What I’m Reading Wednesday


Have you seen the Martin Scorsese film “Shutter Island?” The psychological thriller is done in such a way that you think you’re watching one kind of movie and then toward the end you realize you were watching the movie from the wrong kind of perspective. Wait, what? Exactly. It’s confusing and it’s definitely one of those movies you have to watch more than once to fully comprehend it.


“The Other Typist” by Suzanne Rindell is written in much the same way as that Scorsese film. The first-person story is about a young woman working as a typist at the New York Police Department precinct in the 1920s. The narrator, Rose, shares her version of the story and strings the reader right along. The reader catches glimpses of something going down and before too long the story turns chilly. I had to stop at a certain point and re-read what I just read to make sure I was following the right story. The reader (or maybe it’s just me?) starts to question everything they’d read in the previous 300 pages wondering if they could have seen the shift sooner.

This novel is Rindell’s debut. The doctoral student in American modernist literature at Rice University gives a shout out to F. Scott Fitzgerald (one of my own literary heroes) in the book’s acknowledgments:

“humbly aspired…to pay deliberate homage to the first true love of my teenage years: Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby.'”

“The Other Typist” (released May 7, 2013) has been advertised to fans of “The Great Gatsby” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

Due to the flux of 1920s-era literature I’ve read the last few months and after watching the latest Gatsby film, I have decided to bob my hair. Now it’s in writing and I’ll be held accountable. July 3 is the date!

Q and A with Suzanne Rindell

Q: Can you share more about the true love of your teenage years in “The Great Gatsby?” How did Fitzgerald inspire you as a writer?

A: I read it in the summer during junior high. My mother had me (quite willingly) working through one of those Modern Library lists of the top 100 classics. I think it was Fitzgerald’s sentences that got me. He unabashedly waxes poetic, especially if you compare him to his contemporaries (like Hemingway). He shouldn’t have been able to pull off such sentimental lines, and yet he did. I also felt a deep sense of nostalgia coming through in his writing, and I really loved him for that.

Q: Have you seen the latest adaptation of “The Great Gatsby?” What did you think?

A: It’s a spectacle and a beautiful-looking film, that much is sure true. In a lot of ways though, I am its worst audience, because I am such a purist about the book. I knew I wouldn’t be cool with even the most minor liberties taken, so I didn’t go see it with the idea that I would love it, and that probably helped.

Q: Why did you decide the era of the 1920s as the setting of your first novel?

A: My academic work focused on the 1920s, so it was a natural fit. During grad school I was constantly reading and writing about 1920s culture and literature. This was before the era’s more recent trendiness. I had no idea how “on trend” that decade would become while writing my novel, but in a lot of ways, that might’ve been a good thing!

Q: Did this novel require research in NYC?

A: I definitely couldn’t have written it prior to living in New York. Fictional stories are always set in a somewhat imagined landscape, but that landscape needs to be informed by very real inspiration. I walked around the city and got as much historical information from libraries and museums I could find.

Q: What can you share about your second novel?

A: It’s also set in New York, but this time Greenwich Village in the 1950s. It centers on three characters caught up in the crossover between the publishing industry of the 1950s and the beatnik scene. I won’t say much more than that, but I hope folks will like it.


What I’m Reading Wednesday


Kathleen Tessaro transports readers to London 1955 in her fifth novel, “The Perfume Collector,” during an era of strict etiquette and image. The novel is told through two separate stories that travel through New York, Paris, the beaches of Monte Carlo and England, and eventually come together for a dramatic ending.

This historical novel offers a glimpse into the world of perfumers and the unforgettable power of scent. Like the book’s cover art, the story is also beautiful and unique. The reader gets to know an unforgettable cast of characters as they try to solve a mystery along with the main character, Grace.

Tessaro shared with me information of how “The Perfume Collector came to be and what’s next for the author:

Q and A with Kathleen Tessaro

Q: What inspired the idea of perfume? And did it require a bit of research?

