Today I’m excited to share a fabulous interview with author Hilary Grossman, who recently published her novel Plan Bea. Read on to find out what inspired her to write the novel, her biggest tip for aspiring authors, the best advice she’s ever been given, and an excerpt of the novel!
Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman
Book Details: Could falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish women to open her heart back up to her family?
Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there is may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club.
We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really?
On the outside, Annabel O’Conner has it all – the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother’s love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her!
This emotional and honest women’s contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
About the Author – Hilary Grossman
Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.
Interview with the Author – Hilary Grossman
1. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Hi! I’m Hilary. By day, I am a CFO of a beverage alcohol company and an author by nigh. I have an unhealthy addiction to jeans and shoes. I love very spicy food and I hate gum. I live on the beach in New York with my husband and my cat, Lucy. I often think she is the feline version of me J
2. What inspired you to write Plan Bea?
Plan Bea is the second book I have written, but my first novel. My good friend and neighbor lost his wife to Cancer a few years ago. About a year after she passed away he met and fell in love with another woman. At first, it was difficult for me to see him with her. But as their relationship developed I witnessed changes in him. He took up new hobbies and seemed happier than I ever saw him. Their relationship got me thinking about the power of second chance romance. Could falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish women open her heart back up to her family?
Plan Bea is about a mother and daughter whose relationship was destroyed by secrets, lies, and misplaced blame. When the mother, Bea, falls in love again, she enlists her daughter, Annabel, to help plan her wedding. As the two women work together to plan the perfect affair, their relationship is tested further in this emotional and authentic story of redemption.
3. Are you working on anything else at the moment?
Yes, I am working on Plan Cee, the sequel to Plan Bea. Cecelia Reynolds is Annabel’s best friend. Twenty years have passed since she last saw Keith, the man of her dreams. When he appears at the wedding she is left wondering if she abandon her present for her past…
4. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
My favorite thing about being a writer is connecting with readers. When I started blogging I had no idea I would develop such amazing friendships as a result. When I wrote Dangled Carat, my real life story about my attempt to convert a commitment-phobic man into a husband, I was blown away by the feedback I received. So many ladies reached out to me to tell me about their relationships and ask me for advice.
5. Do you have any tips for emerging authors?
Don’t worry. I know, it is easier said then done. But right now there are so many options available for an author to get their books out there. Writing the best book you can should be your only concern. Forget about publishing, marketing, etc. That will all work out. Also, all authors need to develop a thick skin. They will face a lot of rejection and criticism. It is hard, but don’t take it personally. And finally find other authors to chat with. Facebook groups and Twitter are great for this. I have learned so much from other authors and I am always amazed at how eagerly authors help other authors.
6. I can imagine that being an author is a great job, but what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve been fortunate; I have enjoyed almost all of my jobs – especially when I waited tables. I loved waitressing! There was only one job that I really hated, my first one. I was in high school and I was hired to be a reception at a real estate office. The phone never rang and no one ever walked in. I sat there for hours doing nothing and was bored out of my mind. My only real task was driving around to pick up food for the owner and agents.
7. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
I was going through a difficult and rocky relationship, and was crying. My mom told me that love shouldn’t make you miserable. Sure, there are always bad moments in any relationship, but the majority of the time you should be happy and the relationship should make you feel better about yourself not worse.
8. What would we find if we looked in your handbag right now?
I travel light! You’d only find a wallet, a pen, Chapstick, dental floss, tissues and a random crumpled up receipt.
9. Do you have any pet peeves?
Oh yes… So many! It drives me nuts when someone eats an after dinner mint when they enter a restaurant. I also can’t stand when there is a long line of cars waiting to turn or merge and someone cuts them all off. And, I don’t really like the expression “no problem”.
10. A few of your favorites…
Favorite scent: The ocean
Favorite color: Green
Favorite food: Linguini and shrimp fra diavlo (but extra, extra spicy)
Favorite word: Perplexing
Favorite book: Bitter Is The New Black (the book that motivated me to write)
Favorite vacation spot: Aruba
Favorite time period in history: The roaring 20’s
Favorite article of clothing: Embroidered Dolce & Gabana jeans that I found on Ebay
Favorite drink of choice: California Cabernet (Razi is my favorite winery)
Favorite animal: Although I spent most of my life as a dog girl, I got to go with cats….
Favorite source of caffeine: Coffee! I pretty much mainline a pot in the AM
Favorite Season: SUMMER (typed in capitals because I love it soooo much!)
