I am so excited to have received this wonderful review from Kirkus for The Girl He Used to Know.
“Living alone for the last 10 years has pushed Annika Rose, a woman on the autism spectrum, toward independence. Yet bumping into Jonathan Hoffman, her college sweetheart, in the frozen food section of their local grocery store sparks hope for something more.
Following a vicious bullying incident in seventh grade, Annika had been homeschooled, so college life challenged her. Luckily, just as she was about to throw in the towel and head back home, her compassionate roommate, Janice, took Annika under her wing, helping her to better read and respond to social cues. It was Janice who took Annika to her first chess club meeting, a place that became sacred to Annika. With the chess board in front of her, Annika could enter a space of clear rules and no confusing emotions, and it was at chess club that Annika and Jonathan first met. After she trounced him in their first game, Jonathan was smitten by the beautiful yet terribly shy Annika. Over the course of their senior year, Jonathan and Annika’s romance built from tentative touches into a passionate affair that crashed shortly after Jonathan took a job in New York. Now divorced and skittish, can Jonathan open his heart to Annika’s love again? Or will the mystery behind their breakup keep them apart?
Telling the story primarily from Annika’s perspective, Graves (On the Island, 2012, etc.) mirrors Annika’s own logical, concrete thought patterns with straightforward sentence structure and minimal description. Careful to balance the emotional and intellectual power between Annika and Jonathan, Graves creates a believable love affair in which Annika is not infantilized but rather fully realized as simply different. And her differences become her strengths when catastrophe strikes, compelling Annika to take the lead for the first time in her life.
A heartwarming, neurodiverse love story.”
The Girl He Used to Know will be published on 4/2/19. Have you pre-ordered your copy?
Here are the pre-order links for The Girl He Used to Know – available 4/2/19!
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IHEds3
Please add The Girl He Used to Know to your shelves:
Hello, everyone! Happy Friday. I’m so excited to share the gorgeous cover of The Girl He Used to Know with you. I love its edgy, sophisticated, literary vibe and can’t wait to hold the finished hardcover in my hands. The book will be released on April 2nd, 2019. I know that seems like a long time away, but I promise it will go fast! Make sure to follow me on all my social media channels because I will be giving away signed ARCs every month from now until the release.
I also have the pre-order links!
Add to your Goodreads shelf here:
Also, the e-book editions of Heart-Shaped Hack and White-Hot Hack will be on sale on Amazon for .99 STARTING TOMORROW. If you haven’t met Kate and Ian yet, grab your discounted copies for the holiday weekend! <3 <3 <3
Thanks, everyone! TGIF. 🙂
Good morning, everyone!
A few of you have reached out to say hello and ask me where I’ve been, which I appreciate so much. I know I’ve been MIA, but I’ve been holed up in the writing cave working on my next manuscript so that I can reach my completion date goal of June 30th (and keep giving you new books to read!).
But today I have some super exciting news: 100 people will win an early copy of The Girl He Used to Know. That’s not a typo. ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE will soon hold a bound galley in their hands.
I cannot EVEN. I’m so excited for you to read this book.
All you have to do is click on this link and enter the giveaway. Mobile users, please use this one. That’s it. And if you’d like to share the giveaway link, that would certainly be appreciated but it is not required.
I can’t wait to reveal the final cover (this one’s a placeholder) and tell you more about this story. But for now, let’s get the ball rolling with this awesome giveaway. Good luck!
Good morning, everyone!
I’m over-the-moon excited to announce that The Girl He Used to Know will be published by St. Martin’s Press. I do not have a pub date yet, but I will share all release details with you as they become available.
Thank you so much for your patience. I can’t wait for you to read this story!
I hope you’re enjoying your summer. I’ve been working in the morning and then shifting to play as soon as my two noisy teenagers wake up (because if you can’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em). This means I’ve had a little more time to read than I usually do, and I’m so happy about that!
Here are my favorites so far:
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – This was a delightful and fresh spin on the age-old enemies-to-lovers trope. The writing was sharp and the tension was fantastic.
Leave Me by Gayle Foreman – I’ve read If I Stay and Where She Went, but this is Gayle’s adult fiction debut and it’s wonderful. I would pick this up before bed with the intention of reading for only a short time and would still be reading an hour later.
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner – I have been a fan of Jennifer’s since Good in Bed. I loved reading about her life and how she got started as a writer. This is an author I’d really like to meet someday.
