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Jen's Jewels
Get the lowdown on your favorite authors with Jennifer Vido.

Jennifer Vido | Jen's Jewels Interview: FAMILY RESERVATIONS by Liza Palmer

Family Reservations
Liza Palmer




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Powell's Books


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April 2024
On Sale: April 1, 2024
ISBN: 166251719X
EAN: 9781662517198
Kindle: B0C9JWCBX3
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Liza Palmer:
Family Reservations, April 2024
The Nobodies, October 2020
The Nobodies, September 2019
Conversations with the Fat Girl, August 2019

In this week’s Jen's Jewels, I delve into the delectable world of Liza Palmer's latest novel FAMILY RESERVATIONS. Join me as we unravel the tantalizing tale of Maren Winter and her three ambitious daughters, exploring the intricate intersection of family dynamics and the cutthroat culinary scene. With themes of competition, love, and self-discovery, Palmer serves up a dish that is both darkly witty and deeply engaging, leaving readers hungry for more. And don’t forget to check back every Friday for a new Jen’s Jewels literary gem waiting to be discovered!


Jennifer Vido: Your novel, FAMILY RESERVATIONS, delves into the world of a powerful mother and her three daughters in the culinary scene. What inspired the creation of this intriguing and cutthroat culinary legacy?

Liza Palmer:It’s a mysterious thing – the creative process – because I honestly don’t know where this idea came from, it just did. And I will never understand how that works and part of me thinks that’s okay. But what I can tell you – is that once the idea bubbled up from wherever it was - I was, at least, smart enough to listen and start scribbling.


Jen: Maren Winter, the matriarch, is described as a world-renowned restaurateur. Can you share some insights into what inspired her character and the unique challenges she faces in the narrative?

Liza:With Maren, I really wanted to explore someone who feared they were becoming irrelevant, no longer the genius vanguard of their youth. How would that corrupt them and moreover, how would they lash out at those they felt were responsible.


Jen: The daughters are seemingly in a race to step into power. Which sibling was your favorite to write about and why?

Liza:This is going to be one of those answers, but I really loved writing all three of the Winter sisters. Getting to know each of them over the years of writing this book and excavating the quieter parts of them was such a highlight of writing this book.


Jen: Exploring the intersection of family dynamics and the high-stakes culinary world is intriguing. What aspects of these two worlds were fascinating to explore in your storytelling?

Liza:I’m always drawn to the cost of keeping up appearances and there is such a high level of perfection to these Michelin starred restaurants, that the idea of juxtaposing that with the messiness of a family – any family, really – was interesting to me. That you could be at each other’s throats in the kitchen, but when it came time for service everything and everyone must still hold themselves to this impossible standard. It creates a very dynamic backdrop to tell a story.


Jen: The themes of competition, love, loyalty, and self-preservation sound captivating. How did you approach incorporating these elements into the narrative, and what messages or emotions do you hope readers take away from them?

Liza:I really wanted the book to empower women to forge their own paths - while also telling the truth about how hard that is to do. It’s not just an inspiring montage in a movie. Families are complex things and untangling how you fit in, what your role is and what is and isn’t working for you is so tender and fragile – I hope I managed to show readers that they are not alone in that journey.


Jen: The title hints at a mix of darkness and wit. How did you navigate balancing the darker aspects of the story with humor, and how does it contribute to the novel's overall tone?

Liza: We’ve all been through some really hard times these past few years, but even so, families and partners and friends and co-workers were able to laugh, make someone else laugh or try to find a way through using humor. We are all wonderfully complex creatures who contain multitudes and The Winters are no different – sometimes the most healing thing is a good, throw your head back snort of a laugh.


Jen: Readers often love a glimpse into an author's reading preferences. What's currently on your TBR stack, and are there any books that particularly excite you at the moment?

Liza:I just finished Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series – and I love it. Waiting for the next installment with bated breath. Next up for me is Alyssa Cole’s thriller, One of Us Knows. I loved her last one, When No One Is Watching, so I can’t wait to get my mitts on this new one.


Jen: In the world of literary enthusiasts, staying connected with authors enhances the reading experience. What's the best way for readers to be up-to-date on your latest news?

Liza:I’m on Instagram and also have a monthly newsletter where I give readers recommendations on stuff to watch, read and listen to, great follows on social media, good food and great places to eat and drink, music to soothe, and other calming things.


Jen: Sneak peek! Is there another captivating story brewing in your creative mind that you can share?

Liza:Yes, I’m working on the next book now.  It’s a big ole’ love letter to the gorgeous singularity of decades-long friendships.


Jen: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about your new release. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Liza: Thank you!


Family Reservations

A powerful mother. Three daughters. And a fast-paced, cutthroat culinary legacy up for grabs in a darkly witty novel about a family on the edge by the bestselling author of The Nobodies and The F Word.

Maren Winter is a world-renowned restaurateur who has built an empire. No one heeds the whispers of her retirement more closely than her three daughters, all in service to their mother’s legacy.

On the night of Maren’s annual New Year’s Eve party, a line is crossed, and word of a humiliating family meltdown spreads like a Northern California wildfire through the culinary elite. It’s a golden opportunity for one of them to step into power—and a trigger for a spiraling descent into paranoia and blind ambition.

As the Winter family’s dissolution begins, so does a journey of competition, love, loyalty, self-preservation, and the need for three women to forge a path of their own.


Women's Fiction Family Life [Lake Union Publishing, On Sale: April 1, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781662517198 / ]

Buy FAMILY RESERVATIONSAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Liza Palmer

Liza Palmer

Liza Palmer is the internationally bestselling author of CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRLSEEING ME NAKED, and several other titles. Palmer currently lives in Los Angeles and is hard at work on her next novel as well as several film and television projects.


About Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido writes sweet romances set in the Lowcountry filled with southern charm and hospitality. In between chapters, she interviews authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on FreshFiction.com. Most mornings, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class for seniors before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit. A New Jersey native, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescue dogs and is the proud parent of two sons who miss her home-cooked meals. To learn more, please visit her website.

Gull Island





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