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Hi everyone, thanks for joining me and Lauren as we celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Red Bikini!     Beautiful cover, right? Here’s the blurb: For the last five years, Giselle McCabe’s life has been about sippy cups and playdates. But when her husband suddenly leaves her, Giselle flees to her sister’s […]

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Lauren Christopher’s Launch Party

Posted by on Jul 1 2014, 12:07 am

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Hi everyone, thanks for joining me and Lauren as we celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Red Bikini!

 The_Red_Bikini cover.large


Beautiful cover, right?

Here’s the blurb:

For the last five years, Giselle McCabe’s life has been about sippy cups and playdates. But when her husband suddenly leaves her, Giselle flees to her sister’s California beach house for a two-week getaway. Out of her element, she’s surprised to receive such a warm welcome—especially from gorgeous celebrity athlete Fin Hensen. …

Fin is escaping his pro tour for a season, trying to lay low until all the hubbub over a huge mistake in his past blows over.  And when he sets his sights on Giselle, he realizes that the beautiful good girl just might be his ticket to success. 

But Giselle never expected romance to enter the picture again—especially with a hot twentysomething from a completely different world. And even though it feels like Fin is everything she’s trying to run away from, she can’t help coming back for more…


Congrats, Laurie! I loved this book full of beautiful beaches, gorgeous sunsets and super-hot professional surfers. Was the research just torture for you?

Oh, yeah, torture for sure.  All those sunsets and margaritas I endured at San Clemente pier in the name of research … deep sigh … it’s a wonder I got through it all. Here’s a picture of one of my research days:


You poor thing. So it must’ve taken you hours of staring at hot surfer dudes before you came up with your hunky hero, Fin, right?

Ha, ha! Well, there’s certainly no shortage of hot surfer dudes in Southern California, that’s for sure. The idea of Fin came to me all at once. I knew I was writing about Giselle first, and I knew she was this uber-responsible, oldest-child, divorced mom from Indiana. And I just thought, who would she least likely want to fall in love with? And I thought … hmmm … a California surfer. I thought she’d have all kinds of stereotypes about surfers, and I thought it would be fun to put one in front of her and let all the stereotypes fall away. Surfing isn’t at all what it used to be in the hippie  ’60’s. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry now, a lot of it centered in Orange County, where I grew up. So I had Fin represent the modern, “new” professional surfer, and he helps Giselle break down her stereotypes. He was inspired a little bit by Kelly Slater, if anyone wants to look him up!

And next there’s the poor heroine, who attracts the attention of a *gasp* younger man. Giselle is actually a reluctant cougar, but what a fun problem to have. Did you enjoy writing her character, or was it kinda difficult, seeing as you’re a long-time married woman? (I loved that you dedicated this book to your hubs BTW)

Well, my husband teases me all the time about being a “cougar” (but I’m only older by two months and 18 days)! But to get into the mindset of the “real” reluctant cougar of Giselle, I talked to other women about it — single women in their 30s who are dating. And I asked what they thought about dating a guy in his 20s. I was surprised at how many of them were averse to the idea. Many felt like a guy in his 20s was just light-worlds away from them emotionally. (And I heard some hilarious stories about dating younger – so many that I might have to write another book with this scenario so I can use some of the horror stories.) So I gave a lot of that mindset to Giselle at the start of the book, along with Giselle’s constant worries about what others will think of her. But, again, she has all of her stereotypes broken down one by one. Everything she thought was true at the beginning of the book gets kind of turned upside-down by the end. I really like stories about people and situations turning out to be not what you think they are.

Is the hero faced with this same situation – things turning out to be not what he thinks?

Yep. The theme runs through the whole book. Here’s a scene where they’re driving together, told from Fin’s POV. As you can see, they both have very different perceptions:

“It’s because I’m too old, right?” Giselle said softly.

Fin set the tie in his cup holder and frowned. “What?”

“You don’t want to bring me tomorrow night because I’m too old and matronly.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, I mean, I’m a decade older than you, and—”

“You are not.”

“I am.”

“You are not. How old are you?”

“Some fiancé you turned out to be.”

