April 25, 2016 11:34 PM

Your perfect beach bag includes sunscreen (naturally), a cute towel and, of course, a great book. Topping our collection of can’t-put-down page-turners? Tia Williams’ The Perfect Find, a steamy story about a fashion magazine editor who loses everything, but eventually finds herself (and a hot new romance!) along the way. And in honor of the release of her fourth book, we chatted with the author and former beauty editor to get the backstory behind our new favorite read.

Courtesy Tia Williams

What is The Perfect Find about?
“Jenna Jones is this 40-year-old fashion editor superstar. She has it all and then in one nightmare week, she loses everything. Her magazine fires her, her fiancé, who was the only man she’s been with since she was a teenager, dumps her and she loses all her money. So she has this nervous breakdown, she moves back to Virginia to live with her parents for two years, and finally she completely reinvents herself, comes back to New York and starts working at an online street style site and she’s completely in over her head. She doesn’t even have Facebook! Everybody is 23, and they think she’s an old lady because she’s never even taken a selfie and, to top it all off, she ends up having this wildly passionate soulmate secret affair with a 22-year-old co-worker.”

So scandalous! Where did you draw inspiration from?
“Well, me [laughs]. A lot of it comes from my life — I actually started writing it three years ago when I was in the lowest point of my life. I had this whole magazine career, I’d written books and I’d done all of the things I wanted to do, and then suddenly it’s like the rug got pulled out from under me. I got divorced, I got laid off and I got very, very ill for a very long time. Things went wrong, so I really needed to invent an alter ego who went through what I went through, but then persevered, bossed up, came out on the other side and won. I needed to write it and it helped me pull myself back together: I wrote what I wanted to be.”

But now you’ve got a successful career as a copy director and you’re a mother. How did you find the time to write a novel?
“I feel completely irresponsible when I’m asked this question because I don’t do it in a way that’s even like healthy-adjacent — it’s just completely ridiculous. I don’t have any time. I’m a single mother and I have a big job with a lot of responsibility, so you get it in where you fit it in. It’s setting your alarm clock at 3:00 a.m. to write before you wake up your child and then go to work all day, come home do her homework, watch Scandal and then write for another two hours. It was like I wrote it in a fever whenever I could. But before I had a child, you can schedule in a chunk of time every day and stick to it and have it be a regimented schedule that you just can’t when you’re a mom.”

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Courtesy Tia Williams

How does The Perfect Find differ from your other books?
“I haven’t written a novel in almost 10 years. My first one was about a 25-year-old because I was 25, and then the next two were about teenagers and then it’s about a 40-year-old woman. I think in the 10 years that I’ve written, I have done so much living and have had so much experience in the past decade I feel it’s made my writing richer, it’s made the characters richer. Between 25 and 40, I got married, I got divorced, I had infertility struggles, I had a career. I had highs. I had terrible lows. I had relationships fail, I had passionate, impossible relationships happen, I moved, I moved back. There was a lot of growing and learning I had to completely redefine what it meant to have it all.”

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As a former beauty editor, that thrill of the product discovery probably never goes away. Are there any you’re loving right now?
“This is going to sound way too fancy, but I recently had this stress breakout thing happen to me, so I started using acne cream and it dried out my face (like scaly, patchy, scabs even). So I started using La Mer The Eye Concentrate as my moisturizer and it has changed my life completely. For hair, I like for my curls to be frizz-free, but still poufy and wild. When I apply Bb.Curl Defining Crème to my soaking wet hair, and air-dry, it gives me perfectly sculpted — but not Top Ramen-y perfect — spirals.”

Are you excited for The Perfect Find? Share below!

–Sarah Kinonen

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