Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Truth About Caroline by Randi M. Sherman (Author Interview / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Truth About Caroline by author Randi M. Sherman!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Randi!

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

Yes, thanks for asking. I am a California native and now live in California’s wine country and love it. I have always had a tremendous grasp of the obvious and the ability to find humor in almost everything. I performed Stand-up comedy in Los Angeles and did Improvization in San Francisco. Now I share my sense of humor not from the stage but the pages of my novels.

How long have you been a writer? 

I suppose I started focusing on my writing in my twenties, when I wrote stand-up material. Ever since then, I don’t think I have stopped.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? 

Fortunately and unfortunately I have another career. Although I would love to dedicate all of my time to being creative, I have bills to pay. I design and direct complex projects in the healthcare/IT industries. I know, I know, it’s not quite what anyone would imagine for a humor writer.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer. 

As I stated I started doing stand-up comedy and would write my own bits. Then write short stories and when the stories were too big to keep in my head – I would release the characters and plots onto paper and into my computer to grow and thrive. After I completed and published my first book PAULA TAKES A RISK, I was hooked and I always have one or two books in the works.

Please give a brief description/storyline about The Truth About Caroline.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CAROLINE picks up where my second novel CAROLINE STARTS OVER ends. Caroline has a terrible problem with honesty, she simply doesn’t see the upside to it and eventually it gets her into all kinds of trouble. THE TRUTH ABOUT CAROLINE offers a funny, quirky alternative novel featuring Caroline Matthews as she navigates to, through and around honesty, life and her sexuality. After being acquitted for arranging the long-distance, cross-country assassination of her husband, Caroline attempts to rebuild her life. Without skills of any kind and with no work experience to speak of, she has a challenge ahead of her. Then she remembers she has one supreme talent… she’s a natural liar.

What was the inspiration for this story? 

Truthfully, I could never figure out why people lie, but people do. It amazes me

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

After PAULA TAKES A RISK was published in 2012, I felt I could do anything. I took a huge risk, I was following my dreams. In 2014 CAROLINE STARTS OVER was published and I was over the moon. Now with THE TRUTH ABOUT CAROLINE – I think my head might pop off.

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

I love character-driven comedy.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

My favorite genres are biographies and autobiographies. I find people absolutely fascinating. Where do I begin? I started reading about movie stars, and families like the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Getty’s. I’m really fond of Ruth Reichl’s books and more recently I read Crazy Rich about the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing? 

I have a very sunny office with a view of our lush backyard. It’s like a create vortex for me.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books? 

Its funny. I usually come up with an idea or a scene, and story grows forward and backward from there. I allow the story to write itself and characters to create themselves as needed. I suppose that’s what you call a hyperactive imagination.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I write every day. I have the book “in progress” open on my computer all day, every day. I jot down notes when I think of them.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

Oh my gosh, I love that I get to live my alter ego. Thru my writing I can be fearless. I can come up with a problem to be solved and map out all possible solutions or outcomes and decided which one to take. My struggle is that I have to choose just one at a time.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

Spend time with my spouse, travel when we can, garden, cook, eat, eat and eat delicious food and wine.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? 

Write something every day.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

I feel like nothing is impossible, like I can make my dreams come true. Its amazing. Over the past 5 years I have become a different person. I am so happy and fulfilled.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans? 

Although I am challenged at it –I am getting better with social media. Follow me on twitter @RandiMSherman. I usually share hilarious observations and information about my books too.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

The short answer is yes… and no. Sometimes I'm amazed at what I can come up with out of nowhere. But I think it’s nearly impossible not to bring some personal thoughts, opinions or experience when writing fiction. But I’ll never tell what is “me.”

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer? 

Nora Ephron for her contemporary slice of life, Douglas Adams for his style and humor and of course, Erma Bombeck.

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

Being happy that I write and create because I love to do it.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us? 

I am. I currently have one book at the publisher, due our Spring-ish 2016 – A contemporary, humorous, character-driven novel made up of over fifty intertwined stories, with more than 200 characters and it all occurs in one location. AND –I am currently about 75% done with a humorous but inspirational character that is bawdy, bold and an unusually kind of hero. I hope to send it off to the publisher by the end of the year.

