Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Cynthia Ellingson. Cynthia is giving away copies of the book! Be sure to read through to the end to find out how you can win! The Whole Package is published through Penguin/Berkley. That’s quite an accomplishment, Cynthia. Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to chat today.
Hi SJ! Thanks so much for chatting with me. I’m delighted to talk with your readers.
We’re going to start by looking back. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Absolutely! If I could do it all over again and we were already in the time of interactive books, I would have a hologram of male strippers pop up with every mention of the waiters in The Whole Package.
What is the most exciting part of your writing process?
Fireworks explode at the end of the writing process, when the book starts to weave itself together. Half the time, I have no idea what I’m writing then some crazy alchemy happens and the book starts to pull all of these plot lines and character things together. It’s a crazy, exciting time and definitely the best part about writing. Other than working in my pajamas, of course.
Who is your favorite character in this story and why does he/she resonate so much with you?
I am madly in love with all of them. However, Cheryl can take the crown. She’s a sassy, corporate executive with a strong work ethic. She also doesn’t take any shit. I love that in a protagonist.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
“The Whole Package” is about starting over. Three best friends lose everything and are forced to start their lives over. They choose to tackle this problem together, with hilarious and heartwarming results. Yes, just that. Because it’s so true. ☺
How would you describe the heat level of your books on chilli pepper scale (1-5, 1 being sweet and 5 being on the verge of a whole different box of chocolates?
Think a box of chocolates laced with red hot chili flakes. Even though the sex in The Whole Package is not explicit, it’s been known to make more than one reader blush. Primarily because it’s between Cheryl and Andy – and Andy’s smokin’ hot.
Would you mind sharing how you got your agent?
Rather poetically, I was on a trip to New York and I went to Barnes and Noble in the center of the city. I flipped through all the books that I liked and noticed that authors kept thanking agents at Writer’s House. So, I went to the website, learned about the agency and the agents. My future agent’s bio cracked me up – I could tell right away that we had the same sense of humor.
Fave Romance book to read over and over again?
Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Right now I’m reading…
The Reason is You, Sharla Lovelace. Awesome!
Thanks so much for being here today, Cynthia!
The Whole Package
By Cynthia Ellingsen
Life has thrown childhood friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris a few curveballs. Widowed and broke, Jackie returns home after an extravagant life in Paris, Doris is reliant on anti-depressants, and Cheryl’s plans for a corporate take-over are replaced with walking papers. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon a genius idea and decide to open up The Whole Package—the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Armed with Jackie’s connections, Doris’ ambition, and Cheryl’s business sense the ladies set out to make their mark in the world.
French is a sexy language. Except, of course, if you are standing in line at a French café and the French you hear is a nasal, drawn out, “Fat American.“ Unnecessary, especially if you are simply trying to buy a chocolate croissant to dip into the first cappuccino of the day.
Jackie – and yes, it was Jackie and not Jacqueline even though she was closing in on forty instead of the throat of the snickering girl behind her – whirled around.
“Did you just call me fat?”
A French girl stared back at her. The girl had the audacity to cock her head. A yes.
Jackie was stunned. Okay, fine – and a little hurt. Such a judgment was the last thing she expected in this cheerful neighborhood cafe with its brightly painted walls, kitschy produce art and erratically placed wildflowers. Even the French sayings on the wall, written in such careful, scrolling script were meant to inspire good cheer, not snappy little insults.
“Well, I am not fat!” Jackie said. And this was not in French, because after two years in the country she spoke French perfectly and proving it was no longer important. “I am sexy.”
A mustached host had been writing out specials on a blackboard with squeaking chalk. At this, he paused and took a look. Jackie ran her palms over her curvy hips and considered giving a slight shimmy. The man gave a nod in agreement and went back to the specials.
The French girl sniffed. She was dressed all in black, a total cliché. She was holding a sniveling, trendy dog. Its shaky face was framed by a bejeweled collar and its droopy eyes stared, along with everyone else in the cinnamon scented café.
“Perhaps you should order something to eat,” Jackie said, pointedly eyeing the girl’s bony frame . “You’re probably just suffering from low blood sugar.”
Jackie’s jaw dropped. Drawing herself up to her full height of 5’3” (5’6” with her three inch pumps), Jackie said, “If you want to live off of cigarettes and red wine and ignore the delicacies your country has to offer, you go right ahead. But I would rather get chased out of Le Bon Marche by a firing squad than strut around in a body that looks like it was stolen from an eight-year-old boy.”
The French girl gasped.
“I am going to embrace my sensuality,” Jackie said. “I am going to improve upon it. And,” she stood a bit taller, “it is gonna happen with a chocolate croissant.”
“The friendship between the women is realistic, the characters funny, and the premise well-executed. Readers will giggle and grin from start to finish, and will surely be eager for Ellingsen’s next novel.”—PublishersWeekly.com
“The Whole Package is a delightfully frivolous romp. An excellent beach read, this light but enjoyable fare will have you chuckling (and likely blushing!) throughout…”–RT Reviews
About the Author:
Cynthia Ellingsen is a fiction writer and screenwriter. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband.
Connect with Cynthia
WIN WIN WIN
Want your own copy? Simply click on the Rafflecopter link and scroll down to fill out the entry form for your chance to win one of three copies of The Whole Package!