After my kids go to bed tonight, I'm going to be sinking into a novel that I've been looking forward to reading since I first heard about it-- Lori Rader-Day's, Little Pretty Things. In preparation I invited Lori to join me on my blog today and answer a few questions about her second novel, to be released July 7, 2015 from Seventh Street Books.
But first, the official blurb:
OLD RIVALRIES NEVER DIE. BUT SOME RIVALS DO.
Juliet Townsend is used to losing. Back in high school, she lost every track team race to her best friend, Madeleine Bell. Ten years later, she’s still running behind, stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms at the Mid-Night Inn, a one-star motel that attracts only the cheap or the desperate. But what life won’t provide, Juliet takes.
Then one night, Maddy checks in. Well-dressed, flashing a huge diamond ring, and as beautiful as ever, Maddy has it all. By the next morning, though, Juliet is no longer jealous of Maddy—she’s the chief suspect in her murder.
To protect herself, Juliet investigates the circumstances of her friend’s death. But what she learns about Maddy’s life might cost Juliet everything she didn’t realize she had.
Can you tell us a little about Little Pretty Things?
Little Pretty Things features Juliet Townsend, a not-quite-30 woman stuck in her hometown and in a bad job, cleaning rooms at a low-rate roadside motel where only crackpots and cheapskates stay. Then her former best friend and high school track team rival shows up—rich, beautiful, and everything that Juliet isn't—and checks in. What could have been a reunion takes a turn when Juliet discovers her friend's body the next morning. The book is about women's friendships, competition, and growing up, finally, long after you should have.
Was it easier, harder or about the same as writing your first novel, The Black Hour? (What I’m really curious about is whether this was a similar process for you, or different?)
I started Little Pretty Things back before my first novel was anywhere close to published, so I had a running start, but then I realized how much work publishing and promoting a novel was. The drafting part of Little Pretty Things got hung up a bit while I figured out some things, and then my agent sold the second novel before it was done. So in the end I had to write to a deadline for the first time. It was a little challenging for me, but I did learn some things about my own process and, due to my day-job schedule, when in the year's calendar it's best for me to be drafting and when it's best to be editing. Hoping to put some of that self-knowledge to work on my next book, which I'm writing for release next summer.
How does your chambermaid compare to my chambermaid?
Well, my chambermaid is in modern times, so she's very free to move around as a woman in society—but she really doesn't. Juliet is much more timid, in the beginning, than Lucy is in her situation. What they have in common is that they both won't stay chambermaids for long. (I was just joking when I asked this question, but thanks for the thoughtful reply!!!-SC)
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
Well, I've never been a cleaner of any kind, so I read a book written by someone who had worked on the staff of a hotel. Luckily Juliet Townsend isn't much of a cleaner, either, so I didn't have to know how to do the job well. The other topic I had to learn about for Little Pretty Things was running. I was a runner for about five seconds over ten years ago, but I was never a high school track runner. I wrote the book as well as could, using good guesses, and then asked a friend of mine, a writer as well as a former track team runner, to read the book for gross errors. She said I got it right, and gave me a few additional ideas for opportunities to make things even better. I don't have the research background you do, Susie, so I don't mind stabbing into the dark a bit. It's fiction, after all. But I don't want to be wrong about the details that will take readers out of the story and ruin their enjoyment of reading. (Yes...I totally agree! -SC)
Thanks Lori, and best of luck!
Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.