SECRET LIVES OF
HUSBANDS AND WIVES
BY JOSIE BROWN
Suburbia is a jungle, filled with lots of vicious creatures.
Take the Paradise Heights Women’s League board. Lyssa Harper should have warned golden-haired DILF du jour Harry Wilder what he was getting into when she invited him to meet the mommies who run their suburban, gated community. At least he brought cupcakes. Since meeting the former Master-of-the-Universe turned stay-at-home single dad, Lyssa has been his domestic Sherpa, teaching him the ins and outs of suburban life. She just didn’t realize her friends would show up at his house unannounced with casseroles, leopard-print bikini briefs, and plans to rearrange his kitchen cabinets.
The truth is, if Harry and his wife, the neighborhood’s "perfect couple," can call it quits, what does that mean for everyone else? Lyssa’s husband, Ted, is a great father, but he pays her Pilates-pumped momtourage more attention than he does his own wife. Her friends gossip about the neighbors while ignoring their own problems: infertility, infidelity, and eating disorders.
When Harry sets boundaries with his new fan club, he is exiled from the neighborhood’s in-clique. But Lyssa refuses to snub him. What she never expects is the explosive impact her ongoing friendship with Harry will have on her close-knit pals—and on her marriage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Josie Brown’s celebrity interviews and relationship articles have been featured in Redbook and Complete Woman magazines, as well as AOL, Yahoo, AskMen.com, Divorce360.com, and SingleMindedWomen.com. She lives in Marin County, California with her husband and two children.
1. Here is some background on Josie and her personal life.
This is Josie Brown’s third novel. She is also the author of “True Hollywood Lies” and Impossibly Tongue-Tied. “ Her celebrity interviews and relationship articles have appeared in Redbook and Complete Woman, as well as AOL's Women Channel, Yahoo.com's Personals Channel, askmen.com, affluentmale.com and numerous news and media outlets. You can read more about her on her website: www.JosieBrown.com, and at her blog: www.AuthorProvocateur.com2. Where did you get the inspiration or idea for this book?
I live in a county (Marin, in California) that has a lot of little affluent towns. Each has its own tone and flavor. In one in particular (I won’t name names), the mothers are casually elegant: monied, toned, and trophy wives (usually second wives) to affluent men. Their husbands may rule the boardroom, but they run the town. I saw a wonderful opportunity for a story that is an adult version of “Lord (Lady) of the Flies.” In Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, during his divorce, a high-powered male executive, Harry Wilder, makes the decision to stay home to raise his children. This changes the dynamics the town’s social hierarchy. This is all seen through the eyes of the narrator: my heroine, Lyssa Harper, who doesn’t realize that her relationship mirrors the same issues seen in her neighbors, including Harry, whom she befriends.
3. How did the title of your book come about?
I’ve had that title knocking around in my head for a looooong time. I was shocked to see that no author had used it before—although it had been the title for a TV movie in the early 1980s. It was just the perfect title for this subject matter, so I think I looked out, for sure!
4. Do you see yourself in your characters? Which characters are easiest or more difficult to write?
I see my sense of humor in my heroine, Lyssa. She is quite sardonic about her neighbors’ foibles. I would say that the easiest to write were the women who are her supposed friends—really, her frenemies, especially Margot, who is epitome of a mean mommy. Unfortunately I’ve met a couple of them myself, so it was an easy parody.
5. What are you currently reading?
When I write, I can’t read something new. However, I’m re-reading John LeCarre’s “The Night Manager.” Despite the fact that he writes spy novels, his books are prose as poetry: sublime phrasing and characters.
6. What is the next or current book/project you are working on?
I will have two books coming out next year. The one I can speak about because it’s been formally announced is “Extracurricular”, a story about a private school scandal that has its roots in a generation-old lie that surfaces and affects the lives of everyone involved. That is scheduled to come out September 2011. The other book, also a book of adults behaving badly, comes out April 2011. Both are with Simon & Schuster/Gallery.
7. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?
Despite the fact that I write about lies, infidelities and marriages on the edge, I’ve been happily married for over two decades…and very proud of that. My husband and I are just as passionate as the day we married. It’s easy to write about heartache when It’s not so close that you can’t see to the other side.
8. What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?
Write every day. If you want to make it your vocation, approach it as a craft, not a hobby. Don’t be afraid to get rejected—by agents, and even after you match up with one from editors. It’s all part of the process, and it’s not personal. It’s BUSINESS. That said, learn everything you can about it. Network with other writers. Don’t let their insecurities hold you back. Go for your own personal best.MY REVIEW:
Life in suburbia filled with neighbors and friends, children who play together, men who golf and ladies who lunch. Ah, but we all know there is much more to this than that weak description. This fast and fun story is a perfect way to kick off summer reading at your place. In Josie Brown’s THE SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, Lyssa Harper decides to make friends with a recently separated Harry Wilder when his seemingly perfect marriage falls apart. Being a single parent is hard enough and she figures being male, makes it harder. Lyssa tries to introduce him to her friends to make him feel at home and to help him get through the agony of being newly alone and being a single parent.
When Harry meets Lyssa’s friends from the Paradise Heights Women’s League Board, it sets off a stampede to his door. Women pop up all over trying to “help poor Harry” in their stilettos and designer clothes. From bringing all matter of gifts, and helping him unpack and make things in his home more efficient like in his kitchen, to preparing hot meals and gifts of all kinds including clothes we won’t mention (but the word “leopard” is part of the description), the game is on!
When things get out of hand and Harry comes up for air, he lays down the law and regains his independence but at the same time makes enemies of the Paradise Heights gal pals. Lyssa, however, remains his support group much to the dismay of her friends. She is too naïve not to realize what their “friendship” will do to her social and marital affairs. Lyssa’s husband is a real peach…not the kind you like to enjoy in the summer or any other time for that matter! THE SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES is a quick read and I laughed and found it a super way to start the summer…I wish now that they would at least make a TV movie out of it as I know just the people to cast for the parts of these interesting characters including the shallow, half-crazed group of women!
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