Excerpt – Plan Bea
“Good morning, Annabel,” my mother said as I answered my cell phone early Friday morning, a little over a week after her big announcement. Since we’d already had our “scheduled chat” the day before I got a sinking feeling in my stomach she was finally going to enlist my help in her wedding preparations. I didn’t know why I got my hopes up, but after over a week of not hearing one more peep about the wedding, I really thought there was a chance she would switch plans and forgo this whole idea and just dash off to the Justice of the Peace, or something equally sensible.
“Hi Mom,” I said as I hit save on the Power Point presentation I was working on.
“What are you doing today?” she asked, clearly forgetting I had a full-time job.
“Working.” I answered as I tried to ignore the email from a client that popped up on my screen.
“But it’s Friday. Aren’t you off on Fridays?” she asked, perplexed.
“No, Mother.” I sighed. I was so tired of explaining this. “I’m not off. I work from home on Tuesdays and Fridays.”
“Like I said, you’re off.”
“No, Mother, just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m off. I still have to work all day.” I rolled my eyes and started to walk into the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. “Why doesn’t anyone ever realize when you work from home you still have to work?” I said, exasperated.
“No need to get testy, Dear. A simple ‘I’m busy’ would have sufficed. I can appreciate you have things to do. After all, my day is pretty jam packed too. I have a hair appointment in a little over an hour. I’m thinking about adding some low lights to my hair. Everyone is blonde these days, you know covering up the grays and all. I don’t want to look like everyone else… Especially for the wedding.”
“You would probably look very pretty darker. I remember when you were a brunette. I liked it.” Over my lifetime my mother has had every color hair imaginable. I had no clue what her natural shade was. I wondered if she even remembered.
“Oh yes. I was mahogany brown when Brody graduated middle school,” she let out a deep sigh. “Those were the good old days, weren’t they?”
I smiled as I thought back, “They sure were, Mom. Do you remember—”
Before I could continue, she cut me off. “Good. So you agree. Low lights are the way to go. Then after my hair I am going to Walter’s apartment in the city to help pack up. He is officially moving in with me tonight. Isn’t it exciting?”
“I guess.” I didn’t know how I really felt about it. On one hand, Walter seemed like a very nice guy. But they were moving extremely fast. After all, they had only known each other a few months.
“He isn’t going to give up the apartment, of course. What a location!” My mother exclaimed. “It has magnificent views of Central Park. We will weekend there, of course. It’s the perfect get-a-way!”
“Sounds lovely.” I stirred some half and half into my coffee. “I don’t remember the last time Cole and I had a weekend in the city,” I mused. Before we had kids Cole and I would spend at least a weekend a month in Manhattan. Sometimes we’d catch a show, but more often than not we’d just walk around, pretend to be tourists. It was amazing, despite having lived your entire life on Long Island, like Cole and I both had, you never seemed to experience all the sights. In fact, I was actually almost twenty years old when I went to the top of the Empire State Building for the first time.
“You two should go one of these days then. I don’t understand why you don’t.”
“You’re right. We should go. I’m sure Connie and Patrick would gladly take the kids for a weekend. I hate to impose, but really I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. After all, they’re always begging to have the kids stay for an overnight.”
“You should take them up on it,” she replied. Although I expected the response it still stung me like a hard slap across the face. Just once I wished my mother would offer to spend time with my children. What grandmother didn’t want to dote on her grand babies?
But rather than express the hurt and disappointment I felt, I opted to just abort the call. “Okay, Mom. I gotta go. I have to get back to work, and it seems like we resolved your hair conundrum.”
“Yes. Thanks for your help. But that wasn’t why I called. Today I am tied up and you apparently have work to do. So I guess that leaves tomorrow. We really need to pick out invitations for the wedding.”
“What?” I asked.
“Invitations. Annabel, the wedding is in three months. We have to begin planning, time is running out. I don’t know how long they will take but I want to send them out in sufficient time. I don’t want anyone to think they were on the B list. There is nothing worse than being an afterthought invitee.”
“You need my help in selecting invitations?” I asked as I sat back down in front of my computer.
“Of course, I told you all of this already. Really sweetie sometimes I think you don’t listen to a word I say. I need your help with all of this. I’m in way over my head. I love Walter so much. I want this day to be perfect. I don’t want to mess anything up. So yes, I want your help. No, I need your help. Come by my house at one o’clock and we will drive over to the store together.”
I took a deep breath. Tell me again, why did I say yes to this? But I wasn’t going to back out. “Sure, Mom,” I answered unenthusiastically.
“Great. Oh, before I let you go. Guess who called me to offer congratulations?”
“Who?” I asked.
“Cole’s mother, Connie. She was so sincere. Like a breath of fresh air,” Beatrice gushed. “Oh, what a delightful woman. Okay, well I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said as she hung up not waiting for me to reply or say goodbye.