A: I’ve wanted to write a story using perfume for a while because everyone has experience of it. I had the idea that perfume itself tells a story; that it can represent very vividly and completely, a certain period in a person’s life and that to smell it again, even years later, would tap into those memories and realities. The idea of having a secret history of a character “told” in three perfumes was one I found interesting. It did require a great deal of research — but such magnificent research! I got to go all over some of my favorite cities, interviewing perfumers and learning about this exquisite art form …. I don’t think I’ll ever really be done researching perfume!

Q: The Perfume Collector includes a cast of unforgettable characters. Can you share how you came to develop some of them?

A: Thank you! Well, for example, I uncovered the character of Madame Zed during my research. She was a real person and did work for Lanvin, creating about 14 different fragrances including My Sin (sometimes it’s spelled Madame Zede). Very little is known about her other than that she was probably Russian and disappeared from the perfume business after her incredible success with My Sin, though no one knows why. She was far too intriguing to miss out. Similarly Valmont was a composite of many of the real life perfumers I researched and was especially influenced by the New York perfumer Christopher Brosius. The character of Kay Waverly was founded on stories of early silent film actresses, like Mae Murray, who often had quite bizarre, sudden rises to fame and fortune only to fade into poverty and complete obscurity once more.

Q: I’m curious if there is anything behind choosing the name Grace?

A: No … in fact, that character went through quite a few name changes.

Q: I read you lived in London for 23 years. In this story you weave back and forth from England to Paris and New York. Did you draw from your own memories and experiences for this setting?

A: Yes. I love London and miss it very much. And I’ve been to France a great deal over the years, so it was a pleasure to recall my own experiences of traveling to Paris for the first time and the thrill of falling in love with such a beautiful city.

Q: What can you share about what you’re working on next?

A: My next book is called “Rare Object.” It takes place in 1933 in an antiques shop in Boston. We’ve got a woman with something to hide, a rare Greek artifact smuggled into the country, and a very dangerous love triangle.

What’s your favorite perfume or scent?

Networking with the M’s

Post-networking event and ready for the game!

My BFF Melissa and I both have degrees in communication and while I took the journalism route and she took the marketing route, we both share a love of sports — and the possibility of someday working for a professional sports organization. So when Melissa asked me if I wanted to go to the Seattle Mariners’ Teammate Networking event June 11 I was all about it.

Dressed in business attire dresses and with wind-blown hair (thank you, Seattle!) we checked in for the event at Safeco Field’s Ellis Pavilion at 6 p.m. A panel of executives from the Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders, Seattle Storm and other local sports organizations introduced themselves in front of the attendees. Once introductions were over the executives spread out and the sharks (us) swarmed around them peppering them with questions and offering out business cards.

Melissa is the marketing director of a local mall and had the Mariners VP of marketing on her radar, as did many other sharks people. It’s extremely intimidating to walk right up to someone cold and talk about how awesome you are and ask if they’re hiring. Melissa was patient and eventually made it front and center to talk with the VP (success!).

Melissa surrounded by other marketing peeps.

While Melissa was chatting up the marketing VP I spoke with someone who does digital media for the Seahawks and Sounders. I asked him how he gets into a position like that and asked him how it has evolved in the last few years. I went on to speak with the director of sport partnerships at Northeastern University, who has an amazing resume. She wanted to be a baseball coach so got the education and coached a pro team at the independent level and since then has pitched for BP for eight MLB teams (wow!). I then spoke with someone representing the Special Olympics of Washington because I had recently written a story about SOWA’s Summer Games.

About an hour later we left the event and picked up our garlic fries and climbed the many stairs to our seats in the 300 level. We enjoyed a 4-0 Mariners win over the Houston Astros and a much needed girls date.

Melissa and I followed up with emails this morning in hopes that someday we’ll both work for professional sports organizations. Preferably with the same team. Maybe?

Our view while we ate garlic fries.

