Pie Girls Review & Author Interview

PieGirls
Pie Girls:
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.

My Thoughts:
Pie Girls is a charming Southern tale about a spoiled Atlanta socialite, Searcy, whose wealthy husband leaves her high and dry, forcing her to fend for herself and return to her roots in small town Alabama. This witty and warm novel by Lauren Clark charms with laugh out loud moments and plenty of Southern hospitality, along with a few mean girls thrown in for good measure. I was immediately sucked into Searcy’s story at the outset, and even though she begins the book as a superficial diva with a dangerous shopping habit, I loved Searcy. She had a way of talking herself into situations that were absolutely hilarious. There were scenes I still fondly recall that had me laughing out loud. Seriously, I need this book made into a movie so I can “see” them play out! But Clark is terrific at balancing the storytelling with equally tender moments that pull at the heartstrings. Above all, this is a story about finding yourself and loving yourself, even in the face of adversity. And, of course, finding romance in the most unlikely of allies. Definitely a book to tuck in with at the end of a long day and escape with Searcy into a world of Southern comfort.

Q&A with author Lauren Clark

Q: What was the inspiration for your novel?

A: I visited a place in Greensboro, Alabama called the Pie Lab, a restaurant written up many times in Southern Living, Bon Appetit, and many newspapers around the Southeast. I kind of fell in love with the idea of such a place in Fairhope, Alabama, a lovely waterfront community near where I live. I decided to create a shop named Pie Girls there, and thus, Searcy’s story was born.

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?

A: I do love Searcy, the main character … but when we first meet Searcy, she is a very spoiled Southern belle who’s been pampered and polished to shine in Atlanta’s hottest social scenes. She has a personal shopper, a group of wealthy girlfriends, and a credit card with no limit. She spends her days shopping, going out to lunch, planning parties, and socializing.

What makes her so special is that even in the first chapter, we glimpse the real Searcy. She knows, deep down, that something is wrong, but can’t bring herself to admit it. She projects a positive, upbeat attitude and tries to keep things status quo, because she doesn’t believe she can live without her husband Alton.

Alton’s leaving upends Searcy’s life. At first, it appears that the impending divorce is the end of the world, but Searcy’s journey makes her into an entirely different person—someone caring, giving, empathetic, and truly loving. Best of all, she learns to rely on herself, forgives Alton, and finds true love.
 
Q: What is your writing method? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A: Plotter, definitely. I am definitely a plotter and an outliner. I work from a one or two line “What if?” idea and work out the plot from there. I end up with at least a few sentences about each chapter before I begin writing. I have the major plot points and twists, as well as the ending, mostly worked out before I begin the manuscript.

Q: Do you have any writing rituals to help get you in the mood to write?

A: I usually write in the morning—early morning, like 530 AM—have some coffee brewed, and I like to have the house quiet. If I can open this windows and let a little breeze in … or sit outside and write … all the better!

Q: What was the first car you owned?

A: Oh no! My parents bought me a 1977 bright orange Cadillac my senior year of college. I thought it was the most embarrassing vehicle ever, but my sorority sisters loved it!

Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?

A: I do adore Christmas, especially since my youngest still believes in Santa, but my kids and I really also love decorating for—and enjoying—Halloween.

Q: Who was your first celebrity crush?

A: Oh…LOL. Tom Cruise in “All the Right Moves.” (Old school football movie). I thought he was totally dreamy <3

Q: Do you have a current TV show obsession?

A: I adore Downton Abbey. Love the show, the writing, the drama, the characters. It just proves that you can have a great storyline with no blood, violence, or zombies!

Q: What was the first concert you went to and how old were you?

A: Bryan Adams (Summer of ’69), I was 16, went with my best friend, and was accompanied by my mother! At the time, I was mortified, but looking back, it was a lot of fun and generous of her to give up her evening to spend with a concert hall full of screaming teenagers!

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?

A: Stop worrying so much! You will be blessed with a wonderful life full of friends, love, laughter, and books!

