In New Money, author Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, tells the story of 24-year-old Savannah Morgan, a woman who yearns for something more than her menial job as an assistant librarian filing books and dealing with obnoxious teenagers. She longs to become a writer and escape her small-town life in Charleston, South Carolina where snooty debutantes look down at her for not having a closet-full of Lilly Pulitzer and a sparkling engagement ring. But even a big dreamer like Savannah could never imagine what would happen after a fateful phone call she receives one evening…
Her world is shaken when she learns the father she never knew is Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who has left Savannah his fortune on the condition that she move to Manhattan and work at his global news corporation. Putting aside her mother’s disapproval, Savannah plunges into a life of wealth and luxury that is threatened by Edward’s other children — the infuriatingly arrogant Ned and his sharp-tongued sister, Caroline, whose joint mission is to get rid of Savannah. She deals with their treachery along with her complicated love life, and eventually has to decide between Jack, a smooth and charming real estate executive, and Alex, a handsome aspiring writer/actor.
Now, Savannah must navigate an electrifying but untrustworthy society full of deceit, gossip, and fabulous parties while she tries to figure out who her father truly was. Can she manage this thrilling and complex new life or will she return to the safety of her Southern roots?
GCT caught up with Zago Rosenthal about writing women’s fiction, her characters and some of her inspirations:
YD: How did you get into writing?
LZR: “I developed a love of books as soon as I learned to read, and I read fiction constantly. I was also highly influenced by my interest in film and TV. From a young age, I studied character development, pacing, dialogue, and plot and after a while, I wanted to create my own characters and stories, so I started writing.”
YD: Although New Money is not your first novel, you are a fairly new voice in women’s fiction. What do you think you bring to the table that is refreshing for readers?
LZR: “What I bring to my existing audience that might be considered different/refreshing is a more commercial and lighthearted work. What I offer new readers is the same thing that any author offers — his/her unique perspective and style.”
YD: What inspired New Money?
LZR: “It was inspired by many things — observation, experience, and imagination. However, I believe that readers will notice an underlying theme in New Money, which is deciding whether to maintain one’s own personal standards of morality in the most trying or tempting circumstances.”
YD: Do you consider yourself a character or plot driven author?
LZR: “Overall, I am a character-driven writer. However, I think it’s important to focus equally on character and plot. An author can create the most fascinating characters, but if there is nothing for those characters to do, there will be no story. And if a novel has a strong plot with undeveloped characters, it is unlikely to be an intriguing read.”
YD: Who is your favorite author and what have you learned from their style?
LZR: “I admire and have been influenced by so many authors. One of my all-time favorite authors is Emily Bronte. I love Wuthering Heights because of its emotional intensity and Bronte’s ability to make me understand and sympathize with characters who aren’t necessarily likeable. She is one of the authors who taught me how to create complex characters.
“I am also a fan of several screenwriters. A screenwriter who influenced me early on is Naomi Foner, who is Jake Gyllenhaal’s mother. She wrote Running on Empty, a 1988 film starring the late River Phoenix. I admire how that script conveys deep emotion in a subtle way.”
YD: Any advice for aspiring writers?
LZR: “The most important thing is to enjoy what you’re writing. Write what comes naturally to you, and what you would want to read. You really have to love your story and characters to make the novel good enough for someone else to love it, too. So, believe in your abilities, work hard and persevere. Oh, and always remember that writing is highly subjective. Therefore, don’t let the people who don’t connect with your work discourage you. Just keep trying until you find the people who love your writing as much as you do.”
– For more about New Money and author Lorraine Zago Rosenthal visit lorraine-zago-rosenthal.blogspot.com.
Trish Doller lays out a complex, emotionally charged and powerful story in Where the Stars Still Shine.
A tale about a new life, an old secret and which one would you keep is seamlessly woven when stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely.
But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love — even with someone who seems an improbable choice — is more than just a possibility.
Raw and gritty in its style, the book delivers one heck of a sweet story.
“Where the Stars Still Shine is a messy story — as stories about family generally are—but one that’s ultimately about love, family, and forgiveness,” Doller says.
Inspired by a trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida, Doller says she began thinking of what it would feel like to be an outsider dropped into this town on Dodecanese Boulevard. Surrounded by Greek restaurants, gift shops, sponge diving boats, and people who sounded like they’d just arrived in Florida from Greece, made the author’s main character, Callie, start taking shape.
“I’m largely a character-driven writer, and my main characters are generally easy to figure out,” she adds. “However, Callie was more difficult and her character required coaxing. But my goal is to grab readers on the first page with a compelling voice and a sympathetic character.”
Doller goes on to explain that she’s typically a fly by the seat of her pants type of writer, letting the characters lead the story, but this plot required something different.
“My favorite author is Melina Marchetta, an Australian young adult novelist. Her prose is gorgeous and literary, yet still very accessible, that pushes me to strive for stronger, smarter words when I write,” she admits.
And that’s exactly what Doller does with the Where the Stars Still Shine. Realistic, compassionate and filled with love, the novel strikes a chord with readers and yearns to see Callie have a chance at happiness and truly shine. Vested in her, the reader feels her pain, celebrates her joy and roots on her independent strength with every word.
But what’s next?
“My next novel — again for young adults — is tentatively titled Arcadia Falls and is slated for publication in April 2015. The book is a psychological thriller about Arcadia “Cadie” Wells, a girl from High Springs, Florida, who is looking for an escape from some heavy responsibilities life has handed to her. Escape arrives in the form of a couple of good-looking guys road tripping their way through the state toward Flamingo. Cadie impulsively joins them on their trip, but when things go tragically wrong, her only hope is that she’ll make it home alive,” Doller adds.
– On October 5 at 7 pm, Trish Doller will host a book signing at Barnes & Noble, located at 13751 Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers, FL. For more information about the author visit www.trishdoller.com!
Enjoy an evening of fine wines and thrilling conversation with best-selling author Tami Hoag at Read Between the Wines on October 18 at the Colonial Country Club.
International best-selling suspense author Hoag first hit the New York Times best-seller list with Night Sins, a thriller made into a two-part miniseries in 1997. With 15 consecutive Times bestsellers to her credit, including Deeper Than the Dead, Secrets to the Grave, and Prior Bad Acts, Hoag has more than 35 million books in print, published in more than 20 languages worldwide.
During Read Between the Wines, hardcopies of Hoag’s latest release The 9th Girl will be available for sale and autographing. The author will also lead a discussion about her experiences during her 25-year writing career and how she creates and relates to her characters.
The intimate evening filled with thrilling discussion will also include exquisite wines, chef carved sweet chile glazed salmon, bruschetta, assorted cheeses, gourmet crackers and tropical fruit.
Tickets are $50, and all sales close at midnight October 14. All proceeds go to fund the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, a free event that brings best selling authors from across the nation and promotes reading and literacy while bringing awareness of the library’s programs and resources.
– For more information or to purchase tickets, call (239) 533-4826 or visit www.ReadBetweenTheWines.info.