Booksting with CoHo and Renee Carlino!

Welcome to Booksting With CoHo, a new post on my blog where I’ll be featuring new-to-me authors, authors who intrigue me, authors whose books I love and even awesome bloggers.


My first author is Renee Carlino. Her newest book, Before We Were Strangers, releases on August 18th and it’s so, so good. I know, because I actually read it. Renee knows all the details of when I read it, but that stays between me and Renee.

I asked Renee a few questions and then I had her answer a few reader questions, which, btw, you guys are crazy. How do you want to die? What kind of question is that? Don’t worry, I included it. But first, let’s all be nosey and inspect the contents of Renee’s purse and analyze her personality.


Okay, based on this pic, Renee likes her lips to be kissable, her hands to be clean, her clothes without stains, her eyes to be clear, her hands to be soft, the option for her hair to be up and she likes her breathe to be fresh.

Renee, based on the innards of your purse, we conclude that you must have OCD.

Okay, on with the interview! The first few questions are highlighted in bold and have to do with her fabulous book, Before We Were Strangers. If you are allergic to spoilers, no worries. There aren’t any here. But if you hate knowing anything about a book before you read it, even character names, then feel free to skip ahead to the reader questions.

1) What inspired you to write a second-chance romance? Is there someone from your past you wish wouldn’t have gotten away?

It wasn’t personal. I think for some of us, if we were to run into someone from our past that we liked or dated fifteen years prior, we might exchange pleasantries, walk away and either think, “that was nice,” or “dodged that bullet.” But for Matt and Grace, they knew at once that there was a missing piece to the puzzle. Their story was unfinished. This book was inspired by a real Craigslist missed connection. My editor and I had been scouring missed connections, when we found a unique post that was a plea for a second chance after many, many years. Not nearly as many as Matt and Grace were apart but still, the post got the wheels turning for me.

2) Does Matt fall for Grace because she is his muse or is she his muse because he fell for her?

Great question! I think you can have a muse without being in love with him or her. That’s not really answering the question though. The answer is, I don’t know. I think Matt and Grace inspired and supported each other’s art forms, which made them well matched. When you find someone who can appreciate your individuality and be proud of you, instead of being competitive or envious of your success, then that’s a great start. For Matt and Grace that quality in their relationship actually became a catalyst for their separation. It was bad timing. They let one other go to pursue dream careers and then later realized the dream actually included the two of them being together.

3) Grace is a big fan of Jeff Buckley. Are you also a fan of his music?

Um…let’s just say his birthday is still marked on my calendar. I was a huge beat poet and Bob Dylan fan growing up and naturally as we moved into the grunge rock era, Jeff Buckley’s music stood out to me more because it was so diverse and poetic. Even before he recorded Hallelujah, I was reading Leonard Cohen and Allen Ginsberg, so I was experiencing what Grace was experiencing around the same time. “Grace” was one of my favorite albums. When the posthumous release of “Live at Siné” happened, I felt a renewed appreciation for him. I still search for bootlegged recordings. One of my favorites is Jeff singing “I Shall Be Released” over the phone for a radio station. It totally proves what a genuine artist and lover of music he was.

4) What inspired some of the names in this book like Pornsake, Aletha and Tati?

Aletha sounded Greek to me, although I never really looked into it. Pornsake needed to be an underdog from the get go. There needed to be something that was completely outside of his character that one could joke about because I needed to find ways to differentiate the characters from past to present. I needed Grace and Tati and even Matt to be a bit immature in their college years, so the name was just fodder for them. And it helps to explain something in the third movement. But most of the time, the names are completely random. Just whatever pops into my head.

5) I loved how frugal they were, and how they found things to do and places to eat for free. Was this inspired by personal experience?

Definitely. I was very poor in college. I paid for and worked my way through undergrad and graduate school on my own, so I had to be creative. There is a café in LA that serves free pancakes if you wear your pajamas, or at least they did when I was in college. I also scoured want ads to see if I could be in any medical studies to make money and I seriously considered selling my eggs in the late 90’s, which my boyfriend at the time forbid.

And now for a few random reader questions!

  1. How old were you when you finished your first novel? How long did it take you?

I was around ten and I think it took a few days. It was a series of letters to my boyfriend in the military. It never got published ;).

2) What is one word that makes you cringe just to say/write?

Succulent. Oh and Cumin- I decided that after I read question number 5.

3) Weirdest thing you have googled for book research?

Where to buy a cow femur bone?

4) If you could co-author with anyone, who would you pick?

Kurt Vonnegut.

5) If you were a spice what would you be?

Not cumin. I don’t know, maybe Tarragon. Sounds like something Jon Snow might like.

6) If you could live the life of one of your characters for a year who would it be and why?

Probably Kate from “Nowhere But Here” because she’s a writer and she’s lives on a winery with Jamie and his body, his money and his brain. Did I mention wine?

7) What is your favorite food?

Anything from the ocean and chocolate—separately of course!

8) Favorite drink?

I’m so boring. Sparkling water or Champagne—same thing right?

9) What was your favorite book as a kid?

“Are you my mother?” A little bit older it was “Tuck Everlasting,” I think.

10) Of all your books, which is your favorite?

It’s always the book I just finished or currently working on, which is tentatively titled, “Wish You Were Here.” I have one in between that’s also finished titled, “Swear On This Life,” slated for a March release and then “Wish You Were Here” should be fall 2016’. I only like it more because it’s fresh in my mind. But as I get back into “Before We Were Strangers” after being away from it for so long, I’m feeling a part of Matt and Grace’s world and my emotions are in full swing again.

