Ava Cummings spent more than 10 years as an editor at some of the biggest and best-known magazines in the world. She fetched coffee, fell in love with fashion, and eventually became a full-fledged editor, covering Hollywood and bringing in stories about bold women that were making a difference in the world. She has spun together the sweep-you-off-your-feet happy endings of fairy tales, the unbelievable headlines she reads in the news, and the quirky personalities that she’s encountered in both the real world and on reality TV in her first novel, Sweet Muse. Ava lives in the leafy suburbs of Boston with her husband and two children.
Which books at present are the most significant to you?
My tastes are all over the place. I love historical novels — whether set in England, India, China, France, etc. History is such a vivid backdrop. Some historical romance, some not. I love Amy Tan, Lisa See, Phillipa Gregory, Anne Perry…I just finished an amazing 3 book series on Josephine, Napolean’s wife, by Sandra Gulland. One of my favorite recent reads. I was so sad when I finished the last book.
I love chick lit — Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, loved the Bridget Jones series when it first came out…fun, easy reading, like eating popcorn. And women’s fiction in general, one of my recent favorites was Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. I was sobbing at the end!
I also like fast paced actions and mysteries — a huge Carl Hiasson fan. I enjoy the occasional John Grisham.
I’m a fan of extreme non-fiction personal stories/memoirs, too — Into the Wild, even Eat Pray Love; and love a good Wall Street nonfiction. The abuse of power and sleaze is just so crazy….The Wolf of Wall Street, Tales from the Boom Boom Room.
In the romance category, I loved 50 Shades and was inspired (like so many) to write romance after reading it. I really enjoy Abbi Glines. She is so good at creating that intensity in a relationship, that closeness. And then I’ve read lots of random romances that I find on Amazon. I’ll read almost any romance, in all types of categories. Can’t get enough fairytale endings.
I suppose I’m influenced by all different types of storytelling. I like the action packed, fast moving element and have tried to incorporate that into my book. I like the first-person emotional, ascerbic, honest, complicated women voices in chick lit and tried use that, as well. And I have always loved romance and any book with a fairy tale ending. I also worked in celebrity magazines for years so I’m a real pop culture junky and also have a real appreciation for lowbrow entertainment!
Which books were the most formative to you as an early reader?
Judy Blume was the first author that really pulled me into books. I read everything she wrote, multiple times. As a later teen, I got really into Sylvia Plath. I read The Bell Jar numerous times and wrote a paper about her and the book in high school.
What are your avocations, hobbies, and passions? Do any of them have special significance to the book?
I love yoga and took a training to become a teacher. I don’t teach anymore – don’t have the time — but I still practice almost daily. I also love to cook and prepare creative, healthy meals for family and friends. I love entertaining and host dinner parties regularly. I love being outside in nature – and particularly love hiking. A perfect day for me would be a sunny summer day spent entirely outside — at the beach with my kids or on a hike in the mountains, and then a relaxing dinner on the deck with friends. These hobbies/passions didn’t make it into the book, though the sequel to Sweet Muse will involve a lot of yoga and a scandal with a guru that she ends up exposing.