Today I am thrilled to participate in the Chick-Lit Plus blog tour for Savannah Page for her novel, When Girlfriends Find Love! Read on to learn more about the author through a fun Q & A and an excerpt of the novel. And… don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!
When Girlfriends Find Love by Savannah Page
Sophie Wharton is in control. Whether life is going according to plan or throwing her for a loop, Sophie is determined to remain calm and in charge. It’s no wonder she’s the successful owner of one of Seattle’s most charming cafés, The Cup and the Cake. Her lemon meringue cupcakes, petite French treats, and cappuccinos always leave customers coming back for more. Naturally, her camaraderie of college girlfriends are still thick as thieves a decade later. And it should come as no surprise that she has her own cozy apartment in the hip part of town and grand goals for her future.
Of course Sophie has had her share of rough times, and recently some unexpected surprises have emerged. Her best friend Claire has moved across the state, the demands of her café are mounting, and some major changes among her circle of friends are shaking things up. But it’s nothing Sophie can’t handle.
When it comes to her love life, however, Single Sophie’s at a loss. She approaches it the way she does nearly everything in life–by trying to call all the shots. But love doesn’t work that way, and as Sophie examines her past relationships–thinking back on romantic trysts in Paris; college mistakes; the relationship responsible for the Year of Heartbreak–she must come to accept that love is an unpredictable, untamable, and often unexpected force.
This is the witty and heartwarming conclusion of the When Girlfriends collection, a novel about examining the past, moving forward, and following your heart. It’s a story about friendship, relationships, acceptance, and learning to love again. About what happens when girlfriends find love.
Interview with the Author – Savannah Page
Author Bio: Savannah Page is the author of the seven-novel When Girlfriends collection, heartfelt women’s fiction that celebrates friendship, love, and life sprinkled with drama and humor. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.
1. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Hi there, everyone! Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Arielle, and for joining the tour!
I’m a native SoCal girl who’s found herself in Berlin for the past five years (points to the German husband). I love the expat life in such a vibrant, multicultural, and expat-filled city that really lends itself to creatives and freelancers. I’ve found my place at home here divvying up my time writing novels and blogging for a professional wedding florist.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of When Girlfriends Find Love and the inspiration behind it?
When Girlfriends Find Love is the seventh and “final” novel in my When Girlfriends series. I say “final” because I love these six girls so much I just have to revisit them again some time! This novel is my absolute favorite of the seven because Sophie, the leading lady, is a character who’s been close to my heart from the get-go. We’ve got similar character traits so I feel like I really understand her, but she’s definitely a figment of my imagination. No autobiography here. (And, if I’m very honest, I’ve got a crush on some of the guys in her life.)
I’ve always known Sophie’s story, even when I had to wait five books in between to finish it. She opened the series with When Girlfriends Break Hearts and her horrible personal drama (heartbreak+friendship foul=serious drams). So come this novel, and after all of the ones in between, I was very ready to give her that happy ending she needed. Getting her there was a challenge and I hope readers will enjoy her journey.
3. How long did it take you to write When Girlfriends Find Love? What is your writing process like?
Some novels come about really quickly, like When Girlfriends Chase Dreams and this one, and some take several months or a year. This novel’s first draft was done rather quickly for me, in 4-5 weeks. Like I said, I knew Sophie’s story straight away and ran with it.
My writing process is nearly the same novel-to-novel. I’m a plotter not a pantser and love to have as much figured out before I hit the gas. I have notebooks that are always on-hand that I fill with plot and scene ideas. When I’m ready to begin a novel I first cover my office floor, walls, and desk with Post-Its that have all of these various scene ideas, dialogue, character notes, etc… For weeks the office looks like it spit up a rainbow. While I’m actually writing the story there’s always lots of editing along the way which can make for a slow-coming first draft, but I come to learn my characters very well that way. And, as much as I’ve pre-plotted, the characters will often take hold of the story for themselves and tell me what to write. I love when that happens!
4. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
This spring I released my first non-When Girlfriends novel, A Sister’s Place. That was an intensive year-long project that has left me a bit exhausted. But earlier this year a great trilogy idea popped into my head when I was in the shower (where all great ideas are born, right?) and I’m excitedly working on that. I plan to have book one in that series released this autumn. It’s a New Adult Contemporary Romance—something new for me—so I hope When Girlfriends fans and new readers will enjoy it!
