Archive for the ‘Chick Lit’ Category

Mindy KlaskyWitches, spells, sparkles, lots of laughs and romance with Mindy Klasky and her bewitching heroine, Jane Madison.

Hi Mindy, welcome to Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself…
Thank you, Veronika! It’s a pleasure to be here! I am the author of eight published novels. I started out writing traditional fantasy (SEASON OF SACRIFICE and five volumes of the Glasswrights Series), but now I’m writing contemporary paranormal romance (with a humorous flair.) When I’m not writing, I work as a librarian for a national law firm – I manage seven libraries in fourteen cities. I’m also a wife and mother to two very needy cats.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Quirky, optimistic, and hungry. (Maybe I shouldn’t be answering these questions at the end of a long work day 🙂 )

I usually ask the Astrology question, but I don’t know your sign. Are you interested in Astrology? What is your sign? Do you match your sign description?
I am a Libra. While I’m intrigued by some astrology, I’ve never studied it in depth. I find that I am – in many ways – a typical Libra, according to the various horoscopes and other sources I’ve consulted. I am happiest when my world is in balance, when things are fair to all concerned, and when justice – either literal or figurative – prevails.

Tell us about the Jane Madison series…
Jane’s story starts in GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT. Jane is a librarian at a collection in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) When her employer is forced to make salary cuts, Jane is offered the opportunity to move into a cottage on the library grounds. Much to her surprise, she discovers a secret stash of books in the basement, along with a statue of a black cat, which turns out to be a magical familiar. Before Jane knows what’s happened, she’s a witch, and she’s forced to juggle romance, work, and magic.

“Sorcery and the Single Girl”, the second book in the Jane Madison series, will be out in September. What will Jane have to deal with in this episode?
In SORCERY, Jane is recruited by the Washington Coven, a powerful collection of witches. She has to decide just how much membership in the Coven means to her – and whether she’s willing to leave behind friends and family to make the magical connections she craves.

Why did you choose to write about witchcraft? Some people say that the topic has already been fully explored…
There are lots of books about witches, but not many of them that approach the topic with my brand of humor. I wanted to write a story about a woman who is capable, competent, and floundering in an environment wholly new to her. Witchcraft gave me the opportunity to explore all of those notions.

Will there be a third Jane Madison novel?
There will be – in fact, I’m writing it now! MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL will be in bookstores in October 2008.

You were a librarian – and so is Jane, your heroine. Do Jane Madison and you have a lot in common?
Jane has a topsy-turvy dating life, as did I. (I am grateful to say that my single days are behind me – I found my husband about a year after I had sworn off dating altogether.) Jane also has a best friend, with whom she shares all the complicated decisions of her life. I remain extremely close to a handful of girlfriends – the sorts of people I can call at any hour of the day or night, just to has through those problems that keep me tossing and turning in the wee hours of the morning.

There is also the “Glasswright Series”, a fantasy series. What is it about?
The Glasswrights Series is about Rani Trader, an apprentice in her country’s stained glass makers’ guild. Rani witnesses a murder, and she’s accused of being the killer, so she is forced to go undercover in her society’s strict castes, to unveil the true assassin.

How do you write? How do you beat the dreaded writer’s block?
I used to write for an hour every morning, after working out, but before showering and getting ready for work. Now, I find that publicity and promotion activities fill my morning writing time; I generally get my writing done on weekends (in three- or four-hours blocks) or by taking a week-long vacation from my day-job. During a nine-day Writing Marathon, I can complete approximately 35,000 words (about one third of a novel).

I have a home office on the ground floor of my three-story townhouse. I sit at a desk that I bought at IKEA about 15 years ago; it looks like leftover hardware from the space shuttle, but it has the best ergonomics of any computer desk I’ve ever used. I use a five-year-old Dell desktop computer, running Windows XP, and I write using WordPerfect 10. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to track my story outline. (When I’m traveling, all bets are off – I write on a hotel bed, on a couch, on a chaise lounge, wherever I can find a surface to balance the laptop I’m using — which might be my own, might be a friend’s, might be a loaner.)

So far – knock wood – I’ve never had writers’ block. I sit and write whenever I’m able to make the time.

How do you picture your readers or “Who do you write for”?
Publishers will say that my readers are young women, between the ages of 15 and 40. I consistently find, though, that a wide variety of people read my books. I write for people who are interested in taking journeys, in exploring alternative realities to the one in which we live.

