Jamie Beck is a New Canaan-based writer who moved to town as a newlywed in 1999. Two children and 16 books later, Beck has made the best-seller’s lists for Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Find out what novels she’s working on now and where she likes to spend down time (when she has some)!
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I’m the proud mother of two teenagers. My son is seventeen and my daughter is nineteen.
When did you move to New Canaan?
My husband and I moved to New Canaan in 1999 as newlyweds (we hail from Pittsburgh, PA and moved here for his job at that time (PepsiCo).
What are your favorite family activities in town?
When my kids were young, my husband and I loved taking them to the Waveny Park summer concert series and the Family Fourth celebration. We live halfway between the middle school and town, so we’ve also made a lot of use of the Waveny trails and local parks (and still do with our dog, Mo).
How did you make the move from attorney to writer?
I quit my legal practice when my daughter was born. It was a good decision for a few years, particularly once my son came along. However, when they were both in grade school, I found myself with too much free time. Volunteer positions weren’t scratching the itch I had to find another purpose, so I decided to pursue an old dream. My first manuscript remains under my bed (I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote it, but the passion project sucked me into this profession, at which point I did everything I could to learn the craft). It took me three manuscripts to get a literary agent (2012), but this entire journey (now 16 published books and counting) has been the most rewarding, interesting, and fun time of my life.
Tell us about your first book and how you were inspired to tackle the project…
There was a point in college when I thought I might like to be a psychologist. I am fascinated by human behavior and dysfunction, and all the ways we can self-sabotage. I think a lot of fiction writers (particularly those who, like me, primarily write about relationships) write to understand ourselves and humanity better. A common theme in all my books is redemption, because that offers hope to those of us who’ve erred in our lives or hurt people we love. Hope is one of the most important things any book can deliver. When a reader connects to a story and is comforted—if they put it down having a better understanding of themselves—what more could one want? Nothing is better than when a reader writes to tell me how they related to my story and it helped them in some practical way. Because I also like a good love story, my first published book (In the Cards, 2014) and many that followed are romance novels (a romance novel’s defining characteristics are that the central story is about a couples’ journey to commitment and that it ends on a hopeful note). Recently I’ve moved into writing women’s fiction (If You Must Know, June 2020 and Truth of the Matter, September 2020).
When did you make the best-seller’s lists for Wall Street Journal and USA Today?
My book The Promise of Us hit the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list in April, 2019. I hit the USA Today list with some friends with an anthology we published in June of that same year. Earlier books hit the Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists (although my books are available in digital, print and audio formats, the vast majority of my sales to date are digital).
Is there another book in progress?
There is always another book in progress, because I’m committed to writing two books per year for my publisher. I’ve just completed copy edits on my spring 2021 release (For All She Knows, which deals with the fallout in a community and between friends after a teen party turns tragic) and I’m currently racing toward an early October deadline for submitting my fall 2021 release (The Happy Accidents, in which three 30-something friends must deal with the aftermath of a night in which they made a pact to “say yes” to any adventure).
When you need “me time,” what are your favorite ways to escape?
Walking the dog is always relaxing. I also enjoy unwinding while watching HGTV shows like “House Hunters International” (and daydreaming about moving to France or Italy or England). Reading, of course, is a terrific escape. And I love to go out and enjoy a great meal with friends.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from another mom?
Pick your battles. I can’t say that I do a great job of following this advice, but it is the best advice nonetheless! Also, nurture who your kids are, not who you want them to be.
Do you have any words of wisdom?
This is a broad question! I suppose, as my 54th birthday approaches, my best advice is to say that it is never too late to pursue a dream. Every day is a chance to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m happy to pop in to any local book club to discuss my books, or books and writing in general. You can reach me through my social media sites (www.facebook.com/jamiebeckbooks and www.instagram.com/writerjamiebeck) or my website (www.jamiebeck.com).
We like to support local businesses. What are your favorite places in the area to:
Have dinner: Farmer’s Table
Grab a drink with friends: South End
Have a date night: Solé
Spend time together as a family outdoors: Waveny trails
Grab coffee: Rosie’s
Workout: Um… (I’m lazy). The YMCA is a terrific facility, though.