28 February 2014

First Line Fridays: Jen Malone

Welcome back to first line Friday!

Each Friday, I invite a guest author to share the opening line from his or her upcoming release and a favorite book.

Today's guest is Jen Malone, debut author of AT YOUR SERVICE, coming August 26.

Jen Malone once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nick's tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. She is a former Hollywood film publicist and current college professor who lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children and (someday, when she wears her husband down) a pet hedgehog. She lives north of Boston with her husband and three children, teaches at Boston University, and travels the world as a workshop facilitator.

Here's the blurb for her book:

Chloe Turner has pretty much the BEST life. She gets to live in the super fancy Hotel St. Michele, New York City is her home town and her dad Mitchell Turner, concierge extraordinaire, is teaching her all the secrets of the business so she can follow in his footsteps. After helping him out with a particularly difficult kid client, Chloe is appointed the official junior concierge tending to the hotel’s smallest, though sometimes most demanding, guests.

Her new position comes with tons of perks like cupcake parties, backstage passes to concerts, and even private fittings with the hippest clothing designers. But Chloe hasn’t faced her toughest challenge yet. When three young royals, (including a real-life PRINCE!) come to stay, Chloe’s determined to prove once and for all just how good she is at her job. But the trip is a disaster, especially when the youngest disappears. Now it’s up to Chloe to save the day. Can she find the missing princess before it becomes international news?

Sounds like so much fun! Let's get started:

What are the opening lines of your book?
"Oh. Holy. Yikes. 

Pigmy elephants sound like they’d be adorable, but when they look ready to charge at you? Mmm . . . not so much.

I crouch low in the high African grasses, the stalks tickling my bare calves below my skirt and try to hold as still as possible. News flash: not super easy in heels. Even the really short kind, which is all Dad lets me wear."

Oh, I love these! Especially since from the cover, I would have never have guessed the book starts in the African brush...makes me want to read more and discover what happens next!

Where these lines set from the first draft? And if not, how many times do you think you've changed them?
Pretty much, which surprised me when I went back to look, because they usually do change for me. But the first draft opening read:

"Oh. Holy. Yikes.
Pigmy elephants may sound adorable, but when they look ready to charge at you… not so much on the cuteness factor"

Why do you think this opening is perfect for your novel?
Although it sounds like she's in Africa, as the scene progresses it becomes clearer that Chloe is actually inside an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, borrowing a rare headdress so that one of the guests at her hotel can have an authentic tribal wedding, despite the very glittery NYC locale. I wanted to start by showing one of the truly bizarre things her job as Junior Concierge for a posh NYC hotel might require of her, but also give it a setting where kid have to sort of puzzle out what the heck is going on. I thought the museum might capture kid's imagination and let them know we're about to go on an adventure all around NYC. 

Ok, now I love them even more!

Give us your favorite opening line(s) from a favorite book, and tell us why you love them:

Well who doesn't love Charlotte's Web's "Where's Papa going with that ax?"? Clearly some drama is going to follow that first line. But I actually like when the first line makes me laugh and shows great voice, because then I instantly know I'm in for some fun. I recently read Tracy Martin's ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART and the first lines made me legit laugh out loud: 

"Some people are like a venereal disease. Not that I know what one is like firsthand, thanks, but I did have to sit through health class. My point is, these people are the product of a moment of fun in your past, a wild and crazy passion that you look back on with longing and regret. And just when you think they're gone for good, they return to irritate the hell out of you." Love it!

Oh, I haven't read that one...but how could you not want to after a line like that?
Thanks so much for joining us!

Be sure that you head on over to Twitter and follow Jen @jenmalonewrites

And don't forget to Preorder At Your Service!

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