Hi Holly and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Nothing But The Truth!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday and a big promotion, a Hollywood publicist makes a wish that leaves her unable to lie. She spends the next day honestly and hilariously confronting all the mistruths women have to face just to get by in everyday life.
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
One of my favorite scenes is between Lucy and her boss, Joanna where they are discussing Lucy being able to handle the challenges of her day. Joanna says: “Too much expectation is put on women to adapt when it is in fact the obstacles they face that need changing.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- The working title of this book was Lucy Green Can’t Tell A Lie. The final title, Nothing But The Truth suddenly came to me one night, and I emailed by agent about it at midnight to tell her.
- The magical cocktail that Lucy drinks in the opening scene is inspired by a drink I once had in real life at a restaurant in the Gaslamp District in San Diego, CA.
- For inspiration when coming up with obstacles for Lucy to confront, I ran a poll on Instagram, asking women to list things we are expected to put up with and never talk about (makeup, visible panty line, waxing, etc.). They all made it into the book.
- Both restaurants featured in the book, The Palm and Perch, are real-life locations in Los Angeles.
- The description of men in Southern California riding motorcycles in Chucks and tee shirts with tatted-up arms is based on real life. I see them everywhere, all the time.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Lucy is drawn to Adam (aka, Hot Bartender) by his sincerity and honesty. He’s the only person not to ask her if something is wrong when he sees her in casual clothes and without makeup. He helps her realize her wish-gone-wrong is in fact a gift, and she realizes he has the most enlightened reaction to her situation of all. Adam finds Lucy fascinating from the moment he meets her and is only more drawn to her when he learns about her predicament and the way she is changing her life through honesty.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
The scene with Lucy and Adam on the park bench gives me butterflies. It’s the first time Lucy truly realizes how she feels about him and lets herself actually feel it. Not only that, but she also gives into the desire of kissing him in public and thinks about how that’s often seen as something well-behaved women aren’t supposed to do.
Kissing Adam felt like a key in a lock. Or perhaps a truth in a sequence of lies. She hardly knew him, yes, but she trusted whatever force kept bringing them together. And she trusted the warmth unfurling into her limbs and feel of his hand on her cheek. Most of all, she trusted that she wanted to kiss him. Kissing a near stranger on a bench in a community park was not something well-behaved women did—her mother would scold her if she saw—but dropping the oppressive charade and embracing her desire right there in public was not only thrilling, it was liberating.
Readers should read this book….
If they are fans of big-hearted, empowering stories with a hint of magic, if they like stories about Hollywood and fictional celebrities, and if they want to see a woman face a day full of obstacles and come out on top.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
My next book, The Deja Glitch is currently in copyedits. It will be out with Dutton summer 2023. It’s another lightly speculative rom-com set in L.A. This story has a much larger romantic element and centers on two people stuck in a 24-hour time loop where they have to fall in love to break out. The problem is, Jack can remember the entire loop, and Gemma feels like every day is the first day they’ve met. It has more entertainment industry shenanigans, the best best friend ever, and a book boyfriend worth swooning over! Aside from that, I am also drafting a potential book three.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: (1)A print copy of Nothing But The Truth by Holly James
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Excerpt from Nothing But The Truth:
“We’re closed!” he called, not unkindly, as Lucy stomped inside. She marched straight up to the stool she sat on the night before and watched him squat down to reach for something under the bar. When he popped back up to see her right in front of him, his face split into a grin. “Oh, hey, Birthday Girl.”
“Hey, Hot Bartender—I mean . . .”
She wanted to drown herself in the bottle of tequila in his big hands. His brows jumped as the rest of his face lifted in a pleasant smile.
“Sorry.” She tried to recover, though she was dying a slow, mortifying death. “I didn’t catch your name last night.”
He chuckled. “It’s Adam, but I’ll answer to Hot Bartender too.”
Her face was on fire, she was sure of it.
He wiped down the bottle of tequila and set it on the bar. His hazel eyes were warm and keen just like they had been the night before. He watched Lucy with great interest. “What can I get you?”
“I thought you were closed.”
He sounded disappointed. Like maybe he wanted the unhappy woman from the night before to return midday and demand he woo her with another life-changing cocktail.
No time for that.
“I’m not here for a drink,” Lucy said, harsher than she meant to. “I want to know what you put in my drink last night.”
“The purple fizzy thing you served me, what was in it?” His full lips bent into a sly grin that Lucy could definitely see in a leading role. This guy had the stuff. It was probably all there when she had met him the night before; she just wasn’t being honest with herself about it about it. She bit her lip and tried to concentrate.
“Sorry, I can’t share,” he said. “That’s my proprietary birth- day special.”