What do you think about eBooks? Would you consider writing one?
I don’t personally care for reading eBooks; I spend approximately 11 hours a day in front of a computer now, and I don’t care to devote more time to pixels on a screen. GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT and SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL are both available as eBooks, so that readers who prefer the technology can enjoy them.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favorite authors to feature?
In the realm of contemporary romantic comedy, I’ve fallen in love with the books of Laura Caldwell. I’ve also been reading a lot of young adult fiction recently, and I’ve been particularly taken with the science fiction trilogy UGLIES, PRETTIES, and SPECIALS, by Scott Westerfeld.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question: you’ve just found $100 in your pocket, how will you use the money?
I’d probably end up in a bookstore, sipping an overpriced cafe au lait and browsing the mystery, science fiction, or non-fiction titles to find the perfect additions to my toppling-over to-be-read pile.

Would you like to add something, Mindy?
Thanks for the chance to answer these great questions!


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? Reading a book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Mountains.
Sleepy Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Crazy Megalopolis.
Picking a DVD. Comedy or Drama? Drama.
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going, but need alone time.
Serious or Funny ? Serious, but can crack a joke.
Love to Travel or Hate to Move? Business travel against my will, pleasure travel not often enough
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato? Not.
Leader or Follower? More often leader than not.


“Favorite…”


TV show: House
Movie : At the moment, ALL ABOUT EVE
Book: At the moment, Sherman Alexie’s, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
City: Washington, D.C.
Food: Ice cream (coffee with a fudge ribbon – no nuts!)
Music: Ocean waves on a deserted beach
Favourite place to write: Any place quiet enough to concentrate
Quote or motto: Thou Mayest (“timshel”), from Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Thank you, Mindy!
Visit Mindy’s website:
http://www.mindyklasky.com

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Lisa Clark

Pink power! Lisa Clark and her sassy fiction-friend Lola Love show us the way to a pinkalicious life with their rocking books, “Think Pink” and “Beauty*Licious”!

Hi Lisa and Lola, and welcome on Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself to our readers…
Howdy miss Veronika and reader-types!
Why, of course we will introduce ourselves, it would be positively rude of us not to!
I’m Lisa Clark author girl of the brand spankin’ new Lola Love series of go-for-it guides for girls, and I, Lola Love, am the hipster heroine who narrates these un-put-downable life guides along with my kooky clique of gal pals, the Pink Ladies – hola!

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Lisa: really rather fabulous
Lola: pink thinkin’ diva

Lisa, you’re Scorpio, aren’t you? They are known to be loyal friends, ambitious but also quite suspicious. Are you a typical Scorpion ? What is Lola’s sign? Do you and Lola like Astrology, horoscopes?
Lisa: How did you know that? That’s incredible! I am most deffo a typical Scorpio and I am absolutely obsesso about all things astrology, I read my stars every day and I’m even starting a course in September to study it!
Lola: I’m a Gemini, which, makes me very indecisive, I think!

Who is Lola Love? How did you create her? How did you get your first book published?
Lisa: Lola is a total superhero version of the teen girl I wish I’d been. She’s hella cooler than me and she’s got pink hair for goodness sake, I ALWAYS wanted pink hair! So, Lola is deffo based on the girl I wanted to be as a teen, but she’s still really real – we live in a world where girls are given all kinds of crazy-assed role models to aspire too – Nicole Richie? Paris Hilton? C’mon! I wanted readers to dig Lola, I didn’t want them to want to actually be her, I just wanted to create a character who helped girls to realise their own fabulous, just live a BFF would!
It took a whole lot of time to find a publisher who actually got what I wanted to do – I got a LOT of rejection letters, but finally I found an agent who totally got it and we kept sending it out until we found the sparkly-gorgeous Lindsey at HarperCollins, who got it too, we became the ‘got-it’ gang and made it happen – we had to do a whole lot of persuading, but seeing the finished result, well it was most definitely worth it, the books are freakin’ adoreable!

So, tell us everything about Beauty*Licious…
Lisa: Beauty*Licious is the 2nd in the Lola Love series and whether you’re petite or curvy, tall or small, redhead or blonde, it’s a book that will help you to celebrate what makes you stand out from the crowd and create your own kick-ass beauty blueprint – ‘coz girls, you’re Beauty*licious!
Lola and the Pink Ladies show you how to look great, think great and feel great. It’s a style bible that’s bursting with beauty tips and ideas on how to make the very best out of your own style and will give you great ideas on how to stay happy and healthy without having to resort to fad diets or unhealthy eating regimes.
Beauty*Licious is an absolute must-have for anyone who wants to be fun, feisty, fearless and fabulous on a daily basis!