5. What’s your favorite quality about your heroine?
Sophie is a hard-worker and determined. She wants to open up a cupcakery and she rocks it. Not without elbow grease and some trials, of course, but she goes out and does it. She’s encouraging, empowering. On the flip side, I like that she’s real—that even though she’s determined she can still fall into a rut and feel downtrodden. She’ll complain and her determination gets a little fuzzy, but that’s what her BFFs are there for, of course!
6. What is your favorite thing about writing romance novels?
Everything! Silly answer, but I love it all. To create something from absolutely nothing is so thrilling. Especially when that something is sexy. Dialogue is my favorite part about writing, and dialogue in a love story always takes the cake!
7. Did you always want to be a writer?
Absolutely. I was six when I wrote my first short story about ballerina bunnies, then came the talking seashell, then the little girl and her garden… I could be happy doing many jobs, but writing is what gets those passion strings pulled unlike anything else.
8. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
It wasn’t given to me personally, but I once heard Sophie Kinsella say that a writer should always write the book she wants to read. Brilliant advice! I set out to write books I hope my readers will love, but no one can please everyone. So I always, always stay true to the story that’s within, writing exactly what I want to read. (And I just hope there are others who want the same thing!)
9. What kind of environment do you write in?
Up until last week I lived in a two-bed apartment in Berlin’s city center. That second bedroom was my office/guest bedroom and I loved it. I have a really long Ikea desk so I can spread out all of my Post-Its and notebooks and beverages (you can bet on at least three different drinks at the ready when I’m writing). It was a great space with lots of natural light and I’m a little misty-eyed that it’s in the past.
But now I’ve got my official writing room that I’ve always dreamed of. With nothing but me, my desk, my computer, and the muse swirling about. My husband and I’ve just finished building our first home, here in Berlin. We made sure to plan for a small, cozy office upstairs for my writing and even had to push the architect a little to come to terms with building such a small space instead of expanding one of the bedrooms. I love the result. There’s no longer a guest bed or extra stuff that collects as in my previous office. It’s just a space where I can do nothing but write dozens and dozens of books for my readers!
10. What are the things you can’t live without in your kitchen?
Lots of natural and lamp light (my vision’s just awful, by the way).
My colorful latte bowls from Anthropologie. I’m sure I could live with the regular bowls, too, but these ones make cooking prep and eating so much more fun!
11. What are the things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Tank tops. The variety of colorful tank tops from Old Navy can be used in almost any outfit.
Yoga pants. If you ask any writer what they wear to work if it’s not jammies I’ll bet you it’s yoga pants.
My two jean jackets. One dark, one light, both perfect for any and all occasions.
A particular pair of crystally, gold stud earrings that just go with everything.
12. A few of your favorites…
Favorite scent? Clinique Happy after I’ve worn it for about an hour. If you see the weird girl walking around smelling her wrists, it just may be me.
Favorite color? Pink
Favorite food? Chips and super spicy salsa
Favorite word? Literature, but said in a British accent
Favorite song? Anything by Sting
Favorite book? Fantastic Mr. Fox
Favorite/dream vacation spot? Kauai was unlike any other place I’ve been with the best weather ever! Just forget about the suitcase. All you need is a swimsuit and a towel.
Favorite time period in history? Can we all just go live in a 1980s John Hughes’ film? I’m down for that.
Favorite article of clothing? My Lululemon sports bras. I swear I don’t wear normal bras anymore these are so comfy. And cute!
Favorite drink of choice? Latte macchiato, made at home
Favorite celebrity crush? Brad Pitt. I wasn’t even double-digits old when I knew he was as good as they came in Hollywood.
13. Either or…
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Red wine or white? Red
Coffee or tea? Both
Summer or Winter? Summer
Sleep in or get up early? Early
Apple or PC? Apple
Excerpt: When Girlfriends Find Love by Savannah Page
“You’re crazy, girlfriend!” Jackie wails loudly over the quiet jazz music streaming from the iPod dock in my living room. “A guy asks you out on a date—single Sophie on a date—and you say no?! What are you smoking?”