He was flirting with her, that much was clear, and on an- other day, she might have been in the mood. But not with her career hanging in the balance.
She stood up on the bar’s footrest, making herself a few inches taller in her flats. She spread her palms on the marble top. To avoid sounding completely nuts, she held back confessing about her wish and kept it vague. “Listen, something strange has happened to me, and I can only trace it back to here—to you. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think it started with that drink, so I need you to tell me what was in it.”
His face suddenly paled, and he looked ill. He leaned in. “Whoa, look, I don’t know what may have happened after you left here last night, but I didn’t put anything in your drink that would have . . . that might have made you . . .”
“Oh!” Lucy blurted. “No, no, I wasn’t drugged or anything. Not in that sense anyway.”
He pressed a hand to his chest, sighing a big breath. “Good. You scared me. I thought something bad happened to you.”
“Sorry.” Lucy tucked her hair behind her ear, impressed that Oliver’s scarf job was still holding up, and felt chagrined. She hadn’t meant to accuse him of slipping something dangerous into her drink. He still looked concerned despite her clarification, and she studied him studying her, which led her to notice how his agreeably tight olive tee shirt set off the green in his eyes.
“So, what’s going on, then, if we’re not talking beverage sabotage?”
Lucy shook herself from the grip of his gaze. Has it been that strong the previous night? Had she just not been paying attention, or had she been in unconscious denial about it?
It didn’t matter. That wasn’t why she’d come.
She leaned over the bar again and told him the truth. “We are talking about beverage sabotage. I made a wish when I had that drink, and ever since, I haven’t been able to lie.”
He stared at her like he was examining a piece of art. She felt as exposed as she did the night before when he told her she was unhappy. But this time, she couldn’t be sure he wasn’t about to burst out laughing.
“You wished you couldn’t lie?”
“No! I wished for the perfect day today, and something went very, very wrong. Now I can’t tell a lie.”
His skepticism had nowhere to hide. “Okay, George Washington, what does that mean? You can’t tell a lie.”
He was being cute, and it was not the time.
“It means that ever since I drank that purple concoction—a drink you called life-changing—my life has been in chaos.”
He wadded his rag in his hands, and Lucy tried to ignore how oddly appealing the motion was. “Chaos because you can’t lie?”
“Yes. It’s been a very rough morning, and I have a big, very important afternoon, so I need you to undo whatever you did.” She fluttered her hands like the secret to his trick was hidden under the bar.
He kept staring at her, his eyes narrowing and his hands working the rag. “You,” he said slowly, “Can’t…tell a lie?”
She nodded, and as heat curled up her neck and into her cheeks, she realized she’d walked straight into a trap—the same trap she’d set with Oliver, but he, being one of her best friends, had the decency not to humiliate her. There was no telling what this gorgeous stranger with a killer smile was capable of.
Adam the bartender leaned across the bar with mischief in his eyes. “What are you doing later tonight?”
Lucy swallowed against her dry throat. She had no choice but to tell him, but she didn’t have to do it nicely.
“My birthday party at Perch.”
“Yes, as long as I don’t destroy my life beforehand because of whatever you put in my drink!”
“I didn’t put anything in your drink!” He shrugged his bulky shoulders and held up his hands. “Listen, it was vodka, crème de violette, champagne, and lemon juice.”
She eyed him suspiciously. “That’s it?”
“Yes! Oh, and the truth serum, but I thought that was a given.”
She snatched a cherry from the little black box of lime wedges, straws, and ruby red maraschinos and threw it at him. He flinched and laughed. “I’m kidding! That’s not even a real thing?”
“I think the CIA would disagree.”
He leaned in on the bar, suddenly serious again. “You think I’m a spy?”
She reached for another cherry, but he moved the box away.
“I think you’re making fun of me when I came in here asking for help.”
“This is how you ask people for help? By accusing them of causing your problems and throwing fruit at them?”
She realized that was a completely fair observation, and she was annoyed with him for so readily making it. She folded her arms and glared at him. “Listen, if you didn’t put anything in my drink, prove it. Make me another one. Right now.”
“It’s eleven a.m.”
“Do I look like I care what time it is?”
“Okay!” He chuckled, backing away with a smile. “Coming right up.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….
When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.
Then Lucy arrives at the office, and she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.
This sharp, bighearted, and magical novel tackles all the lies women are encouraged to tell just to get by in today’s world—in life, in love, and in the workplace—and the liberation that can come from telling nothing but the truth.
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Meet the Author:
Holly James holds a PhD in psychology and has worked in both academia and the tech industry. She loves telling stories with big hearts and a touch of magic. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and dog.
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