And before Beauty*Licious, all the Pink Ladies in the world discovered Think Pink. What is it about? Why do you so love pink? Do you always think pink?
Think Pink is filled with everything a girl needs to become feisty, fun, fearless and fabulous – Lola and her kooky clique, The Pink Ladies, banish monotone thoughts of chubby tummies, bad school marks and arguing parents, and replaces them with the most exciting possibilities, because lets face it, life’s not a dress rehearsal, right?!
I do Think Pink, because when you do, life is substantially a whole lot sweeter! Y’see, pink Thinking is positive thinking.
In the book, Lola has pinked-tinted shades to highlight the benefits of seeing the so-called ‘real’ world filled with it’s constant comparisons, unrealistic media images and a need to strive for perfection, in a different, more positive way. Y’see when you Think Pink, anything is possible. You can live a life filled with thousands of candy-kissed, sunshine moments because you’re in control. What’s not to love about that?
I wear a LOT of pink too. If I’m having an antsy day where I’m all foot stompin’ grumpy, I put on a slick of pink lipgloss, my matching glitter-pink pumps and a variety of pink accessories, and I can’t fail to smile at my reflection!

Lola, will there be a fiction book about you and your Pink Ladies?
Lola: Yes, Miss Veronika, there will be – I can’t tell you a lot about them yet, partly because author-girl is in the process of writing them, so I don’t know what I’m going to do from one day to the next, but they’re definitely happening – how exciting is that?!

Lisa, you host a pinkalicious website, Pink World. How was it born and what is it about?
Lisa: I do! Pink World is the ‘zine I always wanted to read, it wasn’t out there, so I created it! It was also a great way to bag interviews with my favourite authors and music-girls and it helped people to understand what pink thinkin’ was really about.
It’s an extension of the books, it’s updated weekly and has interview with inspiring women, features on girls who are doing fabulous things, book reviews, news and has everything a girl needs to become feisty, fun, fearless and fabulous in her daily life!

Lisa, if you could give an advice to a girl…
Lisa: To love yourself up! Not when you’ve lost 5lb, not when you get your brace off, NOW – you’re YOU-nique chica, and that’s such a good thing!

What will Lola talk about in her upcoming guides?
There are lots more to come – but the next two, which will be super-cute handbag size, are called ‘It’s a Girl Thing’ and ‘Viva La Diva’ and are available from Jan 08!

Which books would you advice for a perfect summer read?
Lola and I LOVE reading books so we’ll both be reading LOTS this summer – Lola is a total fan of Cathy Cassidy so will be reading her latest Sundae Girl, while I will be getting sucked into Sarra Manning’s fab new Fashionista series – so, so good.

Want to add something, girls?
Thanks so much for having us come play Veronika – you rock n’ rule – mwaaaahhhh x

“Tea or Coffee?”
Lisa: Oh I LOVE these – how fabulous!

Saturday evening. Going out or read a book? Read a book on my way out!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Just been to Croatia – they have both – perfecto!
Country or City? I’m a total city girl – mmm the sweet intoxicating smell of exhaust fumes!
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else?) Rom com, deffo! I love me a chick flick more than anything in the world!
Shy or Easy-going? Easy going!
Serious or Funny ? I couldn’t be serious if I tried!
Traveler or not ? I LOVE travelling!
Sporty or not ? NOT.
The Leader or not ? I love being part of a group but I don’t like to be TOTALLY in charge – I’m all about the sharing!

“Favorite…”

TV show: Ugly Betty – hands down, I’m head over flip flops in LOVE with that show!
Movie : Ever? Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Gentleman Prefer Blondes
Book : Namedropper by Emma Forrest
City : San Francisco – I’ve left my heart there, can’t wait to go back!
Food : Chocolate. Any kind!
Music : Oh I love so much music I can’t possibly choose – right now, I’m throwing shapes to 60s girl groups like The Ronnettes – LOVE it!
Favourite place to write in : my notebook, sat on the pebbles at the beach. Sigh.
Quote or motto: Think Pink!

Thank you, Lisa and Lola!
You can pay a visit to Lola and Lisa at Pink World! http://www.pink-world.co.uk/

Lauren Baratz LogstedLauren Baratz-Logsted (author of “Vertigo” and contributor-editor of “This Is Chick-Lit” ) shares some writer’s life stories. Makes you want to grab a pen and write!