“Stop it,” I say, carefully cutting out a picture of a swanky forest-green wingback chair from a magazine page. “If the spark’s not there, the spark’s not there.”
“Here,” Lara says. She reaches over me to retrieve a pair of scissors.
Jackie’s been pleading with all the girls to help her cut out pictures of interior decorating items for what she calls her “Inspiration Notebook.” She insisted that it was something all the girls did in her sorority when they wanted to redecorate their room, plan a party, even figure out what kind of gown to wear to the philanthropic ball. She’s certain it’ll help her with indecisive clients who don’t quite know what they want for their interior design project but aren’t fans of letting go and giving in to experimentation, allowing Jackie to work her magic unapproved.
I asked Jackie if she’d ever heard of Pinterest, and she told me to shut up and just cut.
“Oh, this book will look great!” Jackie gushes, looking fondly at the mess of cut-out images covering my large coffee table, some having floated to the carpet below. She excitedly claps her hands, scissors in one, a magazine page in the other.
“But not to get off topic.” Jackie points the scissors at me accusingly.
“Oh, Jack,” I moan. “Stop it or I’ll cut this picture all jig-jag.”
“You will not.” She purses her lips as she goes to work on her own cut-out. “You don’t have the balls.” She snickers. “Just like you don’t have the balls to go out on a date. Gaw.”
“Come on, Jack,” Lara says, pulling out that maternal card of hers. “Don’t pester her too much. If the guy’s not the right one, he’s not the right one.”
“Thanks, Lara,” I say.
“How will she ever know if he’s the right one if she’s not goin’ out on a date and hittin’ the sheets?” Jackie cackles loudly, tossing her head back in mirth.
“Whatevs, Jackie.” I finish cutting out the wingback chair, not a single crooked cut. “I’m just not…I don’t know…ready.”
“Well whatevs,” Jackie says all huffy as she retrieves a few magazines from her large Louis Vuitton handbag. “When you’re tired of cutting we can go back to searching. I brought tons of mags.” She waves the magazines about.
“Yes, please,” Lara says with a sigh. She immediately turns in her scissors for a copy of Design & Redesign. “My fingers are going to fall off.”
“I don’t even know why you’re waiting, Sophie, sitting around and passing on dates like this.” Jackie looks at me with a blank face. “I mean, what the hell are you waiting for? You think love’s just going to come a-knocking? You’ve got to search for it!” She slaps the top of the coffee table with vivaciousness. “Go after it, attack it, fight for it!”
“Damn,” Lara says, peering over her opened magazine. “Someone’s a tiger.”
“That’s right.” Jackie sits up higher on her legs, which are tucked underneath her in her seat on the floor. “You have nothing to lose by dating this Dean guy, right? It could be a nice way to get you back out on the market. You have been off the market for so long. I mean, when’s the last time you had sex, Sophie? You’ve probably forgotten how to do it!”
“Ha, ha. Whatever.” I try to dismiss the topic. “I’m not interested in Dean for sex, anyway.”
“Or for anything, I take it?” Lara says judiciously.
“Yeah.” I give a one-armed shrug. “I guess.”
“How about you go out on one date just to get to know him?” Jackie raises both brows inquisitively.
“I’ve gotten to know him, Jack. He’s at the café all the time. We’ve talked before. And,” I lean into the coffee table and point the scissors at Jackie, “if after all that I still have no interest in him…then…well…”
“Take a chance!”
“Take a chance?” I wag my head.
“We’ve all taken chances!” Jackie looks from me to Lara, who’s now abandoned her magazine and is looking at the both of us thoughtfully.
“Me with Andrew,” Jackie continues, “getting back together this summer! Major chance. Claire and Conner getting married! Robin and Bobby tying the knot, too. Marriage is one big chance. And Lara!” Her eyes dart back to Lara. “She’s taking a chance on Worth, even though that Nathan guy tore her heart out, the son-of-a-bitch-bastard. I so should have given him a real piece of my mind…slashed his tires, or—”
“Thanks, Jack,” Lara says with a flutter of the lashes.
Jackie crosses her arms over her chest and huffs and puffs a bit. Then she blurts out, “And after she shacked up with that Paul guy from work!”
“Thank you, Jackie,” Lara says, her words louder and more pronounced. “We get the picture.”
