Featured Author: Anita Hughes

Last August I had the pleasure of introducing Anita Hughes to you and sharing how much I enjoyed her debut release, Monarch Beach.  Since then I’ve gotten to know Anita much better since she’s practically a neighbor, and we’ve met up several times for coffee and long chats about being moms and wives and writers.  I love Anita’s passion for great books and could talk to her all day about what she’s reading and loving and what she’d recommend.

Anita’s brand new release, Market Street, hits stores today and I adored this book!  It’s a fast read and witty and yet also poignant and she captures San Francisco–one of my favorite cities in the world–so beautifully.  I just spent the weekend in the “City by the Bay”, and I felt like I was right back in Market Street, and loving it.

I’ve got Anita back on my blog today as a guest, because I know you’ll love Market Street as much as I did, and Anita is just fun to talk to!


What do you love most about being a writer? 

The thing I love most about being a writer is creating new worlds and populating them with my characters. I really form a connection with them – I can see them in my mind when I’m not writing, and I always miss them when I finish writing the book.

Was there anyone or anything that helped inspire you to be a writer? 

My mother inspired me to be a writer. When I was thirteen I wrote a full novel – called The Great Book of Suchness – and she helped me type it out, make carbon copies, and send it off to an editor at Harper and Row. I actually received a revision letter back – but I got distracted by school and being a teenager and didn’t follow through. If I had only known what solid gold I held in my hand! My mother had complete confidence in me and never thought I was pursuing a foolish dream.

Tell us what your new book is about, in 2 or 3 sentences. 

Market Street is about the heiress of a San Francisco department store who must choose between her messy marriage and opening a food emporium in Fenton’s, her mother’s department store. It is also a novel about women and friendship. I love the characters and miss writing about them!

What are you working on now?

My next book is called Lake Como, and it is set in San Francisco and Lake Como. I loved writing this one because it felt like I was going to Lake Como every day – which is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s also a novel about female friendships and has great male characters!

What’s your favorite time of the day and place to write?

My favorite time to write is in the morning, after I’ve taken my children to school. I write on the love seat in my bedroom which has a lovely view of the golf course and is very quiet.

If you could meet one person who has died, who would it be?  What would you want to discuss with him/her?

I’d love to meet George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe. I love all sorts of fascinating women and I would probably talk about books, movies, travel, love.

Five favorite things to do on a weekend? 

I love to walk to the beach with my children – they always have a lot of things to tell me about school, and we are not interrupted by cell phones or computers. I love to see movies, I love to sit and read the Sunday New York Times. I like to browse the shops in Laguna Beach – it always feels festive and the people walking around are happy. I love to go to bed early and catch up on sleep!

What does success mean to you? 

Success means your children are happy, after that I think it’s getting some satisfaction out of your work and hoping that you are contributing to other people’s happiness. I love to write and I hope I make my readers happy when they read my books.


Don’t forget to visit Anita’s website at http://www.anitahughesbooks.com to learn more about her and her fantastic books.  To celebrate Anita’s new release, I’m giving away copies of Monarch Beach along with lots of fun JP swag, including a signed copy of The Good Daughter as it, too, celebrates San Francisco.  For a chance to win one of these great prizes, please tell me if you’ve ever been in San Francisco, and if so, what is your favorite memory of the city, or your favorite thing(s) to do when visiting.  The Anita Hughes contest runs through Friday, March 29th with the winners announced on Saturday morning so do check back to see if you’ve won.



  1. San Francisco would be a dream come true. I haven’t visited but a trip there would be an experience. Market Street sounds wonderful. best wishes.

  2. I’ve been to San Francisco once. More like passing through. We went to the pier and then just walked arounf a bit. I would love to go back!

  3. I remember reading about SF in “The Frog Prince”!

    I have been there a couple of times, the most recent being a mission trip with our high school group at church (about five years ago). I loved everything about the city; it was a hands-on trip serving the poor and sick of the city. We saw so much and felt so much; none of the glamorous or fancy stuff. Just the grit–it was eye opening and our students’ hearts and eyes and minds were open to all. We made and passed out sandwich lunches to the homeless. We gave them clean socks and bars of soap with washcloths. We delivered meals to home-bound patients. We served at an inner-city day care facility that helps working parents in summer who have jobs in the daytime when kids aren’t in school. We served in the poorest and toughest of neighborhoods. WE walked until our feet feel off!

    It was just so powerful and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it!

