Q. What inspired the plot for your When Girlfriends' collection?
My own group of girlfriends is pretty eclectic, just like the girlfriends in my novels. We obviously have a lot in common, but we’re still a diverse group of women and we share an amazing friendship. And even though we’ve been moving out of our college town over the years and are physically distanced, we’re still just as great of friends. When I set out to create the When Girlfriends novels I knew I wanted friendship to be an important theme. I took the idea of a close and diverse group of best friends and coupled it with the fact that great friendships can withstand time, distance, and even the roughest of moments, and can keep on growing.
Q. Which girlfriend could you relate to the most?
Each girlfriend has a little bit of me in them, but I suppose that’s an author thing. I can probably most relate to Sophie Wharton (leading lady of When Girlfriends Break Hearts and the yet-to-be-released seventh novel in the collection). Sophie was my first chick lit character to write and I’ve learned a lot from writing her story and character. She’s got a hold on me. :)
Q. Were there any girls that you loved writing their story? Did you dread writing any of the girls' story?
Claire’s (When Girlfriends Chase Dreams) story was so much fun to write! When I’m not writing I work for a wedding florist, and I have had years of wedding-related inspiration just waiting to be put to use. Currently I’m writing Jackie’s story, and if you know this character then you know why I’m having a tough time. She’s my wild and damaged character so telling her story is a definite challenge.
Q. At what age did you realize writing was something you wanted to pursue?
I began filling notebooks with stories, poems, and songs at the age of six, and in 2011 I self-published my first book, Bumped to Berlin. Now I’m more obsessed with writing and publishing than I ever thought possible. I just can’t write fast enough; I have so many stories I want to tell!
Q. Do you have a writing ritual? If so, describe it for us.
Not every single day is a perfect routine where I hit my word count, but I do give myself an organized schedule. Usually I write Mo-Fr in the home office, in the afternoon. I cover the desk with Post-Its and notebooks and character charts, make sure I’ve got lots of water, some coffee, and then I turn on the music and get to work. Some days I can get 3,000 new words and some editing done, and the rockstar days are when I write 10-12,000 words. (My wrists are not fans of those days.)
Q. What are your writing goals for 2013?
I want to make 2013 a 5-book-year, and I’ve got 4 down and 1 to go! Even though the current WIP (Jackie’s book) is a really tough one to write, I should have it ready in the autumn.
Q. Where would you like to see yourself and your writing in five years?
I want my craft to continuously improve and I’d love to have dozens of books completed, with lots of happy readers. The fans of Bumped to Berlin and my When Girlfriends collection are so kind and encouraging. When I hear that they’re anticipating the next installment, or that they felt like I whisked them off to another place through my stories, or that my girlfriends feel like real women or like friends they know, I just want to write more and more (and more quickly!).
Q. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Currently I’m doing a lot of Paris research and gathering inspiration because one of my upcoming books will be taking place there. I’m loving Julia Child’s My Life in France and will be cracking open Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon. I’m also reading Revenge Wears Prada and The Stand, and just decided to re-read Northanger Abbey.
Q. What can your fans expect next?
I just released the fifth When Girlfriends novel, When Girlfriends Take Chances. My beta readers and editor said it’s their favorite one yet, so I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think of Emily’s story. I’m so excited!! Jackie’s book (the sixth When Girlfriends novel) is expected to be out this autumn. It’s high on drama as she’s facing some very challenging issues with her marriage. Very early winter 2013/2014 Sophie’s going to get another book. I’ve felt for a long time that her story’s not finished so I’m going to hold her hostage in Paris and write a really fun and romantic book!
Q. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Read twice as much as you write, but write a ton. :) Reading within your genre is important and helpful, but I also think branching out to get your mind thinking differently is a great exercise. Every time I sit down to write a book I am determined to write the story that is in my heart. I want to write the book that I would want to read. So sometimes that means having to push past the worry that I might be working with an envelope-pushing theme or an uncomfortable scene. In the end I think the writer must be true to her work. Then finish, polish, publish, and get to work straight away on that next book!
Thank you so much for having me today, Josie Ann, and thank you for your readership and for participating in my tour!
P.S.: Don’t forget to enter the fabulous CLP When Girlfriends Chase Dreams Tour Giveaway. One lucky reader will win a 1 year subscription to the “Martha Stewart Weddings” or “Martha Stewart Living” magazine (print or digital). Details are the CLP tour page.
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