About the bookA novel about exploring love and life's path, and taking chances along the way.
Emily Saunders has never thought twice about grabbing her passport, rucksack, and camera and trekking across the globe. If there's an NGO, a study abroad program, or simply the travel itch, Emily's on the first plane out. Free-spirited, open-minded, and eager to explore, it's no wonder Emily's hardly in one spot (or relationship) for long.
For the past year and a half, though, Emily's found herself planted in her college hometown of Seattle. She's surrounded by her best friends, has steady work as a photographer and at her friend Sophie's café, and is certainly kept busy by the wild antics of her BFF Jackie. Life's enjoyable, but Emily's looking for something more. She's ready for a change, for adventure!
But when Emily tells her girlfriends she's ready for something new she does not expect Operation Blind Date!
Sure, Emily's single. Sure, she hopes to some day find true love. But being thrown into an insane challenge like this is not exactly the adventure she had in mind! Couldn't she just travel and focus on her photography? Or volunteer in Africa? Will a string of eligible bachelors lined up by her friends--a shot at finding a real and lasting love--really be that change she's searching for?
This is a spirited story about seeking adventure while being true to yourself, wherever you are in life. It's a story about love, risk, and self-discovery. About what happens when girlfriends take chances.
Other Books by Savannah PageWhen Girlfriends Let Go
When Girlfriends Chase Dreams
When Girlfriends Make Choices
When Girlfriends Step Up (On SALE 99 cents!)
When Girlfriends Break Hearts
When Girlfriends Collection, Books 1-3 (On SALE 99 cents!)
Interview with Savannah PageSavannah, you have a long list of books to your credit. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I started filling up notebooks with shorts stories at the age of six, and I haven’t stopped writing since.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
I consider writing to be my full-time profession. In addition to being an author, I blog and manage the social media marketing for a wedding and event florist back in my college hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. So when I’m not writing novels I’m writing about wedding flowers and trends and design. I can’t think of two better gigs!
Pretty sweet gigs. How did you create the plot for this book?
Emily is my most whimsical and well-traveled character so there were a lot of directions I could have taken her story. I knew right away that I wanted to keep her in Seattle longer than she had planned, thereby making her antsy and unable to avoid some fun plot twists and episodes that I had in mind for her. Her story is about taking chances...and that doesn’t just mean strapping on a backpack, grabbing a passport, and heading overseas for an adventure. Sometimes grand adventures are right in your own backyard (and can involve the heart).
Tell us a book by an indie author for which you’re an evangelist.
I really enjoy Rachel Schurig’s chick lits. She’s a great author, her stories are fun and entertaining, and on top of that she’s a real sweetheart. She helped me out quite a bit in the early stages of my self-publishing journey, encouraging me to start my When Girlfriends series and crank out one novel after another. She’s one of my biggest inspirations as a fellow chick lit indie author.
How do you get to know your characters?
I spend a lot of time acting out scenes in my apartment. To the outsider (and probably neighbors when the windows are open), I look like a crazy person. Or perhaps a practicing actress. I have to really act as my characters, say their lines, make their gestures, and even figure out how they’d react to a particular issue in the news to understand who they are. My editor has a great and easy tip for helping define characters’ voices: Ask, Who would they vote for/how would they vote on an issue, and why.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
She’s my damaged and most controversial character, Jackie. She has a very strong voice and personality and writing her is a blast. Sometimes she does things that shock me and give me a headache, but that’s one of the reasons I love her. She’s alive! She elicits emotion.
Sophie holds a special place in my heart with her OCDness and controlling personality, plus she was the girlfriend who got the first book (When Girlfriends Break Hearts) and will also get the last (her second book, When Girlfriends Find Love, out May 2014). But Emily, the protagonist of When Girlfriends Take Chances, is caring, daring, open-minded, and fun. I really enjoyed getting to write her story and voice.
Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
As I move on from my seven-book When Girlfriends collection and on to a new series, I’ve learned that I always write a novel with some real personal or life event in mind. I need that tangible inspiration and experience to really feel a work. For WG I took my own group of college girlfriends into account, thinking about the fascinating idea that an eclectic group of women could be such great friends, and that time and distance could wedge their ways in, but our friendship remains strong. From there the entire WG collection took off.
With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?
Emily. She belongs to a book club, like myself, and has a similar taste in reads. We both love travel narratives, memoirs, and a good adventure story. Although, she’s not much a fan of Jane Austen so we could have a bit of a bickering session there.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
Writing the scenes with Emily and Ben were fun because Ben’s attractive, a little mysterious, a bit of trouble. Those kinds of emotional or edge-of-the-seat scenes with such characters are fun to write and read. But the last chapter is one of my favorites!
What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I always have a number of books I’m reading at one time, and in different formats. Right now my paperbacks are Candace Bushnell’s Trading Up and Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In ebook format I recently finished Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette and loved it!
Where’s home for you?
I may enjoy travel like Emily, but home is not wherever I hang my hat. Home is Berlin in our cozy apartment in the centre of the city. I love long getaways, but luckily home is an adopted city I absolutely love, so I never feel like, “Drats! Vacation’s over and we’re back home.” Of course, as soon as I step foot in California or get some tasty Mexican food or go to a Target, I’m also home!
Neil Gaiman said, “Picking five favorite books is like picking five body parts you'd most like not to lose.” So…what are your five favorite books and your five body parts you’d most like not to lose?
Haha! Books: 1) My entire Emily Giffin collection. She gets her own shelf and I’d die without her books. 2) My Gossip Girl collection. 3) My Harry Potter collection. 4) My Sophie Kinsella collection. 5) And since I’ve so been cheating with these collections, I’d like to say my F. Scott Fitzgerald collection as number five, but if just one, it’d be the one and only The Great Gatsby
Body Parts: 1) Eyes. I had a serious vision scare and surgery a few years ago. My eyes are my most prized possession! 2) Hands. (Because writing—and doing just about anything else—without them would be a major challenge.) 3) I suppose all of my vital organs. 4) And my brain. 5) And feet come in handy when wanting to run around...
You’re leaving your country for a year. What’s the last meal (or food) you would want to have before leaving?
I left the US for a permanent move to Germany in 2010 and had both In-N-Out and a feast of Mexican food that week before I left.
Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I loved my university’s library (The University of Tulsa), McFarlin Library. It’s large and beautiful and has so many little alcoves where you can read and study in peace. It holds a lot of college memories for me, too.
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Read, shop, and go for a drive.
What would your dream office look like?
Just as it is! I have a lovely little office in my apartment with everything I need, including a nice, big window that lets in a lot of natural light.
Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?
Absolutely! In addition to becoming self-employed with my blogging business, choosing to self-publish my first book and not look back has been the best career move I could imagine!
What steps to self-publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do? Is there anyone you’d recommend for a particular service?
Every writer needs an editor. You can be the best speller, the know-it-all grammarian, or the top of your English graduating class at university, but you’ll still benefit from an editor’s extra set of eyes and skills. I use Invisible Ink Editing and am so happy with the work they do. They practice attention-to-detail while maintaining my voice with all of their edits.
I also recommend indie authors hire someone to do their cover art. Unless you’re a graphic artist, I would outsource this. As I tell my husband (my cover artist), “I’m an author. Give me a pencil and I’ll write you a story. Don’t ask for me to draw you anything.” Many people judge books by their covers, period, and while a book’s content may be the next best thing since sliced bread, if it has a very amateur cover on it, unfortunately many readers may pass it by, thinking the content will also lack in professionalism and promise. Don’t let your cover turn potential readers away! There are plenty of indie book cover artists, like indie editors, formatters, and proofreaders, who are affordable and produce fabulous work. Your novel is an investment and your baby, so give it some love!