    So there: more than you ever wanted to know about my trip to SF. Oddly the time before was when my hubby and I were engaged–I remember very little. weird!! 😐

  4. Love visiting SF! My fave spot is Pier 39 and just walking around exploring all the shops…such a great place!

  5. I have never been to San Fran, however I hear that it is a beautiful place to visit. I hope to make my way out west soon 🙂

  6. My friends Dianna and Cathy and I visited SF last Spring – it was a beautiful place. We loved riding the trolly cars and walking the piers. We even walked one of the 7 big hills – believe it was called Russian Hill. Of course Dianna had to pull us up the hill – lol

  7. Though it has been years since I was there, I love San Francisco, it’s one of my favorite cities. As with most cities, I love to just get out of the car and walk around. I love the views, anything next to the water is going to pull me in. I looked at colleges in the area, and part of me still wishes I’d made the leap and gone to SF.

  8. I went to college in Berkeley and while it’s maybe not my favorite memory because it’s a little hazy by now, but the first thing that popped to mind was going to the garlic restaurant The Stinking Rose. Yay garlic!

  9. I have been to San Fran once and I think my favorite memory was taking the ferry to Saucalito where they had a earthquake as we were shopping!

  10. I have been to San Francisco but it´s a couple of years ago now.
    I have friends living an hour south of the city.
    My favorite memory is standing in front of the Golden Gate and seeing absolutely nothing but fog 🙂
    And I love visiting Muir Woods.

  11. I have only been to San Francisco once, briefly! I was traveling for business and we decided to head over, drive around and have dinner…it was a bit of a ride, but I loved coming over the Golden Gate bridge and into the city… Driving the streets was amazing. I would love to go back and spend actual time exploring!

  12. I have never been to SF but I try with all my might to convince the husband that a weekend there would be the best birthday present ever! : )

  13. I’ve never been to San Fransisco but my husband has on his Guy’s Baseball Trip. He loved it and can’t wait to take our daughter and me. 🙂

  14. I’ve been to San Francisco many times but always driving a semi truck which meant the driving was always a challenge but never the less always a beautiful interesting city to visit.

  15. I have been to san franciso twice and love love love it.
    The first look of the golden gate and the fog. So beautiful
    Love fishermans wharf and love the cable cars. Love lombard street and the food at the wharf. Nothing better than san fran sourdough bread.
    I could go on and on. As you can see I love it.

  16. I have only visited San Fransisco in books where I feel I am really there. But, in reality, it is on my list of dream vacations that one day I hope to travel to. I have Market Street on pre-order and hope it ships soon. I really enjoyed Monarch Beach thanks to your blog when you introduced Anita to us for the very first time.

  17. Living in Southern California, I’ve been to San Francisco many times. It is my favorite city in the US and has so much character. One of the reasons I love going there is to shop! : )

  18. I have never been to SF either but I do a lot of traveling in my books. I will have to check out your book because it sounds really good and I love the cover. You would be a never author to me.

  19. I have never been to San Francisco. I can only imagine how it must be based on what I have seen in books and in movies.

  20. I’ve only visited San Francisco, but I loved it! I loved, Fisherman’s Wharf, the sea lions, Lombard Street, the wine country….everything! It’s a fabulous city.

  21. I’ve been to SF many times! Two of my fav memories are going as a teenager with our church group and helping in an underprivileged area. Second was when my husband and kids and I flew up on a private jet, went to a Giants game, and were general tourists! Lots of fun!

  22. The one time I got to see San Francisco was during an RV trip we took one Summer many eons ago. I remember the streets very well. Maybe it’s because we went up and down them in a very large RV and I spent that time as a nervous back seat driver! We couldn’t find anywhere to park so we could walk around Market Street, so we kept driving. We stayed at an RV Park along the coast on a very steep cliff. It was amazing and gorgeous! I also recall we were in shorts and hadn’t packed any winter clothes or jackets and the time of year, plus where we stayed over night, we were freezing! We went to a Walmart and bought sweatshirts and jeans! HaHa I’d love to visit again so I can truly take in the culture the city has to offer.

    Great interview! Thank You for this awesome opportunity!

  23. Hi Jane,
    I was born in San Francisco, but didn’t live there long. I went back in 1989 with my brother and sister. What a fun trip that was! My family lived on the Presidio when I was born, so we went back to it and our old house in the officer’s quarter’s area. My sister is 13 years older than I am so she was a teenager when my family lived there, and she also had gone to art school in the city after high school for awhile. She took us all over the city. Ristorante Milano was a favorite, and my brother has been back often. The lasagna is amazing!

  24. I’ve never been to San Francisco but I hope to visit someday. One of the first things I’d like to do is try a genuine San Francisco Sourdough bread from Boudin!

  25. I love San Fran, I have so many special memories. But one that stands out – because it is SO San Francisco is this: We were eating dinner, at a restaurant on the corner of Market and Embarcadero and had a window seat. Suddenly, hundreds of men ride by on their bicycles, it was some sort of protest. And a number of them were naked:). Free peep show. The look on my Mother-in-laws face was priceless.

    My favorite thing to do in San Francisco, besides EAT, is to wander…on foot. Great exercise and so much to discover.

