Joanne: If you imagine the most luxurious spa you've ever seen, that's the Farm. It’s got everything. It’s got gourmet meals and private massages, private yoga instruction. It’s all for free for the women who are staying there. In fact, they can get paid big money for spending their nine months there. The only catch is that they can't leave the grounds. Every move is monitored. They're totally cut off from their daily lives because off all these women are surrogates. By contract, they’ve agreed to prioritize the life that's growing inside of them over everything in their own lives. They carry the babies of the richest people in the world.
Richard: Rouge is about the women who created the cosmetic industry, the first multibillion-dollar category founded primarily by women. I have to tell you that I was surprised that there wasn’t really a major novel about the book before. Being an ad man and having run everything from Avon to Revlon, as accounts, and having worked with many, many, many well-known female entrepreneurs, I thought this was the book that I needed to write. It’s really an homage to all the amazing female entrepreneurs who founded this incredible category.
Mary Laura: I Miss You When I Blink is a memoir told in essays. You could pick it up and put it down at any point, and any single essay would make sense on its own. They're arranged in such a way that if you read it from start to finish in order, there's a narrative arch to how these stories stack up. You see it in beginning, how I became a baby perfectionistic as a child and then quickly how I took those tendencies into adulthood and tried to apply them to real life, as if there's any such thing as getting a right answer to anything in adulthood. You see me trying again and again to get things right, to be the best student, the best worker, the best friend, the best artist, the best parent, everything.
William: A decade prior, I had pretended to be somebody I was not to my wife, to my daughters, and to myself. I was a gay man in a straight marriage. That experience caused me to take a look at what we do when we put on these false identities and become someone we’re not. It forced me to take a look not just at my actions, but how my actions affected everybody else. It’s a book about what we do with all of that pain and lost hope when our supposed truths are unmasked for lies.
Lori: I wasn’t originally supposed to be writing this book. I was supposed to be writing a book about happiness. Ironically, the happiness book was making me miserable and depressed. Eventually, I cancelled that book contract. I didn't think I would write another book. I had no idea what I would write. Then one day I started writing about what was going on in my own therapy and what was going on with me as a clinician. I decided to bring people behind the scenes into the therapy room. That is what became Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. We follow the stories of four very different patients as they're going through various struggles in their lives. Then I'm going through an upheaval in my own life. I become the fifth patient. We see me go through my own therapy.
Christina: If I were to go back and talk to myself in my twenties, I would tell her to just do exactly what she's doing. Use your twenties to learn. Have your eyes and ears open. Absorb as much as you can. Then for me, my thirties were about starting my family. That was a whole journey in and of itself and self-discovery and awareness. Now my forties have become this renaissance in my career.
Laurie: Class Mom is about the mother who volunteers in the classroom to help out everybody. My character, Jen Dixon, was a mom very early in her life. She had a crazy ride through Europe following the band INXS. She had two kids by two different band members. Then she finally came back to the United States. She raised her kids. Then she met the man of her dreams and she had another kid. She has girls in college and one starting kindergarten, which is a unique and interesting place to be. She gets roped into being class mom.
Marcy: Very Nice is literary soap opera. I wanted to write about a student-teacher affair. I've always been so interested in it. It was material that other people wrote about and I was jealous about. I was like, maybe I could write it anyway even though I haven't had this experience. That's what one of the pleasures of fiction is. You can make things up.