Jennifer Weiner has a novel and a short story for your summer list

Jennifer Weiner's latest novel was born of the rash of infidelity scandals.
Jennifer Weiner's latest novel was born of the rash of infidelity scandals.

Just in time for beach reading, she's back.

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner — who brought us the deliciously irreverent Good in Bed and In Her Shoes — has a two-part short story appearing in Redbook this summer. The Half Life is about a woman who has an unexpected adventure after her husband bails.

Weiner — a onetime Lexingtonian who worked as a reporter at the Herald-Leader in the mid-1990s — is a busy woman. Her latest book, Fly Away Home (Simon & Schuster, $26.99), touches on a current topic — a cheating politician — and how a wife and their two daughters brave the scandal. The book is No. 4 this week on the Times' hardcover best-seller list.

We chatted about her work:

Question: How were you inspired to write Fly Away Home?

Answer: I watched all these press conferences. I'm in Philadelphia, and for us the big one was the governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, who confessed to being a "gay American" after he was having an affair with his Israeli staffer, and his wife was standing there looking shocked. You wonder what happens after, in the car on the way home. Is that the most awkward silence ever? "Gay American? How's that working out for you?"

Q: You also touch on how it affects the man's children.

A: A lot of these guys have daughters. You just wonder at that moment in life when you're first starting to take baby steps into important relationships with men that aren't related to you ... what does it do to you when your dad's in the headlines for sexual indiscretion?

Q: What did you think of the Tiger Woods scandal?

A: It was both affirming and frustrating. When you're writing a book about cheaters, and every time you turn on your computer or open the paper, there is somebody else doing something worse. With him it was like a clown car — out came women and women and more women. It was crazy time! It really became a question of, "Why would a guy do that?" and "Why do that in a way that he knows is going to drag his wife through the mud?"

Q: You blog about The Bachelorette. Are you a fan?

A: Oh my God. Huge. I love it. I don't think anybody on there is looking for love anymore. I don't even think that we're supposed to think they're looking for anything but a gig on Dancing With the Stars, their next toehold to fame, but part of me thinks they really will fall in love.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: A book on surrogate motherhood. I find it interesting because it's sort of this intersection of health and money: women who can't have children and can afford to hire women to do it for them, make them prostitutes in a way. It's called The Family Way. I believe The Human Oven was taken, sadly.