Thursday, August 09, 2012

Win LINE OF FIRE by Stephen White!

I am excited to offer one lucky reader a copy of Stephen White’s latest thriller, LINE OF FIRE.

New York Times bestselling author Stephen White returns with a gripping thriller about the one devastating secret that could cost Alan Gregory everything—the first of the dramatic two-part conclusion to his acclaimed bestselling series.

Alan Gregory is finally beginning to feel settled, hopeful that a long period of upheaval in his private life is behind him. He refocuses his energy on his clinical psychology practice, where a beguiling new patient is challenging his values. The interlude of calm doesn't last, of course: Alan's dear friend Diane is showing signs of a long-simmering emotional collapse, and Alan's greatest fear—the exposure of his most dangerous secret—has become something he can't ignore.

A new witness has surfaced, causing authorities to reopen their investigation into the suicide death of a woman named J. Winter Brown. When Alan and his equally culpable friend Sam Purdy inadvertently disclose details of their involvement in her death to a desperate drug dealer, any confidence they felt about riding out the new investigation evaporates. The trail that leads back to Alan and Sam, once cold, has turned white-hot.

With his vulnerability mounting daily, Alan begins to fear that his mesmerizing new patient may be the catalyst that can cause everything he treasures—his marriage, family, friendship, and future—to implode. As the authorities close in, the story hurtles toward a conclusion that will set the stage for the most unexpected of outcomes: the final act of the Alan Gregory saga.

The reviews have been great…

"Line of Fire is a Stephen White thriller at its best -- a juicy and very complicated crime with characters drawn close to the heart." --Denver Post

"Fans will love how the threads from the other books weave into a complex tapestry. Newcomers will find a compelling mystery set against the beautiful Colorado landscape amid raging wildfires." --Associated Press

Visit to read an in-depth interview with Stephen, to read an excerpt and more reviews, to see photos of some of the real places mentioned in Line of Fire, and much more.

To win your own copy of LINE OF FIRE by Stephen White, send an email to, with “LINE OF FIRE” as the subject or click here. Make sure to include your name and mailing address in the US only. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age. One entry per email address, please. Your email will not be shared or sold to anyone.

All entries, including names, email addresses and mailing addresses, will be purged after winner is notified. This contest ends August 18, 2012. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Win THE AGE OF DESIRE by Jennie Fields

Courtesy of Viking

A Glimpse into the Life of Edith Wharton…

For fans of The Paris Wife, a sparkling glimpseinto the life of Edith Wharton and the scandalous love affair that threatenedher closest friendship

They say behind every great man is a woman. Behind EdithWharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary, andher mothering, nurturing friend.

When at the age of forty-five, Edith falls passionately inlove with a dashing younger journalist, Morton Fullerton, and is at last openedto the world of the sensual, it threatens everything certain in her life butespecially her abiding friendship with Anna. As Edith’s marriage crumbles andAnna’s disapproval threatens to shatter their lifelong bond, the women mustface the fragility at the heart of all friendships.

Told through the points of view of both women, TheAge of Desire takes us on a vivid journey through Wharton’s earlyGilded Age world: Paris with its glamorous literary salons and dark secretcafĂ©s, the Whartons’ elegant house in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Henry James’smanse in Rye, England.

Edith’s real letters and intimate diary entries are woventhroughout the book. The Age of Desire brings to life one ofliterature’s most beloved writers, whose own story was as complex and nuancedas that of any of the heroines she created.

Q&A with Jennie Fields, authorof THE AGE OF DESIRE

Courtesy of Anthony Scarlati
The relationship between Edith and Anna is very complex.Did you always plan on making their troubled friendship central to the book, ordid it grow out of your research?

It wasn’t until three months into the writing of the bookthat I decided to add a secondary protagonist, someone who could view Edithobjectively.  Anna Bahlmann seemed the perfect character as she was withEdith on and off since her days as Edith’s governess until the year Anna diedin 1916.  To have kept Anna with her so long, I assumed they must be veryclose, but biographers had hardly mentioned her. 

