Howdy! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Leighton Summers' Stupid by Choice. My stop includes all the details about the book, a guest post from Leighton, my review and a giveaway!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me __________. This giveaway is open internationally and ends on July 3rd. The winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck! :)
This tour is presented by Smith Publicity, Inc.
Stupid By Choice by Leighton Summers
BIG, RICH, TEXAS: WHAT REALLY LIES BEHIND THE
High Society, High Style, & High Drama!
GLITTERING FAÇADE OF DEBUTANTE LIFE?
But behind the glittering façade of her debutante life lays a very different story.
In Stupid By Choice, this summer’s must-have beach read from author Leighton Summers, we follow the fictional and fabulous Melanie as she attempts to find true, lasting love amongst the wealthy, jet-set, spoiled, sought-after playboys in the elite social circles of Texas, Monte Carol, Manhattan, Newport, and Palm Beach.
Facing one destructive love affair after another, as well as financial troubles, family drama, unplanned pregnancy, and more, Melanie and her friends traipse through the high high’s and low low’s of elite society, all while negotiating the blows they’re dealt with vulnerability, extravagance, and a resilience that every woman, regardless of social strata, will recognize as her own.
“Stupid By Choice is pure fiction, but it’s entirely inspired by the affluent, privileged world that I grew up—and still live—in,” says Summers. “All that glitters is not gold. It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of it all, but no matter what your age or station in life, we all have to learn—as Melanie does—to not be ‘stupid by choice’ and stay stuck or settle if we’re not happy.”
A celebratory romp through the lives of ladies who have, lose, and ultimately triumph over it all, Stupid By Choice is as juicy a summer read as they come—equal parts entertaining, thought-provoking, and emotionally gripping. Among the topics and themes explored in it are:
• Don’t mess with Texas! An insider’s look—good and bad—at what socialite American society life is really like from a Texans’ P.O.V.
• The ‘problem-free’ lifestyles of the rich and well groomed: does money solve as many issues as one might think? Or does it just create more?
• Handling divorce, infidelity, family problems, motherhood, and career goals with grace and fearlessness
• Finding courage in the face of the unknown, taking risks, and following your heart!
What aspect of this novel was the most interesting to write?
What an interesting question, for it took so long to write Stupid By Choice (four years actually, and I often wanted to stop at times because it became so frustrating, but now I’m glad I didn’t!), but as I think about this particular question and reflect back on the times I spent writing it I do remember not all of them were hard or frustrating… In fact, a lot of it was fun, especially in the beginning when I created my main character of Melanie St. John and got to imagine her being in some of the same, beautiful places I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to throughout my whole life. And I had a lot of fun reminiscing about great (and often funny) times I had when I was young and carefree, traveling the world on a whim without the responsibility of a family like I have now (though that can have its own perks too!).
I was very fortunate to be born into this upscale world the novel is based in and be able to experience wonderful, lavish parties, belong to private clubs, and meet many interesting people in some of the world’s most exclusive places. And though this book is fiction, when I first decided to try my hand at writing I couldn’t help but be inspired by my surroundings, for it’s what I knew best. (And trust me, there were always both comedic and dramatic situations happening that you couldn’t help but be inspired by!)
Like most women, I certainly had my share of “stupid choices” when it came to men and relationships too, so when I tried to think of how a female character from my own social circles could “love smarter,” I have to admit it was great fun to be able to have Melanie do things differently than what I had seen (or even done) in real life. It was nice to have lots of characters with different perspectives than what I had observed in real life too at times, especially when it came to certain themes in the book such as marrying for money. Everyone seems to have their own view on that (and their own reasons for doing so), but I tried to show many different types of characters and situations that involved that theme, for in my world it’s always a source of conversation, but no matter why the reason it happens it rarely—if ever—turns out well. No one should ever marry anyone for money, whether they have it or don’t. The price is never worth it, as readers will hopefully see through several characters’ journeys in this book.
As I wrote up adventures and scenarios for Melanie’s character I found it was a very fun and satisfying experience just to write in general actually. That’s why I kept doing it on and off for four years. I learned through the process of writing down my thoughts that all writing is really like therapy. (And with fiction you can write just what you want to have happen too, even letting out demons if you want to.) Soon the notes and ideas from things I saw or imagined turned into a whole bunch of little, separate stories centered around Melanie, and the stories kept coming, so I just kept on writing.
I never thought anything would come of them, but I showed them to my husband and some of my friends who liked them. (And they swore they weren’t just being nice, they honestly thought I had something other people would hopefully enjoy reading too like they did.) They all encouraged me to keep writing and try to turn my stories into a novel. So I found an editor to help me and we turned all my notes and individual stories into one complete, more structured story, and then my first novel was finally finished!
I’m both relieved and glad that I finally did finish it too, so that’s also one of the most “fun” parts of writing Stupid By Choice. It’s a big accomplishment to have finished this book, for I’m not a trained writer, just someone who always wanted to try to write a novel. And no matter what happens with it now I’m glad I stuck with it and got it done. It was a long—but great learning experience actually—and the fact that I never gave up (even when I wanted to) is what I’m most proud of. But I do hope readers learn something from it by reading about the mistakes the characters make—especially Melanie’s—and how she and the others grow wiser in time. That’s why I really wanted to write it in the first place.
"When life happens, you happen back!"
"When life happens, you happen back!"
Melanie St. John lives an enchanted life. Being the daughter of a wealthy oil attorney, she wants for nothing. She grows up traveling the world while everything is served to her on a silver platter. She's surrounded by affluence and knows she's expected to marry someone who will make her parents proud. She is more grounded, however, than her sister or most others who run her social circle. She's smart and wants more from life than marrying for money. She's fiercely loyal to her family and friends. In so many ways, Melanie is just like any other girl. She suffers through the issues all girls do...
The wealth portrayed in Stupid by Choice is something I'm not familiar with. I am a Texan but I am definitely NOT from an oil family. What I enjoyed about this story is that Ms. Summers portrays these characters who have everything but are also regular people. And by that, I mean they go through all the same adolescent problems as any other person. They navigate early adulthood, etc., trying to figure out where they belong in life, just like everyone else. They just have more means with which to go through it all. The glimpse inside this glittery lifestyle is interesting, to say the least.
It was fascinating to watch Melanie grow up. She, luckily, has very supportive parents (even if they don't always give they best advice) who really do want the best for her. Melanie approaches life, sometimes storming, sometimes stumbling, in her own way. She makes mistakes but, in time, learns from them. And eventually she blossoms.
The supporting cast of Stupid by Choice is amazing. Melanie's dad, Oldie, is larger than life...just like a Texan. ;) Her mom ends up being her "rock". Melanie's sister, Whitney, although quite the wild child growing up, does eventually grow up into an amazing woman. Even friends like Eva (who I wanted to strangle for the life choices she made) and Victoria added so much to the story.
Stupid by Choice ended up being so much more than the fun read I was anticipating. It's much more a feelgood story with lots of lessons. And it was very satisfying.
About the Author
intrigued her, and so one day while in New York City she took out her laptop in a café and decided to jot down some notes about how a female character, created from her own world, could “love smarter.” Over the next four years, those notes turned into both funny and sad adventures of a woman’s quest to find friendship, love, self, and family and became Stupid By Choice, Summers’ debut novel.
Stupid By Choice is available as an e-book from Amazon.