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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Hole In The Middle by Kate Hilton (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Hole In The Middle by Author Kate Hilton!








Author Guest Post

What It Takes To Be A Writer


When I started writing my novel, I was truly terrified. This was partly because I had worked briefly in the book business in my twenties and had enough knowledge about the industry to see that the likelihood of publication was remote. Also, I had enough self-knowledge to recognize my intense aversion to failure and rejection, both of which are the constant companions of aspiring writers.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I was rejected a lot, and not always nicely. I was raised right, so I’m not going to name names, but among the many indignities I suffered, one agent declared: “Some people have difficulty writing in the first person. Perhaps you are one of those people.” He then proceeded to read to me (for half an hour) from several first-person writers on his list, in the hope that I might benefit from the example of their superior writing. It’s a measure of how much I wanted to write my book that I persisted.

If you are going to be a writer, you will need to be resilient. You will need to cultivate self-knowledge and as much objectivity about your writing as you can muster, so that you can make wise assessments about the criticism you receive. You will need to have faith – and I use this word deliberately – that your work deserves a wider audience. Many days, this faith will seem irrational and misguided. Nevertheless, you must nurture it.

I am a lawyer by training, so faith is not easy for me. I am, however, good at assignments. As part of my women’s networking group, I was assigned a personal manifesto. The one I created is a collection of statements that remind me how I want to live and who I want to be. I referred back to my manifesto many times throughout my book project, and it reminded me to finish what I’d started, to be courageous, to enjoy the process, to share my writing with others and to be proud of my work. So in that spirit, I share my personal manifesto with you. Use it to create one of your own, and see where it takes you.

1. Do what you say you are going to do.
2. Joy is not a luxury.
3. Be honest, with yourself above all.
4. Count your blessings. They are many. Be grateful.
5. Connect.
6. Remember: Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.
7. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
8. Be generous in all things.
9. If you aren’t scared, you aren’t growing.
10. Breathe.
11. You have time. The rest is still unwritten.
12. There is only one true inner voice. Trust it. It has never let you down.

(What it Takes to be a Writer was first published on Kate Hilton’s blog at www.katehilton.com)




About The Author




Kate Hilton has worked in law, higher education, public relations, fundraising and publishing. She has an English degree from McGill University and a law degree from the University of Toronto. She holds down a day job, volunteers for community organizations, raises two boys, cooks, collects art, reads voraciously and likes her husband. In her free time, she writes. On good days, she thinks she might have it all. On bad days, she wants a nap.

The Hole in the Middle is Kate’s first book. Kate is represented by Beverley Slopen of the Beverley Slopen Literary Agency in Toronto.


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Book Review



The Hole In The Middle by Kate Hilton
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Format: Paperback - 352 pages / Kindle - 690 KB
ISBN: 1443429554
ASIN: B00DG2LLBQ
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Women's Fiction


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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.


Book Description: 

Sophie Whelan is the epitome of the modern superwoman. When she operates at peak performance, she can cajole balky employees, soothe her cranky children, troubleshoot career disasters, throw a dinner party for ten and draft an upbeat Christmas letter — all in the same day.

But as Sophie’s fortieth birthday looms, her seamless life reveals disturbing web-like fractures. Conflict with her boss, blossoming jealousy of her husband’s femme fatale business partner and her feelings of hopeless inadequacy as a mother and daughter are cracking the edifice of her life.

Rescue may be at hand when Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie during her university days, makes Sophie an irresistible offer. Why, then, does Sophie hesitate? The answer is the reappearance of Lillian’s nephew, Will Shannon, the great unresolved love of Sophie’s life. As she remembers the vivid drama of their college romance, Sophie confronts the choices she has made in life and in love and looks for the one answer that has always eluded her: what does she really want?

The Hole in the Middle is a heartbreaking love story, a laugh-out loud portrayal of the twin demands of work and family and a fresh take on the hot debate about having it all.


Book Excerpt:


I show up at Sara’s house around eight, and book club is in full swing. I’ve come straight from the office, and my prescription is still in my purse. I’d say that I haven’t had time to fill it, but even I know that for once, lack of time isn’t the issue.

I ring the bell. Zoe answers and steps out onto the porch with me for a moment. “I was hoping it was you,” she says. “I’m not ready to tell anyone else about what’s going on with Richard, OK?” She gestures toward the house, where the rest of the book club is waiting.

“Of course,” I say. And in any event, I feel a little fuzzy on the details of Zoe’s marital crisis. Lunch feels as though it happened a week and not six hours ago.

“How are you feeling?” I ask.

She shrugs. “It helped to see you at lunch,” she says. “But I think this is one of those situations where it’s going to keep feeling worse until something big changes. I’m just not ready to think about what the something big is.” I give her a hug, and we go in. “Look everyone,” she calls. “It’s a special guest appearance by Sophie!” She drags me into the living room, where the rest of the book club bursts into enthusiastic applause.

“I haven’t read the book,” I say.

“Don’t be silly,” says Laura. “No one ever reads the book.”

“I do,” says Sara pointedly. “And it would be great if we could make a tiny effort to talk about it once in a while, even for five minutes. Hi, Soph.” She pauses. “What did you do to your arm?”

“I sprained my wrist,” I say. “It’s nothing.”

“What was the book again?” asks Laura.

Sara raises an eyebrow. “Are you really interested, or are you just trying to humor me?”

Laura laughs. “Was it good?”

“Not especially,” says Sara. “We can stop talking about it now. What’s Megan going on about?”

