Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor, volunteer and Girl Scout troop leader. I’ve just released my fourth book, clutch: a novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Clutch: a novel is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit story that chronicles the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer, who goes through a series of unsuccessful romantic relationships she compares to various styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to stand up for the handbag style that embodies what she ultimately wants – the “Clutch” or someone to hold onto.
Clutch: a novel actually started out as a screenplay that was optioned by a production company housed at one of the major movie studios summer 2014. Unfortunately, it fell out of development. I was eager to have this fun story with some of my favorite characters told, so I turned it into a short novel earlier this year. My hope is that the book will renew interest in the story as a movie.
When I was writing part of the Click Trilogy, (Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click, Right Click) I saw an episode of one of my favorite shows where a character mentioned that men were like purses – something useless to hang on a woman’s arm. I started thinking about how men are like handbags and the idea grew from there.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I sit in my home office at a HP desktop computer with a really big screen. My eyes grow tired pretty easily in my old age;) And, I like to write with the television on in the background. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS. I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails. I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world in Click: An Online Love Story. It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. Without Click, I wouldn’t have completed the trilogy with Double Click and Right Click and continued writing in earnest.
What are you working on now?
In addition to promoting the new book, clutch: a novel, I’m looking into making connections within the motion picture industry to try and get a movie version made. As mentioned, the book started out as a screenplay that was under option at a major studio, but fell out of development. I’m eager to see if there’s interest from someone else on bringing this fun and quirky story to the big screen. So if you happen to be a well-to-do movie producer looking to make a new romantic comedy, please get in touch!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Marketing and promoting a book is almost as hard as writing one. I’ve been lucky to work with some great book promotion companies including Chick Lit Plus and Enticing Journey Book Promotions.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t write off (HA! Like the pun?!?) self-publishing. I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I’ll never forget what he told me, “Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them.”
After graduate school, I spent more than 15 years working in the public relations industry with some of the biggest consumer companies in the world including McDonald’s, Ford, Sony and Gatorade. I spent countless hours writing news releases, bylined articles, marketing proposals, brochures, advertising copy, public service announcements, radio copy, mat columns, fact sheets, photo captions, media alerts, pitch letters, letters to the editor, video news releases, etc. And, I carried Mr. Rosen’s words with me every day as colleagues, bosses and clients have “changed my words” sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
When it came time for me to write something personal, based on my own experiences and initially for my own pleasure, I relished the opportunity to write what I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted. Self publishing allows you to take control of the process and fall in love with your words.
What are you reading now?
I’m in the process of reading a draft novel from a good friend that I’ve met within the writing community. I’m not at liberty to say anymore about it right now, but will help promote the book when it’s available.
What’s next for you as a writer?
My hope is to start a new career as a screenwriter. While I pursue connections within the entertainment industry, I will continue to write light and breezy stories for anyone who has ever been in love, had a bad date, been dumped or is still searching for “the one.”
What is your favorite book of all time?
To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman yet. I’ve heard so many controversial things about it, I’m concerned it will taint the love I have for the first book.