Monday, August 6, 2012

[47] The Whole Package GUEST POST AND A GIVEAWAY

Title: The Whole Package
Author: Cynthia Ellingsen
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Length: 409 pages
Genres: Contemporary Women's Fiction (Comedy)

Available at:

Life has thrown childhood friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris a few curveballs. Widowed and broke, Jackie returns home after an extravagant life in Paris, Doris is reliant on anti-depressants, and Cheryl’s plans for a corporate take-over are replaced with walking papers. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon a genius idea and decide to open up The Whole Package—the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Armed with Jackie’s connections, Doris’ ambition, and Cheryl’s business sense the ladies set out to make their mark in the world

About the Author:
Cynthia Ellingsen is a fiction writer and screenwriter. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband.

"The friendship between the women is realistic, the characters funny, and the premise well-executed. Readers will giggle and grin from start to finish, and will surely be eager for Ellingsen's next novel."

“The Whole Package is a delightfully frivolous romp. An excellent beach read, this light but enjoyable fare will have you chuckling (and likely blushing!) throughout...”--RT Reviews


Love to Maeve Binchy 

Hi Disincentive Reviews! Thank you so much for hosting me. I’m delighted to be here to discuss The Whole Package, my first novel published by Penguin-Berkley. 

The Whole Package is about three women, friends for life, who get hit with some unexpected life changes and embark on a saucy business adventure. It’s a fun romp, filled with friendship, love and laughter. And most certainly, inspired by the work of Maeve Binchy. 

Back when I sat down to write The Whole Package, I was obsessively reading Maeve. This trend started thanks to the book Quentins. A friend had given it to me, swearing it was wonderful, and I waited much too long to start reading it. When I finally sat down and picked it up, I devoured that book in record time. 

Then, I read it again. 

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about this book that caught me the way that it did. But as an aspiring writer, I found myself fascinated at her technique. 

How did she do it?  I wondered. What had she done to make me so incredibly, emotionally invested in this world?

It took some time, but I finally figured out the secret: Maeve Binchy has a knack for giving us a glimpse of her characters’ hopes and dreams, for letting us see into their heart. This gets us rooting for them and then wham! She rips those very same hopes and dreams away, breaking their heart and consequently, ours. 

I flinch just thinking about it. 

Oh, Maeve. 

Reading through her backlist, I realized that this ability to emotionally hook a reader was her special skill. No matter what the book, I found myself invested by page ten. And as a writer, I found myself very much wanting to develop that same ability to strike an emotional chord with my readers and quickly. 

When I sat down to write my debut novel, The Whole Package, the magic of Maeve Binchy was in the back of my head. I made a conscious effort to let the reader in on the hopes and dreams of my characters and then swiftly, rip them away. 

When people ask me what The Whole Package is about, I’m delighted to start the conversation with: “The Whole Package is about three best friends who lose everything - one loses a job, one loses a fortune and one loses a husband...” This conversation thrills me because I know where the formula came from: Miss Maeve. 

I never knew Maeve Binchy personally and it saddens me that now, I’ll never meet her. However, I do feel I know her through her work. She was a brilliant storyteller with a knack for getting to the root of, as she’d say, “making the best of the hand that you’re dealt”. She was smart, witty and filled with heart. 

As a writer, I’m grateful to have had the chance to learn from her work. 


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What do you think? :)

Ps: I'm failing with SWUR. It's too hot outside and I can't read...


  1. This sounds like it could be a good book. Sometimes, it's hard to tell, just by the blurb.

    1. Hi Rita,

      It is a great book! Of course, I'm a little biased. :) Some good reviews have come in on Barnes and Noble and Amazon, so hopefully they'll give you an accurate portrayal of the Package. Have a fabulous day and thanks for reading disincentive reviews!


  2. I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Head over to my blog to get the details!


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