Thursday, February 1, 2018

Elizabeth LaBan is perfectly fine...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Andrea Cipriani Mecchi
Happy first day of February! Today, Elizabeth LaBan is helping us start a new month and we're celebrating the publication of her latest novel, Not Perfect. Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have THREE copies to give away!

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is the author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife which was published by Lake Union, the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven foreign languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven foreign languages, and Pretty Little World, which she co-authored with Melissa DePino. 

She is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications. She also ghost writes a weekly column, and has ghost written two books.

Elizabeth has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s in English from Trinity College in Hartford. Elizabeth was an NBC Page, worked at NBC News in New York, taught journalism at a community college in New Orleans, and was a reporter at a number of small to mid-sized newspapers including The Riverdale Press before she began writing books.

Visit Elizabeth online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.

Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


What were the easiest and most challenging parts of writing Not Perfect?
In general, I find the most challenging part of writing to be the beginning of a project, when I am forming my characters and the world they live in, and then figuring out what happens to them. The easier, though maybe not easiest, part is once that is all set – about two or three drafts in – and I know the characters well and can really shape what I’ve put on the page. I have a feeling, though, that you are asking more specifically about this particular novel. What I just mentioned does apply to Not Perfect, but when I think about the different storylines, some were easier to write than others. For example, I loved writing about The University of Michigan alumni chapter meetings during which they watched football games and cheered for The Victors. I enjoyed writing about the moments when Tabitha found unexpected kindness from Marlon at the grocery store, or from Nora or Toby. The storylines that were especially difficult for me had more to do with the intricacies of Tabitha’s relationship with her mother, and also with Stuart, and being able to write that in a way that would hopefully draw readers in and give them at least some understanding of where Tabitha was coming from. The scene that was the most challenging for me to write was when Levi gets hurt – it is difficult for me to write about a child being injured, but it was important for this story, so I really had to push myself to do that.

What is the best compliment you have ever received on your writing? What is a piece of constructive feedback (from a review) that you've used while writing Not Perfect?
Many people advise me and authors in general to not read the reviews, but of course that is impossible, and also I do learn a lot both good and bad from reading them. I would say the biggest compliments I have come upon so far for Not Perfect are one person wrote she had a book hangover after reading it – so she basically had a hard time moving away from this world and into another one. That has happened to me with some of my favorite books, so that meant so much. Another reviewer said she planned to share the book with her mother – that made my day! Oh and one more said he or she would give it more stars than were available if they could. As far as constructive feedback that I used while writing this book goes, I would have to go back to reviews for my other novels – The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Pretty Little World – and I would say just being aware of how I portray male characters became important to me. It was on my mind when I wrote the Stuart character – who does some awful things – but at the same time he has his reasons. My hope was to be able to write his story in such a way that the reader wouldn’t turn away, but instead would at least consider the possibility that there are two sides to every story.

Who would you cast in the lead roles if Not Perfect were made into a movie?
I have to say Nicole Kidman because I loved her in Big Little Lies, and she keeps winning awards for that. She would make a great Tabitha! I’ll go with Paul Rudd for Toby!

What is something that you find "not perfect" about yourself?
Oh so many things! But one thing I would like to work on is when someone needs my help – a neighbor or a friend (not my kids, of course, I am always ready and willing to help them) – but if it comes up unexpectedly, it often takes me a minute to shuffle myself and think about my next few hours before I say yes. I mean in a true emergency I would like to think I would step right up, but if my neighbor wants me to take his kids for dinner, or my other neighbor wants me to take care of his cats, I usually take a minute before saying yes. I would like to say yes more quickly. Also, I should change our sheets more often.

What TV show are you currently binge-watching?
I love to binge-watch shows! I am currently watching the second season of The Crown, and I love it. I have never enjoyed any show as much as I did Breaking Bad. We also recently finished the third season of Better Call Saul, and I look forward to the fourth season.

If you could take us on a tour of the town where you live, what is one place we must visit?
That’s an easy one – I would take you to Rittenhouse Square. It is not far from where I live, and truly the center of most of my days since it is so close to many of the restaurants and stores I go to regularly. More than that, though, it factors into all of my women’s fiction novels. It is in The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Pretty Little World. In Not Perfect, Tabitha lives right on Rittenhouse Square, in a fancy apartment. Many times we see her walking through it or toward it, crossing it to go to a hotel for a job interview, or wishing she could take a walk around it. It is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia.

Thanks to Elizabeth for chatting with us and to Kathleen Carter Communications for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends February 6th at midnight EST.

20 comments:

Janine said...

What's not perfect about me? That list is long. But I'll just go with the obvious, my weight problem and lack of motivation to do anything about it.

Melissa said...

My ability to remain calm during stressful situations definitely isn't perfect, but I'm continually working on it.

Suburban prep said...

The fact that I try ti be perfect on every count.
I have a home that is comfortable but there are definitely things that can be improved.
I stress out about things sometimes and that can cause issues.

rhonda said...

My secret I snack too much😁

traveler said...

Always helping out family and never any reciprocation but never mentioning anything.

Rita Wray said...

I guess I'm a little bossy.

JULIE CURTIS said...

No such thing as perfection. Not good in the mornings. Get stressed easily

Kelley B said...

I fail terribly at being kind to myself!

Diane Markowitz said...

I am impatient.

Dianne Casey said...

I procrastinate too much.

Mary C said...

I have a hard time saying no without feeling guilty.

Bonnie K. said...

I'm the opposite of Mary Poppins. Practically imperfect in every way. That's ok. It makes me who I am. One imperfection that I wished I didn't have is that I worry and stress too much.

Linda Kish said...

I am very far from perfect. I have a habit of telling people what I think even if they may prefer not to hear the truth.

Mary Preston said...

Rife with imperfections - such is life.

jean602 said...

I get stressed sometimes.

Jennifer said...

I get very stressed out sometimes! Especially if I haven't been able to sleep much.

bn100 said...

n/a

Tatum Rangel said...

I tend to freeze when I need to speak up.

Tatum Rangel said...

I tend to freeze when I need to speak up.

A. B. said...

LOLOLOLOYOLO!

Pull up a nice comfy chair; get yourself something nice to drink, and maybe to snack on, too. You're gonna be here a while, unless I cut myself shor--

...Uhm... I'm TERRIBLY, painstakingly indecisive... especially about "the small stuff." But when it comes to impulsive spontaneity? I'm down. :-D

--Ann