What are your tips for networking?

What I’m Reading Wednesday Book Giveaway


New York Times bestselling author Karen White released her first hardcover “The Time Between” last week! She is busy on her book tour right now, but you can expect a Q and A interview with the author in the near future!

Until then I’m giving away a free copy of this romantic-mystery that you must add to your beach read list! To enter the book giveaway please comment below and be sure to like “A Writer’s Purpose” Facebook page! I will select a random winner Friday afternoon!

I compared White’s style to a friend of mine as Sarah Jio meets Kate Morton, where an unsolved mystery hangs over the storyline and makes you feverishly turn the pages to find out what happened!

“The Time Between” follows two sets of sisters during two generations (WWII and more present day). Both sisters carry their own guilt and it’s only when their paths connect do they find the ability to forgive. It’s a powerful story about second chances and you might even get teary-eyed more than once.

“There is how we were before, and how we are now, and the time between is spent choosing which doors to open and which to close.” — The Time Between

She’s a Country Girl


Today I wish a high school and college classmate of mine, Sarah Reijonen a happy pub day! Her debut memoir, “Country Girl: Letting Love and Wanderlust Take the Reins” is released today!

Her memoir shares her story of  how she quit her job, sold their house and traveled the world with her husband. Over the years I’ve kept tabs on Sarah with her entertaining blog posts about her experiences drooling over all the exotic and beautiful places they visited.

After we graduated high school, Sarah and I ended up in the same freshmen dorm towers at Washington State University (go Cougs!). Later on in college I joined her on staff at The Daily Evergreen and during our senior year we took a writing class taught by Buddy Levy (yes, the same Buddy Levy of the show “Decoded” on The History Channel!). Let me tell you, the girl can write! I’m so excited to get my hands on a copy of “Country Girl” and read more about her experiences and travels.

“This conversational memoir, full of humor and sass but also heart, recounts the tales of an unexpected wanderer. Sarah Reijonen tells the story of how she survives her first year of marriage, only to turn her world upside down with seven months of globetrotting. She quits her job and sells her house and 80 acres to travel the world with her husband. While on the road, Reijonen learns to question success and love—with the help of a few cold ones and some much-needed soul searching. This introspection leads Reijonen to a new outlook on life and shows her what it means to be happy in her own boots.” — book description on Amazon.com.

I will feature Sarah on the blog with a Q and A interview in the near future, but until then trust me when I say you’ll want to read this!

Congrats Sarah!

What I’m Reading Wednesday


This week’s book post is a throwback Thursday Wednesday gem! I’m thankful for my book exchange club because 1, I get to hang out with some really neat gals who like reading as much as I do and 2, I get introduced to books I might not normally pick up, like “The Monkey’s Raincoat” by Robert Crais.

My friend Patty brought this book for last month’s exchange and shared how great of an author Crais is. I decided to give it a shot and opted out of trying to steal a book from someone else and I’m glad I decided to keep it!

This  book came out in 1987 when I was 3 years old (sorry Patty!) and is part of a detective series that centers around private investigator Elvis Cole, a sarcastic individual who is a highly skilled ex-Ranger. The story takes place in Hollywood and has a couple of cameo appearances of Disney-related figures, including Mickey Mouse on the cover art! Elvis is tasked with solving a disappearance which escalates into a bigger mystery/crime that needs to be solved. By the end you’re really rooting for Elvis and his incredibly intimidating partner ex-Marine Joe Pike to save the day!

According to research I did on Wikipedia (I know, I know, not the most trusted news source), I read Crais has no plans to sell the rights to his Elvis Cole novels. He prefers his readers to have their own perceptions of the characters rather than see them interpreted in film form.

When my book exchange club met last Friday I re-introduced “The Monkey’s Raincoat” to the group so others can have a chance at Crais’ work. In turn I took home Kate Morton’s “The Forgotten Garden” (more to come on that one later!).

What is your favorite throwback novel?