Give us the elevator pitch for your book.
A dream vacation aboard a luxurious yacht turns deadly in this pulse-pounding novel about wealth, friendship, romance and betrayal on the Riviera.
For fans of Lauren Weisberger, Ruth Ware, Kevin Kwan and Liane Moriarty.
Meet Belle, who likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous girls’ getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den, it becomes clear that Belle is in for more than she bargained for.
The dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as Belle and the handful of other girlfriends Summer has invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host, and Belle comes face-to-face with a far more cunning Summer than she ever knew. Belle soon realizes she’s going to have to keep her wits about her—and her own big secret close to her chest—if she wants to make it off the yacht alive.
What were your plans for book launch pre-Covid?
I was looking forward to meeting indie booksellers in San Francisco and Los Angeles to share the book with them pre-pub, as well as doing a book tour that included many cities in the US after launch. I was really excited for celebrating the book launch with a reading at Book Soup in my home town of Los Angeles, followed by a party for all my friends and family. As an author, you spend so much time working alone that it’s really nice to connect with other people and celebrate milestones when they happen! And I do so love a party. Also, I’m originally from Mississippi, and was very much looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family at events at Lemuria in Jackson and Square Books in Oxford.
Where were you when you heard your book tour/ launch was cancelled?
Home, of course! Where else? I write in my living room, looking out past the palm trees to the mountains of the Angeles Forest, and nearly everything in my professional life happens there.
I can’t say there was one phone call where everything was cancelled – it’s been on an event by event basis. I knew though when my kids school was cancelled, that everything else would follow suit.
Watching the pandemic unfold has been somewhat like watching a tsunami headed for shore in slow motion, flattening everything in its path. Now the tsunami is here and all we can do is hold on until it passes, taking things one day at a time. There’s nothing I can do to stop it but stay home, so I’m trying to just stay positive and focus on online events.
One thing I do know is that we need books now more than ever!
What went into writing and selling your book?
I wrote the book over the year I took off from working while my two daughters were very young. My husband would handle the mornings before he left for work so that I could write, and I’d write again when they went down for naps and after they went to bed at night. Once I linked up with my wonderful agent, she and I worked on editing it for a few months until we both felt it was ready for submission, when I was lucky to find an editor I loved.
What is the weirdest job you held on your path to publication?
I have held too many jobs to count! I was an actress, director, screenwriter, producer, photographer, yoga instructor, bartender, personal assistant, real estate agent, promo girl, legal assistant, and stylist’s assistant, to name a few. All of them have proven to be great material for writing.
The weirdest would have to be during my days as a struggling actress, when a girlfriend and I worked as promo girls for a television studio. To get the word out about the premiere of a television show, they had us drive around in a broken down food truck wrapped with the poster for the show, giving out sno-cones all over Los Angeles. I don’t remember the name of the show, but it was a medical drama that had NOTHING to do with sno-cones. That food truck was not food- or road-safe, and there were about six of us bouncing around in the back as we drove from the beach to Hollywood Boulevard and back again, handing out sno-cones. Our uniforms were a white t-shirt emblazoned with the name of the show and a royal blue skort, and I remember mine was so big that the t-shirt sleeves came down to my elbows and I had to hold the skort up with a hair clip. One of the strangest parts was that people kept asking us whether we were the actors on the show. I still laugh about that one with the girlfriend that suffered through it with me!
What do you want readers to take away from your book?
First, I hope The Lion’s Den provides a much-needed escape from daily lives that have become incredibly stressful in the current climate.
Second, I hope it serves as a reminder that wealth should not equate to authority, and you can’t buy love.
What’s your favorite Indie Bookstore?
Can you recommend one other debut?
I’m reading Diana Giovanazzi’s The Woman in Red right now, and I can’t put it down!