Thank you so much for the interview.

Thank you Randi for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

With an eye for detail, an ear for well-tuned dialogue and an incredible grasp of the obvious, all honed while performing stand-up comedy in Los Angeles and improvisational theater in San Francisco, Randi M. Sherman adds just enough bawdiness to deliver character-driven contemporary novels that will have the reader laughing, thinking and even connecting with the characters in her books

Writing has been a part of Randi’s life since she was a teenager, one hundred and fifty thousand years ago. But being pragmatic and realizing that she preferred having an income, living indoors and eating regularly, she reluctantly put her dreams on hold and entered the corporate world, yet never left behind her sense of humor and creative storytelling ability, skills which were not always appreciated during budget and strategy meetings.

Now, after living indoors for a while and eating regularly, albeit too much, Randi has picked up her pen again and her third novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT CAROLINE is here. It is the continuation to her second novel CAROLINE STARTS OVER (2014). Randi's first book PAULA TAKES A RISK was released in 2012. Look for Randi's next novel THE LOBBY, Spring-ish 2016.

Randi lives in the California wine country. She would never claim to have a genius IQ, the body of a super model. However, she can spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Randi maintains a trim, well-toned body that is cleverly concealed beneath twenty pounds of soft protective layering and she has the appetite of a bird (vulture).

Things that Randi cannot live without: people to laugh with, her car horn, a gym membership where there are chubby women who break into a sweat while putting on a jog bra, wine, waist capes, and her wife, Carol.

Randi can live without: mean-spirited people, liver, left-overs, communal dressing rooms, tight underwear, and people who point.

Randi is five-foot-seven.

Author Website

Book Review

The Truth About Caroline by Randi M. Sherman
Book 2: Caroline Series
Publisher: FriesenPress
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Format: Paperback - 256 pages
               Kindle - 350 KB
               Nook - 431 KB 
ISBN: 978-1460265635
ASIN: B01357H8BI
BNID: 2940151145961
Genre: Chick Lit / Comedy / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series:
Book 1: Caroline Starts Over
Book 2: The Truth About Caroline

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

Book Description:

Honesty has always presented a problem for Caroline.

Manipulating situations and navigating around blunders and deceptions have become second nature to Caroline. She could justify every lie she has ever told, and any truth she ever stretched. Honesty and revealing secrets would only keep her from moving forward with her life. What good would it do anyhow?

Even all of those bad financial decisions, flawed relationships and questionable life choices seem like child’s play compared to being arrested for the solicitation of her husband’s murder, and what follows. Could someone figure out Caroline? And what would happen if someone did?

Book Excerpt:

Sitting in the Human Resource reception area at Morgan’s appliances reminded Caroline of a dentist’s office. The receptionist or as her name placard read, “Executive Assistant,” occasionally looked up, gave Caroline a half-hearted smile and then turned her attention back to her magazine. Pictures of her boyfriend festooned her work area, along with a nearly deflated, Happy Birthday Mylar balloon as it sadly hung in the air, just two feet above the ground. And there was a bowl of hard candy positioned on the corner of the desk, next to the Sign-in Please clip board with its pen attached to it by a piece of yard. Caroline’s stomach was growling, she had skipped breakfast and sat there wondering if the candy was an innocent offering or a test of some sort.

If she got up and took a piece of the candy would it be considered too presumptuous? Would the action reveal some character trait that would result in a pass or a fail, rendering the applicant ineligible. The candy, Caroline thought, had probably been sitting there for months, maybe years. Like every grandmother’s coffee table candy dish, the candy in it was probably decades old. Would it be delicious and worth the effort to free it from the cellophane wrapper? Would it be worth the risk? Caroline wondered if other applicants obsessed about that sad, dusty little bowl of candy too.

