What happens after we couple up? Cue pursuit of compatible couple friends! The dynamics are difficult, temptations strong and expectations unmanageable as the characters must decide who should be part of their futures and who should stay in the past.
Her first novel, Couple Friends, is set in Savannah and showcases the relationships of five couples who’ve all moved away from their hometowns after graduating from college.
Each character is dealing with the tough aspects of adulthood post-college—navigating first jobs, homes and serious relationships all while seeking that elusive want: the perfect couple friends. The novel is in the vein of Russell’s mentors like Emily Giffin and Nora Ephron—emotional fiction with humor and substance.
The dynamics of finding and keeping couple friends puts their friendships and their romantic relationships through the ringer, especially former college roommates and frenemies Jane and Kieran. When Kieran is offered a job in beautiful Savannah—where Jane already lives to attend graduate school—she is excited to reunite with her college buddy who once helped nurse her back to health after Kieran broke her leg in a car crash.
The location of the book signing, during happy hour at The Rail Pub on November 30 from 5-7 p.m., was selected because it was noted as the favorite bar of the main characters. Other bars such as Jen’s & Friends, The Sparetime, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Savannah Smiles, Bay Street Blues, Wet Willie’s and more are also mentioned briefly during the various pub crawls, nights out on the town and milestones that the characters celebrate such as engagements, weddings and promotions. The novel also has the characters enjoying several restaurants like Crystal Beer Parlor, The Distillery, Churchill’s, Kevin Barry’s and Foxy Loxy Café.
Russell wrote the novel during 2011’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and is working on her third novel during 2012’s competition. Other notable books that started their lives as NaNoWriMo manuscripts include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. She also utilized the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise funds to publish the novel independently. Russell’s Couple Friends urges readers to take inventory of the relationships and priorities in their life like the characters must do and ask the question: who will be part of your future, and who should become part of your past?