The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Anita Hughes: Why I Write

June 19, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Books, Guest Posts

[Happy Debut Day to Anita Hughes as her terrific summer novel, Monarch Beach, appears on bookstore shelves and ships from online retailers today!

Although this is the novelist’s first published book, Anita admits in today’s guest post to making up stories since childhood. Could that explain why she writes?]

Why I Write

As a young girl, I always had a notebook filled with the beginnings of a novel. My favorite part of writing was naming my characters, and then I usually sent them on some Nancy Drew-like adventure. Even at the age of ten, I felt a connection to the characters I had created. I worried about them as they tried to solve some impossible mystery, and missed them when I put the notebook away.

Today, I write for much the same reasons. I have always loved to read. In college I consumed 18th and 19th century British literature, with some French and American writers sprinkled in. As an adult, I read with the same passion and the authors I love cover a wide spectrum. I am only happy if I am reading a good book and have another great book waiting in the wings.

Writing is like reading only better. I invent the characters instead of just reading about them. I put them in the locations I want to go, give them problems I can relate to, and cheer when they succeed. I am happiest when I am sitting at my laptop, making my characters laugh and cry. They often take me in directions that surprise me, and I feel a real loss when I write the final chapter.

The wonderful thing about writing is even after I type ‘The End,’ the story doesn’t leave me. I find myself thinking about my characters, picturing where they live, hearing their conversations. They occupy a special part of my brain and reflecting on them makes my day-to-day life richer.

In many ways, life is about gathering great moments and storing them in our memory. For me, that includes music, movies, books and my own writing. Having an internal world full of these things makes dealing with the external world easier. When the outside world gets tough, I can always sit at my computer and slip into my latest manuscript. When I wish I had a new pair of shoes, I can give my heroine a delicious pair of Christian Loubutrins. When I want to go on vacation, I can send my characters to Capri or Monaco. And if I feel nostalgic for my childhood, I can always have them tackle a Nancy Drew-style mystery.

* * * * *

Monarch Beach, already selected for Los Angeles Magazine’s The Reading List – June ’12, has also been chosen for the Los Angeles Times Summer Reading Guide and here’s a synopsis of why:

Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and life—what it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down.

Now Picture the Book:

(If the video doesn’t appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

TRUTH: Monarch Beach is: !) An adult fairy tale; 2) A refreshing fantasy escape; 3) Deliciously fun; and 4) THE perfect summer read! For Anita Hughes offers a debut that transports the reader to live within a world where — though there may be heartbreak — the luxury of wealth provides the best of distractions. It’s almost a “guilty pleasure,” but somehow the writing reassures that you deserve to getaway on this reading vacation.

Rather than “champagne wishes” experience “butterfly wishes,” the Presidential Suite at the St. Regis Hotel, a lovely wardrobe, a happy young son, and a doting mother. This is all so real that even heartache brought on by a philandering husband and a rebound fling can be forgotten. 😉 Really!

Chapter One is available to be read now and Monarch Beach can be read as soon as you wish. Mmmm, enjoy……!

Please visit Anita Hughes’ website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight! The winner will be notified by email tomorrow.

The Revealing of Anita Hughes

June 07, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Born in Sydney, Australia, Anita Hughes began her writing career at age eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named “One of Australia’s Next Best Writers.” Fast forward to the present with Anita, now living in California, taking her bow as a novelist when Monarch Beach debuts on Tuesday, June 19th.

Best described as a novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and life—what it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again., Monarch Beach has been selected for Los Angeles Magazine’s The Reading List – June ’12 and also has received the following Advanced Praise:

“With honesty and heart, glamour and grit, Anita Hughes tells the inspiring story of an unusual woman discovering life on her own terms and finally spreading her wings. Loved it.” 
— Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School

“Absolutely riveting and brimming with emotion. Monarch Beach charmed me from the very first page.” — Jane Porter, author of She’s Gone Country

“An utterly delightful debut about one woman’s journey of self-discovery. With a flair for fun, fashion and passion, Anita Hughes delivers a captivating story and characters that sparkle with life. Monarch Beach is an inspiring beach read.” — Ellen Meister, author of The Other Life

“Chick Lit takes a walk on the privileged side in Anita Hughes’ debut novel, Monarch Beach, about an heiress who loses one fairy tale, only to discover that – with the right attitude! – life is one big adventure. Easy-breezy fun.” — Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line and Little Women and Me

The Divining Wand has scheduled a return visit with Anita Hughes on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 but, today, let’s meet this author through her “official” bio:

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. At the age of eight, she won first prize in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by THE AUSTRALIAN, Australia’s most prestigious newspaper. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing, and attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program. She lives at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, where she is at work on her next novel.

And now it’s time to get to know Anita much better by going upclose and personal:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Writing and walking along the beach at sunset.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Nothing succeeds like success.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Sitting on the balcony of the St. Regis and watching the sun set over Catalina Island.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Tsuanmis.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I live in a villa at the St. Regis, Monarch Beach. What could be better?

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Sacajawea because she accomplished so much with a baby strapped to her hip.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Joan Didion – for being able to write for so many decades.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Stop that!

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To be a great chef.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Raising great children.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I over think things.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. My sense of humor.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not being able to stay in college forever!

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Danielle Steele because she has written over 100 books and the ideas keep coming.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I’m quite petite.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Philip Carey in Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Edward Casaubon in Middlemarch by George Eliot.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. David Beckham – “Congratulations on your beautiful family.”

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Finishing reading a book without having another good one lined up.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading at the beach.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I don’t think there’s any better job than being an author.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, loyalty and ambition.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Frozen yoghurt. My favorite flavors are cake batter and peanut butter.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Hotel California by The Eagles, Drops of Jupiter by Train, Candle in the Wind by Elton John, Come Together by the Beatles, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Old Sins by Penny Vincenzi and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

To learn more about Anita Hughes please visit her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and pre-order Monarch Beach — a perfect summer treat!