Sunday, November 8, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Eliza Freed, author of 'The Devil's Playground'

Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.

She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It’s during this time she became an avid observer of the characters we meet and the heartaches we endure. Her years of study have taught her laughter is the key to survival, even when it’s completely inappropriate.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she’d rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story...the more screwed up the better.Her latest book is the romance/women’s fiction, The Devil’s Playground.
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: The Devil’s Playground (Book 1 The Faraway series)
Author: Eliza Freed
Publisher: Brunswick Publishing
Pages: 300
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Former U.S. Attorney, Meredith Walsh, took some time off to raise her children. But the time took away everything she once trusted about herself. She’s lost within the mundane confines of her children's schedules of lacrosse, soccer, Cub Scouts, and math facts. Desperate for a sliver of her former passion, and isolated in the small town her corporate husband relocated her to, she counsels herself on risking her family for the rush of a fling.
But Vincent Pratt, the local chief of police, weakens Meredith’s abhorrence of affairs and her dedication to her family. With him, she finds a new version of herself, one capable of contributing in her new world, and thriving in her lonely home. In spite of the fact, she’s not the kind of woman who has an affair.

For More Information

  • The Devil’s Playground is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Welcome to the book club, Eliza!  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into writing romance/women’s fiction?
I fell into this. I'd gone back to school to obtain my teaching certificate and a professor noted that my writing style was unique and I should consider writing. Fast forward to graduation, which coincided perfectly with New Jersey's governor cutting school funding and thousands of seasoned teachers on the job hunt, and I was out of work. My husband bought me an iPad for Christmas that year, and in my unemployed, delusional state I thought, maybe I'll write a book. I typed away on my iPad every night in my bed with ear buds in and the same song playing over and over until I had a story. My first series was acquired by Grand Central's Forever Yours Romance, but I always thought that story was about a woman's journey as well. Life is all about the people meet and the way that we love. So the women's fiction I read typically has an element of romance.
Where is your book set and why did you choose that location?
The Faraway novels are both set in a rural town in Southern New Jersey. I’m odd in that I love the city and the country, and lucky that I've had the chance to live in both. Since I moved back to New Jersey, I've spent a lot of time driving in my car and thinking up story lines. It would feel wrong to set them anywhere else.
Can you tell us a little about Meredith Walsh?
Meredith is as clever as she is brilliant. As a teenager, she endured her parents' divorce by wasting time and getting high. But she turned it around and set a goal to change the world. She became an attorney with the Department of Justice, and flourished there until quitting to raise her children. During THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND she finds herself floundering again. Staying at home with her children is not what she thought it’d be and even as intelligent as she is, she can't find a way to reconcile the life she wants for her kids and the life she needs for herself.
Can you tell us a little about the supporting characters?
This is Meredith's story, but there's a tragic love story that's a huge part of her life. (Possibly two tragic love stories.) Vincent Pratt is not perfect. He is after all, willing to cheat on his wife, but even with flaws he's better than most characters. He's at the same time pressing Meredith for more and yet patient with her. It's difficult for the reader to tell whether he's pushing her to make a mistake, or encouraging her to live her life.
Also, there's her best friend, Jenna. She is a quick-witted, mother of three boys, who drinks her way through the day-to-day job of motherhood. She's one of the only women in town who "gets" Meredith, but that's only because she doesn't ask for more than Meredith is comfortable giving.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader can’t put the book down.  What’s one of the pivotal points in The Devil’s Playground?
This book is written in the first person, so the reader is squarely placed in the center of Meredith's mind as she struggles with some unquestionably bad decisions. From the first time Meredith meets Vince, there’s an anxious question of whether they should, and whether they will, be together. If I had to choose a pivotal point, it would be in the aftermath of an accident that forces Meredith to face the impact of Vincent Pratt on her life. She shares the information with Vince, and from then on, there was no turning back—no denying what she was capable of doing to herself and her family. 
What’s next for you, Eliza?
The conclusion of Meredith's story, THE LION'S DEN, releases January 12th. It's been quite a journey and I'm so excited for everyone to know the ending. It's pure Eliza...
What would you like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you.
It never seems like enough, but thank you so very much. The real joy of writing these stories is talking to people about them. The emails, Facebook posts, conversations, and even the reviews about these characters and their choices make writing the most fulfilling job I've ever had.

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