely wanted to be a vet. I had a building design in mind and check-in procedures all set up. But the second I smelled formaldehyde in high school it was all over.
And I’d really LOVE to learn to paint. But I have absolutely no patience for it. ZERO. That and I’m horrible at it.

5.  What profession would you never, ever want to have?

Anything that involves the smell of cleaners or working in a bathroom.


“Don’t even think of leaving…I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.”

Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it. 

Each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late… for them both.

See the trailer here.


You can find Tracy at her website.
And on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weekend Recap!

I grew up in a small town.  After  two years away, I returned to finish my college education in the same small town.  I return on a regular basis to see my family, visit friends and spend hours on the (empty!) beaches listening to the waves.  Even though I haven't lived here for fifteen years, I still consider Humboldt County my home.

So when I discovered that GILT was going to be made into an actual book, I went to my favorite Humboldt bookstore and asked if I could do an event.  

The Booklegger in Eureka is a used bookstore.  Their shelves are full of classics and literary novels, romance, comic books, photo books, garden guides and rare, intriguing titles that scream to be taken home.  The owner, Jennifer McFaden, has amazing taste in literature.  And she remembers me from when I was in college, working at the bakery next door, and coming into the store on my lunch break, poring over exotic guidebooks and the travelogues of Paul Theroux, Colin Thubron and V.S. Naipaul.  Even after five years in England, she remembered me.  That's the sign of a great bookseller.
This past weekend, the Booklegger had a GILT-fest.  Jen, Amy and Nancy spent the morning cutting out Henry VIII paper dolls, clothing them in finery and decorating the front window with them.  In the afternoon, I went next door to pick up a cake I had ordered from Ramone's Bakery (yes, where I worked during college!) and discovered that the decorator had hand-drawn the book's title on the top with such intricate detail it took my breath away.  

The best part of the afternoon was the crowd.  Sure, there weren't a lot of people there.  But those who did come made the entire event a party.  The mother of one of my oldest friends showed up - having already read the book - and asked careful, interesting questions.  My high school prom date was in town just for the weekend for his father's 80th birthday and took an hour to spend with me, asking questions about history and writing.  And the man who taught me how to pull a perfect shot of espresso at the bakery next door, and who filled my college years with music singing with local band Small Fish (and who happened to be in town for his father-in-law's 75th birthday!).  And the booksellers.  And people I didn't even know.  It was intimate, awe-inspiring and so much fun.  I love doing readings and talking about writing and books, and have had some amazing experiences, but this, I think, was my favorite so far.  Memorable and humbling.  

So if you're ever in Eureka, California, stop in at the Booklegger - I can almost guarantee you'll find a book you want to read (I left with seven on Saturday).  And grab a cappuccino at Ramone's next door.