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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blog Tour - Pie Girls by Lauren Clark | Interview, Spreading the Word, & Gift Card Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Lauren Clark, who I interviewed about her novel "Pie Girls!!"

ALSO -- Be sure to check out Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post to be able to sign up for this blog stop's GIVEAWAY(s)!! [Blog Tour will run from September 16, 2014 - January 6, 2015]

My Q&A with Lauren Clark :

Jess : What books did you enjoy reading while growing up?

Lauren : I was a huge Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fan. I would imagine myself on all of those adventures! And a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I still love those books.

Jess : Please describe your heroine, from "Pie Girls," in one to two sentences.

Lauren : Searcy Roberts is a Southern belle who finds out that struggle and challenge make her a much better person. During the course of "Pie Girls," Searcy transforms from spoiled rotten to sweet and sensible!

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Lauren : I would love to have Julia and Shug from "Dancing Naked in Dixie." They are my favorite characters, and I am outlining a sequel right now. I need to get some updates about just exactly where their romance is going!!!! Oh, and Roger, the Dixie B & B owner in Eufaula, Alabama. He’s fabulous.

Least like to have? That would have to be Mary Katherine, Shug’s ex girlfriend, who everyone loves to despise. I have a feeling she’ll be showing up in "Dancing Naked in Dixie’s" sequel!

Jess : If "Pie Girls" were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Lauren : A blond Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada). She’s smart and sassy, and I think could pull off the spoiled Southern belle act by injecting some empathy into her character. (Searcy is very lonely and wants to be loves, after all). Alice Eve from Star Trek: Into Darkness also comes to mind.


Oh, and I think Luke has to be played by Chris Pine. I have a major crush on the guy. He’d be adorable.

Jess : Are there any differences and/or similarities between Melissa from your "Stay Tuned" novel and Searcy from your "Pie Girls" novel?

Lauren : Melissa is a total career girl with a college-aged daughter. Searcy doesn’t have children yet. They both have mothers who are stricken with a serious illness, which changes their lives and helps them grow into better people. Both women are flawed characters who definitely become the BEST versions of themselves after some serious trials and tribulations.

Jess : What sparked the idea for "Pie Girls?"

Lauren : The answer is really two-fold. First, I grew up enjoying the wonderful pies that my grandmother baked for us from the time I was a baby. No holiday or special occasion would be complete without a pie that my grandmother baked. They were always delicious and the perfect way to end a great meal.

Sharing her recipes in "Pie Girls" is a small way to pay tribute to my grandmother. Several years after she passed away, I asked my mother to write down all of her recipes so that I could have them and share them with my family and friends.

Second, I visited a place in Greensboro, Alabama called the Pie Lab, a restaurant written up many times in Southern Living, Bon Appetit, and many newspapers around the Southeast. I kind of fell in love with the idea of such a place in Fairhope, Alabama, a lovely waterfront community near where I live. I decided to create a shop named "Pie Girls" there, and thus, Searcy’s story was born.

Jess : What is the most dramatic thing one of your characters, from "Pie Girls," said or did?

Lauren : Searcy had to douse herself in liquor at her husband’s high-rise office in Atlanta! (I can’t tell you more or it would spoil it!)

Jess : What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in "Pie Girls" and why?

Lauren : I absolutely loved crafting the parts with C.C., who is Searcy’s mother-in-law. She was deliciously evil, and her dog was just as bad!

Jess : In regards to "Pie Girls," if you could write it all over again, would you change anything about it?

Lauren : I might have developed some of the community relationships a little more. A bit more about Luke’s background, and perhaps his sister. I wanted to show that "PIE GIRLS is really the “place in Fairhope, Ala. where everyone knows your name.”

Jess : Out of all of the secondary characters within "Pie Girls," do you have one or two favorites so far? If so, who are they and can you tell us why?

Lauren : Tobi, Searcy’s best friend, was the total voice of reason throughout the novel. She is Searcy’s rock and the friend we ALL want to have. Phillipa and Mimi were so fluffy and clueless, it was hilarious. But they were well meaning, so it was hard not to enjoy them!

Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Lauren : I’ve written 6. Four are women’s humorous fiction set in the Deep South. Two are women’s suspense books, which will be released beginning July 2015. Because the genre is so different, they will be written under Laura McNeill (which is my real name!). They will be a Harper Collins imprint, under the Thomas Nelson division. Pretty exciting stuff! I’ll be releasing details on Facebook and my website and blog later this year.

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Lauren : I’m almost done with outlining the sequel to "Dancing Naked in Dixie." Working title: "Skinny Dipping in Dixie."

Just when Julia Sullivan's life gets settled—with a great job, an adoring boyfriend, and a bright future—things start falling apart.