About the Author:
Lauren ClarkLauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Alabama Gulf Coast. Visit her website at LaurenClarkBooks.com.

Website: http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com
Blog: http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com/blog
Facebook: Lauren Clark
Twitter: @Laurenclark_bks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/laurenclarkbks/
Amazon Author Page: Lauren Clark
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5280308.Lauren_Clark
Book Purchase Links:

Amazon (US)

Pie Girls

Dancing Naked in Dixie

Stardust Summer

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Q&A with Sue Watson

lemoncakeA few months ago, Sue Watson released her third novel, Love, Lies, and Lemon Cake, which I adored, and I asked her to do a fun Q&A with me. Well, in between that time, we were both so busy working on Petit Four that we barely had time to get around to it! Oh, and Sue wrote and released another novel, Snow Angels, Secrets, and Christmas Cake, too! She is one busy lady. But this is such a funny interview (Sue is a seriously hilarious woman) that I can’t hang on to it any longer and simply must share. So, enjoy!

Q: What was the inspiration for your novel, Love, Lies, and Lemon Cake?

A: Unusually for me, I started with the title. It was a chapter title in my first book ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes’ and has been percolating for a long time. I loved the alliteration and the concept of ‘Love, lies and Lemon cake.’ Once I sat down at my desk it kind of wrote itself.

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?

A: I love the heroine, Faye, because I think she’s relatable. She got married, had a child – then woke up one morning in her forties and wondered where she’d gone. The novel is about Faye’s attempts to reclaim herself and her life before it’s too late and she’s too old to chase those dreams. However, my absolute favourite character has to be Dan from the deli. He’s a blond Australian, and he’s my hero in every sense of the word. He looks like a slightly rugged version of Ryan Gosling and I have fallen a little bit in love with him…
 
Q: What is your writing method? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A: I am a total pantser in life and in writing. As an ex journalist I’m just delighted to finally be able to write a story where the facts don’t get in the way and I sit at my desk and let my imagination take me there. It’s weird because if I’m ahead of schedule I tend to ruin it all and ramp up the stress by going out for lunch/cocktails and chatting to friends on the phone until the eleventh hour. I think I have a need for danger and get high on the whole ‘deadline junkie’ thing!

Q: Do you have any writing rituals to help set the mood before sitting down at the keyboard?

A: Cake, coffee and being behind on a strict deadline usually do it for me.

Q: What was the first car you owned?

A: A white mini. The front wheel fell off. While I was driving. Memories…

Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?

A: I love Easter. A whole weekend of guilt-free chocolate consumption, what’s not to love? Also, my daughter was born at Easter and it always feels like a time of new beginnings for me because she changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

Q: Who was your first celebrity crush?

A: Donny Osmond.

Q: Do you have a current TV show obsession?

A: I completely love The Biggest Loser USA. There was a UK version, but it was like eating a sweetie with the wrapper on and we just can’t do it like you guys. American TV is the best. At the beginning of every season, I vow I will lose weight along with the contestants each week. I order the DVDs, plan to go running, and get really psyched about it. But by the final episode, I’m always on the couch watching in awe from behind a large tub of Ben and Jerry’s and thinking, ‘damn, that could have been me!’

Q: What was the first concert you went to and how old were you?

A: I was 9 and went with my Mum to see The Manhattan Transfer – not your typical pre teen beats – but I’ve always had strange taste in music! Last year, in my forties, I went with my best friend to see Rihanna – I do everything back to front!

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?

A: Know that no-one’s laughing at you. No-one thinks you’re fat or ugly, or stupid – in fact people are quite fond of you. Oh and you know that boy in your English class with the blond hair and the nice smile? He likes you. So talk to him … before someone else does.

Thank you so much for having me!

You are welcome to visit any time, Sue! You crack me up!

