And how the women who wrote them stay fit, healthy, and happy
The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch
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Allison Winn Scotch is the New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life. Her new book, The Song Remains the Same, asks the question, who are we without our memories? And how much of our future is defined by our past?
Favorite place to write: I have a home-office (lucky me!) in New York City that overlooks the trees and the street. I'm a creature of habit, so I find a lot of comfort and tranquility from sitting in the same spot every day, hearing the sounds of traffic, watching people go by, and writing.
Favorite snack while writing I absolutely cannot live without Orbit Bubblemint gum. I literally have a hard time writing and/or thinking without it.
Favorite summer workout: Running in Central Park and taking our dog on longer walks! When you sit in front of the computer all day, those walks really help work out the kinks.
Favorite yoga pose: So many! I recently started getting serious about yoga, and it has done such good things for my stress levels, not to mention my back pain. I really love pigeon and half-pigeon because my butt muscles are always super tight, and I love the warrior poses because they make me feel powerful.
No. 1 tip to stay fit when you're in front of a computer every day: Get up and move. All the time. Every day. For me, this isn't just about working out. It's about walking the dog, taking a walk in the middle of the day, being active with my kids. Not only does this keep me fit, it significantly improves my mental health by ensuring that I am out and about in the world and not isolating myself.
Favorite summer read of all time: Good Grief by Lolly Winston. It's impossible not to love.
Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp
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Dawn Tripp is the bestselling and award-winning author of Season of Open Water and Moon Tide. Her new novel, Game of Secrets, is a beautifully written mystery that focuses on a half a century of two interlinked New England families.
Favorite place to write: Anywhere outside with a notebook and pen.
Favorite snack while writing: Green apples.
Favorite healthy recipe for summer: A cheese tortellini salad that my 11-year-old son makes with whatever is fresh in the garden: peas, corn, tomatoes, scallions, chopped broccoli. We eat it chilled.
Favorite summer workout: Ocean swimming. And I want to learn how to surf!
Favorite yoga pose: Bow pose (Dhanurasana). I also make sure to stretch my chest and shoulders—they tend to curl forward as I work on the laptop. Several yoga poses that help me realign: the bow, the cobra, and the Lord of the Dance pose.
No. 1 tip to stay fit when you're in front of a computer every day: Every day, I get outside for at least one full hour—30 minutes of focused exercise and 30 minutes of play. For example, a 30-minute run plus 30 minutes of playing with my boys. During the summer we hike and swim and kayak; in winter, we go sledding in the dunes.
What's on your summer reading list? Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara, Defending Jacob by William Landay, Ava by Carole Maso, and Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata.
Fave summer read of all time: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
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Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored.
Favorite place to write: My office, which has nothing in it but a desk, a mannequin (a bust form, not a creepy one with a head), and a printer. It’s very un-welcoming. I have to keep it this way so when a child/husband needs to interrupt me for something, they won’t want to stay long. I know it’s mean, but I have to use my limited writing time wisely. On the nicer side, I leave my door wide open.
Favorite snack while writing: I’m addicted to the Whole Foods version of Jordan almonds. They haven’t been in the store lately and I’m starting to worry that I bought them out indefinitely.
Favorite workout: Swimming. It used to be running, but I have the kind of bones that crumble and fracture with too much pounding so I started swimming on a Master’s Swim Team right after college. My team is comprised of LA County Lifeguards, ex-college swimmers, and me, who you’ll find way down in the end lanes, panting. It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done.
Favorite new fitness trend: Barre class. I have an awesome teacher (Suzie Collis) who teaches a small group of women in her private studio. Barre is such a fun, feminine workout.
Favorite yoga pose: Warrior II. I’ve had teachers keep us in a Warrior II pose for two or three minutes. By that point, your legs are shaking so much that Chaturanga feels like a quick vacation get-away.
No. 1 tip to stay fit when you're in front of a computer every day: I know a lot of writers wake up really early to write, but I wake up really early to workout. I swim from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., then after I get my girls to school, I can start writing without feeling guilty about sitting for so long.
What's on your summer reading list? I’ve started I Love You Paris but You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin, which is David Sedaris—hilarious. Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith is next on my list, and Bonjour 40 by Karen A. Chase is after that.
Fave summer read of all time: The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. It’s just a great coming-of-age novel. I used to sleep with it under my pillow while I was writing Girl Unmoored and pray that some of its brilliantness would rise into my brain by some kind of muse-osmosis. Weird. But true.
Populazzi By Elise Allen
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Elise Allen is an Emmy Award-winning TV writer and bestselling young adult author of Populazzi, optioned for film. She is also the co-author with Hilary Duff of the Elixir series.
Favorite place to write: Muddhouse Coffee in West Hills, Calif. I go to boot camp at Carter Fitness, which is pretty close to next-door, then I plug in at Muddhouse until it’s time to pick my daughter up from school. The coffee is amazing, there’s free Wi-Fi, and I love the staff.
Favorite healthy recipe for summer: I don’t cook at all, but I have one recipe that I love. It’s for crock-pot pulled chicken, and it’s obscenely easy: You put 1 cup (or 1 Trader Joe’s can, which is a little more) of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup organic ketchup, about 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, about 2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and LOTS of garlic powder into the crock-pot. Mix it up, then spoon it over about 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cook it on low for 7-8 hours, or on high 3-4 hours. It’s yummy! My daughter and husband like it over pasta or rice; I eat it over salad or broccoli slaw.
Favorite summer workout: Stand-up paddleboarding! It’s like walking on water. It’s so magical. I don’t even realize I’m working out until the next day, when I feel the delicious ache in my arms and abs.
Favorite fitness trend you’ve tried or want to try: Everyone in LA should try an aerobics class at Slimmons Studio! It’s the real deal: Old-style, high-impact aerobics with Richard Simmons blasting the disco, going through at least four costume changes and making everyone—especially himself—cry with his words of inspiration. If you’re in the area, you must take this class at least once!
Favorite yoga pose: Child’s pose. It feels so good at the end of any workout.
No. 1 tip to stay fit when you're in front of a computer every day: Don’t snack to get yourself through those frustrating patches when the words won’t come. Instead, go for a walk, do a set of sit-ups, jump rope… get away from the computer and let your brain breathe. Not only is it better for your waistline, but it’s better for your story since you’re more likely to get inspired when you’re concentrating on something else.
What's on your summer reading list? I just read Sonya Sones’ The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, and loved it so much I want to read her entire back catalog. Sarah Pekkanen’s These Girls is also on my list—I’m crazy about all her work.
Favorite summer read of all time: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants—the whole series.
So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore
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Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of the critically acclaimed The Arrivals (new in paperback) and the new novel So Far Away.
Favorite place to write: My home office or in a study room at the local library.
Favorite snack while you write: Stacy's Pita Chips.
Favorite healthy beverage: A smoothie made with almond milk, banana, and chia seeds.
Favorite workout: I’m very into spinning lately while recovering from a running injury. Also on my list: A variety of Barre classes and tabata training.
No. 1 tip to stay fit when you're in front of a computer every day: Exercise each day before you sit down to write.
What's on your summer reading list? The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson.
Fave summer read of all time: Anything by Elin Hilderbrand, especially Blue Bistro.