Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Happy to have Laura Hankin here...plus a book giveaway

Photo credit: Berkley
Today we are pleased to have Laura Hankin here to celebrate her publication day! Her debut novel, Happy & You Know It sounds like it will be a lot of fun to read and we look forward to checking it out soon. Thanks to Berkley, we have one e-book (via NetGalley) for a lucky reader! There's also a fun giveaway to win this novel, along with a Laurie Berkner book (US only, Ends May 22nd).

Laura Hankin has written for McSweeney's and HuffPost, among other publications. The viral videos that she creates and stars in with her comedy duo, Feminarchy, have been featured in Now This, The New York Times, and Funny or Die. She grew up in Washington, D.C., attended Princeton University, and now lives in New York City, where she has performed off-Broadway, acted onscreen, and sung to far too many babies. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Laura online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for wealthy infants on New York's Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her flawless life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the stylish women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood – exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women – while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“It's what would happen if the women from The Nanny Diaries met the women from Sex and the City in the social-media age. I devoured it in less than 48 hours.”
—Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost

What were the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of writing Happy and You Know It?
The most challenging part was simply getting started! I couldn't find the right tone. At first, it was too satirical, to the point where readers were never going to care about any of the women. I had a different main character - a new mom who had just moved up from the South - who I ended up deleting entirely, because she was so much less interesting than all the supporting characters. But once I locked into who the women were, the rewarding part started. It feels magical to know your characters so well that you can put them in any sort of situation and immediately see how they'll respond, what sort of quips they'll make. And now that the book is making its way out into the world, I find it immensely rewarding to hear from readers who tell me that it has managed to distract them from... everything going on right now.

How are you similar to or different from Claire?
I used to do her job! I would sing to playgroups of wealthy women, and marvel at their lives. I never got quite so intertwined with my employers, though. And beyond that, at times during my twenties, I definitely had the same feeling that Claire deals with, that the world was moving on without me, that my big hopes and dreams for myself weren't coming together. But I think/hope I dealt with all of that in a much healthier way than Claire tends to do!

If Happy and You Know It were made into a movie, who would play the leading roles?
So many good options! But while I was writing it, I would sometimes pull up pictures of Emma Stone (Claire), Margot Robbie (Whitney), Gabrielle Union (Amara), and Kirsten Dunst (Gwen) for inspiration.

What is your favorite children's song to perform?
I've never seen such joy as when I used to sing "Let It Go," during the heyday of Frozen. But I always loved doing Laurie Berkner songs too - she's a queen of creative, engaging children's music that is catchy and fun for adults too.

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I can't stop thinking about Little Women! What an amazing way to adapt a classic story and make people see it in a totally new way, while still staying true to the heart of it!

What is something you've stopped doing since the quarantine started?
Um, hugging people besides my boyfriend.

Thanks to Laura for visiting with us and to Berkley 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 25th at midnight EST.


Kelley B said...

I like Rock A Bye Baby!

Toni Laliberte said...

The Wheels On the Bus is a favorite children's song of mine. Thanks for the chance!

Jeanne said...

I always sang “You Are My Sunshine” to my sons.

Peggy Russo said...

My favorite is The Wheels on the Bus.