He smiled, despite himself. “Yeah, I suppose I should ask some of these things beforehand, like your last name and general decade of birth. But really, how old are you? You’re not forty.”

“You’re not thirty.”

“I’m twenty-nine . . . almost.”

“I’m thirty-five . . . already.”

Fin shook his head. “Well, math was never my thing, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t add up to a decade.”

“It’s close enough.”

“It’s not close at all.”

He watched her turn  away, toward her window, allowing the now-setting sun to illuminate the side of her face in goldenrod as they sped down the freeway.

“It’s six years,” he said gently. “How is this making sense to you?”

“It just matters.”

Thirty-five? Didn’t bother him in the least. And obviously other parts of his body didn’t care, either. …

Great excerpt! So, now we want to hear the call story behind this book and what you did to celebrate. Was there dancing around in yoga pants, or were you at work, forced to dance around in a professional and HR appropriate way?

 (Oooh, is there a professional and HR-appropriate way to dance in a cubicle? I’ll have to try that. …) I was at work when I got the email from my agent saying “Call me.” And, since you and I have the same agent, Jill Marsal, we both know that when Jill says “Call me” it’s something huge and important. So I saw that, and my heart kind of flipped a little, because I’d been on submission for a few months and knew certain editors were reading the book. So I rushed home on my lunch hour and called her, and she told me Berkley had offered a 2- book deal! I kind of zoned out for a second from disbelief, then began peppering poor Jill with all the stupid newbie questions in the world, then hung up and did a little Snoopy dance in my work shoes before I wolfed down a frozen burrito and zoomed back to work to live my double life. …

This book and the series is set in a fictional place called Sandy Cove, but loosely based on your stomping grounds in the OC. I am addicted to the Housewives of Orange County (The housewives from all the cities, actually. They make for good character studies, or so I tell my husband when he runs from the room when they’re on.) What percentage of ladies are really that outrageous in your neighborhood?

Ha! Well, I love the show, too, and those particular ladies are in my neighborhood! The show originated in Coto de Caza, which is about an eighth of a mile up the road from me. (But I live in the “normal” part, of course – the “other side of the tracks,” if you will.) But a lot of the OC housewives do their grocery shopping, dining, clothes shopping, gym hopping, and everything else in my neighborhood because Coto doesn’t have any commerce. So I ran into Tamra shopping for Halloween decorations in Target once. She was with all her kids, and Simon. I kept staring at him, thinking he looked so familiar, wondering if he was a dad on my son’s soccer team, then all of a sudden it hit me: Ohmygod, that’s Simon from the show! Then I saw her up the aisle a little and knew for sure. I’ve also seen Vickie driving through the parking lot of Pier 1 and Lowes, and my husband used to see Jeana at the grocery store all the time. We love watching the show and pointing out all of our favorite haunts – our favorite restaurants, our lake, our streets, our stores. It’s a kick. The newer women live closer to the beach – in Newport or Laguna – but we still see them filming around here all winter. But man, the women are outrageous! I assure you, Orange County has mostly real women like me, who are scrubbing toilets and trying to get their kids to soccer practice every week!

So tell us how you do it? Work full time, write books, shuttle kids around and stayed married?

Well, it’s a lot of juggling for sure — as we all know. But I keep telling myself this is what I always wanted. I stood in my kitchen eight years ago, washing dishes, watching Oprah, and when she asked what “we” the audience would be if we could be anything, I thought “a novelist.” It had been a long-dormant dream — kept dormant since college, while I got married, had kids, and worked a newspaper job — but suddenly I just decided I wanted to do it. So I started then, and here I am. It’s a ton of work (and much harder than I thought it’d be), but I thank my lucky stars every day that I am where I am, and doing what I always wanted and what I love. I’m going to give it my all for as long as readers will have me.

Good plan! So, what’s next? When does the next book come out?

The next book comes out April 2015. It’s called Ten Good Reasons and features Giselle’s sister Lia. It’s got a workaholic heroine, a hero who looks like a pirate, some serious tanned forearms, a whale named Valentine, some Cinderella imagery, and a whole lot of fun! I hope readers will come along for another ride. And I’m writing the third book, for the youngest sister, now.