Then after I’d already written many chapters of the book, amiracle occurred.  Over 100 letters from Edith to Anna which had beenmoldering in an attic came up for auction at Christies! Everything I supposedabout their relationship was true.  They were loving and close sinceEdith’s childhood, and she trusted Anna with a great deal.  I grew moreand more intrigued with this shadowy figure.

Questions began to arise.  Why, for instance, duringthe summer after the onset of Edith’s affair with Morton Fullerton, was Annasuddenly sent to Europe on a trip that was considered a gift fromEdith?   Earlier, in letters to other people, it was clear Edith wasupset and even annoyed when Anna wasn’t around to help her, so why was itarranged for them to be suddenly so much apart? Though I have no hard evidencethat Anna was disturbed by Edith’s relationship with Fullerton , many eventssuggested she’d been sent away.  I wanted Anna to be the book’sconscience.  If Edith was unhappy, disturbed by her splinteringrelationship to Morton, it made sense she’d send Anna off on a trip.

Another intriguing coincidence is that I had created a warmalliance between Anna and Teddy.  After I’d written most of the book, Ifound letters from Edith to others that said that Anna was a calming influenceover Teddy on his worst days, the only one patient enough to sit with him, thathe was asking for her—exactly as I had written it. 

 Anna supports Edith’s writing as a typist, earlyreader, and—in a way—editor. Did Edith ever include Anna in herAcknowledgements? How did Anna’s involvement in Edith’s work complicate theirrelationship?

Though she never acknowledged Anna publicly as far as Iknow, in letters directly to Anna, she thanked her.  In fact, in oneletter early in Edith’s writing career, she sent Anna the check she receivedfor a story saying, “The story is so associated in my mind with the hours thatwe spent in writing it out together, & I owe its opportune presentment& speedy acceptance largely to the fact that you were here to get itwritten out at a time when I could not have done so, that I have a peculiar feelingabout your having just this special cheque & no other as a souvenir of ourwork together.” 

In her published biography, A Backward Glance,she spoke warmly about her relationship to Anna when she was a child “mybeloved German teacher, who saw which way my fancy turned, and fed it with allthe wealth of German literature, from the Minnesingers to Heine.”

But in a later autobiographical fragment that was neverpublished she said, “My good little governess was cultivated &conscientious, but she never struck a spark from me, she never threw a newlight on any subject, or made me see the relation of things to eachother.  My childhood & youth were an intellectual desert.”

If she is referring to Anna in this sentence, (I hope she isnot) it saddens me a great deal.  In any case, I believe Edith saw Anna assomething of a servant.  She certainly did straddle Edith’s world and theworld of the household staff, as beloved and essential as she seemed tobe.  At the same time, Edith generously took Anna on foreign trips, out todinner and to the theatre with her.  Without Edith, her life might wellhave been merely that of a teacher.

As I have written Anna, she sees her place in life as ahelpmate and accepts that Edith is the chosen one.  She is proud of herassociation with Edith and content with her place in life.

 Edith Wharton is one of your favorite writers. Howdid that influence your writing?

Well, I must say, I felt very conscious of the language Iused.  I wanted it to be appropriate to the era, hard-working andbeautiful all at once.  I could never dream of writing as exquisitely asEdith.  I often get chills when I read her writing.  If angels couldwrite, they’d write as she did.  The music of her language is instructiveand breathtaking.  But I tried to write in a way that I felt might pleaseher.  Also, I often started my writing sessions by reading a few pages ofone of her books.  I never get tired of her books, no matter how often Iread them.

 The book follows Edith’s sexual awakening. What wasit like writing sex scenes for such a well-known writer?

Not many people know this, but when Edith died, among hereffects, her literary executor found some pornography that she’d penned. There was nothing shy about this work.  It was bold, shocking, and also,of course, exquisitely written.  While I did not use any of the languageof this piece (named Beatrice Palmato, for those who are curious—and yes, it’son the internet) it did instruct me as to how she viewed sex and passion, andgave me insight into what excited her. 

Paris figures heavily into the book. What did thecity mean to Edith? What’s your relationship to  Paris  and did itfigure into the writing of the book?