11) What’s your favorite movie?

Princess Bride, Pretty In Pink, Say Anything, Walkabout, recent fav is Rust and Bone.

12) What is a typical workday like for you?

Normal mom stuff, then dropping off the kids and writing. I listen to a lot of atmospheric rock while I write like El Ten Eleven or Explosions in the Sky. I do that for about four to six hours and then it’s back to carting kids around and making food.

13) Is there anyone you want to give a shoutout to?

All of the enthusiastic authors, readers and bloggers who have been willing to read BWWS and talk about it. And to Colleen for reading and bringing me onto BOOKSTING to introduce you all to Matt and Grace’s story. Thank you, I am so grateful.

14) How do you want to die?


That wraps up booksting with Renee! Thank you, Renee, and I can’t wait until everyone gets their hands on this book. It releases in exactly one week, but you can preorder your copies here:



Also, make sure and leave a comment below to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Before We Were Strangers. All you have to do is follow Renee on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and come back here and leave a comment on this post, letting me know you followed her. International entries are allowed. Winners will be verified through follows.

(Renee Hardman, you are the winner! Email with your address and what you won.)

Make sure to subscribe to this blog so you’ll be notified of the next Booksting with CoHo interview and giveaway!

Double digit giveaway!!!


Want a chance to win a $99 gift card to iTunes or Amazon? Well, you came to the wrong place!

I kid, I kid.

My next book, November 9, releases…November 10th.

I know, I know. Whoever thought releasing books only on Tuesdays obviously didn’t have this one in mind. Thanks, Tuesday-release-day-maker-person-dude. You just royally pissed off a bunch of readers with OCD.

Technically, though, if you pre-order the book from iBooks or Amazon, you usually get it an hour or two early, which means you will actually receive November 9 on November 9th rather than the 10th. Problem solved! And the best part is, you don’t get charged for the preorder until release day! (Shameless plugs are what I’m all about. I lost my teaching certification this week, so I guess I need to start taking this writing thing more seriously and like…market and stuff.)

Anyway, now that we only have 99 days left until the release of November 9, I’m going to make those preorders a whole lot easier! I’m giving away a $99 gift card to either iTunes or Amazon, winners choice. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to enter! I’ll choose a winner at random on Thursday, August whatever. I don’t have my calendar. But the next Thursday that comes, that’ll be the day. I’ll edit this post and list the winner at the bottom. On Thursday.

Okay, now go buy this entire album by one of my new favorite bands, X Ambassadors. My 14-year-old son introduced them to me a few months ago and I’m obsessed. These songs got me through a lot of late nights writing this book. My faves are Unsteady, Naked, Renegade and all of the rest of them.

Okay, now don’t let my rambling leave you forgetful. Comment below to enter the giveaway.


Graphics contest/GIVEAWAY!



November 9 is coming out in just a few weeks (Okay, like 14, but that’s really not very far away!)

I’m posting a few quotes from the book below and leaving it up to you guys to make some cool graphics that I can share online! If your graphic is chosen, you will win a signed copy of November 9, plus a $25 gift card to Amazon or iTunes! I’ll be choosing two or more winners every week until the book releases in November!

To enter, just make a graphic using one of the quotes provided, then post it on Instagram or Twitter. Make sure to use the hashtag #November9 and #ColleenHoover so I’ll find your graphics when I do my daily hashtag search! You can also tag me on FB or post the graphic to my author page, but FB sometimes hides stuff there. If you don’t use instagram or twitter, you can always email me the graphics to to make sure I get them. And as always, this contest is open to international entries!

Here are some quotes to choose from! Ready, set, go! :D

1) “You can’t leave yet. I’m not finished falling in love with you.”


2) “You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”


3) “If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.”


4) “How the hell am I supposed to say goodbye to her tonight, knowing I’ll never talk to her again?”


5) “I thought I was stronger than a word, but I just discovered that having to say goodbye to you is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”


6) “It’s easy to fall in love, Ben. The hard part comes when you want out.”


7) “His mouth, coupled with the way his hand is sliding down my arm, is all too much. So much. Good much. So good. I just whimpered.”


8) “Why do you look like you’re in pain?” she asks.

“Because keeping my mouth off you hurts like hell.”


9) “I missed you,” he says. “A lot. And screw it if I’m not supposed to admit that, but I tried the whole alpha-male thing for two seconds and I just can’t do it. So you don’t get alpha-Ben today. I’m sorry.”


10) “Fallon, I’m worked up so damn tight. I’m going to kiss you now and I’m not sorry.”


11) “Do you even have a job, Ben? I can’t believe I don’t know that about you. I let you fondle my breasts and I don’t even know what you do for a living.”


12) “If she’s not careful, I might just fall in love with her. Tonight.”


13) “I don’t want to be your first, Fallon. I want to be your last.”


14) “When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”


15) “I would never have let anyone else borrow my heart if I knew there was a chance in hell you might want it back.”


16) “I think about you every second of every day and I don’t know how to get over you,” she says.

“Don’t,” I beg her. “Please don’t get over me.”

17) “You left with my soul in your fists and my heart in your teeth, and I don’t want either of them back.” ~Ben

To pre-order November 9, go here: or here: