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Friday, April 14, 2017

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Hideaway
Lauren K. Denton

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Things You Didn't Know About The Hideaway

  1. This is not the first book I’ve written. Another finished 80K-word novel rests in peace on a thumb-drive in my desk and in a box of rubber-banded paper in a cardboard box somewhere. Maybe I’ll return to it one day, but maybe I won’t. There’s probably a good reason why many people call a first novel the “practice novel.”
  2. Once I put the “practice novel” to bed, I struggled coming up with a story idea that could carry me (and the reader) through 300 pages, so I asked myself this question: If I could pick the perfect book to curl up with and get lost in, what would it be? It was the end of a chilly January, about the time I usually begin to yearn for summer, and I knew I wanted to read a book set by the water in the warm months. My mind went to the quaint Eastern Shore area of Mobile Bay then it hopped west to New Orleans, and I knew I’d found my settings. Then the idea of a ramshackle B&B bubbled to the surface followed quickly by an eccentric grandmother. It didn’t take long to realize these puzzle pieces could come together to make something really fun and special.
  3. I wrote The Hideaway in about 10 months. I spent six months revising it (on my own and with feedback from an awesome creative writing workshop) and about nine months querying. In a strange but wonderful twist, the publisher interest came first, then I found my agent. The publisher made us an offer in August and I signed the papers in November. If you’re keeping track, it was about two years and ten months between writing the first word and signing the contract.
  4. Even though my children are in school, I do most of my writing early in the morning before they wake up. I used to balk at the idea of waking up at 5, but I also couldn’t seem to find time to squeeze in writing once my kids’ nap schedules changed. My husband suggested early morning and after some grumbling, I started setting my alarm for 5. Now I know my brain fires quicker and more creatively in the mornings before all the other distractions set in.
  5. One of the characters in The Hideaway is a woodworker named William. He makes all kinds of things—tables, benches, pie-safes, armoires—and he carves a skeleton key into each piece he makes. He puts it in an out-of-the-way spot where it’s not on display, but it’s easy to find if you know what you’re looking for. My maternal grandfather was also a woodworker, and he carved an arrow into most pieces of furniture he made. Whenever my kids come across something of his in our house or my parents’ house, they love looking for that small arrow. My grandfather had nothing else in common with William—their lives were completely different—but in the way they used their hard-working hands to make beautiful things, I feel they might have been friends.
  6. Many authors use music to get their creative juices flowing, but I’m not one of them. If I hear anything with words—music, the TV, other people’s conversations—I tune out of my characters’ words and into whatever else I’m hearing around me. If I write anywhere other than my quiet house, I use my ear buds and a white noise app on my phone—and it’s usually set to oscillating fan!
  7. Answering the question of who is my favorite character feels a little like choosing which of my daughters is my favorite. Except in this case, I’d be choosing between about ten characters, all of whom I have very strong feelings for! Since I can’t choose between Sara and Mags, I’ll say Allyn is a strong competitor for my favorite. He was by far the easiest character to write. The way he breezed into Sara’s shop Bits and Pieces with all the confidence in the world is pretty much how he breezed into my mind. I had a ball with him.
  8. In the book, Sara owns an antique shop on New Orleans’s Magazine Street. The street is well-known for its shops, galleries, and eating places. The idea for Sara’s shop, Bits and Pieces, came from taking trips with my mom to Magazine Street and browsing quaint antique shops. (And Guy’s Po-Boy’s is real, by the way.)
  9. I get my best story ideas, fill in plot holes, and generally am the best, most accomplished writer ever... while I’m exercising. Specifically when I’m out on a walk by myself. Anytime I get stuck in my writing, if I can get outside in the fresh air and walk, the solution usually comes to me. Walking through my neighborhood reminds me exactly where I was when I came up with certain scene details or figured out how to fix a timeline. (The idea for the white vinyl tablecloths at The Outrigger during Sara and Allyn’s dinner? Corner of Manhattan and Clermont.)
  10. I’d read and loved books by Southern authors before, but it wasn’t until I ran across a shelf labeled “Southern Fiction” in my college bookstore that I realized it was an actual genre. I just knew the books spoke to me in a way others didn’t. Something about the cadence of life, the storytelling, the language—maybe even the proximity to water—pulled me into the stories and made me sad to leave. After so many years of devouring these southern-tinged books, of course, that’s what came out when I started to write my own stories. I’ll never say never, but I can’t imagine writing a book that’s not set in the South.

About the Author

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham.

In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books.

The Hideaway is her first novel.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Hideaway—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Lauren's question in the comments below:
What are your feelings about Southern fiction—is it a genre/category you enjoy? Did you even know it was a thing? If you don’t read it, is there a particular reason why? I’d also love to know the general region where you live.
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Lauren and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson!
Giveaway ends April 28th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!