If you love contemporary women's fiction and a good family drama, this one is a perfect summer read. So check it out, along with my review and the author interview. There's also a chance to win a copy of the book!
Book Title: What We Do for Love by Anne Pfeffer
Category: Adult Fiction, 227 pages
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Publisher: Bold Print Press
Release date: May 21, 2019
Tour dates: May 20 to June 14, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (My book has a few instances of the F-word and Sh--- and one somewhat explicit sex scene)
“If Lorelai Gilmore of Gilmore Girls was dropped into a thriller, it might resemble this appealing novel.” --Kirkus Reviews
Thirty-eight-year-old Nicole Adams has given up on finding love. Instead, the single mother focuses on the things she cherishes most—her sixteen-year-old son Justin, her friends, and her art. When she convinces a prominent Los Angeles museum to feature a piece of her work, a large-scale installation, she thinks her life has finally turned a corner. Then Justin brings a girl, Daniela, home to live with them. Daniela’s angry parents have thrown her out of the house because she’s pregnant with Justin’s child.
Shattered, Nicole takes Daniela in and, in so doing, is drawn into the inner circle of Daniela’s family—a frightening world of deceit and violence. Nicole struggles to keep life going as normal. Forced to deal with people she doesn’t trust or like, fearful for the future of both her son and the grandchild they’re expecting, Nicole wonders if she can do what she tells Justin to do: always have faith in yourself and do the right thing.
What We Do For Love won the Chick Lit category and made finalist for Best Cover Design/Fiction in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!
It's been awhile since I read a good contemporary women's fiction novel and this one was a treat. This book drew me in from the first page and just got better as I got deeper into the book. Nicole is a single mom with a 16-year-old son. She creates beautiful pieces of pottery for a living and has just received an opportunity to display her artwork in a museum, but her life takes on a sharp curve when her son brings home a girl named Daniela who is pregnant with his child.
I liked Nicole right from the get-go and I could relate to her on so many levels, the first as a mom of a teenage boy (I have a 15-year-old son); the second as an entrepreneur (I also run my own business); and thirdly she was the type of person who took it upon herself to help others, she holds the fort together, so to speak. Well, being the eldest in my family, I pretty much do that in my family. So I truly felt like I understood Nicole's fears, disappointments, hopes, and joys.
This was a quick fun read that I enjoyed immensely. Pfeffer understands what it's like to raise a teen son, to make sacrifices for love and to take care of your family. I also loved the setting of Hollywood, California with Nicole's house on top of the hill looking out over the valley.
I'm a new fan of Anne Pfeffer and will look for her other books to read. If you love contemporary women's fiction and a good family drama, this one is a perfect summer read.
LCR: Welcome to my blog, Anne! So tell me...what is your writing process like?
AP: I’m a “pantser,” i.e. I write by the seat of my pants. I usually start with the germ of an idea and just sit back, write, and see what happens. Not surprisingly, I do a lot of rewriting, as I’m forced to go back and add everything I didn’t know when I wrote the earlier draft.
I don’t really enjoy writing that first draft, when I’m getting the bones of the story on paper. It’s the later versions that are fun, when I can feel the book getting better and better. By the time I’m done, I know my characters inside and out. I’m fond of them, particularly the male ones. They’re the only men in my life who do exactly what I want them to do!
LCR: What made you want to write this book?
AP: The original kernel of an idea came from the road I lived on for fifteen years in the Hollywood Hills—a rutted, one-lane track that ran along the side of a canyon past our home and up to a beautiful lot with a view of the city. A single mother lived there with her daughter. Sometimes our homes seemed to me these perfect, secluded hideaways from the world, but on a really dark, stormy night, mine, at least, felt lonely and vulnerable.
Our neighbor was a social creature who always had friends coming up and down the road for parties and gatherings. I thought it would be fun to write about a single mother living in this setting; thus, the birth of Nicole Adams and her son Justin in What We Do for Love. Nicole, Justin, and my other characters were invented by me and, beyond the initial premise, any resemblance to real people is accidental; similarly, I made up the events of this book from my imagination.
So, although the people and events of this book are fictitious, you can rest assured that the Trail of Terror is real. I’ve lived there.
LCR: What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
AP: For me, the hardest part is making sure that I’m conveying information in exactly the way I hope to. Like when I hope to portray a character as, say, dark yet lovable in an interesting sort of way, sarcastic yet vulnerable … how do I know I haven’t missed the mark? How do I know I haven’t inadvertently made her look like a b&$%#tch on wheels?
That’s when beta readers, or editors, or any honest eyes become helpful. These are people who will tell you in a kind, constructive way that you need to rethink your approach. That your leading lady is cruel and malicious (which is okay if you meant her to be that way, but not okay if you didn’t).
It’s also exactly the time to listen to that little voice in your head. You know, that little warning we all like to ignore that says you took that too far or that joke isn’t funny. But we don’t pull back, or we use the bad joke, and we fall flat on our faces.
My advice is, don’t do that.
LCR: How much research do you do for your books?
AP: It depends on the subject matter. Little research was necessary for What We Do for Love, while others of my books have required quite a lot.
Luckily, virtually every human experience seems to be on Youtube. For The Wedding Cake Girl. I’ve dived vicariously among treacherous columns of kelp and alongside a 600-pound sea bass. For Girls Love Travis Walker, I’ve climbed ladders and blasted water from the hoses of a virtual fire truck. I’ve done those things, so I can write about them.
Even very mundane things, like a drive up the 5 freeway from LA to Santa Cruz, have been recorded by someone who actually thought to strap a camera onto his dashboard – handy if you need to describe a certain freeway exit.
LCR: How do you handle critical remarks about your books?
AP: For the most part, I actually solicit remarks about my books, either before publication, so I can rewrite and improve them, or after publication, so I can sell them. Although I don’t love hearing about the weaknesses in my books, I can’t really fault the people who point them out to me. They’re either being constructive and trying to help me improve my book, or they’re giving the public their honest opinion, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do.
So I generally just try to learn something from these types of comments and, if it’s not too late, I’ll try to fix the problem. Yeah, I’ve been known to kick a few walls and punch a few pillows, but only in the privacy of my home.
LCR: What advice do you have for other writers?
AP: My advice would be to write something you love, something you want to read, that reflects you and what you believe. It’s the only way your book will ring true and resonate with readers.
Don’t write a romance just because romances sell, or a paranormal thriller because they’re the next big thing. For your book to succeed, it should be authentic. It needs to be something only you could write.
LCR: How can your readers discover more about you and your work?
Go to my website at www.annepfefferbooks.com. There you can read descriptions and excerpts of each of my books. Or, even easier, I’ve got a one-sentence description of each below.
What We Do for Love: When sixteen year old Justin brings home a girl who’s bearing his child and has been thrown out of her house, it is up to his single mother, Nicole, to take the girl in.
Just Pru: When shy, anxious Pru loses her apartment in a building fire, she learns how to make friends and find love.
Girls Love Travis Walker: Despite his sexy charm and good looks, Travis must struggle to get the job and girl that he wants.
The Wedding Cake Girl: When expert scuba diver Alexandra wants to leave her island home for college, she must stand up to her difficult, demanding mother.
Any Other Night: After Ryan’s friend Michael dies with a secret, Ryan must take over Michael’s unfinished business.
She has worked in banking and as a pro bono attorney, representing abandoned children in adoption and guardianship proceedings. Anne has a daughter living in New York and is the author of four books in the YA/New Adult genres.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter