Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Heading to the mall with Jayne Denker

Introduction by Melissa Amster

Jayne Denker and I have many entertainment interests in common: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Younger, The Bold Type, and, of course, Hamilton! When I heard she had a novel coming out this summer, I knew we had to feature her at CLC. That novel is Your New Best Friend and it's now available for 99 cents on Kindle! She's here to celebrate her pub day and talk about shopping.

Jayne has worked as an editor and proofreader. After becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started writing romantic comedy novels. Your New Best Friend is her sixth! She lives in a small village in western New York with her husband, son, and a very sweet senior-citizen basement cat. When she's not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time online. (Another thing we have in common.)

Visit Jayne at her website, Facebook, and Twitter. She may become your new best friend!

Jane Austen’s Emma made a habit of meddling in other people’s lives, but Melanie Abbott has turned it into a cottage industry.

As “modern American royalty” living in Abbott’s Bay, Massachusetts, a town founded by her ancestor, Melanie Abbott feels it’s her right—even her duty—to employ her uncanny knack for knowing exactly what everyone needs to improve their lives. She eagerly shares her wisdom and insight with her friends and neighbors . . . whether they ask for it or not. If only Conn Garvey, her dearest friend, agreed with her.

Connacht Garvey has been keeping an eye on Melanie since they were kids. A bit older, far more level-headed, and infinitely patient, Conn feels it's his duty to pull Melanie back from whatever cliff’s edge she’s about to wander off. Conn thinks Melanie is egotistical, self-centered, irritating, infuriating, relentless, ridiculous . . . and irresistible. Not that Conn’s confessed to that last one. Yet.

When Melanie impulsively starts up a new advice-giving business, it’s an instant hit. Conn doesn’t approve, as usual, which is too bad, because Melanie’s convinced he needs her VIP package. (Of advice!) His coffeehouse is showing signs of financial trouble, plus his toxic ex is suddenly sniffing around, acting like she’s having second thoughts about their breakup. Will their friendship be blown to bits because of Melanie’s meddling . . . or will it become something more? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

Tell us about a time you experienced buyer's remorse:
I’ve bought quite a few things that I’ve regretted, I admit. Let’s just say the clothes in the clearance section of the Sundance Catalog are there for a reason, mmmkay? Most recently...probably the fidget spinner I bought my son. He had bought his first one on a class trip to Canada, but it broke, and he was experiencing fidget withdrawal (I swear it’s a thing—I’ve witnessed it!) When I saw a bunch sitting on the counter of a respectable store that shall remain nameless, selling for $4, I bought him one. It lasted a week before it fell to pieces. One. Week. Lesson learned about stress fractures in plastic when it’s up against spinning metal bearings. Science!!

What store that no longer exists would you like to bring back?
I miss the old-fashioned, independently owned, local department stores. My hometown used to have a teeming downtown with three major department stores—two inside one of the oldest malls in the country (since torn down) and one across the street. The freestanding one, which dated back to the turn of the 20th century, was called Sibley’s. It was fabulous. Several floors of clothes, jewelry and accessories, household goods, toys, etc., plus a lunch counter and a bakery. There was a large clock high up on a pillar on the main floor, near the escalators, and people would say “Meet me under the clock at Sibley’s” when they needed to find each other in the heaving mass of people during a weekday lunch hour or on a busy Saturday. At Christmas, it was like something out of a fairy tale—or a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie! The whole store was decorated, the toy department was insane, and there was a long, darkened hallway, with lit-up holiday dioramas on either side, that you’d walk down to see Santa. And after you sat on Santa’s lap, you’d get a gold kazoo shaped like a trombone. Ah, parental migraines.

Would you consider yourself a shopaholic?
Not really. It’s not a recreational activity for me—I don’t go shopping if I don’t have something specific I need to buy. Although that might be more of a reflection on my financial state than my interest in recreational shopping!

What is something you purchase on a regular basis (excluding stuff you need)?
Oh, you know a writer is going to say books, right?! From browsing bookstores to one-clicking on Amazon, I cannot resist a good story. I also have a bad habit of buying blank notebooks and pens—definitely stuff I don’t need, but I neeeed, you know? And I love antiques and decorative household items.

Favorite splurge purchase?
Aside from books, I don’t tend to splurge on much. I don’t have a well-developed designer gene (my wallet thanks me), so designer clothes, shoes, and handbags and such can float right past me and I’d never notice. I do, however, have a weakness for graphic tees, movies (I like to buy digital versions of my comfort-flicks on iTunes so I can watch them dozens of times without having to root around for the DVD), earrings, and beads-with-which-to-make jewelry. I mean, I always swear I’ll find the time to get crafty, but I hardly ever do, so the beads sit in nice compartmented storage boxes, taunting me.

What would be your main character's favorite place to shop?
Unlike me, Melanie loves to shop—for herself, for others, doesn’t matter. She feels it’s her mission in life to help people discover their personal style—clothes, household d├ęcor, you name it. She frequents the cute, trendy, unique boutiques in her hometown of Abbott’s Bay, Massachusetts, on the North Shore, both as a way of finding unusual items and stimulating the local economy (very important to her), but she also likes to travel to Boston and New York City for the absolute latest fashions.

Thanks to Jayne for visiting with us today!


Janine said...

This book sounds good. I enjoyed the interview too.

Jayne Denker said...

Thanks, Janine! I loved Melissa's shopping questions. :)

Unknown said...

Great blog :)

Would you mind checking out my book reviews blog at https://elsbookreviews.blogspot.ca/ and possibly give it a follow? Super excited to read your posts!

- El

The Book Sage said...

A fun and informative interview.