Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Elizabeth LaBan's sweet tooth...plus a book giveaway

We're glad to have Elizabeth LaBan back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Beside Herself. Melissa A really enjoyed it and recently reviewed it at Goodreads. Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have THREE copies for some lucky readers!

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is the author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Not Perfectwhich were 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

When she finds out her husband cheated, Hannah Bent thinks her marriage is over. Isn’t that what happens after an affair? But she’s seen friends divorce, and it’s not pretty. Plus, she and Joel have kids and an otherwise-happy life, and she still loves him, although begrudgingly.

Furious and feeling stuck, she suggests having her own affair to even the score. Joel, desperate for forgiveness, agrees. But does she really want to go through with it? And how exactly does a married mother of two get back in the dating pool? Many awkward dates follow until she finds a deep and unexpected connection where she was least looking for it.

Just as she thinks she’s made a decision, her journey to happiness is waylaid by storms of doubt. But the important thing is that she’s finally figuring out what she truly wants for herself, and she understands that whatever choice she makes must be hers and hers alone.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What was your inspiration for writing Beside Herself?
A few things come to mind here. The first is that at the core of this book is the idea that if two people are lucky enough to be married for a really long time, it is likely that something unexpected will come up that they will have to deal with – and the question is, how will they handle it? I am fascinated by marriage, and why some people are able to push through certain circumstances that might be a deal breaker for others. In Beside Herself, Hannah Bent finds out that her husband Joel had an affair. She is completely blindsided, she did not see any signs. And that is the beginning of her journey to decide if her marriage can be salvaged and what attempting to do that might mean to her and to her family. The other thing that comes to mind with this question is the title – with this book the idea for the book and the title came to me pretty much at the same time, which has not been my usual experience. With both The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Pretty Little World I had to work to find the right title, and I considered a fair number of other titles along the way. With Not Perfect I would say the title almost came before the fully formed story. But with this one they came together, they fit, and I think that contributed to the inspiration for the novel.

How are you similar to or different from Hannah?
I guess I am similar to Hannah in the sense that I would like to think that if I am ever faced with something difficult like this, and of course I hope I never am, that I would be able to thoughtfully consider my options and the possibility that it would not be the end – though of course so many details and circumstances go into that choice that it is hard to imagine it is ever the same for any two people. Mostly, though, Hannah is different from me. She is much better at exercising than I am – she swims regularly – and she is bolder in some ways, suggesting a radical change to her company’s business plan that I probably would not have even thought to suggest.

If Beside Herself were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack?
I am never good at answering questions like this, but I can’t help but make the joke that the theme song from Jaws could play as the train leaves Penn Station just before Hannah makes her big discovery.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
I recently read Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, and I loved it. It was one of those books that I just wanted to be in for as long as I could be, I did not want to miss a single word. There were three or four quotes in the book, I won’t list them here because I don’t want to give anything away, that just rang so true that I still find myself thinking about them regularly. It was a great, great book! Everyone should read it!

With Halloween around the corner, what is your favorite kind of candy?
You would think this would be an easy question to answer, but I actually love candy, my husband often tells me I am like a little kid in this respect, so I can’t possibly answer this in one word or sentence. I will say it depends on if I want chocolate, which I love, or a sugary candy. If I go with chocolate, you can’t beat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Hershey Bar. I also love a Milky Way. As far as non-chocolate treats go, my top four are Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts, Gummy Bears, and Sour Patch Kids. I’ll just tell a quick family story here to support my long answer. A few summers ago we were on a family trip and my sister-in-law said, “I’m so glad there isn’t any candy I like.” I looked at her like she was absolutely crazy and asked what in the world she was talking about? There are SO many candies to like. As I started to list my favorites, all mentioned above, she stopped me to explain she didn’t mean in general, she meant at that moment in the cabin where we were staying. My family still gives me a hard time about that!

What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?
When it comes to the fall, I am truly a walking cliché. I love everything about it, the colorful leaves, the smell of wood smoke, the downed Ginkgo nuts on the Philadelphia streets, pumpkins and pumpkin spice, and all the autumn holidays (including my husband’s birthday and my son’s birthday). But my absolute favorite thing to do in the fall is to decorate our block for Halloween. I live on a small street in Center City, Philadelphia lined with row homes. There is no parking on our street, it is too small, which means we spend a lot of time standing in the middle of it talking to our neighbors. For most of the year we come together as a block and put white lights up on all of our trees. When October comes around, we switch those white lights to orange lights. Almost everyone participates by decorating their own houses with fake spider webs, skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins or gourds on every stoop, you name it. And when October 31st rolls around, hundreds of kids from all over the city come to our block to trick-or-treat. It is one of my favorite nights of the year.

Thanks to Elizabeth for visiting 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

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Giveaway ends October 27th at midnight EST.


JeanneK said...

I’d love to read and review this book. Thank you for the chance

Suburban prep said...

I know that my husband and I enjoy spending time together and just talking. We always try to eat at least one meal together. We make sure we kiss each other in the morning before the first one leaves. This is what has worked for us so far.

Nancy P said...

Compromise, communication & compassion are the foundation to a good relationship for me.

Linda Marie said...

My advice about marriage is communication with each other and compromise.

Kelley B said...

My marriage advice is pick your battles carefully.

traveler said...

With maturity and many years of marriage I realized that understanding, kindness and trust is necessary.

Michelle L said...

I am divorced, so, I don't have any good marriage advice.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book. Twice divorced...my advice... choose wisely. Don't give up. Communicate.

jtmswim said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

bn100 said...

respect each other

Linda Herold said...

To not become separated like me, pick a guy who is good at communication and doesn't keep secrets!! Sure wish I had!

rbooth43 said...

I was blindsided when my wonderful husband of 36 years, went into the hospital for tests, stayed for six weeks and died! I had no idea he was that sick! He had leukemia, but was in remission, or so I thought! He always treated me like a queen, and I believe he thought he was protecting me!

Mary Preston said...

Respect is key.

Rita Wray said...

My marriage advice is to not stay angry. Forgive and forget.

diannekc said...

I just recently went for a dental appointment only to find that he sold his practice and there was a new dentist there. I felt completely blindsided.

Dianna said...

My husband and I share the same faith, and that's been the foundation of our marriage. It hasn't always been easy, but it's the rock that keeps us strong.

Linda May said...

I'm a widow but I always remember in my marriage to be honest with each other and never go to bed mad. Thanks for this awesome giveaway.

Peggy Russo said...

I have been married for 38 years and I can say with certainty that you need to always be honest with each other and make time for each other. Life gets busy and it’s easy to forget to make time for yourselves as a couple.

LoriF said...

Great sounding book!