The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore – I loved this tale of family drama. There was enough humor and heart that it never felt depressing to me.
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo – This was a wonderful blend of women’s fiction and romance (I would categorize it as a love story). I loved the writing and enjoyed the character-driven narrative. Make sure you have a supply of tissues nearby.
Coming Clean: A memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller – I absolutely loved this memoir about hoarding. It reminded me a bit of The Glass Castle and Breaking Night because of the hardships the author had to overcome due to circumstances outside of her control. Gritty and ultimately triumphant.
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn – I love stories about marriage and suburban life, and this book delivers both. It’s funny but realistic. The characters are old enough to know better but dive in headfirst anyway.
Falling by Jane Green – No one writes women’s fiction like Jane Green. I’ve been a fan of hers for years and this is one of my favorites. I especially loved all the details surrounding interior design, and the relationship the heroine has with a certain special little boy. This one was right up my alley.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – A few months ago, I became very interested in eliminating the clutter that seems to permeate every corner of my house. I have two teenagers and their stuff is EVERYWHERE. It’s still a losing battle, but what I found was that I could eliminate my own clutter and it would feel almost as good as eliminating theirs. I was able to reduce my closet by 2/3 and have made multiple trips to Goodwill. It really did feel good to keep only the items that “sparked joy.” My next hurdle is our basement storage room. Hopefully I’ll have the strength to let go of the things we’re holding on to that we don’t really need.
Maybe in Another Life and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I find myself gravitating more and more toward stories that are a blend of women’s fiction and romance. This is reflective in my own writing so it makes sense I would be drawn to them. I like that both of these books were character and relationship driven. They’re thankfully low on angst and the subject matter is relatable and realistic. I love Taylor’s fresh voice and will definitely seek out more of her work (now and in the future).
What I’d love to read more of this summer: contemporary romance with adult characters and a fresh premise that doesn’t solely rely on tropes, smart women’s fiction that also includes romance in the storyline, and compelling memoirs that contain subject matter I’m not familiar with. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!
I hope you’re enjoying your summer,
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my current work in progress, and I’m happy to report that I finished my latest manuscript this week, a second-chance romance/women’s fiction hybrid called The Girl He Used to Know. It always feels wonderful to type the words THE END, and this was certainly no exception.
You might be curious about what I mean by romance/women’s fiction hybrid, and I’ll be talking about that in greater detail in a forthcoming post about branding. But the short answer is that this book will combine the things I love most about the two genres. Women’s fiction holds a huge appeal for me because I’m drawn to the depth of the stories, and I thoroughly enjoy the heroine’s journey outside of the romantic relationship. But I also love watching the romance unfold between two characters, complete with a happily-ever-after ending. Some may categorize a book like this as commercial women’s fiction or even mainstream contemporary fiction. Regardless of what it’s called, the combination of these two genres provides exactly what I love most as a reader, and I’m hoping there are others who feel the same way.
Although I’ve completed the manuscript, this is only the first draft which means there’s more to be done before I’m actually finished with this book. The revision stage is hard work, but it’s also my favorite and I typically spend another month revising, editing, and polishing (and that’s before I turn the manuscript in for professional copyediting).
I don’t have a publication date yet, but if you’re wondering what the story is about, it follows two people who meet via the campus chess club and fall in love during their senior year of college The second-chance part comes into play when they run into each other at a Chicago grocery store ten years after they broke up. The book is structured in a series of past and present chapters so you get to experience what happened to them in the past and also see what happens now that they’ve reconnected in the present. I have mentioned this several times already, but I was inspired to write this book based on my love of Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne,” the song about running into your old lover in the grocery store, and I decided to write my own interpretation. However, the hero of my novel is NOT a musician. The characters don’t buy a six pack of beer and drink it in the heroine’s car. Both of them are single. But I wanted to capture the spirit of what it’s like to give a relationship another try. To really explore what happens when you rekindle a past love using all the hindsight of the first relationship with the personal growth and maturity that comes with being ten years older.
I’ll post more information and publication details as they become available, so please stay tuned!
P.S. Here are the lyrics if you’re not familiar with the song.
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stood behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation lagged
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was Hell
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how
We drank a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another “Auld Lang Syne”
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away
And felt that old familiar pain
And, as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain