USA Today bestselling author Claire Cook visits today with news about Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, the second book in her Must Love Dogs series.
Good morning, Claire, and welcome!
Thanks so much for inviting me, Kadee. It’s such a treat to make a new friend, and one who serves tea, no less!
The pleasure is certainly all mine! Please take a seat. While I pour us each a cup, would you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. If you have a buried dream, trust me, it is NEVER too late! And I guess it’s no surprise that reinvention is the overarching theme of my novels and my life. I like to think my novels have helped lots of women find their own next chapters, and I also take great joy in sharing what I’ve learned so far on my Reinvention and Writing pages at www.clairecook.com.
I’m the USA Today bestselling author of eleven novels, and I’m hard at work turning Must Love Dogs into a series. Book 2 is called MUST LOVE DOGS: NEW LEASH ON LIFE and I can’t wait for you to read it. My books have been called everything from romantic comedy to women’s fiction to beach reads to chick lit. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what you call them. I just hope you read and enjoy them!
I’ve been a judge for the Family Circle magazine fiction contest, a finalist and a judge for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Beach Read Festival fiction and grand prize winner. I’ve spoken at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Cape Cod Writers Center, Savannah Book Festival, the California Women’s Conference, and given keynotes at the Dress for Success International Conference, the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and the Amelia Island Book Festival. My books have been translated into 14 languages.
I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!
I have the world’s most fabulous readers and I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the gift of this career. Midlife Rocks!
It certainly does! I’m a big fan of actor John Cusack, who co-starred with the amazing Diane Lane, in the film adaptation of your book, Must Love Dogs. What was it like working with him?
John Cusack felt like someone I might have gone to high school with—down-to-earth, fun, just a nice guy. I remember him taking the time to hang out with the extras during his breaks. I remember him casually eating a burrito while his makeup artist applied foundation to his hands around it. I remember yakking with him so often on the set—politics, the fact that his mother used to summer in the beach town where I lived, writing stuff – that it suddenly hit me that if I kept it up he might ask security to get that stalker author away from him. So the next time he walked by I pretended to be cool and looked in the other direction. He put his face in mine and said, “Claaai-re” —just like we’d gone to high school together!
What fun! Are there more stories about meeting and/or working with the other wonderful actors in the film you can share? And what was walking that fabulous red carpet for the movie’s premiere like?
Quick impressions of the other actors: Diane Lane was such a good mom and was thrilled that her best friend in real life, Elizabeth Perkins, was playing her sister in the movie. Christopher Plummer was so charming and debonair – once when I entered the room, he gave an exaggerated bow and announced, “The author is here!” And Dermot Mulroney kept bringing in pictures of his son to show me.
And as a surprise, the entire cast autographed a Must Love Dogs director’s chair for me. I refused to check it with my luggage at LAX – I carried it right on the plane with me. It sits in my dining room now, and I like to think of it as my throne, because the entire Must Love Dogs movie experience felt like being queen for a day on that old T.V. game show.
My family and I walked the “red” carpet at the Must Love Dogs Hollywood premiere. (It was actually a green Astroturf carpet with fire hydrants and adoptable dogs!) Gary David Goldberg stood up and told the packed, celeb-studded audience (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brooke Shields, Henry Winkler!) that none of us would be here tonight without Claire Cook and her wonderful novel, and that he started out as a fan of my work but we’d since become close personal friends and I was one of the few people in his life he could count on to always give him the truth in the kindest way possible.
What amazing experiences! Now, I know we’d all love to hear more about the second book in the Must Love Dogs series, New Leash on Life. What can you tell us about it?
Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is my way of thanking my readers for supporting my books and also to encourage new readers to discover them! Readers have been asking me for more of the Must Love Dogs characters for years, so I finally listened to them, and I decided to jump right in about six months after the first book ends:
Life after divorce for Sarah Hurlihy used to consist as juggling her job as a preschool teacher with the demands of her interfering family. But after a rocky start, Sarah and John Anderson have shared six months of dating bliss. Now their relationship is basically on hold because Sarah’s brother, Michael, and his dog, Mother Teresa, are staying with her. And John’s new puppy, Horatio, hates Sarah. With a passion.
Michael hopes absence will, in fact, make his wife Phoebe’s heart grow fonder. Sarah hopes she can do her sisterly duty and send Michael on his merry way before she ends up single again herself. John hopes Sarah and his puppy can work things out before it’s too late. Sarah’s bossy big sister, Carol, hopes both Michael and their father will start dating again.
When Phoebe packs up their daughters and heads home to Savannah, Georgia, Michael follows her from Marshbury, Massachusetts, and the Hurlihy clan tags along for reinforcement. Including Dad, who has finally upgraded his Smith Corona to a laptop and already has a date with a woman named Sugar Butt.
Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is available as an ebook from:
Would you prefer a paper book? Find it here on Amazon.com!
Please leave us a comment by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. Claire and I will be coming back often to see who has stopped by to visit and respond to any questions or comments!
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Thank you soooooo much for having me, Kadee! Both the tea and the company were fabulous! ~ Claire