Monday, July 20, 2020

Mary Simses steals our a book giveaway

Photo by Capehart Photography
Introduction by Melissa Amster

We're pleased to welcome Mary Simses back to CLC today. When I saw that she had a new book publishing this summer, I was thrilled and knew that I had to get my hands on a copy. I really enjoyed The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café (one of my 2013 favorites) and The Rules of Love & Grammar and am excited to see what she has in store with The Wedding Thief. Thanks to Little, Brown, we have FIVE copies to give away!

When I was looking over our previous interviews, I came across her recipe for blueberry muffins and decided to give it a whirl. They were delicious, but I probably could make some tweaks to how I followed the recipe, in order to get to the color and consistency she was aiming for. Not bad for a first try though!

Mary Simses grew up in Darien, Connecticut and began writing stories as a child. After majoring in journalism in college, she worked for a few years in magazine publishing, but then decided to go back to school to become a lawyer. While working as a corporate attorney, Mary enrolled in an evening fiction writing class at a university in Connecticut and began writing short stories “on the side.” Several of her stories were published in literary magazines. She finally took the advice of a friend and decided to try writing a novel. That manuscript ultimately became The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, which was published in 2013 and later adapted as a movie called The Irresistible Blueberry Farm for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Mary has also written The Rules of Love & Grammar.

Mary enjoys photography, old jazz standards, and escaping to Connecticut in the summer. She lives in South Florida. (Bio adapted from Mary's website.)

Visit Mary online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

The Harrington sisters have never gotten along. Sara is a Type-A, career-focused event planner, and her younger sister Mariel is the opposite: bohemian, semi-employed, and recently engaged. When Sara's mother lures her back to Connecticut under false pretenses, she is perturbed to discover Mariel waiting for her, eager to reconcile their relationship -- and get some help with the final arrangements before her big day. The two sisters haven't spoken since the night Sara realized something was going on between Mariel and Sara's boyfriend, Carter Pryce. And now Mariel is about to marry Carter, the man she stole from Sara, the man Sara still loves.

When Mariel asks Sara to stand in for a bridesmaid who has to cancel at the last minute, Sara realizes it's the perfect cover to unravel the nuptials and win Carter back. Sara begins to slowly sabotage Mariel's picture-perfect wedding, but when she crosses paths with David Cole, he challenges her self-image as the jilted second-fiddle to her spotlight-stealing sister. Will Sara realize what a bridesmaid-zilla she's become in time to fix the damage before Mariel's big day?

Funny, soulful, and as sweet as buttercream, The Wedding Thief is the perfect summer read. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing The Wedding Thief?
The biggest reward was the fun I had putting Sara in what I’d call “cringy” but humorous situations and then seeing how she would survive them and go on (to maybe get into another one!). I love using humor in my stories. Lessons can be learned through humor, sometimes better than from any other vehicle.

One of the biggest challenges was to make Sara vulnerable, because she does kind of take over the page with her “I can do anything/fix anything” attitude. And her desire to ruin her sister’s wedding is a little harsh. (A little?!) Writing her internal narrative was especially important because I needed to reveal her soft spots.

Which character is more similar to you: Sara or Mariel? Why?
Hmm. I don’t think I’m like either one, but I guess I’d be “more similar” to Sara. She’s so organized and she’s such a planner. That’s me for sure. On the other hand, she has a habit of assuming her way is the only way to do something and, well … come to think of it I have been told that a couple of times. Yikes. Okay, so I guess I’m closer to Sara than I thought. I’d better stop here before I admit all my frailties ….

If The Wedding Thief were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack?
That’s an easy question because there actually is a soundtrack in the book. I mention a number of songs, especially old jazz standards and songs from the Great American Songbook – music by the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and other musicians of that era. Sara’s late father enjoyed listening to that kind of music and Sara grew up loving it.

Here are all the songs mentioned in the book. These would form at least part of the soundtrack:

"What I Did for Love" (from A Chorus Line)
"Fly Me to the Moon" (performed by Frank Sinatra)
"My One and Only Love" (performed by Frank Sinatra)
"Where or When" (performed by Frank Sinatra)
"Witchcraft" (performed by Frank Sinatra)
"…Baby, One More Time" (performed by Britney Spears)
"Compared to What" (from the Swiss Movement album)
"Say It" (from the John Coltrane Ballads album)
"Come Away with Me" (Norah Jones)
"I Didn’t Know About You" (performed by Ella Fitzgerald)
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours" (performed by Stevie Wonder)
"I’ve Got You Under my Skin" (performed by Frank Sinatra)

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
They might be surprised to know that I’m an only child, because my last two books were about sisters. I have no complaints about being an only child, but I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to have a sister. Not having siblings is probably why I like writing about them.

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
The other night I re-watched Something’s Gotta Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It came out years ago (2013), but it’s a fun romantic comedy and I was glad to see it again. Besides Keaton and Nicholson, it has a great cast of supporting actors. And it’s about a woman who’s a playwright, which makes me like it even more.

Thanks to Mary for chatting with us and to Little, Brown 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 July 26th at midnight EST.


Melissa said...

Sounds like a great book!

Nancy P said...

Probably the biggest issue between my brother & me is that we're very different. I am much more independent than him. Now that both our parents have passed he relies on me to fill that void.

Suburban prep said...

Seeing as there are 7 siblings and I am the oldest, I was usually considered "mommy 2". I despised the name but it was because I was responsible and I was counted on to take over in a number or respects.

rubynreba said...

No issues since I have no siblings!!

Karen B said...

I have an older brother but can't think of any problems except fighting in the back seat of the car on long trips back in the 40s and early 50s!

Mary C said...

Biggest issue with my older brother is he believes his way is the right way.

traveler said...

My brother and sister get along but they have decided to have nothing to do with me.

Bonnie K. said...

Being an only girl with two brothers, I don't think there were any siblings rivalry. We may have been a little competitive academically--striving for the best G.P A..

Linda May said...

I had one sister and she was 4 years older than me and we had no sibling rivalry. Thanks for this amazing giveaway.

Rita Wray said...

My brother would act real bossy and get away with everything.

dstoutholcomb said...

The new Emma. It was the last movie I saw before Covid-19 lockdown, but I received the DVD and watched again, and it was still wonderful.

I have two younger brothers. Makes me the odd woman out in the sibling dynamics.

Mary Preston said...

No sibling rivalry. Happy to say.

Nancy said...

My favorite celebrity siblings are Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Cambridge.

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

diannekc said...

I can't recall any sibling rivalry. There's a seven year age difference between me and my sister.

Linda Kish said...

I like Dakota and Elle Fanning.

bn100 said...

no fav

Beth said...

My brother is seven years younger than me, so we were like only children for a period of time since I went to college at 17. Now we are close as ever - no sibling rivalry here.

Katherine said...

Great interview! The book sounds fun :)

Katherine said...

Sibling rivalry, hmmm....maybe at cards? My family plays a lot of card games and we get pretty serious, ha ha!