Edith adored Paris .  It was everything that New Yorkwasn’t: culturally oriented, worldly, beautiful.  She found New Yorksociety closed and stifling.  She blossomed when she finally moved toFrance full-time, and her devotion to France is clear in how she helped thewomen of France during World War I with her workrooms and charities. ( Franceawarded her the Cross of the Legion of Honor for her work during the war.) Shehad loved Paris as a child, and even more as an adult.  And of course, shefell in love with Morton while in Paris . That would forever insure a place forParis in her heart.
There was a period where I did not like Paris .  Ifound it jostling and sad.  But about the time I began the book, I alsobegan a new relationship to Paris , and fell in love with it all overagain. 

By the end of the book, Edith’s husband Teddy is not avery sympathetic character. Did you know much about Teddy when you began thisproject? Did you find yourself taking sides?

I knew nothing of Teddy when I took on the project, but itwasn’t long before I discovered that he suffered in later life from ManicDepression at a time when people didn’t know what to make of that or how totreat it.  Truthfully, I see Teddy as a very sympathetic character whomarried a woman unsuited to him, and then, distraught, fell victim to mentalillness (which seemed to run in his family.)  If Teddy could have spenthis later years at the Mount with his pigs and horses, he might have been amuch happier man.  Edith was an intellectual.  Teddy was anythingbut.  Yet,  he adored Edith.  And for a long time, he was a kindand patient husband to her.  Thinking of Teddy’s life saddens me.

You were an advertising creative director before becominga novelist. Both are creative, but in different ways. How did your past careerhelp in your current one?

My advertising career has affected my fiction writing inmyriad ways.  For one thing, I am always conscious of trying to tell astory in the least words possible.  After years of cramming twenty thoughtsinto thirty seconds, one gets pretty good at writing minimally! Advertising also taught me to be disciplined, to work well under strictdeadlines, and to work every day.  What I loved in advertising alsointerests me in my fiction:  to solve puzzles.  The tighter thestrictures of the assignment, the more intrigued I am. I love being creative ina small box. This came into play with this book.  I had to tell a storythat already existed but I had to shape it into a book.  It was a Rubik’sCube.  The elements were all there, but they needed to be twisted into theright order to create a satisfying pattern.  Also, I was forced to readbetween the lines.  Edith kept such clear diaries; her life was mapped outalmost daily.  But what really happened at the theatrethat night?  Why did Anna leave at that time for New York ?  Why didMorton act the way he did?  It was a delicious puzzle and I very muchenjoyed solving it to my satisfaction.  I hope I’ve done Edith’s lifejustice.

 What’s your writing regimen?

Generally, I walk in the mornings and do errands.  Iwrite in the afternoons.  Usually I read starting at 1 or 2 pm. (While I was working on THE AGE OF DESIRE I always readsomething by Edith). Then, with a strong cup of tea I get down to work bythree.  I write in my writing room, a large old sleeping porch withwindows on three sides overlooking my backyard.  I sit in a comfortablechair with an ottoman, my MacBook Pro on my lap.  I rarely write more thanthree hours at a time, usually less.  But it’s extraordinary what threededicated hours can generate as far as pages.  If I get five good pages aday, I’m thrilled.  But not every day can be a successful day.  Ialways take weekends off—perhaps a holdover from my years in advertising. My brain needs time to recharge!

What’s next for you?

I am writing a book about a woman caught up in the radicalanti-war movement of the 1960s.  She is a woman in her late thirties whomarried young and had no youth.  She goes back to college, and gets drawninto the Weather Underground.  I’ve always been intrigued with how peoplewho were advocates of anti-violence could justify their increasingly violentactivities.

For more information and to view a collection of photosof Edith and those close to her, check out

To win a copy of THE AGE OF DESIRE by JennieFields send an email to, with “AGE OF DESIRE” as the subject or click here. Make sure to include your name and mailing address in the US only. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age. One entry per email address, please. Your email will not be shared or sold to anyone

All entries, including names,email addresses and mailing addresses, will be purged after winner is notified.This contest ends August 15, 2012. Good luck!

Search This Blog