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Jul
25

Wherever you’re heading this summer, check out these 10 Products That Will Help You Feel Safe While Traveling, which I wrote about for USA Today 10Best.com.

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“me before you” movie review

Me Before You

You know how much I loved Me Before You, Jojo Moyes’ beautiful, thought-provoking, important novel, and how much I’ve been looking forward to the movie.

I took my friend, Elin, to the screening with me and, because she hadn’t read the book yet — what?! — I was curious to see if we would share the same reaction.

The book is a giant tearjerker of a story — but never in a sappy or predictable way — so I thought it was brilliant marketing that they passed out these special little boxes of Kleenex as we headed into the theater.

Me Before You Kleenex

Unfortunately, I never needed them. [Read more…]

“me before you” – the movie and giveaway you’ve been waiting for!

Me Before You

As I’ve said a million times, Me Before You is one of my favorite books. Ever.

I’ve interviewed author Jojo Moyes a couple of times because, well, I adore her. Both as a writer and a person.

So you can only imagine how excited I am about the upcoming movie version of Me Before You, which will be in theaters next Friday, June 3.

I’m also excited that, thanks to my friends at Allied Advertising, I’m giving away some great Me Before You stuff. [Read more…]

my interview with author jojo moyes, plus a book giveaway!

Jojo Moyes

JoJo Moyes wrote a guest post for me years ago, when her novel, The Last Letter From Your Lover, was published. I became an immediate fan and when Me Before You came out, it became one of my all-time favorite books.

I recently got to see her speak about her latest novel, One Plus One, at a luncheon at the Del Mar Country Club, which I covered for the Del Mar Times. It was a great event, and you can read my article about it here. You can win an autographed copy of her book just by leaving a comment below.

I got to spend time alone with Jojo afterwards, and she is so down to earth and so funny, it was like hanging out with a long-time friend. Here’s what our conversation sounded like (minus the parts I promised I wouldn’t write about!): [Read more…]

jojo moyes on “the last letter from your lover”

The Last Letter from Your LoverDoes anyone really get love letters any more? Not quick texts saying I <3 U, but actual handwritten, passionate declarations of ardor?

Thinking the answer to that is “no,” I was drawn to Jojo Moyes’ The Last Letter From Your Lover when it first came out, intrigued by the idea of two women, decades apart, trying to make sense of their respective, illicit love affairs — one through love letters, one electronically. Moyes says she was inspired to write the novel after listening to two friends analyzing a text message from one of their boyfriends; we all know how electronic messages can be so easily misconstrued.

I was thrilled when Jojo Moyes wrote a guest post for me, “Last Letters From Lovers,” last summer. Now, to celebrate the paperback release of The Last Letter From Your Lover, I thought I’d share a Q&A with her that I received from her publisher. [Read more…]

last letters from lovers by jojo moyes

The Last Letter From Your LoverIf you are a novelist, the question you will be asked most often (after “Should I have heard of you?”) is “Where do you get your ideas?” Well, if you are incorrigibly nosy, and have one of those faces that apparently compels people to tell you stuff (I possess both these traits), ideas for books actually stack up like planes waiting to land.

Give me a room of people, and I will give you a novel for every person there, whether it be family secrets, unexplained jealousies, hidden loves or lifelong regrets. The stories are there, all around us, just waiting to be told. And the best ones are always inspired by real life.

So when I decided to write a book that told the interwoven story of two love affairs through different means of communication — email and text now, and handwritten love letters in the early ‘60s — I knew my starting point should be real life.

Almost on a whim, I put an advertisement in a national newspaper asking for examples of real life Dear Johns: the last communication of a love affair, whether it be written, emailed, or punched with fury into a mobile phone. What came back to me made me laugh, cry and wince in sympathy.

Some of them were frankly brutal. “You n me finished,” as were the ubiquitous Facebook updates, “John Smith is no longer in a relationship.” Others were equally harsh, while apparently trying not to be “Happy Birthday! Enclosed is your birthday present, which I hope you like… I am thinking of you especially today… because I have decided that although I love you I am not in love with you. I don’t feel that you are God’s One for me. Anyway, I really hope that you like your present and that you have a fantastic birthday.”

Some were indirect “last letters,” as with the woman who opened a letter addressed to her fiancé from his solicitor, only to find that their planned house purchase “was now to be in his name only.” Others were oddly charming, like this postcard: “Staying in Greece, not coming back to London because you scare me, but in a good way.” And on another postcard, the cheery “Happy Days Are Not To Be… It Really Isn’t You, It’s Me.”

Some raised more questions than they answered, like this letter sent to a female recipient in 1960. “There was no affair between us. If you try to suggest otherwise I shall make clear it was all in your imagination.” There’s a short story in that one, if not an entire novel.

But when it comes down to it, there is no real way to soften the Dear John. Because however elegantly you put it, you are still saying “I just don’t love you.”

What my motley selection of correspondences brought home intensely was that sense of despair when something is abruptly brought to a halt, either through love, betrayal, or circumstance. In my own book, the subject of the title, The Last Letter From Your Lover, turns out not to be the final letter after all.

But what these letters also gave me was the sense of what we miss by no longer writing down our true feelings, or at least crunching our emotions into a short, bald text message. Without hearing, in uncomfortable detail, why a relationship is definitely over, it is too easy to read hope into a short message that suggests your lover “see you around.”

Still, sometimes a last letter is the best thing that can happen to you. My own favourite was forwarded to me by a female relative, who had been shocked and dismayed to receive it from her boyfriend of the time. “There are things that I love about you but there are things I hate too. I guess you should know that I think more and more about the things that bother me about you now. The time you slaughtered that lobster. The way you shouted and clapped at those cows to get them out of the road. Why couldn’t we have just waited for them to pass? We could have missed the cinema… The haphazard way you chop vegetables. Your constant negativity. It took me three coats of paint to paint over where you left your phone number on my wall in red pen. I know I was redecorating but it was a complete waste of paint. She’s now living with a man who adores her and never questions the way she chops vegetables — which, in my book, qualifies as a happy ending.

Jojo Moyes is the author of The Last Letter From Your Lover, which was named Romantic Novel of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Read a Q&A with her  about her book here.