Howdy Lauren! Glad to welcome you on “Veronika asks”! Could you tell us a few words about yourself?
Hello, Veronika – I’m happy to be here! To answer your question, I’m a writer. It took nearly eight years to get a book published, but now that I’m in, things are crackling. In the past three years I’ve had three books published, but this year will see four more and next will see at least three. I’m also a wife and mother. Any minutes that are not occupied by family or writing are filled with reading.

Well, a bit of Astrology now: you’re Cancer, aren’t you? They are known to be intuitive, shrewd, but overemotional. Are you a typical Crab?
I was always told Crabs were romantic and moody. I’m both of those plus the adjectives you mentioned.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Resilient, resilient, resilent.

Could you tell us more about the anthology “This is Chick-Lit” (you are the editor and the contributor of)…
The idea for the anthology came when I heard last year of a forthcoming anthology called “This is NOT Chick Lit.” Like many other authors, I felt offended by the idea of a collection defining itself by what it’s not: Can you imagine calling a collection “This is Not Sci-Fi”? So I found 17 other writers who were willing to contribute stories to “This IS Chick-Lit.” Our goal is to showcase the broad spectrum of what Chick-Lit can be; rather than the stereotype of shopping and designer cocktails, all the stories focus on problems facing the modern women. They say important things about life, but they do so in a mostly humorous way.

Why do you think Chick Lit is so popular? What do you like in writing Chick Lit?
I think it’s popular because it does make people laugh – and in a tragedy-stricken world, laughter is healing – but also because the very best of Chick-Lit does speak to women’s experiences. I like writing Chick-Lit because it gives me the opportunity to express themes that are important to me within a comic framework. For example, on the surface, my debut, THE THIN PINK LINE, is about a crazy woman who fakes an entire pregnancy. But, scratch the surface, and you realize it’s an indictment on how all too often in life we pursue important things – marriage, children – more because everyone else is doing it than because we’ve given the matter sufficient thought.

I understood you write in several genres, not only Chick Lit. What do you wanna “say” when you write a story? Why do you feel the need to tell a story?
I’ve always loved storytelling and now that I get to do this for a living, it’s tough to imagine doing anything else, unless it was some other job having to do with the creation of books. Just as I read in many genres, I write in many genres. The story I want to tell dictates the genre rather than the other way around. A couple of examples: my forthcoming VERTIGO is classified by its publisher as literary and is set in the Victorian era with erotic and suspense undertones; the story I wanted to tell – that of a good wife who falls drastically when she reaches for something outside of her comfortable social box – would never have worked so well if I’d set it in contemporary times; and my fortcoming ANGEL’S CHOICE, about a Yale-bound college senior who finds herself pregnant, works best as a serious Young Adult novel.

Before being a writer, you’ve been an independent bookseller, a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, a freelance editor and a librarian… always surrounded by books! How did you start writing? How did you get your first book published?
I left the bookselling job in 1994 because I realized I’d never fulfill my own dream to write a novel if I stayed there. It took, as I said above, nearly eight years to get a book published. During that time, I did those other jobs you mentioned plus washing windows. My first book to be published, THE THIN PINK LINE, was in fact the sixth I wrote and I sold it on my own as part of a two-book deal to Red Dress Ink.

You said you also had an essay in the Jane Austen anthology “Flirting with Pride & Prejudice”… could you tell us how an anthology “works”? Why do you like writing short stories and essays for anthologies?
In Flirting with Pride & Prejudice, I was a contributor; in that instance, the publisher got in touch with me and basically said, “We’re doing an anthology on P&P and wondered if you’d contribute.” For THIS IS CHICK-LIT, I’m both editor and contributor. I conceived the anthology, pitched and sold it to BenBella Books, hand-picked the other 17 contributors, wrote my own story, pre-edited the whole thing before turning it in. I like writing stories and essays, in addition to novels, because they stretch different writing muscles. By varying what I do in terms of genre and length, it keeps me fresh.

How do you write ? Do you have some tips for aspiring authors?
I write every day when I’m working on a novel. I get up before the rest of the world and start writing before doubt has the chance to creep in. I set quotas for the day. In terms of tips for young writers: Stay alive! I’m only half joking. One of the biggest cautionary stories in publishing is that of The Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. He wrote the book in the ’60s, submitted it to every publisher in the U.S., was rejected by every publisher, and killed himself at age 27. His mother took up the cause, got Grove to buy it, it won the Pulitzer posthumously in 1980 and still sells like crazy today. But the author doesn’t get to enjoy any of his success because he’s dead. So stay alive! And remember, your work isn’t over when you have a first draft; it’s only beginning.

