I was lucky to meet Amanda Eyre Ward recently at the Kauai Writers Conference, along with her lovely agent, Michelle Tessler. I was in the middle of reading her new novel, THE JETSETTERS (Ballantine) and frankly I was amazed this is the same woman who wrote, THE SAME SKY. In case you haven’t read THE SAME SKY (shame on you), her new novel couldn’t be any different. In fact, I told her I was amazed she’s the same woman. She told me, “You have to have some fun sometimes.” That gives you an idea of what JETSETTERS is. It’s one of those too funny to explain novels, but I’ll try. Imagine spending a week with your your somewhat estranged, extremely dysfunctional family on a cruise ship? It’s even funnier than you can think possible?
When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the “Become a Jetsetter” contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can’t seem to find a partner; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday. Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young, when she was a single mother who meant everything to them.
When she wins the contest, the family packs their baggage—both literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso. As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed and old wounds are reopened, forcing the Perkins family to confront the forces that drove them apart and the defining choices of their lives.
“Your family of origin (as her therapist called them) could be toxic and strange, but they were yours: you could not escape them, for better or worse.”
Can four lost adults find the peace they’ve been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back together? THE JETSETTERS is a delicious and intelligent novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood.
Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye, New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she wrote for the Kent News.
Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year, and then moved to Missoula, Montana.
Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter Library Loan.
In 1998, Amanda moved to Austin, Texas where she began working on Sleep Toward Heaven. She wrote for the Austin Chronicle and worked for a variety of Internet startups. In 1999, Amanda won third prize in the Austin Chronicle short story contest with her story Miss Montana’s Wedding Day.
She published Butte as in Beautiful that same year.
In July, 2000, Amanda married the geologist Tip Meckel in Ouray, Colorado.
During that summer, Amanda finished Sleep Toward Heaven, which was published in 2003. Sleep Toward Heaven won the Violet Crown Book Award and was optioned for film by Sandra Bullock and Fox Searchlight. To promote Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda, her baby, and her mother Mary-Anne Westley traveled to London and Paris.
Amanda moved to Waterville, Maine, where she wrote in an attic filled with books. Amanda’s second novel, How to Be Lost, was published in 2004. How to Be Lost was selected as a Target Bookmarked pick, and has been published in fifteen countries.
After one year in Maine and two years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Amanda and her family returned to Austin, Texas.
Amanda’s short story collection, Love Stories in This Town, was published in April, 2009.
Her fourth novel, Close Your Eyes, published in July, 2011, received a four-star reiew in People Magazine, won the Elle Lettres Readers’ Prize for September, and inspired the Dallas Morning News to write, “With CLOSE YOUR EYES, Austin novelist Amanda Eyre Ward puts another jewel in her crown as the reigning doyenne of ‘dark secrets’ literary fiction.”
Close Your Eyes was named in Kirkus’ Best Books of 2011, and won the Elle Magazine Fiction Book of the Year. It was released in paperback in August, 2012.
Amanda’s fifth novel, The Same Sky, was published on January 20, 2015. It was named one of the most anticipated books for 2015 by BookPeople and Book of the Week by People Magazine. Dallas Morning News writes, “Ward has written a novel that brilliantly attaches us to broader perspectives. It is a needed respite from the angry politics surrounding border issues that, instead of dividing us, connects us to our humanity.”
The Same Sky was chosen as a Target Bookmarked pick.
Amanda currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her children.
THE JETSETTERS will be published March 3rd!
We have one of THE JETSETTERS to giveaway. Just tell us what your dream trip would be if your could go anywhere. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.
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