Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Interview with Lisa Becker

Lisa Becker had endured her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates, many of which inspired Click: An Online Love Story and Double Click.  She is now happily married to a wonderful man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters.  So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for you!

Q. What inspired the plot for your novels, Click and Double Click?

Click is loosely based on my real-life dating (mis)adventures, as well as stories friends have shared with me.  In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred.  Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect.  And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. But I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.”  But the happy ending is real.  My husband and I met online on a popular dating website.  We’ve been happily married for ten years and have two amazing daughters - ages 8 and 6.  After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating.  I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged.   The ultimate goal was to create a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for "the one." 

Q. Would you say that you and Renee are similar or completely opposite?

I most readily identify with Renee.  She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking.  Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating.  He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.”   So if you know any nice single girls, let me know.  ;)  But, my favorite character is Shelley.  She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices.  She was so fun to write.  Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria.  She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell.  

Q. At what age did you realize writing was something you wanted to pursue?

I always told myself – even as a little girl – that I would write a book one day.  I started writing Click after my husband and I married but before we had kids.  Then I had to take a break from writing due to the rigors of motherhood.  But I made the commitment to finish the book.  I wrote in the mornings while the girls were at school or at night after they went to sleep.  I made it a goal to write – even if only for a half hour – every day.

Q. Describe your writing ritual.

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.  

Q. What are your writing goals for the rest of 2013?

A friend, after seeing the Double Click cover, said, “Can’t wait for part three, Right Click; the story of how Renee becomes a conservative and falls madly in love with a one percenter!"  While I don’t think Renee will become a member of the Tea Party anytime soon, I love the title.  Right Click is a slow-moving work in progress.  I hope to finish half of it before the year is through.  

Q. What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?

Chocolate!  In fact, that’s how I deal with writer’s block.  I eat chocolate.  If I’m stuck on a certain section or not feeling motivated to write, I give myself little chocolate incentives to get past the blockage.  Judging by my thighs, I had some serious problems writing this book.  ;)

Q. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m not reading anything right now, as I am focusing all of my attention on writing Right Click.  It’s hard for me to read a book while I’m also writing.  

Q. If Click were a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?  

Because of the narrative format of Click and Double Click – unfolding entirely in emails – we don’t have character descriptions like you would typically have in a traditional novel.  I’ve always joked this will make it easier to cast the movie, since we don’t know what anyone looks like.  However, I do have a character wish list in mind: Renee Greene – Casey Wilson; Ethan Langer – Josh Radnor; and Shelley Manning – Malin Ackerman.  

Q. What can your fans expect next?

I’m hoping to have Right Click released Spring 2014 and I’m also working on a traditional novel about a group of friends who spend a long weekend together in Big Bear. 

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring 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. 

I'm also reminded of some advice I was once given. 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." One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process. 

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