Thursday, May 5, 2016

#MMBBR #Showcase Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg @CaraAchterberg

Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls weekend away, they can't bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore.

Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.
Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.

Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.

All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining. 

GIRLS' WEEKEND is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search of who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy by an author who is quickly emerging as one of our most incisive storytellers.
“Well written, sometimes light, sometimes frightening, but always intriguing, this bird's eye view of two lives intertwined among millions is certainly food for thought, especially when one walks a mile in another's shoes.”
– Tome Tender

“What an intriguing storyline!”
– Teena in Toronto

“I loved this novel . . . This book had me laughing at some points, and it had me wiping away tears at others.”
– Comfy Reading

“After about two pages I was hooked.”
– Glitter and Cookies

“An awesome read! The theme of living the life of another no matter the situation and not judging without truly knowing is a lesson we should all take to heart.”
– Literarily Illumined


Who am I, you ask? Via her website....

I am an irrepressible writer, a tired mom, a lazy gardener, a resentful chauffeur, a loyal friend, a daily dreamer, a terrible dog trainer, and an occasional cowgirl. I'm also a compulsive blogger,  an almost famous novelist, and a huge fan of teenagers writing. I will talk your ear off about processed food, growing tomatoes, training horses, Virginia wine, or the dog I'm currently fostering. If you ask about my kids, prepare to be bombarded with how FANTASTIC and AMAZING they are. If you follow me on Facebook or twitter you'll be treated to near daily doses of my thoughts, adventures, and animal photos. Links to all my social media ramblings are below. I'd be honored if you followed me anywhere....

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. People inspire my writing; I find them so fascinating. I’m a serious people watcher. I can be completely entertained sitting on a bench in a park, or office building, or- my favorite – the boardwalk. I watch people and imagine their stories and wonder where they came from and where they are going. I love meeting new people. They’re like packages waiting to be unwrapped – what makes them laugh, cry, think? What are they passionate about? What can they teach me? That said, I suppose it’s dangerous to be my friend; it’s quite possible you will end up in one of my books!

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Writing. I love imagining, so the writing is the best part. And I suppose I’d have to add that I love being able to structure my own day. I’m no good at 9-5.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  Editing! It’s such a grind and easily 80% or more of what I do. It’s painful and tedious and frustrating, but so, so necessary. I used to think rejection was hard, but you get used to that. You can’t survive being a writer without developing some tough skin.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would work with dogs. I foster dogs for a rescue organization now and I truly wish I had time to do more. I’d love to be part of fixing the problem – educating people about the need to spay and neuter their pets and telling the stories of the thousands of dogs that are euthanized each year.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  Hmmmm….My Glass is Half-full? I’m a possibilitarian. I can nearly always find the good, the lesson, the wisdom in all my life’s adventures- even the painful ones.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Now that’s a really tough question. I’m torn between Life of Pi and Prayer for Owen Meany. But then I’ve loved so many books! The Art of Racing in the Rain comes to mind and pretty much everything that Wally Lamb wrote. And that’s just fiction! Okay, I’m going to go with a non-fiction simply because I can’t narrow the fiction down to one book. I’m going to say Julia Cameron’s The Right to Writebecause it inspired me and got me past the hump of I’ll-never-be-a-real-writer more than a dozen years ago. I still use it when I’m teaching creative writing.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Wow, these are not easy questions! When I was little, I was Laura Ingalls. When I was a teenager I was Holden Caulfield. As an adult, a mom, I’d like to think I’m Molly Weasley from Harry Potter. She was a tough mom who raised amazing kids AND she was a powerful witch!

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
A.  I suppose I’m most like Dani in Girls’ Weekend. She struggles with feeling qualified as an “artist” and I do, too. Plus, she’s married to the most amazing, underappreciated man who unabashedly adores her. I like to imagine that’s what I lucked into also.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. So, of course I’m going to say Hogwarts. But then I think I might also like to spend a vacation on the Appalachian Trail via Bill Bryson.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  Fall. Best season. Tomatoes and apples are finishing, garden gets put to bed, and I love trailriding in the woods. Plus, fall always feels like a new start – anything’s possible.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A.  I didn’t design my book covers, but I was able to give creative suggestions. I suggested the wineglasses on the cover of Girls’ Weekend and it is my favorite cover because of the gorgeous blue water.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.  Okay, maybe this isn’t funny, but it is embarrassing. The first print run of Girls’ Weekend was done about a month ago and I received my ‘author copies’. I posed for the requisite picture with my box of books and opened a bottle of wine. I was busy preparing for the launch, so I never actually read any of the book. A couple days later, I dropped off a copy to one of my beta readers. That afternoon, I heard from her via text – “Hey, the pages are out of order.” What? I pulled out a fresh copy and sure enough – they were! AGH. I’d had the books over a week and hadn’t noticed. I texted my publisher immediately and he checked their copies and yup – all out of order. I wasn’t privy to the phone call to the distributor, but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant. Meanwhile, I texted my friend back and said, “Thank GOD you caught that. I never noticed and unbelievably my publisher didn’t either! Heads are gonna roll!” (or something to that effect) and it wasn’t until after I hit ‘send’ that I realized I’d sent the text to my publisher NOT my friend! Ugh. Somedays I don’t think I’ll ever feel like a professional.

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. I’m working on a third novel for The Story Plant. I’m loving every minute of it and actually don’t want to send it to the editor yet because I’m enjoying these characters so much. I’m not ready to turn them lose to be judged!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  When you read a book – review it! I never realized until I became an author, but the number of reviews a writer has can be the difference between whether they make it or don’t. Books that don’t have many reviews, don’t get promoted by Amazon or other booksellers. So, even if it’s a wonderful read, it may not make it very far unless readers review it! It doesn’t have to be Pulitzer prize winning writing, but say something! Amazon and goodreads are the two biggest, but also Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and BAM are influenced by number of reviews. The best way for you to help any writer is to rate/review – promise me you’ll do it!

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