by Lauren Clark
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.
“Are you sure that the baby’s mine?”
I feel faint and the room starts to tilt and swim. “Whatever are you talking about?” I demand, doing my best to sound indignant. “Of course it’s ours.”
Alton turns his body to face mine. “I’m asking, because it’s impossible,” he explains.
My lips part. I try to form words. What is he trying to tell me?
“Searcy,” Alton leans closer. ” I had a vasectomy. Six months ago.”
“What?” I squeak. “How? When?”
“You were in California with Phillipa.”
My hands begin to quiver. I brace myself on the sofa.
Six. Months. Ago.
I feel sick. I want to throw up. Or launch myself out the window.
My husband’s gaze doesn’t waver. He’s serious.
“You see,” Alton continues gently. “The baby can’t be mine.”
I can’t speak or take a breath. All at once, I am furious. How dare he do this to me? Of all of the underhanded, rotten, selfish things to do to a wife. How could he take this away from me? From us?
Usually, I’m a calm, rational person. But without another thought, my right hand clenches into a fist. My fingers curl tight and the tips press into my palm. My arm bends at the elbow and I draw my body back, gathering momentum.
I take aim.
As my first jets through the air, cutting a path straight for my husband’s gorgeous face, everything screams to a slow-motion finish.
His face registers a mix of doubt, surprise, and then…in the last second…out-right terror.
I punch Alton square in the mouth.
Welcome Lauren Clark! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
Is Pie Girls a single title, or part of a series? Right now, it’s a single title, but I had so much fun with Searcy and Luke that I might consider writing a sequel.
What were your inspirations for the story? My grandmother, Ruth Weirs, was one really big inspiration for the novel. I have fabulous memories from my childhood of walking into her house and smelling delicious fresh-baked pies and cakes. It wasn’t a holiday without one of her fantastic delicacies. She taught me a lot about baking, and two years ago for Christmas, I had my mother write down all of my grandmother’s recipes so that I could have them and pass them down to my children and their children.
I’ve included four of her recipes in the back of Pie Girls!
Please share your setting for Pie Girls. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
The setting is Fairhope, Alabama, which is about thirty minutes from where I live. It’s a lovely waterfront community on Mobile Bay of about 13,000 people. What makes Fairhope really wonderful is that it’s a very supportive community for artists of all forms – painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians. Everyone in the community really embraces art and culture.
I visit there all of the time, have done guest appearances for book clubs there, shop at Page & Palette indie book store, and have lunch or dinner with friends at many of the city’s bistros, pizza shops, and fine dining establishments.
When did the writing bug first bite? I’ve wanted to write a novel since I’ve been a teenager. I dabbled after graduate school, but didn’t get serious about it until after my youngest son was born, about 8 years ago.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series? Wow, do I have a list! I would have to say that my favorite authors are Jodi Picoult (The Storyteller), Chris Bohjalian (Midwives), and Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), Sophie Kinsella. I also adore Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, Jo Jo Moyes (Me Before You), Stieg Larsson, and Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). As far as YA authors, I love Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Rainbow Rowell, and Gayle Forman.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
I would love to host Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, and Jennifer Weiner – she is SUCH a champion for female writers! Love her! I would also have to invite Chris Bohjalian (who I’ve met in person at a book signing and is so smart and personable) as well as Jodi Picoult (who amazes me with her challenging topics and skillful prose), and Jo Jo Moyes (who makes me laugh).
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy running, yoga, and reading. I also love to cook and bake…and luckily, my kids are fans! I’m fortunate to have a lovely group of friends and we have regular get-togethers, whether at the movies, for a party, or a night out on the town.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen? As I’m just back with my two boys from the 2014 Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, I would have to say that it was pretty unique (strange may be too strong a word) for adults of all shapes, races, and sizes to be dressed up like comic book heroes, cartoon characters, and superheroes. When I say dressed up, I mean, down to the swords and tiaras and stockings. Some of the costumes were pretty darn amazing…and there were thousands of people there. The most impressive costumes we saw was a life-sized Toothless the Dragon from Disney’s “How to Train Your Dragon.” Of course, my nine-year old son had to have his photo taken with Toothless, Star Wars Jedis, a Stormtrooper, the Ice King and Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, and many more.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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 www.laurenclarkbooks.com.