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Author's Message



Solitaire. Dinner for one. That empty spot on the bed. Not since Bridget Jones envisioned herself being eaten alive by wild dogs has a nation of women become so utterly terrified of growing old alone. So what happens when a thirtysomething singleton comes along, allaying fears with her rah-rah "It's OK to be single!" self-help guide? Why, you get Julia James, the main character from author Ally Carter's debut, Cheating at Solitaire.

Wickedly funny, Cheating at Solitaire goes where few chick lits dare: It's an appreciation of the art of being single. In New York promoting her third nonfiction work, 101 Ways to Cheat at Solitaire, Julia is suddenly thrust into the limelight after a chance encounter with a struggling actor. The media seizes onto the story, reporting that, after much ado, the queen of being single has found herself a man.

"I got the idea when I was in graduate school and living alone," Carter reminisces. "Cooking for one is always hard, I think, so one night I jokingly told myself I was going to make spaghetti and meatball [sic]. That's how the main character came to me -- a self-help guru who advises women on how to be happily single."

Although Carter doesn't spend much time reading self-help books, she used to play plenty of solitaire. "Solitaire
is very much an addiction for Julia, so it was very important to get the details right -- like the way the cards feel in her hands. Like Julia, I'm not opposed to cheating," the author says with a wink.

With a two-book deal from Berkley, Carter is busy writing the sequel, Learning to Play Gin. "The tagline I've had in my head is 'A whole new city ... A whole new game ...,'" she says. That really sums it up. Julia was great at solitaire. It remains to be seen if she'll ever get the hang of gin."

Also slated for release is Carter's young adult novel, I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You, due out in April from Hyperion and already under a movie option from Disney. With the way her career is going, Carter won't have time to be playing much of anything, let alone solitaire, for some time to come. -- Lauren Spielberg

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