As for formatting, that can be tricky work. But if you’re patient and learn the steps, you can save some cash and do this yourself. (Again, there are others in the indie community, such as editors who offer this as an extra service, who can be an affordable and easy option.) I choose to do this myself. I invested a good 15+ hours to learn the ins and outs of Scrivener (only the best writing software that I’d be lost without) and in a flash can format any ebook and paperback.
I love Scrivener too! What’s your favorite candy bar? And don’t tell me you don’t have one!
Spiced jelly beans and circus peanuts. Yes, two very weird but delicious candies.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I can’t read enough books or watch enough television. I enjoy Pilates, crocheting, gardening, shopping (from groceries to shoes), listening to Rick Steves podcasts, pinning wedding flowers on Pinterest, and café-frequenting.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Right now I love living in Berlin, but NYC, or on a sailboat in Florida, or Santa Barbara, California would be nice, too.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on releasing the seventh and final When Girlfriends novel. I’m also working on two new series, both chick lit and women’s fiction, which I plan on publishing this year.
Excerpt from When Girlfriends Take Chances“That’s a fantastic idea!” Jackie blurts out.
“How come I didn’t think of that?” Sophie says.
“That’s not a bad idea, Claire,” Robin says with a nod.
“Perrrrrfect,” Claire sings, returning to her position on the floor by the coffee table. “Such a superbly perfect idea.” She claps her hands together several times. “What do you think, Emily? Brilliant idea, right?”
There are two words that incite major worry and panic, even in someone like me who’s as open to dating, well, just about anyone. One is “blind” and the other is—you guessed it—“date.” God help me.
We’re not just talking a blind date, but several—hear me, plural—blind dates.
“Think about it,” Sophie says, abandoning her wine, her eyes going all star-gazey. “You could meet all sorts of guys. You could dispense with the annoying and time-wasting ‘nice to meet you’ stuff.”
“Yeah!” Jackie cuts in. “Like you wouldn’t have to waste your time on meeting someone and striking up that first conversation that would lead to a date. It’s just, BAM, a date!”
BAM is right.
All right, I’m single, and I have been for a while. And, sure, it’d be nice to find someone I could really connect with and, yeah, fall in love with. But easier said than done. I mean, if I’m going to find someone I can be really and truly serious with then they’ll have to keep up with me, so to speak. I’m not a let’s-get-a-mortgage or even a let’s-have-a-career kind of woman. My lifestyle isn’t exactly what men who are looking for a serious and lasting relationship go for.
Besides, I’m not so hard-up for a date or budding romance that I need to sign on for a round of blind dates—a series of awkward meet-and-greets, an exchange of interests and goals and accomplishments, that unavoidable question about a second date, that unavoidable expectation come the third or fourth date. My mouth suddenly feels dry. I reach for my wine and take a heavy slog.
“I think this is brilliant,” Claire says. She crosses her arms, looking extremely pleased with herself. “This is revolutionary!”
“No,” Lara finally pipes in.
Oh, thank you for coming to my rescue, finally, Lara! I think, still draining my wine.
“It’s not quite revolutionary…yet.” A sly smirk is playing Lara’s lips. “We’re missing something that’ll revolutionize the blind dating experience.”
“I know!” I toss out. All eyes simultaneously turn to me. “I know what would revolutionize this experience.”
“Yeah?” Jackie asks eagerly.
“Totally...” I drag out. “...not...doing...it!” I smile brightly. “Brilliant way to revolutionize blind dating, right? Do away with the whole buggy thing.”
“Oh, whatever,” Claire scoffs. “Don’t be a sourpuss. We’re doing this, Emily. It will be amazing, just you wait.”
About the author:
Savannah Page is the author of the continuing When Girlfriends collection, heartfelt women's fiction that celebrates friendship, love, and life sprinkled with drama and humor. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat. Currently she's working on the seventh and final When Girlfriends novel, and is cooking up something delicious for her next series.
Connect with Savannah:
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