  26. I have never been to San Francisco, but….my senior year of high school…I took art class and drew a huge picture of the Golden Gate Bridge using a t-square. The whole picture is comprised of lines. The best thing about the picture is the beautiful sunset. I worked so long on that and can only imagine how beautiful the bridge must be in person.

  27. I have been to San Francisco and it’s one of my favorite cities. One of my favorite memories is of driving down Lombard Street.

  28. The first time I visited SF I was 5 and I remember 2 things, holding my nose as we walked around Fisherman’s Warf and taking a helicopter ride around the city. I hadn’t been back in over 30 yrs until last weekend. I was only able to drive around and sightsee. But my friends that live up there and I decided on my next trip up we are going to take a day and just explore places.

    Loved Monarch Beach and can’t wait to get my hands on Market Street. Thanks to you, Jane, I have had the pleasure of meeting Anita and she is just a wonderful person and author.

  29. Hi ladies,
    I’ve never been to San Francisco, or California for that matter. I enjoyed reading the above blurb and q&a.
    Now I have a question for you, who are 5 people, alive, that you would like to chat with?
    Thank you,

  30. I have never been to the great city of San Fransisco, but it is on my List of Places to Visit before I Die (as my High School Junior English teacher would say). So very much to do and see!!

  31. I was in SF once–alone, no hubby or kids! I went to be interviewed about a product and ended up in a national commercial for a cleaning product!

    I did get to ride the cable car and walk down my the Fisherman’s Wharf. Ate at in-and-out because the girls I met (at the commercial) and I didn’t have any more time to be touristy. I wasn’t sure if I bought the bread it sould stay fresh ’til I got home. I also had dinner in Oakland’s Jack London Square at the famous Scott’s restaurant and it serves the famous Boudin sourdough bread.

  32. I have not been to San Francisco; I thought I was going to get my chance last year when my son was looking at colleges as he was looking into USF but then he decided to start local for now. One day I will get there!

  33. Hi! I love the interview and really would love to read her books, love to read about women and friendship and relationships. I’ve never been to San Francisco,I’ve heard that its a beautiful city since I have relatives that live in La Lolla. One more thing to add to my bucket list.

  34. I was in San Francisco for a few days in the late 1980s. I remember that the hills were incredibly steep and Fisherman’s Wharf was a neat place to visit.

  35. The last time we were there was for an academic conference that my husband was attending. We enjoyed the fresh seafood and the winding streets and the cable car ride…all so much fun! There is so much to see and do there. Grace Cathedral Episcopal Church on California St. is amazing located on Nob Hill and well worth a visit. Thanks for introducing us to another great author Jane.

  36. I love SF. I have many fond memories of visiting there. One of my favorites was hiking around Angel Island with an old friend from high school whom I had not seen in a long time. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed both the hike and the boat ride to the island.

  37. I’ve never been to SF, but my best friend Kim was actually there visiting friends this weekend. I think I would like the Jelly Belly tour, and of course, there’s the Ghiradelli.

  38. The last time I visited San Francisco, I was a little kid. I don’t rememeber much, other than the Golden Gate Bridge. Hopefully I can go back to visit someday soon and see some more sights!

  39. I have never been to San Francisco but I would love to visit there. I’d love to tour Alcatrez island.

  40. Hi Jane,
    I have never been to SF but would love to. I hear everything there is a must see.


  41. I went to San Francisco the summer of 2011 to cheer my husband on while he ran the San Francisco Marathon! We hit all the spots and had a great time! It’s a great city!

  42. My parents talk about a trip when I was young to San Francisco, but I don’t remember it.

    Thank you for the recommendation. I have added Anita Hughes to my reading list.

    I also say that you are going to Spokane in the fall for the Good Wife and am excited to see you !!!

  43. I just hope I got the book in my hand, look at the cover of the book really awesome :). And can’t wait to have a chance to read good daughter

  44. I’ve never been to San Francisco but it is definitely on my list of places I would love to see. Congratulations to Anita on her new book!

  45. How can I pick just one thing? San Francisco is such an amazing city! I love walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf – such a fascinating place! Chinatown is a door into another world. Shopping! San Fran has wonderful places to shop. The Golden Gate Bridge! Lombard Street! The Presidio! I can’t wait to return!

  46. I’ve been to San Francisco, but only for a couple of days. I’ve spent more time in Napa and Sonoma wine tasting 🙂 But I did enjoy Fisherman’s Wharf! I’d love to go back someday for a longer period of time!

  47. never been to San Francisco;
    I’d love to visit and ride the street cars.

    love to win this prize for some new reading

  48. I’m hoping to visit San Francisco sometime in the next few years. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit with my boyfriend. The Victorian homes and winding hills and seafood restaurants are calling to me!!

