I’m back! I know it’s been forever since I had an MMGM, but this is a good one because it’s for a book that comes out tomorrow–AT YOUR SERVICE by Jen Malone. I won an annotated e-ARC of this book a couple of months ago, and I loved reading it this way so much Ms. Malone is offering another one to a lucky reader. Yay! Details are at the bottom of the post. Ms. Malone also agreed to answer some questions about the five things I loved most. But first, here’s a description of the 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?
1. I loved reading the annotated version, but I also loved the footnotes. I got a glimpse inside your mind, as well as an extra glimpse inside Chloe’s mind. (Sophie Kinsella also used this in I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER. Have you read that book?) What made you decide to use footnotes? And how much fun was it to do the notes? Yes, I’m sneaking in multiple questions :).
I haven’t read that one yet, but I love her books – going on my list! Because the novel is written in first person, it would have sounded a little unnatural (“You know, Bob…” ) for Chloe to have been giving all these NYC facts as asides; however, I really wrote this book as a love letter to New York and I so wanted to include the factoids. Footnotes seemed like the perfect solution. Also, as you might realize by the end of this interview, I tend to be a tiny (HUGE) bit wordy and this was a way to get even more words in there. Don’t tell my editor!
2. I loved the New York details, and yet you live in Boston. Are you originally from New York or just a fan? If the latter, how did you research the city?
I’m originally from Baltimore, and now live in Boston. My NYC connection is a weird one; my husband and kids are ginormous New York Yankees fans in the middle of Red Sox Nation. In fact, my twin boys’ room is like a shrine to them and we once had a cable serviceman walk upstairs, spot their room, and immediately refuse to stay to do the work. As for me, I adore the city and, for this book especially, I think it really helped to be able to write from a happy tourist’s perspective. I’m not the least bit jaded, as I might be if I was jostled on the subway platforms day after day. Chloe is a native – and very proudly so – but she’s also enamored of her hometown and adores showing it off to visitors (conversely she gets a wee bit annoyed when anyone has less than a glowing review of The Big Apple). We’re lucky that my husband goes to NYC for business several times a year and, whenever possible, we tag along. Most of the tourist spots featured in the book were ones we’d visited in the past few years, though I did have to have my hubby spend half a business trip circling the city to take pictures of every penny machine for me. I also relied on my NYC-living editor and some Brooklyn friends to make sure I got the details right.
3. I love the premise of a junior concierge, with the glamor and the grunt work that come along with it. What other scenarios might Chloe have found herself in if you’d had the space? I’m thinking deleted scenes here …
Well, I can’t give away too much because I’m hopeful Chloe will get to have more concierge adventures. In this book, I wanted to make sure the royal disappearance was introduced before we got too far into the story, so we’re only inside the hotel for the first third of the book or so and that leaves me sooo many fun options to explore going forward. For example, at the Copley Hotel in Boston, they have a dog available for guests to “borrow” from the concierge. You can sign up to walk her or even reserve her to hang in your room with you for a scheduled time. At night she goes home with the concierge. So I think if there’s a sequel, Chloe will definitely be campaigning for a puppy and, when her dad repeatedly says no, she’ll brainstorm this creative solution as a way to get her pet :).
4. I have a serious weakness for royalty. If there are princes and princesses in a story, I’m probably going to love it. Do you have a similar weakness, or was it just a given that royalty would be the ultimate challenge for a junior concierge?
I definitely have a weakness for royalty, but I have to give full credit to my amazing editor, Annie Berger, for this one – it was her idea. It works perfectly though because everyone instantly understands it would be terrible to lose a guest but So. Much. Worse to lose a royal guest! The whole world would pay attention to that news story … which isn’t good for a Junior Concierge who is trying to make a reputation for herself.
5. In line with that last question, I have to say that the penny presses were a brilliant complication. I could just see a kid wanting to collect all those pennies. Do you collect coins? Or something else? Maybe your readers will start sending you pennies!
Thank you! It took me a while to hit on that solution, but it allowed me to give the kids a concrete list of clues to follow and sooo many kids love cranking these machines (all three of my kids have full collector’s books of these pennies). And (I’m SOO thrilled) I just ordered custom At Your Service pressed pennies to give away at the launch party and at school visits – I can’t wait to see them! I’m also crazy excited for a Girl Scout bus trip from Boston to NYC next spring where a whole slew of girls and their moms are going to race through the city to collect as many of the pennies from the book as they can. I personally collect heart-shaped rocks I’ve found (or my kids have found) on the beach, but I do have a collection of coins – one from each of the 47 countries I’ve visited (so far).
Thanks so much for reading At Your Service and for inviting me to hang on your blog!!
And thank you, Ms. Malone, for visiting! Now on to the giveaway! You may enter via the Rafflecopter below. It’s an electronic book, so international is fine!