Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Chilling out with Kelly Harms...plus a book giveaway

We're thrilled to have Kelly Harms back at CLC today! Her latest novel, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, comes out tomorrow. Melissa A really enjoyed it and has a review to share. And Kelly has one print copy for a lucky reader!

Kelly Harms is an author, a mother, and a big dreamer. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her sparkling son, Griffin; her fluffy dog, Scout; and her beloved Irishman, Chris. Before this Midwestern life, she lived in New York, New York, and worked with many of her author-heroes as an editor at HarperCollins and then as a literary agent at the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

When she’s not lost in a book that she’s either writing or reading, you can find her on the water, in the water, or near the water. (Bio courtesy of Kelly's website.)

Visit Kelly online:
Website * Facebook * Instagram

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing The Overdue Life of Amy Byler?
This book is about a single mother, and I have been a single mother since my son was just one year old. I am not Amy Byler, not by any means, but in the writing of this book I had to go into my own heart and mind and face the confusion of messages women receive about single parenting, and motherhood in general. Yes, just as we see in the media, we’re saints, superwomen, survivors. But we’re also normal, flawed, and probably exhausted. The letters from readers are all the rewards I need: They have made it clear that all moms, single or not, work-in-home or work-outside-the-home, need to be seen for more than their dairy-free cupcakes and color-coded family schedules. (Though I do value the skill involved in both of those things as well.)

What is one piece of advice you'd like to share with aspiring novelists?
You’ve already been told to read a lot, I hope. Let me add, read widely. When starting out, you may get some push back from agents or publishers if your book is informed by a world of literature, and not just that of your own genre. But the readers will love you for it down the line. And also, it’s just fun. I keep dropping other book titles into my own books and on this last one, you could have an entire intro to YA reading list out of Cori's emails alone.

If you could cast Amy Byler as a movie, who would play the lead roles?
Melissa is SO MUCH better at this than me. Mostly because I use proper names like “the guy from the water movie with the hair.” (That’s Jason Momoa by the way.) Please just see her casting ideas but add that I want a cameo as the bartender at the Dead Author, an imaginary bar on the Upper West Side based extremely closely on a place I used to meet my publishing friends after a long day at the book factory. In my book version of this bar, nerds drink half price. When Amy asks the bartender how she knows if a patron is a nerd, she nods her head to Amy’s sexy librarian date and says “they usually make themselves known.” He makes a latin pun within minutes.

Melissa A: Thanks for the casting love!

What would you do if you got a “momspringa"?
I hate to say it, because it is exactly what Amy’s friends denied her from doing in the book, but as I’m currently under deadline for book four, promoting this book, selling a house, and doing the end of school year madness (cello recital, swim team, school plays, and so forth) while my handsome Irishman travels for work, I’d probably nap by a body of water for half of it. Like Amy, I’d want to read for the other half, because I have a new book by Kristin Harmel on my nightstand and it has to wait til next week and it’s literally all I can think about. Oh, and I’d hike. Hiking makes my brain work again.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
Let me look at my Kindle… Very last one was Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans which I finished on Friday. It was a sale purchase. Who am I to resist a Book Bub set in WWII Britain about eccentric amateur criminals? It was delicious, but it’s been out for ages. The latest new releases I gobbled down were The Curiosities by Susan Gloss, I’m Fine and Neither are You by Camille Pagan, and earlier this year (but it stuck with me) True Places by Sonja Yoerg.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?
Don’t tell my agent, but I may take a month off from new writing this summer while I bask in the sunshine with my kiddo and just work on editing. I’m afraid just admitting this will jinx me, but I’m hoping for one of those summers out of a novel with lots of wandering around our green, park-filled neighborhood aimlessly, reading in sunlit locations, and popcorn-and-kid-movie cuddle-ups on rainy days.

Thanks to Kelly for chatting with us and 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 May 5th at midnight EST.


Pippa said...

Thank you for your kind offer.

LoriF said...

I would love to read this book!

Suburban prep said...

I would love to sleep in and then go out for breakfast.
I would not do any housework.
I would take a walk, have a facial, read books and perhaps knit too.

Michelle L said...

I would take my daily walk, go to my favorite cafe for a brunch treat, snuggle on the couch with a good book, take a long, hot bubble bath.

traveler said...

I would sit outside and read, go for a length walk, have a wonderful treat and then relax and have tea and a bath.

Jessica said...

At the spa!

diannekc said...

I would spend a "me" day by going for a mani/pedi and relaxing at home with a good book.

jean602 said...

I would spend a me day reading.

Rita Wray said...

I would spend the day on my patio reading.

Mary C said...

Reading, no cooking or cleaning

Elena Y. said...

Reading, hanging out with friends and walking in the park. Thanks for the chance!

Bonnie K. said...

A me day would be reading a book with no interruptions and no washing the dishes.

Mary Preston said...

Well, I would not plan a ME DAY but do as I pleased as the mood hit me.

Kate Vocke said...

Sleeping. Reading. Hanging out with my dog. Ordering takeout.

Summer said...

My ideal me day would be sunny and warm enough to sit outside all day reading, with a good stockpile of chocolate chip cookies on hand.

Linda Kish said...

I would go to the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park and enjoy a great walk and the animals.

Jennifer said...

Reading outside on our patio!

Janine said...

I have to clan my house every day, so a "me day" would be one that didn't involve any cleaning, cooking or laundry.

bn100 said...


Kelley B said...

Perfect me day no have to`s.

Kelly Rodriguez said...

A mani and a pedi.