Mary Strand brings P&P's Liz and Darcy to fun, contemporary YA life!

Mary Strand has joined us here at GLIAS in the past with her wonderful women’s fiction novel COOPER’S FOLLY, and I couldn’t be more excited to have her back so she can introduce us to her brand new YA novel - PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND PUSH-UP BRAS (The Bennet Sisters Book # 1) from Triple Berry Press. I am so excited about this series and cannot WAIT for all the books to be out! Mary is a fellow
Minnesotan, an RWA chapter mate, and, most of all, a great friend and writer well known for her wit and humor on Facebook and for getting into jealous tussles with me about our favorite Minnesota Twins player Brian Dozier. But that’s for another time; for now, I hope you’ll give a huge Get Lost in a Story welcome to my bud, Mary Strand!

Mary Strand practiced law in a large Minneapolis law firm for 16 years until the day she set aside her pointy-toed shoes (or most of them) and escaped the land of mergers and acquisitions to write novels. She lives on a lake in Minneapolis with her husband, two cute kidlets, and a stuffed monkey named Philip. When not writing, Mary lives for sports, travel, guitar, dancing (badly), Cosmos, Hugh Jackman, and ill-advised adventures that offer a high probability of injury to herself and others.  She writes YA, romantic comedy, and women’s fiction novels.  Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras is the first in her four-book YA series, The Bennet Sisters.

College freshman Liz Bennet refuses to let her nameor Jane Austen, for that matterdefine her. Even though she’s one of five teenage sisters named after the Bennet sisters in “The Book,” as Liz not-so-fondly calls it, she can’t afford to let her life parallel The Book in any way. Period. Liz has big plans for her future, and they don't exactly mesh with the life laid out for a fictional young woman 200 years ago.

When two gorgeous guys, Charlie Bingham and Alex Darcy, arrive in Liz’s Minnesota town, her whole world is turned upside down. Her sister Jane starts acting like a lunatic with Charlie. Alex is tempting but also a jerk.  Seeing too many uncanny connections to The Book, Liz is afraid she can’t win. Is this fate’s little joke on her modern Bennet family? What’s a girl to do? Fight? Or ... surrender?

Amazon e-book (trade paperback is also available)

LIZ: What was your favorite book as a child?
MARY:  Can I declare a tie?  I first really fell in love with
reading with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and Louisa May Alcott’s books - all of them - but I tended to prefer action stories, which back then were often more “boy” stories, so I’d choose Laura Ingalls Wilder’s FARMER BOY and Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE MEN.

LIZ: How did you come up with the idea for this book? 
MARY:  Out of a writers’ voice class taught by Barbara Samuel!  One of the writing exercises we had to do was to type the first 2-3 paragraphs of a favorite book, then retype them in our own voice.  I chose PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  When the class read my new opening for P&P, they basically laughed and said, “Yep, that’s exactly how you talk!”

LIZ: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
MARY:  Sports and music, music and sports.  At the moment, though, I’d have to say that it’s music.  I’ve just joined a rock band (for the first time in my life, if we don’t count my fifth-grade band, the Bell-Bottom Blues), and I’m playing guitar (badly), and it’s an utter blast.  Our first gig is in November.

LIZ: If you could have dinner with any three book characters, who would you choose and why?
MARY:  Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice; Lord Rothgar from Jo Beverley’s Malloren series; and Ranger from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  But, um, could each of those dinners be separate?  We’re talking Rothgar and Ranger.  J

LIZ: If your house was on fire and you only had time to save three objects, what would you save?
MARY:  I actually had this dream scenario LAST NIGHT and discovered that, ultimately, the only thing that mattered was saving my life.  So I’ll say the kidlets ... and my convertible. :-D

LIZ: Write us a haiku about your book or one of your characters!
MARY:  Warning: haiku is not among my strengths!

Liz lives for rock songs
Until Darcy rocks her world;
She’s “All Shook Up” now.

LIZ: I love this (especially because at first I thought it was about me)—and that you’re one of my few guest/friends to take on this challenge. You can claim it as a strength if you want to as far as I’m concerned!