Congrats and thanks so much for sharing your big day with us today. Here’s wishing for many sales!

Thanks, Tammy! 

Okay, now let’s talk hot heroes and make this fun confession time. Have you ever dated, or are you currently dating, a younger man?  Nosey authors (me and Laurie) want to know…. if you leave a comment below, or just say hi, you’ll be entered in the drawing for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a “Sandy Cove” souvenir gift pack! (US only)



Here are some buying options: (paperback) (Kindle) (United Kingdom) (paperback) (Nook)

iBooks (for download to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac) (free delivery worldwide, to Australia, Switzerland, Philippines and more)Cabrera



66 responses to “Lauren Christopher’s Launch Party”

  1. Louise B says:

    Well, I’m married to a younger man. Does that count? Joe is 2 1/2 months younger than I. It’s not the age that matters, but the fact that we mesh so well as each the oldest of five.

    • Yes, indeedy, that counts, Louise B! (At least according to my husband it does.) We are also about 2.5 months different, but you’d think it was 20 years with the way he teases, pointing out our different ages to our kids, our neighbors, the guy walking by with his dog … anyone who will listen. 🙂 It’s all good fun, though. And you named the main point — it’s not the age that matters. 🙂 Thanks for swinging by!

  2. Kay Hudson says:

    Congratulations, Lauren, and Happy Book Launch! I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  3. Elisa Beatty says:

    Yay, Laurie!! Congrats on your big day! I loved the excerpt, and the whole story concept!

    And, no, I’ve never dated a younger man. My husband’s four years older.

    And if I weren’t married…hmmm. Maybe I should hang out at the beach more…

  4. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, I had the pleasure of reading an ARC a couple of months ago, and I loved, loved, loved this story! Finn was so self-assured, and…hot! Giselle coming out of a bad marriage and ultimately finding herself will speak to many. Hmm. I love the younger guy, older woman trope, but then, my late husband was younger than me. Great read and I’m looking forward to more of your work. I hope you like the review I left on Amazon and Goodreads; it’s the least I could do for a Firebird sister (unless it’s an ARC for a prerelease review, I usually buy everyone’s books so that I am a confirmed buyer when I leave a reviews). Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much, Kathleen! And yes, thanks for your well-written reviews and all your nice words about Fin! (He seems to be starting his own fan club.) 🙂

      I didn’t know your late husband was younger than you! I should have “interviewed” you about that. It was fun to talk to different women with different experiences and try to incorporate some real reactions in Giselle. I had so much fun with this book.

      Thanks for swinging by and all the kind words!

  5. AJ Larrieu says:

    Oh, Laurie, I knew I was excited to read your book, but that little excerpt just made me REALLY impatient. Great interview!!! I love the themes your working with in this book, and I can’t wait to get to know Giselle and Fin. Congratulations on your release!

  6. SOO excited for you, Laurie. Great post! LOVE you fulfilling your dream – (you need to send this story to Ophrah 🙂 I’m off to purchase THE RED BIKINI! It looks fabulous and ….um, yeah….surfer dudes. I’ll bite. Happy Book Birthday!!!! Hugs, Heather

    • Thanks, Heather! I’ll be curious to know what you think about this “surfer dude” — he might not be what you think! 🙂

      And thanks so much for all your support and encouragement always — you’re such a terrific Firebird sister!

  7. bn100 says:

    Happy release! No, I haven’t

  8. robena grant says:

    Congratulations! Laurie. I have The Red Bikini on my TBR pile and I’m looking forward to the read. I’m shooting for this holiday weekend. Hot summer fun and a younger man, what’s not to like? Loved the excerpt and your journey to publishing.

    • Thanks so much, Robena! This weekend is actually an awesome time to read it, because it takes place, in part, leading up to the 4th of July weekend. (There’s a restaurant plate in the book “with red and blue tortilla chips” on it “for the upcoming Independence Day celebration”!) 🙂

  9. Karen says:


    Terrific interview and as I confessed to you in a FB message, when I won my ARC and it arrived in the mail, I couldn’t resist taking just a peek. Which of course, turned into just reading a chapter. Which led to the first 3 chapters, until by the next day, it was all gone like a gooey, yummy chocolate lava cake.