  • Julia's tapped to head up a new travel magazine—in Europe.
  • Her 70 year-old father, David, gets caught in a very compromising position—and then decides to get married.
  • And there's big trouble in Eufaula, Alabama—putting the city's beloved historic district and Julia’s relationship with Shug Jordan in jeopardy once more.
In a matter of days, Julia's up to her neck in hot water. Will she take the plunge and escape to the glamour and intrigue of Paris? Or follow her heart and head for Eufaula—home of sweet tea, magnificent mansions, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Jess : Do you have a favorite aspect of fall or tradition in your family during fall/Halloween season that you’d like to share with us?

Lauren : Generally, on October 1st, I pile my boys into the car and we take a trip to Dollar General or somewhere that carries tacky Halloween decorations. I give the boys $10 each and let them pick out whatever they like (yep, it’s pretty tacky stuff). We go home and decorate, adding all of the severed feet and gravestones from years past. Such fun!

Jess : What cartoon character best represents your personal philosophy?

Lauren : If we can pick anyone, I chose Merida from Brave! Here’s her description from a September 19th posting on Merida was Pixar's first female lead character in the 2012 film Brave, and she appeared in a blaze of self-possession, fiery red hair and perfectly-aimed arrows. While on paper she was a princess, she had absolutely no intention of settling quietly into married life: Merida knew her own mind, and set out to make sure she could keep her independence. Though Merida's journey starts out as a stereotypical princess-in-a-castle fairy story, it escalates into a dark folk tale about dangerous magic, fate, and the changing relationship that every growing teenage daughter has with her mother.

Jess : If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Lauren : "Has anyone found my keys?" OR "Stop! Pass the coffee, please!"

Jess : List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Lauren : "Me Before You," Jo Jo Moyes
"Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands," Chris Bohjalian
"If I Stay," Gayle Forman

"Pie Girls" by Lauren Clark

Author's Book Description :
    Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

    But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

    Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

    Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.

This book is available to order on : | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iBooks

** Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! **

About the Author :

Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

She is the author of four award-winning novels, "Dancing Naked in Dixie," "Stay Tuned," "Stardust Summer," and "Pie Girls," as well as a short story, "A Very Dixie Christmas," published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at

Book Excerpt :

Chapter 7

"C.C.," I exclaim, standing on tiptoes for an air kiss. "What a lovely surprise."

She clears her throat, and I step back. "You haven't greeted my Precious," C.C. warns in a lilting voice, tilting her head toward the pink sequined bag hanging over her left forearm.

Precious? Like as in the Lord of the Rings? Surely she doesn't mean...

A tiny black nose and beady eyes poke out of the bag.

"Eek!" I jump back and squeal, clapping a hand to my chest and dropping the keys.

The dog—if you can call it that—begins yipping and complaining like I've just whipped it with a cat o' nine tails.

I freeze in place, flush a lovely shade of violet, and want to self-destruct; certain that I've committed what equates to a mortal sin in the world according to C.C. Anderson. She's carrying her new puppy, a tiny Min-Pin; complete with pink collar and matching pink toenails.

"I'm so sorry—"

C.C. waves her own pink manicured fingernails an inch from my face.

"Mama's poor little baby," she coos in a high-pitched falsetto. "Are you okay, my sweetie-weetie, lovey girl?"

My jaw drops open slightly. I've never heard the woman utter a word of endearment toward any human being or living creature.

When I first dated Alton, I was almost certain that C.C., in fact, was among the un-dead. Five years ago, when she and Alton’s father decided to move to Atlanta—under the auspices of closer to their only son—I almost had him talked into buying some dove's blood from Marie Laveau's shop in New Orleans just to see if she'd drink it.

"Mama's Precious will be all right, won't she?" C.C. continues. "Searcy's just a bad girl. She'll do better, I promise, darling."

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  1. Jess - Thank you for a very fun and interesting interview! Great questions. I really enjoyed answering them! I really appreciate you featuring "Pie Girls" on your blog. Have a great week! Lauren

    1. You're welcome! I loved your answers. =0) I hope you'll have a great week too!

  2. A great Q & A. I love Princess Merida too.

    1. Mary Preston - Yes! Isn't she a great character? I love strong female leads :)

      Thank you for stopping by Jess's blog! xxx, Lauren

  3. Enjoyed your interview today. Glad to see you're working on a sequel to Dancing Naked in Dixie. I loved that story. I've got my copy of Pie Girls waiting in the wings TBR when I'm done with my current read.

    1. Thank you for spotting by! I hope you'll enjoy Pie Girls when you get to reading it. =0)

    2. Thank you so much, Karen, for the kind words about DIXIE! I'm excited about the new storyline and revisiting Shug and Julia's story :)

      Hugs! Lauren

  4. So funny, the Halloween pics LOL great story I'd enjoy reading :)


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