  49. For a short time, my husband and I lived in San Francisco when he was in the military. Coming from a small town growing up, I enjoyed the “big city” life living there with so many options of things to do.

  50. Hi Jane

    I read her book Monarch Beach at your last recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved this interview with her and will be on the hunt for her next book. Thank you for always featuring upcoming authors – you are a gem! Love your blog
    Lisa Lange

  51. I have not, but if all goes well, I hope to next year for our 25th anniversary. I’d love to see much of Northern CA. (Including Capitola)

    Monarch Beach has been on to-read list and I’ve just added the other two. Thanks!

  52. I have never been to San Francisco, but I have been to Lake Como, where my husband proposed to me 20 years ago. We have such fond memories of the place, it is so special for us. I can’t wait to read Anita’s book Lake Como.

  53. When I graduated from college, my first job was with the Macy’s Executive Training Program in San Francisco. I crossed Market Street each day on my way to work at the Buying Offices on O’Farrell. It was a very exciting time to live in SFO and to work in the fashion industry. My favorite memory probably was when I has the opportunity to volunteer for DIFFA for the Seventh on Sale benefit. Many of America’s top fashion designers came to the event. I met Donna Karan and Bill Blass. Bill Blass gave me a signed sketch of his. It was amazing! I loved working on runway shows for Macy’s there. Loved sunny lunches in Union Square. Was back a few weeks ago for business….all those great memories came rushing back!

  54. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Anita and her books. If I don’t win, I will be ordering both of her books this weekend.

  55. I love San Fran. Our favorite memories of the city iare going to the zoo and the Exploritoriam with the kids. Amazing city!

  56. San Fransisco is on my bucket list! I have had posters of San Fran, Paris, New York, and Rome as long as I can remember, just praying for the day I could see them. I’ve seen pictures from my mother’s trips, but never made my own memories. If it weren’t for books, I’d have hardly traveled any where! I can’t wait to read these books!

  57. Well, I’m sorry to say that I’ve never been to San Francisco. I would love to go though. Any chance you’ll be giving away a vacation to SF? Or better yet, just use of a spare bedroom in your new house? Lol! I will definitely check out her books. Thanks as always for the suggestions and of course keep writing for us! 🙂

  58. Hola Jane!

    Look forward to reading this new writer. I have been to San Franscio once, long time ago. I have to say this was the only trip where I lost weight with all the walking up and down, up and down. What I remember most is touring Alcatraz while the movie Murder in the First Degree with Kevin Bacon was being filmed and I ran out of the book shop with a book, mind you I hadn’t paid for it, cause Kevin had just walked by and I wanted to see him and take pictures. Needless to say I had to go back into the gift shop and say I had walked out with the book and needed to pay. I just knew they were going to lock me up!

  59. I remember one afternoon with a high school friend and my mother. We had just been to an appt at univ of San franscisco medical center.
    We rode the trolley cars and I can still feel the rush of the wind on my face. It was a great afternoon.
    I returned later as an inpatient for a short time. The memory of that afternoon is deeply imprinted in my memory!

  60. My father lived in Santa Rosa and since I visited him at least once a year, I was a frequent visitor to San Francisco. It is my favorite city, one I hold close to my heart. My favorite memory would be Christmas before last when my father passed away. I was racing against time clearing out the house he had lived in (caretaker on a ranch) and so stressed. We decided to take a break and spend New Year’s Eve watching fireworks from the pier…it was a beautiful night that held both tears and laughter for me. My husband was wise insisting we just take a night off with our daughter and escape for a bit. I’m afraid that it will be my last time there but it was a wonderful ending to my time in California and a proper farewell to my father. XO

  61. Oh, no! Looks like we might have been in town when you were and missed the chance to attend your events! We were chilly at home and looking for sunshine so took a road trip south and found ourselves Sunday St. Patrick’s Day at Pier 15 in San Francisco then walked to Fishermen’s Wharf.It was the perfect place to celebrate my 10 year anniversary from colon cancer…more than surviving…we are thriving! Love this city! The air had a silky softness to it and I wanted to bottle it to take home. We visited some old haunts and discovered some new ones…Pier 39 in particular. Now when I need vitamin D and a shot of fun, I can close my eyes and remember this most recent time by the Bay.

  62. Happy Easter, everyone!! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the weekend. My boys and I are on the family ranch and loving every minute!

    Here are the winners:

    #5 Cate Sparks
    #70 Joi Villa

    And I have two bonus winners:

    #37 Ginger Robertson
    #52 Julie Wear

    Drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get prizes in the mail soon!

    Jane xoxo

  63. Oh, darn…I didn’t win;( However, I’ve been introduced to a “new” author (for me anyway)Anita Hughes and am looking forward to reading Monarch Beach and Market St. Thanks to Jane for keeping us posted and opening our doors. Congrats to the winners…really;)!

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