Caroline looked down at her “interview” outfit, hoping that the scotch tape that she had used to hem her pants would hold until the meeting was over. Without much money or time to shop, Caroline grabbed the first affordable interview-type suit she saw at the Women At Work Shoppe in the strip mall near the Super Cuts hair salon where she had her hair dyed and cut in preparation for today’s meeting. She hadn’t bothered to try on the suit in the store. It was navy blue. The suit included a companion blouse and, more importantly, it was on sale. Unfortunately the pants were tailored for a giant. Without a sewing kit or a stapler, Caroline had improvised with transparent tape.

When a quiet ring came from the receptionist’s phone, she picked it up, whispered something and glanced at Caroline. “Ms. Pratt,” she announced quietly, “I’ll take you back to see Ms. Herrera now.” As Caroline passed her desk, she took a candy, unwrapped it and popped it in her mouth. “Oh, my mouth is so dry.” She smiled.

Tell me a little about yourself.” Ms. Herrera poised her fingers above the keyboard of her computer, ready to take notes.

The truthful answer would be: “I just got out of jail after spending six months awaiting trial for planning a hit on my husband. Fortunately I was acquitted. I have no prospects or work experience to speak of. I’m lazy and get bored easily. I’m terribly disorganized and have a problem with honesty. I desperately need a job because the insurance money will not last forever. When do I start?” But instead Caroline answered, “Oh heavens, where do I begin?”

“Well,” Ms. Herrera smiled. “Why don’t you tell me why you left your last job?”

Realizing that she was enjoying the hard candy a little too much, Caroline discretely spat it into her hand and began her answer. “Well,” glancing at the resume she had on her lap, “as you know I have been self-employed for a while and to tell you the truth,” she was thinking on her feet. “Freelancing is drying up and I am interested in working for a growing corporation where I can apply my skills and experience.” Aced it! She silently congratulated herself.

“Well, Caroline, this is an impressive resume.” She reached up and touched the crucifix that was hanging around her neck. “I see you were a missionary in Mexico. My family is from Mexico, where were you assigned?”

Oh crap! “Oh, um, truthfully Miss Herrera, it seemed like I was never in one place very long. I went where I was needed most.” She was hoping that the answer would be sufficient. “You know missionary work. Move, move, move. I wish I spent more time in the capital.” Caroline’s palms were sweating, the candy started melting.

My Book Review:

What's a girl to do when she has to navigate the daunting challenges of rebuilding her life ... especially when she has a problem with honesty, and manipulation and lies have been her go to methods of living.  

In The Truth About Caroline, author Randi M. Sherman weaves a humorous tale that continues the story of Caroline Matthews, who seems to have a penchant for finding trouble. The reader first meets Caroline in Caroline Starts Over, as she is restarting her life after the death of her no good cheating husband. In The Truth About Caroline, Caroline's story continues as her attempt to restart her life comes to a halt when she finds herself arrested for the alleged solicitation of murder-for-hire of her husband. Caroline's story is split into two parts: the murder trial and her attempt to rebuild her life post-acquittal.

Author Randi M. Sherman weaves an entertaining story that draws the reader into Caroline's quirky life with a mixture of drama and humor. I absolutely loved the trial portion of the story, the author transports the reader into the courtroom as the drama unfolds, you can't help but get caught up in the action. After Caroline is acquitted of murder, she attempts to rebuild her life by navigating through the challenging trials and tribulations and crazy antics that come with reinventing herself. The reader gets to go along for the ride as Caroline tries to reinvent herself, there is a lot of laugh-out-loud moments intermixed with a sense of reality that keeps the reader guessing how Caroline's life will turn out until the surprising conclusion.

The Truth About Caroline is a laugh-out-loud chick lit tale that will keep the reader in stitches.


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

September 28 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review & Excerpt
September 29 – Cheryllyn Dyess Writer – Excerpt
September 30 – The World As I See It – Review & Excerpt
October 2- Caroline Fardig – Q&A
October 2 – I Love My Authors – Excerpt 
October 6 – myhomemadelibrary – Review & Excerpt
October 6 – Change the Word – Q&A
October 7 – ChickLit Plus – Review
October 8 – Fiction Dreams – Excerpt
October 9 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
October 12 – Granny Loves To Read – Review & Excerpt

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