About the Author:

SueWatsonSue Watson is a former BBC TV Producer who woke up one morning to the realisation that there was no such thing as ‘having it all.’ Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career were taking over her life and what she really wanted to do was stay home all day, bake and eat cake, watch reality TV and write… in that order. So she quit the day job, baked a year’s supply of cupcakes and chased the dream. What followed was a lot of cake and many hours in the company of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ During this, time Sue also managed to write a few books too: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger, Thinner, Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; and her latest cake offering, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake. Learn more about Sue by visiting www.suewatsonbooks.com.

Big Day for Petit Four

You might just be wondering what the heck I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. Well, I’ve been busy helping bring two new books to publication! The first one, Petit Four, releases today! This is a great collection of short stories all centered around cake. And for this one, we have a guy’s perspective! And you know what? I think it’s the most romantic story in the bunch. How sweet is that? I’m also joined by two of my favorite authors, Cindy Arora and Sue Watson, whose stories both feature hot new guys who disrupt their heroines’ work places. As for my story, well, let’s just say it’s a mixture of cake, sisterly (or rather auntie & niece) bonding, and righting past wrongs in Paris.

You might be wondering just how this anthology of sweets came to be. Well, way back in the spring, Sue Watson sent me an email (jokingly, I suspect) suggesting that we write a book about cake together. I thought it was a fabulous idea, so I reached out to Cindy Arora, whose Heartbreak Cake I absolutely adored, and then she introduced me to new lad lit author, Joel Zlotnik. And before any of us really knew what the heck was happening, we were all off in our writing dens cooking up a great collection of cake-inspired romances. For me, this book is a true labor of love for not only did I write a story for it, but I also edited the whole thing. And boy, did those scrumptious tales drive me to bake! I spent many a weekend over my mixing bowl in the kitchen. I gained about ten pounds in the process. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my craft! Nonetheless, I’m so happy to share this fantastic book of delicious reads with you. I hope you’ll celebrate its release along with a big slice of your favorite cake! To get your copy, please visit Simon & Fig!

Enjoy!
Lucie

Petit_Four_03

Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.

When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.

From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.

Petit Four Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited about this new anthology! I’m joined by a couple of my favorite Chick Lit authors, Sue Watson and Cindy Arora, and a debut Lad Lit author, Joel Zlotnik. I think you’re going to really love this one. Isn’t the cover stunning? I want to eat it!

Petit_Four_03
Petit Four
Edited by Lucie Simone

Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.

When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes, and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.

From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.

Review: Love, Lies and Lemon Cake

lemoncake
Love, Lies and Lemon Cake
Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can’t help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles… Oh. My. God.

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give everything up to be with him?

A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I adore Sue Watson and her books. Ever since falling in love with her first novel, Fat Girls & Fairy Cakes, I’ve been following (stalking) her career with much interest! And she just keeps growing as an author. In Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, Sue explores what some might describe as the “mid-life crisis,” but I believe it’s more about discovering one’s true self and following your heart than having a freak-out in your forties. As always, Sue’s brilliant humor shines through with great comedic scenes to balance the more contemplative nature of the story. Oh, and I have to mention this very important element. This story is steamy! With a hot, young Aussie as the catalyst to main character Faye’s sexual re-awakening, there was plenty of sexy action, which had me biting my nails with anticipation. But Sue always knew just where to close the bedroom (or car) door so as not to cross over into the realm of erotica. She is such a tease! And I loved it. So, if you’re in the mood for something sexy and funny and even a little thought-provoking, do check out Sue’s latest. It’s an (afternoon) delight! :)

Side note: Sue Watson and I are working on a project together along with Cindy Arora and newcomer Joel Zlotnik, a lad lit author who I guarantee will get the ladies swooning! And it’s all about cake! So stay tuned for more information on what I promise will be a very delicious read. Out this fall!

About the Author:
Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about ‘having it all,’ and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she’s not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA.’

Sue’s second book, ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ was released in October (2013) and her third book ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Cake’ is released on June 27th 2014. To learn more about Sue, please visit her website.