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Jamie Beck has got what it takes...plus a book giveaway

Today we welcome Jamie Beck back to CLC. She was here about a year ago and the time has just flown by! Her latest novel, Take It from Me, sounds really interesting and we look forward to checking it out. She's here to tell us more about it and thanks to BookSparks, we have THREE copies to give away!

Jamie Beck is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author whose realistic and heartwarming stories have sold multimillions of copies. She is a two-time Booksellers’ Best Award finalist and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner. Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah and dancing around the kitchen while cooking. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can get exclusive excerpts and inside scoops and be eligible for birthday-gift drawings by subscribing to her newsletter

Visit Jamie online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Synopsis:

Wendy Moore hides her collection of pilfered bric-a-brac from everyone, including her husband. He thinks she licked her kleptomania in therapy more than a decade ago. Therapy did help, as did focusing her attention on motherhood. But now Wendy’s gardening and furniture-refinishing hobbies fill up only so much of the day, leaving the recent empty nester lonely and anxious—a combination likely to trigger her little problem. She needs a project, fast. Luckily, Harper Ross—a single, childless younger woman in desperate need of highlights—just moved in next door.

The only thing Harper wants to change is the writer’s block toppling her confidence and career. Then a muse comes knocking. Sensing fodder for a new antagonist, Harper plays along with Wendy’s “helpful” advice while keeping her career a secret so Wendy keeps talking. Sure, she’s torn about profiting off her neighbor’s goodwill—especially when Wendy’s matchmaking actually pans out—but Harper’s novel is practically writing itself.

Just as a real friendship begins to cement, their deceptions come to light, threatening Wendy’s and Harper’s futures and forcing them to reconcile who they are with who they want to be. Easier said than done.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

“[Jamie Beck delivers] an observant and compassionate story about the power of women’s friendship to challenge and change us.” 
—Virginia Kantra, author of Meg & Jo

“Clever, insightful, and brimming with empathy, Take It from Me is Jamie Beck at her best. The story of two very different neighbors closely guarding secrets who have more in common than either woman can imagine, Beck’s latest novel is a potent reminder that we are able to know the interior lives of those we care about—if only we can find the courage to ask.” 
—Camille Pag├ín, bestselling author of This Won’t End Well

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing Take It from Me?
The biggest challenge I faced involved writing somewhat exaggerated characters with a bit of wry humor, which was different from all my prior work. My need to stretch into new territory grew out of feeling “trapped” by the pandemic. Giving myself this challenge was a mental way of breaking free! Another challenge involved the research around kleptomania and the OCD umbrella of issues.

Whenever I include a mental health issue in a book, I feel a huge responsibility to depict it accurately, and to make sure the character is more than simply that one thing. While I have some experience with family members with OCD, kleptomania is wholly new to me, and there isn’t a ton of data on that particular condition, which researchers say is because the people who live with it often feel too much shame to seek help. The biggest rewards have been seeing early readers remark about how they enjoyed the character development and the unlikely friendship, and the compliments received from the sensitivity reader my publisher hired, who commended my portrayal of the mental health issues in the story. 

How is Wendy similar to or different from you?
Wendy is similar to me in age (I’m slightly older), in being a stay-at-home-mom and recent empty-nester, and in the way she worries about the happiness of the people she loves. This book is also set in my town, so her “ordinary world” is very familiar. She’s different from me in that I do not have a significant mental health issue, I do not meddle in other people’s lives (unless invited in), and I found a second career that fulfilled me without needing a lot of nudging. 

If Take It from Me were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?
This is an impossible question because I love music and could take days to compile the perfect soundtrack. Off the top of my head, here are three songs that speak to the heart of the matters examined in the book:
Coldplay’s "Trouble" (because of the character’s secrets);
U2’s "Song for Someone" (because of the self-doubt both characters suffer); and
The Beatles "With a Little Help from My Friends" (because, despite their differences, Wendy and Harper show up for each other when it counts).

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry. This original novel (and confident debut) features a quirky, memorable protagonist (Elizabeth Zott) and a hilarious dog’s point-of-view. It’s a feminist story with so much heart and humor, you will whip through its 400 pages in no time at all. And as a woman who butted against patriarchal structures in my former career (a lawyer), I could wholly relate to EZ’s frustration. 

What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?
Fall is my favorite season. Who doesn’t welcome crisp, dry weather, and the return to jeans, sweaters, and boots? Living in New England, I’m lucky to enjoy the colorful canopies overhead and the joy of kids and dogs jumping gleefully into raked piles of dried leaves. My husband and I like to take long walks or hikes with our dog, Mo, which are always better (less muggy and buggy) in autumn, too. Finally, fall marks the return of hot pots of soup on the stove.

If we were to visit you right now, what would you take us to see?
If you came to Connecticut, I would first ask about your interests before planning an itinerary. That said, options would include: a quick train ride to Manhattan to sight-see (museums, parks, landmarks, Broadway), a trip up the Connecticut Coast to visit several quaint towns, including Mystic and its renowned aquarium, and, if you are very adventuresome, a drive up to Vermont to antique shop, enjoy great cheese and maple syrup, and hike segments of the Appalachian Trail. 

Thanks to Jamie for visiting with us and to BookSparks 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

Giveaway ends September 28th at midnight EST.

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