Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman
About the Book
Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club.
We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really?
On the outside, Annabel O’Conner has it all – the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother’s love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her!
This emotional and honest women’s contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
Get the Book!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1PZabz0
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/plan-bea-hilary-grossman/1122774077
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plan-Bea-Hilary-Grossman-ebook/dp/B016E6FS4G
I have a very demanding, non-author like, day job, which makes writing practically impossible for me during the week, although I am constantly writing in my head. As a result, I tend to do all my writing on weekends, and mostly in the winter. I can spend a full Saturday pounding away on my keyboard, lost in the world I am creating. I don’t outline, but I jot down notes all the time, and end up scattering them all over my house. I also end up writing a lot as I travel. I started Plan Bea on an airplane as I traveled to Chicago for work. I just returned from a business trip to India and Dubai where I also wrote a good chunk of Plan Cee, the sequel to Plan Bea.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
YES! I write in my head in the shower all the time. I also get a lot of “writing” done while I sit in traffic. I tend to get my best ideas when I am doing something else.
What book do you wish you could have written?
Where do I start…. This is so hard, because every time I read a book I love I am inspired to write. The first one that comes to my mind though is Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock. The book was brilliant and had such a twist. As soon as I read the last page I started reading over again.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
I was inspired most by Jen Lancaster. I always dreamt of writing a book. In fact, over the years, I made many attempts, but never finished. Until I read Bitter Is The New Black, I hate to admit it, but I didn’t know what a blog or a memoir was. Her book totally motivated me to stop dreaming and to start writing. I started my blog, Feeling Beachie, days after I finished the book as a way to practice writing. About a year later I started writing Dangled Carat. I actually met Jen this spring at a book signing and was able to thank her for motivating me.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
Bea would be portrayed by Diane Keaton.
Walter would be played by Harrison Ford. I am shocked he is 73 (thank you Google)
Cole would be Bradley Cooper
Annabel’s would be played by Megan Fox
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Some names are pretty important and I give them a lot of thought, and other’s just sort of come to me. As for Plan Bea, I thought of the title first, so picking Beatrice’s name was easy. I came up with the idea and title of the book moments after I read a review of Dangled Carat written by a book blogger. We were tweeting each other when the idea came to me. Her name was Ana so I wanted to name my main character after her. Harley’s name is significant to the story, and Violet’s I just liked. As for Cole, the poor guy had three names. First he was called Jake. Then I went to a writer’s group where the speaker said that the name Jake was overused. So I changed it to Oliver, but it didn’t fit him (and I kept forgetting what I called him – which wasn’t a good sign). The name Cole came to me and I liked it. While I was writing a friend was telling me about her trip to California and the tour of celebrity homes she went on. One home was called the Brody. I loved the name and decided to use it too.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I feel like writing Plan Bea is my best accomplishment. Although it is my second book, it is my first novel. Dangled Carat was my real life chick lit story of my attempt to convert a commitment phobic man into a husband. But since it was my story, sharing it was easy – I knew how everything worked out. But writing Plan Bea was different. Some parts of the story were surprises to me too.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I hope to have written at least five more books. I really hope I can do it!
Were you already a great writer? Have you always like to write?
I always loved to write. As a child I had a little box filled with story idea, and I actually got excited when I was assigned an essay to write.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
My advice would be to just write. Don’t worry about anything besides telling your story. The next steps – looking for an agent, publication, cover design, sales, etc – they will all work out… There are so many options available to authors now! Also, I would advise to develop a thick skin and don’t take rejection personally. If possible, gear yourself up for rejection and almost expect it. The vast majority of first time authors will not be able to secure an agent. Don’t let it discourage you…. Instead embrace the small victories along the way. And enjoy the small moments and remember, you are doing something that most people only dream of!
Two hours passed and we still didn’t select an invitation. I wondered if the search would ever end. While I didn’t expect this to be a quick task, I didn’t anticipate it to be an all-day affair either. I swore my mother was determined to look through each and every book. I already had found ten invitations I thought would have been perfect. Every time I showed her one she’d just hand me a sticky and instruct me to mark it for later. She wanted us to narrow down our favorites.
“Excuse me?” I asked the bored looking girl behind the counter. “Exactly how many more books of invitations do you have?”
