Today we’re excited to be part of Red Carpet Day Job Blog Tour!
Author Tasha Cotter is taking over the blog and we also have an excerpt from her book. So no dillydally, let’s get started! Welcome Tasha Cotter!
Hi guys! Glad to be here. It’s a funny thing, the writing life. Over time, you start to see certain patterns emerging in your work. Certain…themes. I’m starting to think that a theme for me, in my own work, is not the emotional turbulence of an ill-fated romance, forbidden feelings, or questions about the nature of love, but rather, how misunderstandings and misinformation can lead to certain assumptions being made about another person.
The books I’m really moved by often touch upon similar topics: why do we devote ourselves to people (ideas?) that are likely to destroy us? Or, in some cases, what propels us to leave a good life for something we imagine is life itself? To me, these are very good questions. These are questions I think a lot about. These are questions I write about.
I’m interested in this: the cruel ghost walking the halls, the nagging question that spins like a top in the back of our minds, creating its own little storm of energy. I love a good love story (comedic ones, tragic ones). Is there anything better than when caution is cast aside? I love it when someone takes a risk. Call it silly, call it frivolous and sentimental. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s the most interesting thing in the world, love.
That being said, here are three books that had me staying up late, burning through the pages.
1. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
2. The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields – Ashley Capps
On Little Women
It’s hard to choose a favorite scene in Little Women. I loved the moment Laurie told Jo he really cared about her. And I loved the moment where, in a storm of dejected rage, he left her, retreating to his home where he began playing Sonata Pathetique on the piano. I loved the exquisite agony of it all! When I read Little Women for the first time, I’d never heard Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique, but I could imagine how it sounded: angry and stormy; full of rage.
I own three editions of Little Women and I even played Jo March on stage in my college days. I loved following the March sisters and watching them grow up before my eyes. (The March sisters were their own love story.) More than anything, I loved Jo March. I loved her wit and spunk. I loved how she wrote at night by candlelight. I still remember the punch in my gut the moment I read that Amy had burned her manuscript. How Jo reached into the flames, hoping to recover some of it, but it was gone. And yet, she went on.
On The Marriage Plot (Novel)
The three main characters that make up The Marriage Plot were all so real to me. You have our heroine: English major Madeline Hanna, the unlikely guy she falls for: Leonard Bankhead, and her college friend Mitchell Grammaticus, who resurfaces later on, certain he Madeline and he are meant to be together. They graduate college and go out into the real world. The title reflects the story, sure, but I also liked learning about Madeline’s ideas on the marriage plot in some of the English language’s great novels (think Jane Austen and George Eliot). As a reader, I’m drawn love triangles. This novel had complexity and emotion, and intimacy in spades. It’s impossible not to see yourself a little bit in these characters.
Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields (Poetry)
I think there are some books you come across that connect with you in some deep way and it’s hard to even articulate why they are so special. I’m a firm believer that some books find us, we don’t find them. This book, published by the Akron Poetry series in 2006, is one of those beautiful mysteries for me. Capps focuses on the natural world and connects it to all too human experiences: heartbreak, deception, and loss. In reading the book, there are moments of claustrophobia and the feeling of being buried alive. Perhaps Poet Cathy Smith Bowers said it best when, describing this book, she wrote “This book breaks my heart, even as it mends it.” I return to this book all the time. I always feel like it’s teaching me something about grace. About humility.
Are there thematic similarities in these choices? I think so, especially with the novels. I once read that George Eliot explored similar topics in her poetry and fiction, orbiting around the same question, as if working to find a way into the soul. I think writers tend to get obsessed with understanding certain questions. We want answers (but a lot of the time we don’t get answers). We at least want to get close to the answers and writing helps us get there. Finding a book that takes the journey you are most interested in taking is really key. I take something new away from Little Women each time I read it. For years, I hated that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together. But as I get older, I see that life isn’t that simple. I’ve come to accept that Laurie and Jo weren’t meant to be, though sometimes I wonder what happened on down the line: maybe Jo and Laurie do get together (a part of me still wants that ending) because sometimes the greatest love stories are not just years in the making, but decades in the making. And what about Madeline, Leonard, and Mitchell in The Marriage Plot? Not to give anything away, but the book made me think about the nature of love and how we choose the person to share our life with. And when it doesn’t work out, we try to get away and separate ourselves from those who haunt us. Why is it that some people are easy to get over, and with others, there’s really no hope. Running away doesn’t always work. Capps explores some of the same ideas in Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. There’s a feeling of horror at how we live, how we love, and how we treat the planet. But yet, how nobly we fall.
