I like stories that deal with issues, concerns and worries that face me as a woman and those issues are different than when I was a young and barely twenty something. I also enjoy humor and the ability to laugh at both myself and situations I face. As I've grown up, I find girlfriends are all the more precious. I need that commonality of shared experiences, laughter, and grounding that true friends give you (and their opinions)--whether you want it or not, lol!
So, as you can imagine, I like Marilyn's books and really enjoyed her article. I hope you will too.
I'm thrilled to be back visiting Sia and everyone here today! I was lucky enough to be here the first time after the release of my debut novel, According to Jane, but I'm especially excited to visit again this fall...on a Friday...and to get to discuss the subject of friends and relationships with you all Over Coffee. It's particularly fun for me because my second novel, called Friday Mornings at Nine, is about three women friends who get together once a week (bet you can guess which day -- LOL) over coffee (!!) to talk about their relationships. So, this is one of those cool 'virtual life' meets 'real life' meets 'writing life' kinds of moments!
Anyway, one of the reasons I wrote this novel was to explore the idea of What-If relationships, even for women who might be (or seem to be) happy with their current ones. The three women in my story are 40-something suburban moms who have all been married for a decade or two. They think they know what their friends' marriages are like but, it turns out, they have a lot to learn -- not only about each other, but about their spouses and themselves. Complicating matters are three other men (not these women's husbands!) whom my main characters are becoming increasingly more aware of and, at times, attracted to... Bridget admires the warmth and cooking skill of her boss, a dentist in the office where she works. Tamara is noticing the divorced (younger) neighbor guy down the street who works from home. And Jennifer has been reconnecting with her college ex-boyfriend via text message and email because he'd contacted her about an upcoming reunion. All of them begin to wonder -- in light of their attraction to these other people -- if they made the right decision in marrying the man they did.
In real life, I also meet my friends for coffee once every week or so and we, too, discuss our families, jobs and lives. Over the years, one of the things I've noticed is that my friends not only help me sort through whatever ups and downs might be going on somewhere in my world, but they've frequently provided a sounding board for any What-If relationship scenarios that may come up, including: old flames who suddenly resurface via Facebook (!!) or that really handsome fitness trainer at the gym or my longstanding obsession with Ryan Reynolds and his REALLY great abs. (C'mon, who here doesn't have a bit of a celebrity crush on him?!)
For me, I've found that hearing what my friends have to say during our coffee dates is incredibly valuable because it reaffirms that -- most of the time, at least -- what I'm experiencing is something normal. And listening to my friends talk about whatever issues they might be wrestling with in their lives is just as helpful. I learn a lot from them about how to handle situations I haven't yet encountered myself, or I simply get to know more about my friends' lives and beliefs and passions, which is fascinating. During this time of year I'm especially thankful for them...for always being there when I need them, for helping me stay grounded/calm in the face of good or bad news, and for always making our outings such fun!
- What about you? Do you have a group of friends you get together with regularly? If so, where do you like to meet and what do you most enjoy talking about with them?
I'll draw one name randomly from all of the commenters below (on late Sunday night, 12/5) and give away a signed copy of Friday Mornings at Nine and an individual serving of Starbucks VIA Christmas Blend to one winner. Happy Holidays, everyone!!
FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE
Every woman remembers her firsts: Her first kiss. Her first lover. And her first time contemplating an affair...
Each Friday morning at the Indigo Moon Café, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara meet to swap stories about marriage, kids and work. But one day, spurred by recent e-mails from her college ex, Jennifer poses questions they've never faced before. What if they all married the wrong man? What if they're living the wrong life? And what would happen if, just once, they gave in to temptation...
Soon each woman is second-guessing the choices she's made--and the ones she can unmake--as she becomes aware of new opportunities around every corner, from attentive colleagues and sexy neighbors to flirtatious past lovers. And as fantasies blur with real life, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara begin to realize how little they know about each other, their marriages and themselves, and how much there is to gain--and lose--when you step outside the rules. EXCERPT
Marilyn is the award-winning women's fiction author of ACCORDING TO JANE (2009), FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE (2010) and her upcoming novel, A SUMMER IN EUROPE (November 29, 2011), all from Kensington Books.
She received her M.A. in educational psychology from Loyola University Chicago, dabbled in both fiction and art at Northwestern University, studied the works of Austen at Oxford University and is an active member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her debut novel featuring "Jane" won the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart® Award.
Marilyn has traveled to 45 states and over 30 countries (so far -- she's not done yet!), but she now lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family. When she isn't rereading Jane's books or enjoying the latest releases by her writer friends, she's working on her next novel, eating chocolate indiscriminately and hiding from the laundry.
Brandt Flakes, Marilyn's Blog