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About the Author
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Wife in the Fast LaneA Novel
By Karen Quinn
TouchstoneCopyright © 2007 Karen Quinn
All right reserved.
We're in for a Rough Ride
Look for Highway 380. That's our exit," Katherine said. "I'm looking, I'm looking. According to this map, we have a ways to go." Christy checked her watch again. It would be close. If they could keep up this speed and not get lost, they should make it with just enough time to change their clothes. "There it is! There it is! Get in the right lane."
"Jesus, you said we had a ways to go." Katherine swerved and the Taurus careened across three lanes, miraculously avoiding at least five collisions and inspiring a cacophony of horn honking. "Oh my God," Christy said as she covered her eyes and ducked. Katherine was silent, intent on getting them to Menlo Park before two. When their plane had landed in San Francisco, more than an hour late, they'd called the Steiner McClane office. The meeting couldn't be postponed. Mr. Roche was booked solid, then leaving for Europe on Monday.
"Good thing it stopped raining." Christy had the habit of pointing out the positive whenever things got tense. Katherine preferred working up a good head of steam.
"Oh no, no, NO," Katherine said, spying the traffic ahead. In seconds, they slowed to a complete stop. "How much time do we have?" she asked.
Christy checked her watch."Thirty-two minutes," she reported, biting her lip.
"You know, Chris, maybe Baby G Sports wasn't meant to be. It could be a sign," Katherine said.
"It's not a sign. There's an accident ahead. See those flashing lights?" Christy climbed into the backseat and unzipped her garment bag. "I'm getting dressed. So when we make it, I can run in."
"Good idea. With this traffic, it could take us half an hour, maybe more."
Christy shook her head as she unbuttoned the Chanel jacket. "I still can't believe you made me spend five thousand dollars for this suit." The thought of the amount made her sick.
The cars started moving again. "Trust me, Chris. You have to dress like you don't need the money or you won't get any. Steiner wants to turn us down, just like those other firms did," Katherine said. She sounded like she knew what she was talking about.
"Do you really believe they're gonna decide based on our outfits? What if they think we're wasting money?"
Katherine locked eyes with Christy in the rearview mirror as she spoke. "Chris, very few women ever get seen by these guys. Our performance has to be perfect or it's over. Could you have won the Olympics in a pair of Hush Puppies? No. This is the same thing."
"Watch out," Christy shouted as Katherine barreled into the back bumper of a Cadillac changing lanes in front of them.
"Shit!" Katherine yelled. "Did you see the way that asshole cut me off? He never signaled!" She pulled over to the side of the road, behind the Cadillac, and stopped. A red-faced man leaped out of the luxury sedan and inspected the damage, then began screaming and raging, waving his hands in the air.
"Why didn't you slow down?" he ranted. "For Christ's sake, couldn't you see I was pulling over?"
Christy was overwhelmed by a sudden and profound sadness. Is this it? Is this how the story ends? In her mind, she saw her fledgling company's life flash before her eyes: the first meeting around the dining room table; the moment Sasha, queen of hip-hop, bounded onstage in a pair of Baby G's; herself and Katherine collapsing in laughter the next day as the orders poured in.
"I did signal, dammit," Katherine was saying. "Look! My light's still blinking."
As they argued, Christy came to a decision. She stuffed her laptop and a pair of heels into her backpack. She put on her running shoes and slipped out of the car.
"I'm outta here," she shouted.
Katherine checked her watch. "You have fourteen minutes."
Copyright © 2007 by Karen Quinn
Excerpted from Wife in the Fast Lane by Karen Quinn Copyright © 2007 by Karen Quinn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"I loved this book. Clever, funny, and a worthwhile emotional investment. Wife in the Fast Lane is not to be missed!"
-Emily Griffin, author of Baby Proof
"I learned two things from this novel: so this is how the other half lives and who knew it is possible to laugh while your jaw is dropping."
Claire Cook, author of Must Love Dogs and Life's a Beach
"Karen Quinn will have you punching the air in triumphant support of her heroine as she slays dragons on behalf of us all."
