I was beyond words happy when I found out that I was going to be able to receive a review copy of this book to read. I absolutely adored the first book in this duology, The Devil’s Playground. Which I reviewed here. That book was one of my favorites of last year, and The Lion’s Den by Eliza Freed just solidified her as one of my new favorite authors. I am definitely going to be reading some of her other books before the year is through.
This next book in the Faraway Novel world starts right where the last book ended. Meredith has an accident, and she is in a coma. Since she is unable to tell the story, the colonel Vincent Pratt, and Meredith’s husband Brad, take turns telling their side of the story, at first. I really enjoyed this, because I felt it was good to get to know the guys of the story, and what they have been up to since the beginning of it all. Vincent is just a wonderful guy, he really cares for Meredith, and you can feel how much he yearns for her, and how much he wants her to get better. On the other hand, Brad, who is supposed to be supportive of Meredith and at her side at all times, seems like he is more concerned about what people are going to think of him, and if Meredith is going to remember what really happened.
Eventually, Meredith does come around, but her memory hasn’t. She can’t remember the entire last year of her life, which means she doesn’t remember the affair with Vincent. This is devastating to the colonel, but to Brad, it’s a dream come true. This means she can’t remember all of the bad things that were happening in their marriage, and most of all she can’t remember what really happened with her accident.
This book is packed with lies, deceit, sexual tension, love and romance. If you liked the first book in this two-some, you will definitely want to read this one. There is just so much going on, and the way that the book ends is superb. I wish that there would be more to this story, only because I felt so comfortable living in that world. I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars, I adored it, it didn’t skip a beat.
I am so thankful to Eliza Freed for giving me the opportunity to speak to her and ask her a couple of questions. She has become one of my favorite authors, so getting to pick her brain was really fun.
Kerrie: Are the Faraway Novels a good representation of the types of books that you enjoy reading?
Eliza: I always write the book that I want to read. That way, if everyone else hates it at least I loved it. I’m also a change junkie so because of that, the two series I’ve written so far have been fairly different from each other. The one unifying factor in all the books is the main character has been a deeply flawed, but strong female. I’m clearly drawn to our imperfections and our strengths because of them. How strong would we have to be if we were already perfect?
K: Where do you get your inspiration for characters?
E: I draw from everyone I’ve ever met. The cook at the restaurant I worked at in college, the cab driver in Las Vegas, and of course, those closest to me. I believe no interaction is without purpose.
K: Does this plot have any basis in your real life?
E: No. Thank God. I think the theme of the disappearing woman, the one who gives so much to her family that there’s nothing left for herself, is central to a lot of women’s stories. Whenever I tell someone what THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND is about it always sounds something like, “It’s about a woman who trades her career for her family and loses herself in the process. The path she takes to find herself again includes a man that’s not her husband.” But it’s so much more. The Faraway Novels are about looking around one day and wondering how you got so far away from where you thought you’d be, and if that’s okay.
K: Do you ever think about the actors and actresses that would play your characters in a movie? If so, who is your dream cast?
E: I never think in terms of actors and actresses, but I do write as if it’s a movie playing in my head. My formal education in writing has been extremely limited, so I use a movie’s plot to help organize the novel in my head. I think it as scenes.
K: What is your writing style like?
E: It’s a mess. Ahahah. A story usually begins in my mind with a conversation between the main characters. One that could take place anywhere in the story, and then I work from there. How did they end up here? Why is this conversation significant? Where do they go from here? For the Faraway Novels, Meredith’s interaction with the Pinterest mom about her name tag for the field trip was the beginning. She was always lost in my head before I knew it was Vince that was going to find her.
K: Do you get shy when family/friends want to read your books?
E: At first yes. I remember saying about my very first release, “I would like one million people to buy it, and not one to read it.” I’ve had tremendous support, from people I would have never expected it from, and it’s helped me settle into what my books are and what they say.
K: What’s next on your writing agenda?
E: FULL SHARE will release in June. It’s my first stand-alone novel. I really wanted to write something you could take on vacation, dive into, and have it conclude before you returned to your real life. It’s about eight strangers sharing a beach house for the summer, and of course, it feels totally different than anything else I’ve written.
K: What are some of your favorite books to read?
E: I love to be surprised. I love characters who are honest beyond my own capacity, and I love a love story. Every summer since high school I’ve read THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald because it’s everything.
K: Who was your favorite character to write? Least favorite?
E: From the Faraway novels, my favorite character was Meredith, but Brad Walsh was a close second. I know he is no one’s favorite, but there is something very real about him. Meredith calls him a bastard and his response is, “I never said I wasn’t.” While Meredith faded away because she wasn’t true to herself, Brad stayed true the entire time. He just wasn’t appealing to us as readers and Meredith fans.
My least favorite was by far Dharma. She was young and brazen, and easily hateable, but I don’t take her fate lightly and I didn’t want to trivialize it. She obviously had problems well beyond her choice in boyfriends, but it was a challenge to write a secondary character with such an enormous plot line.
K: How long does it usually take you to write an entire book?
E: If I could work on it full time, three months would be ideal. I can usually draft about ten thousand words per week under the best scenario I can create within my life. If I can stay at that pace and then have a few weeks for rewrites before it goes to the editor I would be the happiest writer around. But usually it takes about four months and I only have three. Lol
That’s the story of every woman’s life though, isn’t it?