How long does it take you to write a book? Authors often complain about the fact they don’t have enough time to complete their novels and that the deadlines are stressful. Your opinion?
I’m lucky in that I’m able to produce a first draft quickly. When I first started writing, it would typically take three months. Now it goes quicker and if it’s a project I’m hot to write, it goes really quick. That’s not to say my first drafts are publishable as is – revise, revise, revise! – but I don’t have any problems thus far keeping to publishers’ schedules.

What are you working on now?
I just finished revisions for my fifth book for Red Dress Ink, BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF JIMMY CHOOS, which deals with the perils of obsessive-compulsive behavior, and I’m about to start revisions for my next book for Random House after VERTIGO. This book is called THE SISTERS CLUB and is a contemporary novel about four very different women who come together to perform the sister function for one another.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money? Without thinking too much 🙂
I’m sure I should say give it to charity, but no doubt I’d spend it on my gorgeous six-year-old daughter.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Both. Why can’t I put a book in my fancy purse?
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Both.
Country or City ? Both.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Both.
Shy or Easy-going ? Both.
Serious or Funny ? Both.
Like to Travel? I used to be before I had my daughter and suspect I will be again one day.
Sporty or Couch Potato? In between.
Leader or Follower? Leader. I’m a control freak.


“Favorite…”


TV show: Entourage.
Movie: The Piano.
Book: Love in the Time of Cholera.
Music: Warren Zevon.
City: New York.
Favourite place to write: My basement office, cave that it is.
Motto: “The only person who can ever take you out of the game is you.”

Thank you, Lauren!
You can visit Lauren’s website http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/
Official website of This Is Chick-Lit http://www.thisischicklit.com/

Ellen ByerrumEllen Byerrum takes us into the mysterious fashion world with her heroine, Lacey Smithsonian. Follow them in “The Raiders of the Lost Corset”!

Hi Ellen! Welcome on “Veronika asks”! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Thanks so much for inviting me to your Web site. I’m a mystery writer in Alexandria, Virginia, where I live with my husband. During the day, I work as a journalist for a trade publication. Although I have been a newspaper reporter in the past, I’m not now. I have a private investigator’s registration in the state of Virginia, which I acquired as part of my research for my books. And I am a playwright with two plays that are published by Samuel French Inc. under my pen name of Eliot Byerrum.

A bit of Astrology, now: what is your sign? Do you match your sign’s description?
My sign is Aquarius, but I’m not sure that I’m a typical Aquarian. I’m not that impressed with technology. (Most are said to be technology lovers.) I think there’s a place for quiet days without computers. Aquarians are supposed to be intelligent, and I’d like to think I am, but opinions may differ.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Friendly, loyal, tenacious. (I asked my husband how he would describe me in three words. All he said was “very carefully.” That’s only two words.)

Now, let’s talk a bit about Lacey and her adventures… especially “The Raiders of the Lost Corset”!
This is the fourth book in the Crime of Fashion mysteries starring Lacey Smithsonian. In Raiders of the Lost Corset, Lacey grabs the chance to see Paris, the fashion capital of the world, and chase the fashion story of a lifetime. Her quarry: a legendary lost Romanov corset lined with jewels. Pursued by a Russian ex-spy and an English jewel thief, she and her fellow “raiders of the lost corset” chase a bloody thread of clues from Washington to Paris and Normandy and finally to New Orleans, finding, and fleeing, romantic complications and danger at every twist in the trail, while an elusive killer pulls the laces on this mystery every tighter.

How did you create Lacey? Are you a bit like her?
Some years ago, I was reading a lot of mystery novels about women who were smart, tough, witty, intelligent, resourceful and brave. But they found fashion to be frightening. I wanted to read about a heroine who could have all those tough private-eye qualities but also know how to dress herself in style. I made her a fashion reporter in D.C., the city that fashion forgot. Lacey is a bit like me, and her apartment is a great deal like mine, but she has a better wardrobe of vintage 1940s fashions.

Lacey’s books take place in the fashion world. Are you a fashion fan yourself? Did you work in the fashion world before starting writing?
I love clothes and fashion, but I think having a personal sense of style is more important than following fads. For a short while, I worked at the headquarters of a large salon chain, which helped to inspire some of the events in my first book, Killer Hair, and the character of Stella Lake, Lacey’s sidekick.

Will there be another Lacey’s adventure?
Yes, I’m working hard on finishing the next book in the series. It will be titled “Grave Apparel,” and it is set at Christmas time in Washington.