Elizabeth Noble, author of The Reading Group and The Friendship Test
"Packed with cheeky wit and spot-on scenarios, Wife in the Fast Lane is a must-read for any women who knows what it's like to have to balance a laptop and a baby at the same time."
Bonnie Fuller, editorial director and EVP of American Media Inc., publisher of Star magazine, and author of The Joys of Much Too Much
Reading Group Guide
Former Olympic track star Christy Hayes has created a successful sneaker company from the ground up. Apart from being athletic, she's smart, beautiful, and married to a dashing entrepreneur. But when her beloved housekeeper dies and leaves behind her eleven-year-old granddaughter to raise, Christy soon learns the price to be paid for having it all. Though she's far from the mothering type, she tries her best to help the shy young girl acclimate to her new home by becoming like those fabulous city moms she runs into in Barney's or Bergdorf's. She begins by throwing herself headfirst into the treacherous waters of New York City private schools. All the while, trouble is looming on the horizon for her company. Can this two-time Olympic gold-medal winner strike a balance between her hectic career and chaotic home life? Will she create a life for herself that is true (or truer) to the person she really is?
QUESTIONS & TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Former Olympian Christy Hayes has turned her athletic expertise into corporate success. In what ways is she a good role model? In what ways could she improve?
2. At their cabin in Aspen, Michael tells Christy "There's no way we can take a child, not with our responsibilities and lifestyle. You promised me, Christy. This is the only thing I really asked you for." Is this the real reason Michael keeps his distance from Renata?
3. Although Christy had decided not to have children of her own, she is Renata's godmother, and she decides to adopt her. Why do you think Christy changed her mind? Did she make the right decision? What are the biggest challenges these two face? How did the fact that Christy lost her mother at such a young age affect her ability to mother Renata?
4. If you were in Christy's position, would you have done the same thing? What would you have done differently?
5. Do you think attending a private school like Colby will affect Renata in a positive or negative way?
6. Loving nanny Nectar Freedom tells Christy about the rule of two: "Love, career, children, pick two." Do you agree with her? Is it possible for today's women to have all three? What impediments stand in the way?
7. What do you think of Michael and Christy's relationship? Did you believe him when he denied the alleged affair with Galit?
8. Why do you think Katherine, after years of friendship with Christy, decides to covertly work against her and have her removed as the head of Baby G.? 9. Why is it important to Christy to impress Brownie Rich? Does everyone have a Brownie in his/her life? Do you think Katherine, Galit, and Brownie got their just deserts?
10. What was your first reaction when Renata's relatives arrived from Mexico? Why do you think Renata bonds with Mrs. De Mille?
11. What do Christy and Renata have in common? How does Renata's reading Harriet the Spy ultimately help Christy?
12. Did Christy make the right decision by not returning to Baby G.? Why or why not?
13. Were you surprised to discover that Christy is pregnant at the end of the book? How do you think this newly merged family will fare?
14. What factors make someone a "wife in the fast lane"? Do you consider yourself to be one? If yes, do you find this role rewarding?
15. In the past, the "conversation" was about whether or not women could do it all. Could they find balance? Is it time to reframe the question and ask ourselves how can we create lives that are true (or truer) to ourselves? We're so busy living complex lives, but are we fulfilling to do lists or are we doing things that are deeply meaningful to us, things we're passionate about? Is there something you are passionate about that is getting short shrift in your busy life? What would you change if you could? What is stopping you?
ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
1. Christy Hayes, a former Olympic athlete, started her own sneaker company and watched it grow into a hugely successful corporation. For your meeting, why not research other female athletes and see how many turned their athletic success into thriving businesses. Sports Illustrated's website is a great place to start: http://sportsillustrated .cnn.com/.
2. If your book club meets for dinner, assign a character to each member and have them bring a dish that their character would make or enjoy. For example, Renata was a fan of her grandmother's casserole and was proficient using Shake 'n Bake. Christy was more into healthy Asian foods, and Brownie would no doubt be a fan of haute cuisine.
3. Learn more about the author Karen Quinn by visiting her official site, www.karenquinn.net/.