Hope Your End-of-Summer Has Been Easy, Fun, and Rewarding!
Though surveys reveal that August is the least favorite month of summer, it’s generally a favorite time of year for me. My book tour is usually winding down by now, and if all has gone well, I’ve already handed in the current year’s book assignment, meaning I’m suddenly free to throw all my energy into writing my next thriller. Starting a book is such a wonderful experience, a little bit like falling in love, I guess. Everything feels fresh and exhilarating and you haven’t noticed any warts yet.
This August is no exception. My official tour for THE SECOND HUSBAND is over (though I’ll have more events in the fall; please check my website if interested), I recently turned in my 2023 thriller (oh gosh, I love this one and hope you will, too), and I just cracked open a new notebook to lay out the plot for my 2024 book! It’s been blissful to do nothing but think, imagine, and doodle with a number two pencil—when I’m not eating tomatoes every way imaginable.
Are you enjoying your August, too? I hope so.
And thank you again for making THE SECOND HUSBAND a success. The first international sale just went to Latvia, which was so fun to hear about.
If you haven’t discovered THE SECOND HUSBAND yet and are looking for a good Labor Day weekend thriller, order by clicking one of the links below.
Oh, What a Reunion We Had!
When I was a college senior, I was thrilled to win Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women Contest and appear on its August cover, which helped launch my career in magazines. Eight of the winners from my year recently got together to celebrate our anniversary—four of us over lunch at my apartment in New York City and four on Zoom. It was truly magical to catch up with these amazing women and relive not only our trip to New York City to be photographed for the magazine, but also our awesome prize trip to Great Britain.
A Fascinating Tidbit I Had to Share
Here’s some food for thought, based on a striking piece of information I came across when I was researching THE SECOND HUSBAND. If you’ve read the book already (no spoilers here!), you know that the main character, Emma Hawke, is a trend forecaster, and last year I interviewed several people in the field so I could be as accurate as possible. One of them, a very famous researcher, revealed something that stayed with me long after I was done writing the book. Many companies, he pointed out, now send out surveys to consumers to gauge their reaction to a product or service. For instance, they’ll ask people if they really like the product, sort of like it, sort of don’t like it, or really don’t like it. I’ve taken a zillion of these. Have you?
Sounds like a good way for a company to learn the truth, but many organizations, he said, make a big mistake when they’re assessing the results: They lump together the “sort of like” and “really like” categories and then pat themselves on the back. For instance, executives will decide, “92% of all people like our product,” when maybe only 40% of consumers really like it. But “sort of,” he says, doesn’t count for much. People who only sort of like a restaurant tend not to go back, women who only sort like a shampoo probably won’t buy it again. He urges companies not to make this mistake because they’ll fail to see warning signs that a product is doomed to failure.
What a good lesson for life, too, I realized. We’ve lost time during the pandemic, so why should we bother with things we only sort of like. Instead, when possible, let’s put all our energy and time into only the people and things we really like.
What I’m Reading/Watching
The Overnight Guest
By Heather Gudenkauf
I always love to get book suggestions from fans because, hey, we share the same tastes. At several events on my book tour this summer, I asked women what they were reading, and a number of them mentioned this book. I’m so glad they did. This psychological thriller from New York Times bestselling author Gudenkauf is gripping and electrifying.
At first, true crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. But as the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls (people were murdered there!)—haunted, too, by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside her front door. After bringing the boy inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.
This 2019 (which I only stumbled on lately), six-part series is based on a true story about a police detective in southwest England, played by Martin Freeman, who sets out catch a serial killer and ends up facing awful consequences in his own life. Quiet but riveting.
What I’m Cooking/Making
Looking for a fresh new side dish to serve when you’re eating al fresco over Labor Day weekend? I promise you will love this divine, five-star rated Marinated Celery Salad with Chickpeas and Parmesan from the NY Times. It also has cherry tomatoes, scallions, awesome croutons, and a killer dressing, so your tastebuds are constantly being surprised and delighted with the all the combinations.