Friends With Boats

Hingham author Alexandra Slater’s new book is a fun beach read.

Hingham resident Alexandra Slater followed an interesting career path. A graduate from Columbia University and Northwestern University’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism, she cut her teeth as a journalist working as a reporter for The Patriot Ledger and NPR, where she received the Edward R. Murrow award for writing. She later worked in marketing communications and public relations. Most recently, she published the fun and flirty beach read “Friends with Boats.” We chatted with Slater to learn more about her book as well as her path to becoming an author.

Have you always enjoyed writing? Is this your first novel?

I have always enjoyed writing, since I was young. I wrote a screenplay for Judy Blume’s “Superfudge” for a playground production when I was 8! I studied English Literature at Columbia and went to Journalism Grad School at Northwestern. Since then, I worked as a reporter for NPR and for other publications, including The Patriot Ledger! This is my second novel, but the first one with a publisher.

How did you get the idea for this novel?

I got the idea for the novel when I was living in Falmouth year round, on the Cape. I loved reading Elin Hilderbrand books about Nantucket, as they would transport me there, and I recognized the names of locations and places. I thought I’d like to do that with Falmouth. I knew it would be about three friends, but it kind of came to me as I went along. I didn’t outline it. The story that evolved was not necessarily what I intended.

What is your writing style/process? Do you have a routine?

I met every two weeks by phone with another writer, who is a published author and lives in the Berkshires, Jamie Cat Callan. We would exchange at least 10 pages to read and critique them. This kept me motivated and held me accountable to get the writing done. It is easy to not make time, especially when I was a single parent of two kids and working full-time. I had to make the time! It took two years to write, because I was so busy with elementary school aged children and work. I like to write mid-morning, I’d say, and I prefer to write in louder places, like coffee shops.

How would you describe “Friends with Boats”?

I would characterize it as a fun, quick, page-turning beach read that is sexy, humorous, dramatic and kind of like watching Bravo TV. It’s not for the super literary type. I’m not pretending to write the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel. But, it’s relatable, and it’s a book that you can read without having to think and reread what you just read because you tuned out. As a mom who could get through like two pages a day, it was for me. I have had men and women read it and love it. It’s not just for women! It’s like an Elin Hilderbrand, Emily Henry, and David Sedaris hybrid novel with my wit.

Are there any local references in the book that readers will recognize?

Yes, there are about 75 businesses, beaches, restaurants, shops and references from Falmouth in the book. There are also references to the South Shore and bridge traffic

How did your work experiences influence/prepare you for the challenge of writing a novel?

I think learning to edit in journalism helped in writing/editing the book. Most of what has helped is my marketing /pr background, as I’ve had to do a lot of the marketing on my own going with a smaller publisher after I published. It’s challenging to get the word out, so you really have to take it on yourself.

What method of publishing did you use and what was that experience like?

Greenleaf Book Group, a smaller publisher in Texas, published it. It was great to have the help with the editing and promotion. The team is wonderful there.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Have tenacity and persistence. Start with a blog, something small, and move onto a novel from there. Also, when trying to publish, cast a wide net and keep going beyond all the “no’s” till you get a “yes.” You only miss the chances you don’t take.

You are a Hingham resident, correct? Any favorite local haunts?

Yes, I live in Hingham. My favorite local haunts are The Square, Locales, and Stars! I love shopping at Chel Bella and Kloth. I love CVS and Walgreens, too! Haha! Oh, and Glossy Nail + Beauty Spa.

Do you have any author events planned for the rest of the summer or fall?

Yes, I have a book party in Cleveland, Ohio, in August. I also am attending some book groups here in Hingham and on the Cape in August and September! There will be a library signing in Falmouth as well!

Anything new and exciting on the horizon?

Yes, I have started my next novel. I’m on page 15, and it takes place in HINGHAM!


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