Congratulations to JEN R. who has NO TATTOOS but might consider a shooting star on the top of her foot has won the copy of THE FIRST HUSBAND! Please email me your full name and address so you can receive your book!
Laura’s the type of author who makes you fall in love with all of her characters. They’re so real and likeable, even the ones you’re not quite sure you’re supposed to like. Here’s my conversation with her about The First Husband. Check it out and then leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy! Thanks Laura! You ROCK!
MaNiC: Tell me about Roman Holiday - is it really a favorite movie of yours? Has bad stuff happened to you when you watch it? I’ve never seen it? Should I? Of course, I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life or Gone with the Wind either! (I know, isn’t that like a cardinal sin!)
Laura: It is a cardinal sin! Mostly because you are missing out on serious enjoyment. Roman Holiday is a great movie—starring Audrey Hepburn (at her loveable best) as a trapped Princess eager to experience the real world. And, even though Audrey plays royalty, her desire to live life on her terms is highly relatable. And don’t even get me started on Gregory Peck. Wow.
As for my real-life bad luck movie? That would be All The Presidents Men. I love that movie—and my experience with it bringing me bad luck (and no longer watching it due to a misplaced superstition! Don’t judge me!) was what inspired my giving Annie a bad luck movie. Because—like Annie—as much as I love the movie, I will run out of the room if ever it comes on.
MM: Why did you feel the need to include the part in the book about the meeting of Caleb and Annie in the bar? And their attraction? I thought that was interesting but wasn’t sure what it was all about? Was that to trick the reader to think that maybe Annie would forget about both Griffin and Nick?
Laura: For me, the Caleb moment spoke to Annie’s ultimate psychological battle. Because of Annie’s past (her less-than-dependable mom/her nomadic childhood), she struggles to be present—both for herself, and the people who love her—and has organized her life so she can always escape in the name of something better being out there. There is always something exhilarating waiting for her just around the corner—in a new country, in a new part of the world. And Caleb represents the latest possibility.
She has a choice when they meet: she can choose something new and shiny all over again. Or she can choose someone (I won’t say whether I speak of Griffin or Nick, for those who haven’t read yet) who just may be everything.
MM: What I LOVED about The First Husband (among other things of course) is that I truly, TRULY didn’t know until the very end who she would end up with, and I do feel the reader is very conflicted as to who she would be with. Although I knew who I wanted to be with from the get-go!
Laura: Thank you! I’m so pleased to hear that. Early readers keep telling me that they really didn’t know what Annie was going to do, which makes me so happy to hear. I wanted her to have two viable choices. Griffin and Nick represent two sides of what Annie hopes for. But ultimately she has to choose—which side to be true to in herself. (As a side-note, I was happy with the choice she made too.)
MM: Why did you choose an anchor tattoo for Gia and Griffin? If Griffin and Annie were to get matching tattoos, what do you think they would get, and where? Also, do you think Annie is the type of person who would request that Griffin get his anchor tattoo removed?
Laura: That is a great question. It was actually a hand tattoo in the first draft (a tattoo of the hand of hamsa!), but that never felt precisely right to me. So much of Griffin’s life is anchored—anchored to his hometown, anchored to his family, anchored to his passion for his work—that I felt like an anchor was a tattoo choice he’d make.
Plus, Griffin’s ex-girlfriend Gia is both literally and metaphorically Griffin’s anchor. So much so that she almost sinks Griffin and Annie.
Even considering that, Annie wouldn’t ever ask Griffin to have his tattoo removed. It is an important piece of who he is.
But I think if Annie was going to brave it and get a tattoo with Griffin, she would suggest the opposite of an anchor for them. What’s the opposite? Maybe she’d pick a kite or a plane. Something that represents being set free.
MM: Did Jesse remind you of Uncle Jesse from Full House? ; )
Laura: That is hilarious! No, but how cute was John Stamos in his wedding episode? I know too much of that episode by heart to not be a little ashamed of it.
MM: Do you think Gia may ever show up in another book, or are these characters done in your mind? Or how about Nick? They’re all happily ever after?
Laura: I usually leave my characters in the world they’ve inhabited, but I have gotten such a phenomenal response to Annie’s best friend, Jordan, that I think she has the best shot of having her own story told. I try to never say never. So, yes, Jordan and her stepdaughter Sasha may very well appear in another book one of these days.
MM: Does your fiancé have any of the qualities that either Nick or Griffin possess? I know you live in LA, and also that your fiancé is in the TV industry. Nick is in movies and lives in LA … any connection between the two?
Laura: My fiancé, Josh, would definitely say there is. He thinks he’s Nick and Griffin and every other character, including Annie! I’m just kidding (mostly).
But I do recognize there are some outward similarities between Nick and Josh: Josh is a screenwriter (he’s written for a bunch of TV shows including The West Wing and, currently, Fringe, which has totally turned me into a Sci-Fi geek, I’m proud to say). So he certainly has a work life that mirrors Nick’s. But, in reality, he has more in common with Griffin. He has Griffin’s sweetness. And he’s a great cook.
MM: What town did you design Williamsburg (see, I can’t even remember what town it is either, just like the characters in the book!) from? Would you ever survive in a town like that? And would you go there for your husband?
Laura: I lived in western Massachusetts for a year in my early twenties and I loved the idea of setting a novel there: in a place that on the surface is cold and difficult (I mean very cold!), but despite its challenges, it is stunningly special at its core.
As the writing progressed, I took needed narrative liberties, but I loosely designed Williamsburg on the real town of Williamsburg, which was about twenty minutes from where I lived. My future sister-in-law is a professor now at Mt. Holyoake, which gives me a great reason to go back to western Massachusetts and visit. I still have such a fondness for it, and like to imagine Annie living her life there.
MM: Thanks so much Laura! And for you guys out there who would like a chance to win The First Husband, since Laura’s character Griffin has a tattoo, let me ask you this – Do you have a tattoo, and if so, what kind? If you DON’T have a tattoo, what kind would you get/what would it say/what symbol would it be, and where would you get it?