This week is an important milestone in my writing life, but it has very little to do with me. This week is all about my critique partner, Karen Stivali, and her stunning novel, Meant To Be, which finally gets to have its book birthday!
Karen was polishing her first draft of Meant To Be when she and I met on former literary agent Nathan Bransford’s message boards. I remember it vividly…the story was fully written, but she couldn’t decide on a first chapter. My novel, Bring Me Back, was in a similar stage and I was relieved that there was someone else out there who was as driven to finish their first novel as I was.
When Karen and I went about getting to know and trust each other, we exchanged blocks of chapters from our books. I couldn’t read Meant To Be fast enough. Daniel and Marienne had me so firmly in their clutches (and please, Daniel, put me in your very capable clutches) that I couldn’t keep from thinking about them, wondering what would happen, marveling at the way Karen had assembled the story. I specifically remember sending her an email calling her a slut when she left me off on a very suspenseful chapter. She replied that she was only a tease for leaving me hanging and promptly sent me the rest of the book.
I can’t speak highly enough of Meant To Be. I absolutely adore Karen’s characters, especially Marienne and Daniel. Their complex and unconventional relationship rings true at every turn, allowing them to leap off the page and worm their way into your psyche. Karen left it all there on the page and the reader is richly rewarded with a compelling, funny and sweet tale that will break your heart and put it all back together. So, please, do yourself a humungous favor and buy and devour this book. You’ll be so happy you did.
Meant To Be
Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.
When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.
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Karen Stivali is a multi-published author of steamy women’s fiction and erotic romance. You can learn more about Karen and her awesomeness at karenstivali.com.
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