    Fin is scrumptious. And I love all of Giselle’s insecurities. I think my mind works like hers. Excellent book and since I’ve read it, I don’t know if it’s made me more aware of the surfing theme in commercials lately, but I always stop and stare at the screen if there’s a guy riding a big wall of water, looking to see if he’s going to stream his fingers through it. 😉

    Fabulous start to a career that can only take you to infinity and beyond.

    And I’m the opposite of a cougar. My hubby is a decade and a 1/2 older than me. But sometimes I’m the adult and have to just say, “No.”

    Wishing you tons of success. And happy birthday too. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

    • Ha, ha — “like a gooey, yummy chocolate lava cake” … love it, Karen!

      Thanks so much for compliments on Fin. As I told Kathleen, I think he’s starting his own fan club. My CP might lead the parade. She used to write to me every day as I was finishing this and say “How’s Fin????” ha, ha… She was completely in love.

      And I appreciate what you said about Giselle, too. I think my mind works like hers, too, and that’s why I wanted to write her like that: Other people see her one way, and she sees herself as something different. I think it’s a common situation that a lot of women might relate to.

      And I’m grinning ear-to-ear that you’re watching the surfing commercials more carefully and looking to see if they stream their fingers through the “wall”! Have you seen the Kelly Slater GoPro commercial??? Wowza. …

      Thanks for all your support and encouragement, Karen! You’re the best!

  10. Love the title, love the cover, love the story. Can’t wait to read it, and I’m so excited for you! Happy, happy launch! You are on your way.

  11. Jean Willett says:

    Congratulations!!So happy to see this book introduced to the world. Loved reading it. Great characters. Doing the happy dance for you! 🙂

  12. Kristi says:

    Nope, always older men! But I loved reading about them! Great book and congrats on your debut day!

  13. Amy Lang says:

    I have never dated a younger man! Men are immature enough as it is.

    • Ha, Amy! Well, that’s some of the word I was getting back from some of the women I talked to beforehand. It seems women are really split on this issue — half can’t fathom the idea and the other half think it’s wonderful. I hope you’ll try the book — you’ll recognize your stance in Giselle! 🙂

  14. Jayme says:

    I often dated older guys in high school.
    However I married a younger man by 8 1/2months.

  15. Terri Osburn says:

    I ADORE that excerpt. Yes, ADORE in all caps. I mean, you had me at beach house and surfer dude, but that excerpt is GOLD.

    Congratulations on the big debut release, Lauren! I really am looking forward to reading this one. You have moved way up the TBR pile, my dear.

    As to the dating, I had to think about it. I’ve always dated men anywhere from 6 months to 3 years younger than I am. Never dated one my age or older, I don’t think. And I’m still single.

    I think there might be an obvious conclusion to be drawn here.

    • Thank you, Terri!

      So always younger men, huh? (I think the most interesting part of that is that you didn’t necessarily think about it until now! Either it doesn’t matter to you, or you don’t know that it matters to you.) 🙂

      Anyway, thanks so much for the kind words, and I really hope you like the book! I feel honored to be moved up in your TBR pile.

  16. Meg Kassel says:

    Congrats on your book launch, Laurie! Sooooo exciting. Gorgeous cover and excellent excerpt. I wish you all the best in your new release. Many, MANY sales!

    I’ve never dated a younger man. Tried it for one date and it made me feel really old, which was bad since I was in my mid 20s at the time. I preferred older guys, with my cap at 14 years because that’s the age difference between me and Bono and I had to keep him in the running. Don’t judge, this was like, 1990. I married a wonderful guy 3 months older than me, and that’s plenty young enough 🙂

    • Ha, ha! Meg, you’re a girl after my own heart with the Bono thing! (I guess he turned us both down?) Glad you found your own HEA, though, that probably doesn’t even involve weird sunglasses.

      Thanks so much for the well wishes! Here’s to Firebirds! *clink*

  17. Happy, Happy launch day! I’m so excited for you! I love the cover, the title, the excerpt–it sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to read it!