LIZ: Time for a mini blitz!
a)Favorite color? Song? Movie?
b) Summer or winter?
c) Morning or night?
d) Rain or shine?
e) Sweet or salty?
a) yellow - Rodney Crowell’s “Please Remember Me” - DON’T MAKE ME PICK ONE MOVIE!
b) summer (but actually fall)
c) morning
e) sweet

LIZ: Name three things on your desk right now.
MARY:  A large bottle of Airborne; a magical stone; and my next manuscript.

LIZ: Where is your favorite place to write?
MARY:  Sebastian Joe’s!  It’s a local coffee and ice cream shop here in Minneapolis (two locations; I go to the one closest to my house), where I write with the enthusiastic assistance of triple-berry scones and Diet Coke.

LIZ: What’s on your bucket list for this year?
MARY:  We already hiked to Machu Picchu this year, six months ago.  For the coming year ... my hope is to hike the entire 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in the early summer of 2017.

LIZ HAS GOTTA ASK: What’s the most personal thing you’ve ever put in one of your books?
MARY:  It’s a book that’s written but not yet published, about a girl who has to face her biggest fear and survive it.  A few years ago, two different creepy guys, a month apart, each tried to abduct my daughter.  She did Every Single Thing I’ve ever taught her to do in such a situation and even amazed the investigating police afterward.  So I started writing that book about a girl my daughter’s age (then 12), but then advanced her after the first chapter to age 17.  The 17-year-old heroine suddenly (and without warning!) turned into me, and the book also dealt with a guy who was my big love (although he wasn’t 17 in real life).  It was like ripping out my heart every day I wrote it.  I gave her a happy ending, though.  J

PRDE, PREJUDICE, AND PUSH-UP BRAS is the first book in the four-book Bennet Sisters series, about five modern-day sisters named after the five Bennet Sisters in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  Liz Bennet’s three younger sisters often drive her crazy.  What’s one thing that drives you absolutely CRAZY about your sister(s) or brother(s)?  Or, if you don’t have sibs, one thing that drives you crazy about someone else!

I have an e-book copy of PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND PUSH-UP BRAS for one commenter today!

My next release is BEING MARY BENNET BLOWS, the second book in my Bennet Sisters YA series.  It’s coming in November, I hope!

Website:   www.marystrand.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/marystrandauthor
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Mary_Strand
Goodreads:  https//www.goodreads.com/author/show/7328368.Mary_Strand
Instagram  http://instagram.com/Mary_Strand


  1. I have five sisters and one brother. I swear that all of my sisters have alpha personalities. It's crazy when we all get together. My brother is the sane one.


  2. Mary, you say "alpha personalities" like it's a bad thing! lol. I grew up with five brothers and two sisters. Crazy doesn't begin to describe it. :-)

  3. So glad you're here today, Mary! I have three brothers and no sisters and I'm the oldest. I adore my brothers but I can't say we don't drive each other crazy with our distinct but loud personalities. I'm an extroverted writer and have the most opinions. One of my brothers is a professional magician and literally owns whatever room he walks into whether we want him to or not. One brother is a sports and movie nut and has the loudest voice of any of us. One brother lives away and stays out of the fray by being the most "establishment" after he was the wildest of us as a child--but he's also the funniest. We get each other but anyone who comes in and joins the crew takes a good long time to get used to us. Sometimes I wish we were all a little more ready to be let out in public :-)

  4. Thanks for hosting me, Liz! Yes, the toughest thing is for people who dare to come in and join the crew. I've always pitied them! I once described our family at the dinner table (in an essay for advanced comp class in college) as a group in which it wasn't inappropriate to wear hunting vests, what with all the shots flying around the room.

  5. people who cut in line

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. bn100, people who cut in line ARE obnoxious. Agree!

  7. Great post, Liz and Mary! I love the concept of your Bennet series. I won't pick on my sister but on someone else for my comment. One thing that gets on my nerves is when people change the subject in conversations so often I can't figure out what we're talking about. Could be an endearing trait in certain characters but obnoxious in others.... :-) lynnlovegreen(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Lynn, yes! My mom could make your head spin with all her changes of subject. But when I'm with a really close friend, sometimes we both go off on wild tangents the entire time ... and sometime we both keep up with the constant changes of topics. It's a miracle!

  9. :-) Will follow you on Goodreads, too, Mary.

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I'm planning to get more active on Goodreads ... just as soon as I finish the revisions sitting on my desk!