Hi Lorraine and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Independently Wealthy!
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here
In New Money, Savannah Morgan was thrust into high-society New York when she learned she was the sole heir to her father’s billion-dollar fortune. In Independently Wealthy, she is living her dream life on the Upper West Side, excelling at her job as an editorial assistant, and enjoying her handsome new boyfriend, Alex.
Everything in Savannah’s life should be perfect—but she can’t ignore the questions and scandal surrounding her father’s fatal accident. Her hopes of solving this mystery are shared by Caroline Stone—her newfound sister who is slowly becoming a friend. Savannah decides to investigate, although not everyone wants her to discover the truth. Her domineering older brother, Ned, has his own problems, including a lingering regret over his recent divorce, the constant pressure of running the Stone media empire, and managing a playboy bachelorhood. As Savannah’s quest for justice becomes complicated and dangerous, she is led to Washington, D.C.; an alluring stranger; and more surprises, trouble, and changes than she ever could have imagined.
Please tell us about the characters in your book?
That’s a tough question because it’s definitely an ensemble cast, and the characters all have such unique personalities and circumstances. The main character, however, is someone who always does her best to do the right thing—even if it doesn’t work out every time. She just keeps trying!
As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Savannah’s tenacity and optimism never cease to surprise me.
What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?
While writing New Money, I really enjoyed creating the dialogue between Savannah and Fabian Spader—a sleazy blogger who is bent on trashing the rich-and-famous. It’s always fun to write antagonistic banter.
Fabian returns in Independently Wealthy, and this is part of one of his scenes with Savannah:
“Here’s my little runaway,” Fabian said as he slid onto the seat beside me. “I thought we’d never see you back in New York after you stormed off to Dixie in such a huff.”
I raised my chin. “You couldn’t keep me away.”
“Clearly,” he said, “I didn’t smack you hard enough.”
I edged away from him, remembering my photo on Nocturnal—the one of me accidentally knocking Virginia on her back—and all the online Savannah-bashing it had sparked. I felt like grabbing Celeste’s leftover espresso and tossing it in his face, but that sort of thing would only make an attention-seeker like him feel important and give him material for his blog.
“I’m beyond hurt,” he continued in a faux whiny voice. “I haven’t seen you since you came back, and you’ve been ignoring me all night. I was hoping for your season’s greetings . . . but maybe I’ll just have to catch you under the mistletoe.”
“Well,” I said, “I guess you need mistletoe. I guess the only way a person like you can get intimate contact with another human is through trickery. Or a credit card.”
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
Overall, it was challenging to create the evolution of Savannah’s relationship with her older brother—Ned Stone—because their relationship and family situation is so complex.
The tension that existed between them in New Money still lingers—but as Independently Wealthy progresses, this slowly changes. Here is part of a scene between these two characters, in which Savannah tries to influence Ned to make wiser choices in his life:
“Caroline thinks you’d be better off without . . .” I motioned toward the bedroom and scrunched up my face like I’d sniffed a sewer. “. . . this sort of thing. She thinks you should find a quality woman like…” I stopped. I couldn’t utter Kitty’s name. But the glum look in Ned’s eyes made me think he’d heard it anyway. “Well,” I continued, “she just thinks you should try to find somebody . . . better. I do, too.”
He hardened his face. “Is that right? And whom would you suggest?”
He’d said that smugly, like it was a challenge. “I don’t know,” I said, glancing between him and the East River. “But this city is filled with so many possibilities.”
A coarse laugh sprang from his mouth. He came toward me with a cocky swagger, put his hands on my shoulders, and twisted me toward the exit. “Savannah,” he said as he walked me across the living room, “your optimism is amusing.”
He practically shoved me out of the apartment. I spun around to face him as he stood in the doorway with his arms folded. “It isn’t amusing,” I said, thoroughly annoyed. “It’s valid. There are plenty of women you could have a real relationship with.”
“Hmm,” he said in the most condescending way as he rubbed the ridge in his chin. “I’ll need something more concrete than your misguided assertions to convince me of that.”
“Well, I’m still—”
“You’re still undamaged enough to believe all that starry-eyed tripe about the glass being half full and every cloud having a silver lining. Enjoy the fantasy while it lasts,” he said, and then he shut the door and turned the bolt.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?
I usually have actors in mind for many of my characters, but I hesitate to reveal them. I think it’s best for readers to formulate their own ideas of how the characters look, based on my descriptions.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
There is an often-used saying: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I would tell my characters to keep this in mind as they interact with each other, and I think they do. Since New Money, the major characters have progressed tremendously in their understanding of and compassion toward each other.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: 2 Print copies of INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: In Independently Wealthy, Savannah tries to find the truth behind her father’s mysterious death. Would you do almost anything to obtain justice for a family member?
