During the holidays, there is nothing better than gathering with family and friends. Often, this is the only time when we are able to come together due to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. From long-lost aunts and uncles to newborn babies, the entire family looks forward to spending time as one. Yet imagine what it would feel like if this year you discovered you had siblings you never knew existed. Oh, my! Rest assured this holiday season would be one you’d never forget.
This month’s Jen’s Jewels Lorraine Zago Rosenthal addresses this very topic of newfound family in her latest release, New Money. Set in two of my favorite destinations, New York City and Charleston, SC, it’s the story of Southern belle Savannah Morgan who inherits an immense fortune along with two obstinate, spoiled siblings. While climbing the social ladder of corporate America, Savannah must learn how to navigate her newly inherited fame and fortune.
As part of my interview, Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin’s Press, has generously donated five copies for you to win. So, be on the lookout for the trivia question. Winners will be randomly drawn. Good luck! Be sure to keep up-to-date on all the latest news in the publishing business by stopping by www.jennifervido.com, follow me on Facebook jennifervido.com, or on Twitter and Pinterest @JenniferVido. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewelsa part of your holiday reading.
Jen: As a successful writer, your path to publication is a story in itself. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the words, please briefly share with us your educational and professional background.
Lorraine: I was born and raised in New York City, where I went to high school at St. Francis Prep. I graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Education. I also earned a Master's degree in English, with a concentration in American and British Literature, from Northern Kentucky University. My first novel, Other Words for Love, was published by Random House (Delacorte Press) in January 2011. My second novel, New Money, was published by St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books) in September 2013.
Jen: Please describe for us your “Aha!” moment when you decided to take the plunge and pursue a career as an author.
Lorraine: I wanted to become a writer very early in life. I developed a love of books as soon as I learned to read, and I read fiction constantly. I was also highly influenced by my interest in film and TV. I have always enjoyed watching movies and TV series, and from a young age I studied character development, pacing, dialogue, and plot. After a while, I wanted to create my own characters and stories, so I started writing.
My desire to write began so early—in grammar school—that I wouldn’t say I actively chose it. It’s really just innate. I continued writing while I attended high school and when I was in college and graduate school at the University of South Florida. My B.A. in psychology greatly benefits my writing skills, because an understanding of the human psyche is necessary to get into the minds of characters and to portray the characters and their actions in a realistic way.
Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for you to write a novel? And, what is the most challenging part of the writing process?
Lorraine: It can take between several months and a year to write a novel; however, that doesn’t include the time I spend contemplating the story and characters before I begin writing. Ari Mitchell (the main character in Other Words for Love) and her family were in my mind for a few years before I fully understood Ari’s story and began to write it.
In general, writing a novel is challenging. It requires a great deal of dedication, effort, and focus on the characters and their individual stories. I think that in any work of fiction, the most challenging aspect for an author is to create characters who are complex people with positive and negative traits.
Jen: New Money is an addictive, humorous read about Savannah Morgan, a plucky spitfire on a journey to find her true calling in life. How did you arrive at the premise?
Lorraine: When I was asked the same question about my first novel, I answered that it was inspired by many things—such as observation, experience, and imagination. I think this applies to all novels, including New Money.
Jen: The story takes place in both Charleston, SC and New York City. Why did you choose these particular locales?
Lorraine: I’m originally from NYC and know it well, so I enjoy writing about that setting and its subcultures, as I did in Other Words for Love. In New Money, Savannah Morgan moves from a quiet town to a chaotic city, and Manhattan vs. Charleston (North vs. South) is a contrast that sparks a lot of conflict.
Jen: When Savannah learns of an inheritance from her billionaire father she never knew, how does it change the dynamics of her relationship with her mother?
Lorraine: It causes problems between Savannah and her mother, Joan. Joan is an independent and grounded woman who rejected Savannah’s father’s money and glamorous lifestyle. So when Savannah accepts her inheritance and moves to Manhattan, Joan doesn’t approve.
Jen: Upon her initial introduction to the Stone family, Savannah stands her ground despite the frosty reception. From where does she find this inner strength?
Lorraine: Savannah was raised by a strong mother and has suffered years of being snubbed by wealthier people. This has toughened her up, and she calls upon her inner strength to deal with the Stone family. She understandably feels anxiety and fear, but she does her best not to show it to the people who would use any signs of weakness against her. When she enters into her new life in NYC, she always tries to remember (as she tells her new siblings) that she deserves to be there just as much as they do.
Jen: Is her sister-in-law Kitty’s willingness to take Savannah under her wing merely an act of kindness, or simply a way to get back at the Stone family?
Lorraine: Her kindness is genuine, but the dose of revenge on some people is a bonus.
Jen: How does the arrival of Savannah’s best friend Tina taint her reputation in the Stone family’s eyes?
Lorraine: The Stone family has a preconceived notion of Savannah’s character, and their brief observation of Tina strengthens these inaccurate opinions.
Jen: When Savannah starts dating Alex, a debonair writer, how does this relationship change her perception of her present financial situation?
Lorraine: This relationship makes her realize that having money hasn’t solved all of her problems. In fact, it has created new ones.
Jen: Of her two new siblings, Ned and Caroline, which one needs Savannah the most? And, who has the most to lose?
Lorraine: Certain incidents cause Ned to need Savannah’s cooperation. Without it, he has a great deal to lose.
Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Please take us on a brief tour of your blog highlighting points of interest.
Lorraine: I have been fortunate enough to participate in many features to promote New Money, including interviews with Examiner.com, Long Island Woman, USA Today, and the Gulf Coast Times. Links to all of my interviews can be found on this page of my website: http://lorraine-zago-rosenthal.blogspot.com/p/news-press-and-appearances.html
Jen: Are you present in social media? And, what is the best way for my readers to keep abreast of your latest news?
Jen: Are you currently at work on your next novel? If so, what may you share with us?
Lorraine: My next novel is Independently Wealthy—which is the sequel to New Money. It will be published in fall 2014.
Jen: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with my readers. I absolutely loved New Money, especially the references to my favorite city Charleston. I highly recommend it to my Jen’s Jewels readers. Bravo! Best of luck in all of your future projects!
Lorraine: You’re very welcome, Jen! And thanks so much for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed New Money, and I hope your readers will, too!
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. Please stop by your favorite bookstore, online retailer, or library branch and pick up a copy of New Moneytoday. Better yet, how would you like to win one instead? Okay, send me the answer to the following trivia question to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be entered to win!
Where does the story take place?
In December, I will be bringing to you my interview with New York Times best-selling author Carly Phillips, author of Dare to Love. You won’t want to miss it. Until next time…Happy Thanksgiving!