    Hmm…I think I did date a younger man once. But it was a way long time ago. Let’s not get into numbers at all, okay?

    Congratulations!! 🙂

  18. Bridget Taylor says:

    Love to read your book. Congrats!

  19. Keely Thrall says:

    What a fun concept – and great excerpt! First a surfer, next a pirate (or as good as). Lauren, you obviously give good hero. Lucky readers!!

  20. Jamie Wesley says:

    Yay you! Love the excerpt. Can’t wait to read the book!!

  21. Cindy Tew says:

    Congratulations on your new book! No younger man here.

  22. Great blog, Tammy and Lauren 🙂 And huge congratulations on your book release, Lauren! I loved your “the call” story–how exciting! I also love the premise of your novel 🙂

    As for younger guys, well, they are so cute, aren’t they? But I think it’s all about maturity, not age – some can be more mature than men our age or older!

    I bought “The Red Bikini” yesterday. I can’t wait till it’s delivered to Australia!

    Catherine 🙂

    • Thanks, Catherine! And yeah, you’re so right — not about age but maturity. That was an important point in the book.

      So I’ll have to talk to you sometime about surfing in Australia! I’ve learned that, as a sport, it’s regarded with more respect there — like winners of the big championships would be announced regularly in sports news, the way golf would be reported here.

      Anyway, I hope your copy arrives speedily! Do you use The Book Depository?

      • Yes – Book Depository – free delivery to Aust 🙂 I wish all Firebird books were available from there 🙂

        Surfing is definitely popular here but mainly when there are Aussie surfers in the competition 🙂

  23. […] Firebird buddy Tammy Baumann is throwing a virtual launch party for me over on the Firebirds blog here, all day. We’re talking about hot heroes, dating younger men, and seeing the OC housewives in […]

  24. Lori P says:

    Congrats on your new book! Looking forward to reading it 🙂

  25. Patti says:

    Congrats on the book launch!!!!! Fin…sigh…I have my fav hero’s. Samuel from The Shadow and the Star, Christian from Flowers from the Storm…umm–Alex from the Pride of Lions, and of course, need to mention the book. But Fin…love, love, love Fin. Be prepared to stay up all night, reading ladies…
    As for a younger man..the youngest was 11 years younger. But he was Parisian. No regrets there. My husband is 6 months and one day younger. does that count?

    • Patti!!! My beloved CP! Thank you so much for stopping by, and for being Fin’s biggest fan. 🙂 (Who was the actor you were picturing for him again? Or was he a model or something? I remember it surprised me at first, but then it seemed right.)

      Anyway, LOL on the Parisian. … You have some cool stories, my dear. 😉

  26. Helen Stockwell says:

    Congrats and the best of luck on your launch! Look forward to reading this book and many more to come.

  27. LyndeScheffer says:

    My first husband was 2 years younger
    Then my long term boyfriend was 5 years younger.
    They didn’t care that I was older
    But in the end, my biological clock was ready and they weren’t.
    I have now been married to an older man for 21 years.Hr is physically and mentally younger than I, but very smart and responsible. I got the better

  28. Sandra Owens says:

    Happy Book Birthday, Lauren!!! Love your cover.

  29. April B says:

    YAY, Laurie! So excited for you. And I can’t wait to hear all of your tales from the trenches of publication. I’m off to grab your book!

  30. Shari says:

    Sounds like a fun book. Looking forward to reading, on my kindle already.

  31. Congratulations on your book. Can’t wait to read it. Twenty years ago, I married a man four years younger after a horrendous marriage to a jerk. Personally, the age difference in my situation wasn’t important. What was paramount was that we both wanted the same things. One of the nicest comments he made to me was, “You’re my woman and I’m glad you’re in my life.” That was three nights ago. Sounds like it good be a premise for a book.

    Good luck on your launch.

  32. We have a winner! I’ll be emailing the winner shortly! (Check your inboxes.)

    And thanks again to Tamra Baumann for conducting such a FUN interview! She knows how to ask such fun questions! 🙂

  33. We got ahold of our winner — Amy Lang! Congrats, Amy! Thanks for visiting the Firebirds Blog. I’ll be mailing your prize to you. 🙂

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