“She’s made some horrible choices along the way,” Jackie runs on.
I try my hardest to suppress a big burst of laughter at Lara’s growing exhaustion at hearing the run-down of her life’s less-than-stellar choices when it comes to the opposite sex.
“And I’ve made some horrible ones, too!” Jackie says, finally taking the heat off her BFF. “I’ve done a ton of jacked-up shit in my life, and I can’t even begin to tell you the number of lousy choices I’ve made, chances I’ve taken. But babe.” She rests a manicured hand on my arm. “Oh, Sophie, Sophie. If you don’t take those chances and risk something, even if it means your dignity, your virginity, or your homecoming crown, once upon a time.” She titters like a little girl. “If you don’t take a risk, you’ll end up living a half-lived life. Trust me, I know all about that.”
“Girls,” I sigh. I lean back against the sofa and cross my arms, sinking slightly further down in my position on the floor.
“She’s kind of got a point,” Lara says. “I mean, I disagree with a good seventy-five percent of what she’s spewing.” She puckishly tosses a wadded magazine page at Jackie. “But, she does have a point. It’s one date. One harmless date. If things truly aren’t going anywhere, then you can just tell Dean thanks but no thanks and move on.”
“At least you tried!” Jackie cuts in.
“Yeah,” Lara says with a nod, “at least you tried.”
“Make it a no-strings-attached kind of thing.” Jackie flashes me her bleach-white, million-dollar smile.
“I’m not sleeping with him, Jackie, if that’s what you’re hinting at.” I raise one brow.
“I’m not saying you need to test out those goods,” she defends with a groan. “Although that’s not the worst idea ever.” She simpers to herself. “Just a…you’ve-got-nothing-to-lose thing.”
“No strings, yeah,” Lara agrees. “You expect nothing, he expects nothing. Just—I don’t know—I guess let him know you’re not really looking for a relationship—”
“Liiiiie,” Jackie interrupts in a high-pitched, singsong voice. “You so want a relationship, Sophie. You want that L-O-V-E! I can see it in your eyes.”
“Whatever,” Lara brushes off, leaving Jackie to her own personal bout of giggles. “He expects nothing from the date, and you expect nothing from it; no-strings-attached. Nothing but fun and getting to know someone.”
“Yes!” Jackie shouts. She makes a fist and pumps it against her side. “Just fun!”
“Come on.” Lara opens her magazine, eyes still on me. “Think about it.”
“Fine,” I say at last. “But not until after Thanksgiving. The holidays are a busy time, and—”
“That’s just around the corner,” Jackie cuts in.
Lara says that’s right as Jackie presses with, “We have a deal then, yes? A no-strings-attached, crawling-out-of-your-hole, getting-some-action date in a couple of weeks?”
I pick up a loose cut-out from the floor and say, “I don’t like the idea.”
“Sophie,” Jackie drawls.
“Fine,” I say, reluctant. “Deal.”
It’s not like I haven’t done a no-strings-attached arrangement before, I think as I busy myself with a new cut-out. That just didn’t go as planned, that’s all. Sex was involved, so that was probably the problem. The thing totally spiraled out of control. But that’s okay, because I’ve learned from my mistakes. I can forge ahead a wiser and more experienced woman now.
I catch Lara’s eyes on mine over the top of her magazine, and I give a weak smile. “No strings attached, Sophie,” she says merrily. “And you’ve got weeks to think about it, anyway.”
“Yeah,” I say, but I think, I don’t need weeks to think about a no-strings-attached arrangement. All I need to do is close my eyes and remember.
Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway…
…and check out the other stops on Savannah’s blog tour!
August 24 – CDYess Writes – Excerpt
August 25 – Granny Loves to Read– Review & Excerpt
August 26 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt
August 27 – Annabel and Alice– Review
August 27 – Mallory Heart Reviews– Review
August 28 – Living Life With Joy – Q&A & Excerpt
September 1- The World As I See It – Review & Excerpt
September 2- Book Lover in Florida – Review & Excerpt
September 3 – Fiction Dreams – Excerpt
September 4 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
September 4 – Forget the Housework I’m Reading – Excerpt
September 7 – Book Mama Blog – Excerpt
September 8 – Books Etc – Review
September 9 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
September 10 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review