(Here are the first couple of pages from Chapter One—a scene between Savannah and her boyfriend, Alex.)
“It’s true,” I said as I gazed at the gilded statue of Prometheus, the massive tree dotted with colored lights, and the swarm of people in winter coats who were skating across the ice. “Manhattan really is the best place to be for Christmas.”
“It sure is,” Alex said, “especially when I’m with the most beautiful woman in the city.”
He was sitting across from me at a table beside a window in the Rock Center Café, which was filled with a Saturday-night dinner crowd and the sound of Christina Aguilera singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I grinned while I admired Alex’s thick, dark hair and the broad shoulders beneath his black sweater. The white lights framing the rink sparkled in his blue eyes.
He flashed me a smile and turned his attention to a waitress who’d just arrived at our table. He gave her his order while I glanced around the casual but upscale restaurant that had chairs covered in beige leather and walls decorated with Andy Warhol’s art. I was studying one of the paintings when the waitress asked if Alex wanted an appetizer before his entrée.
“No, thanks,” he said, handing her his menu.
I frowned. He’d gotten better at accepting gifts from me, but he still tried to be a cheap date whenever I insisted that dinner was my treat. “A big boy like you,” I said, “needs a healthy meal. Get an appetizer.”
It took a moment for him to let out a chagrined laugh. “Yes, ma’am,” he said finally. Then we put in our orders, the waitress left, and Alex reached across the table to pinch my cheek. You’re trying to fatten me up, Savannah.”
I shook my head, thinking of all the times he’d walked into my bedroom after a shower, wearing nothing but a towel and glittering beads of water on his skin. “I wouldn’t do that. I’m much too fond of the way you look right now.”
He smiled shyly. “So your mother and Tina are flying in soon?”
I nodded and took the lemon wedge off my glass. “In ten days . . . they’ll be here Christmas morning. My office is closing early the night before and won’t re-open until January second, so I’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. And Mom can’t wait to meet you.”
Alex’s smile widened as the waitress returned with a shrimp cocktail for him and a crab cake for me. I started eating, but he didn’t.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing, actually,” he said. “Ever since we got back together, I’ve felt happier than I have in years.”
I reached out to squeeze his arm. “That’s so sweet.”
He put his hand over mine. “Like I’ve said before . . . if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a published author.”
I smiled, thinking about his short story inside the pages of a literary journal. The story had come out earlier this month, and I’d had it framed for him. I’d done the same for my first story in Femme. “You give too much credit to me and not enough to yourself,” I said, sitting back in my chair. “It’s great work, and it deserved to be published. Was your dad impressed?”
Alex shrugged. “I couldn’t tell. He seemed more interested in my brother’s new stockbroker job on Wall Street. I don’t know . . . I just wish my mother was alive to see me finally doing something with my writing.”
“She still sees,” I said.
In Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s sequel to New Money, Savannah Morgan delves into the mystery of her late media mogul father’s death and uncovers more than she ever expected.
In New Money, Savannah Morgan was thrust into high society New York when she learned she was the sole heir to her media mogul father’s billion dollar fortune. In Independently Wealthy she is living her dream life on the Upper West Side, excelling at her job as an editorial assistant, and enjoying her handsome new boyfriend, Alex.
Everything in Savannah’s life should be perfect—except she can’t ignore the mystery of her father’s death. Her hopes of solving this complicated and dangerous mystery are shared by Caroline Stone—her newfound sister who is slowly becoming a friend. Savannah decides to investigate, but not everyone wants Savannah to know the truth. Her domineering older brother, Ned has his own problems, including a lingering regret over his recent divorce, the constant pressure of running the Stone media empire, and managing a playboy bachelorhood. As Savannah’s quest for the truth becomes more complicated and dangerous she is led to Washington, D.C., an alluring stranger, and more surprises, trouble, and changes than she ever could have imagined.
Readers will be swept away by Savannah Morgan once again as she unravels the mystery of her father’s death on Capitol Hill with all the charm and perseverance of when she first arrived in New York City.
Meet the Author:
LORRAINE ZAGO ROSENTHAL was born and raised in New York City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from the University of South Florida. She also earned a master’s degree in English, with a concentration in American and British literature, from Northern Kentucky University. Lorraine’s debut novel, Other Words for Love, was published in 2011, and her second novel, New Money, was published in 2013. She currently lives near Cincinnati, OH with her husband.
Readers can find me via my website: lorraine-zago-rosenthal.blogspot.com & on Twitter @lorrainezr