Thank you for joining us Tasha! Now an excerpt from Red Carpet Day Job!
Red Carpet Day Job
BookFish Books LLC.
We sat in comfortable silence, lost in our own thoughts. The splash of the water in the fountain echoed off of the buildings around us. The steady hum of traffic and the occasional toot of a horn in the distance added its own music to the night. It was beautiful. Tiny fairy lights that had been strung on the trees sparkled against the skyscraper backdrop.
Nick looked so sexy, so at ease, sitting beside me. I fished out my phone and snapped a picture of him. He arched a brow.
“I just wanted something to remember this moment by,” I shrugged.
“How about a better picture then?”
I thumbed open the photo gallery, and clicked on the picture I’d just taken. “Nope. This one’s perfect.” And it was. He looked relaxed, comfortable. Not posed or stiff as he often looked in movie posters.
“Well, I think I should have one of you too, then. Smile, Sophie.”
I faced him, a genuine smile curving my lips. It had been so long since I’d felt this happy—too long. And it had also been too long since I’d visited this place. It used to be my favorite place in the city. When had I stopped coming?
“Penny for your thoughts.”
“I was just thinking how much I love it here.”
He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, his fingers lingering on my pulse point. “I usually don’t, but tonight I do. Must be the company I’m keeping.” He picked up my hand and squeezed gently. “Tell me something more.”
“I used to dream of living here in the Big Apple, doing my dream job―a talent agent to the stars.” I leaned my head on his shoulder. “I pictured what it would be like.”
“And what did you see?” He pressed a kiss to my temple.
“It looked a lot like this, right now. Sitting under the stars, happy at the end of the day.” I peeked up at him. “I’ll never think of Union Square the same again. It’ll always be special, because of you.”
He pointed at the fountain. “You know, a very famous couple once jumped in there?”
Nick got up and walked toward the fountain. “Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. They were the stars of their day, you know. The King and Queen of New York. They did it just for the hell of it. Isn’t that incredible?”
“It is. But I don’t believe you.” I lingered on the bench for a moment, enjoying the night, and then followed him to the edge of the fountain.
Nick crossed his heart. “It’s the truth. I swear.”
“I don’t know. It sounds like you’re making it up.”
“Maybe I should push you in. Create our own moment so some future couple can argue about it. It could be like that scene from The Princess Diaries 2.”
“Maybe you should. But, if I were reenacting that scene, I’d do it a bit differently.”
“Oh, yeah? What would you do?”
I grinned and set my hands on his shoulders. “This.”
I shoved him backward, and he bumped into the low edge of the fountain. He reached for me, but I danced away. He lost his balance and fell into the fountain with a loud splash.
He stood, water streaming over him. His almost-transparent shirt revealed a six-pack that most guys would kill for. Heat rushed over my skin, burning away the chill of the night air.
“You do realize you’re going to pay for that, right?”
“Yeah. I certainly hope I do.”
About the author:
Tasha Cotter is the author of That Bird Your Heart (Finishing Line Press) and Some Churches (Gold Wake Press). A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Writers Studio, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in NANO Fiction, Verse Daily, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com or on twitter.
Most of the working-class secretaries in New York City don’t spend their mornings wrestling skirts from beneath roosting chickens or cleaning egg yolk off their heels. But Sophie Waldrop does, thanks to her boyfriend, Scott, and the organic egg business he runs out of her 5th floor walk-up. Though they’ve been dating since high school, Scott no longer pulls his weight in the relationship—financially or emotionally. Sophie’s ready to send him, and his chickens, packing.
The day she breaks up with Scott, Sophie’s boss introduces her to the firm’s new client, Nick Jackson—the hottest up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. Sophie can’t believe her luck when her boss volunteers her to be Nick’s date for a red carpet award ceremony that same night. Freshly single, Sophie tries to keep things in perspective as her “work event” leads to a budding romance. She didn’t expect to like Nick, and she certainly didn’t expect him to like her.
When her dream job lands in her lap, Sophie rejoices that her hard work has finally paid off. But she soon learns that it may have been Nick’s influence that opened the doors and created the opportunities that she would rather have earned for herself.
Nick’s hectic schedule, the persistent leading ladies with whom he works, and Sophie’s own promotion and career ambitions further complicate their fairy-tale romance. Can Nick and Sophie make their love last, or will their relationship be more like the paparazzi’s camera flashes—fast, bright, and fading?
Order the book here.
Red Carpet Day Job is a fun read with an enjoyable main character you can’t help but fall in love with! Wonderful romance that sweeps you off your feet.
Love The Twins