She paused for a second. “You’re in luck. There are only five more so you’re only looking at another hour or two before you can leave here.”
“Thank you.” Turning to Beatrice, “Mother, we need to speed up this process. I don’t have another two hours to sort through all these books.”
“Why? Do you have somewhere to go? A plane to catch or something?” she asked, her eyes never left the books.
“Mother, it’s already a quarter to four. I have to get home and prepare something for dinner so I can feed the kids.”
She cocked an eyebrow, “Isn’t Cole with them?”
“Yes, but cooking isn’t exactly his specialty.”
“Really?” She said as she continued to flip pages of the book. “I pegged him for the cooking type. He does make a marvelous martini, you know. Walter, on the other hand, sure knows his way around the kitchen let me tell you! It’s probably from all those years he lived as a bachelor. He’s an excellent cook. He makes the most amazing shrimp scampi with just the perfect amount of garlic. He’s completely the opposite of your father. Do you recall your dad wasn’t even capable of making toast? He tried to once and nearly burnt my house to the ground.”
“Yes, I remember mother.” At first I wasn’t going to say any more, but then anguish filled my heart. I stared at her. “Don’t you think that it’s sad I’ve been married to Cole for almost twelve years, yet you barely know anything about him? He makes a good martini because he had to work as a bartender in order to pay for college. Connie and Patrick didn’t have money to send him to school. He worked his ass off in order to get his degree. He was so determined to become an architect. In fact, as a little boy he drew blueprints for fun. Connie once showed me some of his drawings, she saved them you know. They were amazing. He was so cute…” I paused as I pictured the little boy my husband once was. “His dad was doing the plumbing for a nursing home that was being built and he took Cole to the site almost every weekend. Cole was fascinated by the building and started drawing his own blueprints. They were so detailed.” I smiled. “But the really cute part was while he was able to do such intricate work, he titled the drawing senior citizen home and spelled citizen s-i-t-e-z-e-n.”
She marked another invitation. “That’s sweet,” my mother muttered, without so much as a glance in my direction.
“Well, nothing was going to stop him from his dream, especially a lack of funds. When he graduated, he was so in debt he continued to bartend for years after on weekends just to pay them off. Which is why he makes such a mean martini.”
Beatrice didn’t comment so I continued, unable to keep inside what I had kept bottled up for so long. “Of course you didn’t know any of this. After all, you never once tried to get to know him. You never made any attempt to get to know anyone important to me. Whenever you’ve been with Cole’s family you barely manage to be civil. I wonder if you even know his sister’s names. Do you have any idea how hurtful this is to me?” I bit my lip in an attempt to hold back my tears.
“Oh, Annabel. Don’t be so dramatic.”
“Dramatic? I’m just trying to express my feelings, Mother. You know, I have feelings too.” I sighed. I felt so defeated.
The girl behind the desk no longer looked bored. Her gaze was fixated on us as I debated if I should say more. For far too long I’ve held my tongue, the words I wanted to say stuck in my throat. They choked me. I finally had to get my feelings out in the open.
“How do you think it makes me feel knowing you have no interest in my children?” I closed the book of invitations in front of me with probably more force than was needed. “You never spend any time with them. Forget about going to one of their sporting events or recitals, you’ve never even played a game with them. You have no idea if Violet plays baseball or soccer. You don’t know what Harley’s favorite food is or that he’s allergic to strawberries. The fact that you don’t know any of this, Mother, is what is tearing me apart inside.”
“Are you done with this little outburst?” She asked as she tucked a caramel colored lock of hair behind her ear.
“You know what Mother? Yes. I’m done. I have been done for years. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it sooner. But I guess better late than never. I’m sorry.” I reached into my pocketbook and pulled out my car keys. “I’ve got to go. I wish you all the best picking out your invitations. I hope you find happiness with Walter. He really does seem like a lovely man. But I can’t do this anymore. I can’t continue to walk on eggshells around you hoping and praying to gain your affection and your forgiveness. I’ve done nothing to be forgiven for, despite what you may think.” I got up from the stool and started to put on my coat. As I zipped it I remembered my car was parked in her driveway. Leave it to me to ruin my grand exit with a lack of transportation. I really hoped I would be able to catch a cab by the train station down the block.
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December 14 – The Phantom Paragrapher
Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.
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