Like Sara, Megan is one of my old friends from the student newspaper, and I’ve caught her in mid-rant. Nora is leaning back slightly to avoid Megan’s violent gesticulations, which are, as usual, aimed at hapless, absent Bob: “And then he looks into the stroller and says, ‘I’m starting to get to the point where I remember that he’s around. Do you know what I mean?’ And I think, ‘What kind of fucking question is that? It’s kind of hard for me to forget that our baby is around when he’s hanging off my tit 24/7, but I guess you don’t have that problem, do you Bob?’ Honestly! I just looked at him and said ‘I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.’”

Megan takes a breath, looks around, and realizes that she is the main attraction. “Hi, Sophie,” she says. “Good to see you.”

I wave. “Still married?”

Megan snorts. “Barely,” she says, but she smiles a little before turning back to Nora to continue itemizing Bob’s shortcomings as a husband and father.

“What can I get you to drink?” asks Zoe. “Prosecco?” I nod, and she disappears into the kitchen. I sit down next to Sara.

“How have you been?” she asks.

“Bad day to ask,” I say. “I’d say I’ve been stressed to the point of hysteria, while at the same time struggling to find enough meaning in my work to justify my level of anxiety. I mean, shouldn’t you have to care about a job to get this worked up about it?”

“Of course not!” Zoe reappears with my glass and plops down on the sofa with us. “Do you remember the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are working on an assembly line at a chocolate factory? No? You know the scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts up to the penthouse for the first time, and they have a fight, and then they make up, and then they stay up late watching TV?”

“Oh, yeah,” says Sara. “Right before she gives him the blow job.”

“Exactly. That moment where you think, am I really supposed to be rooting for these two to get together in the end?”

“Totally.” Megan and Nora have finished with Bob and rejoin the group. “But they aren’t watching the chocolate factory episode,” Megan says. “They’re watching the wine-making one, where Lucy runs around in a giant barrel and throws grapes at everyone.”

Zoe rolls her eyes. “The point I’m making,” she says, with the deliberate enunciation of a woman who has had too much Prosecco, “is that the chocolate factory is a perfect example of a job that is both stressful and meaningless. The chocolate starts coming faster and faster and they can’t wrap it quickly enough, and by the end they are stuffing the chocolates down their shirts and in their mouths and looking completely panic-stricken, but to no real end.”

“And this relates to Sophie’s job how?” asks Laura.

Zoe waves her hand vaguely. “Email, voicemail, staff meetings – the whole tedious routine is a modern-day, white-collar version of the conveyor belt.”

“Well, that’s a pretty bleak assessment,” I say.

“Only if you plan to be stuck beside the conveyor belt for the rest of your life,” says Zoe. “But since you don’t actually work in a chocolate factory, you have a few options. And if you would admit that you are having a midlife crisis, you could start looking at ways to change it up.”

“I’m not having a midlife crisis,” I say.

Laura laughs. “Everyone’s having a midlife crisis, Sophie,” she says. “You might as well join the club.”


My Book Review:

There comes a time in a woman's life when they hit the milestone fortieth birthday that causes them to reflect back on their life's journey ... The Hole In The Middle is Sophie Whelan's story.

Sophie Whelan is on the cusp of turning the big 4-0, and as her birthday approaches, this busy professional, wife, and mother struggles to juggle the competing demands of work and family. As Sophie reflects back on her last year of college and the current state of her life, she re-examines an unresolved relationship from her past, and takes a new look at the present circumstances in her life that has made her the woman that she is.

The Hole In The Middle is a refreshing and warm tale that every woman in their thirties and forties can identify with and relate to. You can't help but get drawn into Sophie's story, there is a little bit of her in every single one of us. As Sophie struggles to find a balance within her work and family life, her mid-life angst coupled with an unresolved past threatens to unravel her delicate balancing act. With the help and support of Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie in her senior year in college, Sophie's journey will bring her life full circle, allowing her to see who she really is and what she really wants out of life.

Author Kate Hilton has written a witty, intelligent, inspirational, and enjoyable story that makes the reader feel the full gamut of emotions, and gives them pause to reflect upon their own lives. She has captured all the nuances that a woman can experience in her life in a humorous and endearing fashion that is full of funny, honest and candid moments. I thoroughly enjoyed following Sophie on her journey, I saw so much of her in myself that I couldn't help but smile and shake my head in acknowledgment that I have a sister-in-arms who has faced the same challenges and questions that I had in my life as I approached my forties. I really enjoyed the author's witty observations on life, love, marriage, motherhood and careers.

The Hole In The Middle is a poignant and touching story for every woman who has navigated down the tricky path of everyday life.


RATING: 4 STARS ****





Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card



Anyone who leaves a comment on The Hole In The Middle tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Hole in the Middle before January 27 and sends their receipt to Samantha@ChickLitPlus.com will get 5 bonus entries!




Virtual Book Tour Event Schedule



Tour Schedule:

January 6 – Book Mama Blog – Q&A & Excerpt
January 7 – Cindy Arora – Q&A
January 8 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt
January 9 – The Winey Mommy – Review
January 10 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt 
January 13 – Literary Chanteuse – Novel Spotlight
January 14 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
January 16 – Everything Books and Authors – Excerpt 
January 20 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review 
January 21 – The Book Bag – Guest Post & Excerpt 
January 22 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Guest Post & Excerpt
January 23 – Books Reviews by Dee – Excerpt
January 27 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt



4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

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  2. Great review, I can't wait to read the book.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rita! Thank you for visiting my blog and posting your kind comment. I hope you get a chance to read The Hole In The Middle, it is a wonderful book. :)

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