You used to work as a journalist. Did it help you?
Being a journalist is a great background for being a novelist. It helps teach you discipline and it teaches you to listen for each person’s voice, his (or her) distinct way of expressing himself. I try to pay attention to my characters so that they are not interchangeable.

You tell so many funny anecdotes about it on your website, can you tell us one now?
I’m afraid one of the traits I share with Lacey is curiosity. Knowing the end of the story is important to me. That’s probably how I wound up climbing through a massage parlor window at my first job as a reporter, in a very rough and tough boom town on the Western slope of Colorado. I did manage to get in and interview the girls there and ended up being offered a job. They told me I’d make a lot more money than I was as a reporter. I declined – and wrote the story instead.

How do you usually work?
I try to write every day when I’m in the middle of a book. I work at home, or at coffee shops and the library. I work on the computer, but I also like to write using pen and paper.

How about the writer’s block?
I take long walks and I discuss things with my husband, who is brilliant and a very good listener. Sometimes I like to take a shower. The water pounding over my head gets the thoughts running. It might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

How do you see your reader? You know, when you say to yourself: “there’s somebody reading my book right now”…who do you picture?
Wow. It changes, because I often meet my readers in person at book signings, and I also receive e-mails from them. I know that some of them are teenagers, some are grandmothers, most are somewhere in between. I think it’s a wide range of ages and interests. I hope so.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Go see a play, especially anything by Moliere, my favorite playwright. I don’t have nearly enough time for the theatre, but I love it.


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Going out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Beach, even though I was born in a Rocky Mountain state.
Country or City ? City, but country on vacation.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Comedy, or film noir.
Shy or Easy-going ? Not shy, pretty easygoing.
Serious or Funny ? Funny is serious, isn’t it?
Traveler or…? Traveler, when I can.
Sporty or Couch Potato? Not ultra sporty. I like to walk and to swim.
Leader or Follower? Depends on the group.


“Favorite…”


TV show: 24, last season.
Movie: His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant
Book: At the moment, Heloise and Abelard by James Burge and The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard by Constant J. Mews
Music: Big band, standards
Food: Mexican
City: Paris; New Orleans; Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Place to write: Library
Motto: I have this quote from Henry David Thoreau taped to my computer: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Thank you, Ellen!
You can visit Ellen’s site http://www.ellenbyerrum.com

Kyra Davis“Sex, Murder and a Double Latte” with Kyra Davis and her sassy heroine Sophie Katz. An interview to enjoy with a cup of steaming coffee and really dark chocolate!

Bonjour Kyra! If you could describe yourself with three words…
Silly, strong and emotional (yes, you can be both strong and emotional).

A little bit of Astrology, now: you’re Leo, aren’t you? They are known to be generous, enthusiastic but also a little bit bossy. Are you a typical Lion?
If you ask an astrologer they’d tell you that I was born on the cusp thus making me a Leo/Virgo; but I don’t think there’s a lot of Virgo in me. I don’t have any of the famous Virgo organizational skills. Like any good Leo I love being in the limelight and I crave praise. I can also be overly emotional and will do anything for my friends. I don’t think anyone (with the possible exception of my son) would call me bossy but I do speak my mind (sometimes when I shouldn’t).

Now, let’s talk about “Sex, Murder and a Double Latte”…
Sure let’s talk about it (LOL). Sophie Katz is my protagonist and she’s a murder mystery author living in San Francisco. There’s a Hollywood producer interested in turning one of her novels into a film but before he can make that happen he’s found dead. The police say it’s a suicide but the odd thing is that the producer’s death mirrored a death scene in one of his own films. Soon things that have happened to the characters Sophie has written about start happening to her…little things at first: a broken glass in the kitchen, a book slightly out of place, then someone vandalizes her car and eventually people start dying. The police see her as more of a suspect than a victim so Sophie takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on. She also gets a lot of help from her friends, a group that includes Dena, the owner of a sex shop, Mary Ann, a make-up artist for Lancôme and Marcus, her gay male hairstylist. Together they form their own version of the Dream Team and figure out how to switch Sophie’s role from victim to heroine.

Then comes “Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights”, the second Sophie book…
When I was about halfway through Sex, Murder And A Double Latte I realized that I wanted to write a sequel. In the first book I spent a lot of time exploring Sophie’s relationships with her crazy friends so I decided that in the next book I’d spend a little more time exploring her relationship with her crazy family….and her budding and tumultuous relationship with a certain private detective. Of course a few people die including Leah’s (Sophie’s sister) adulterous husband leaving Leah as the prime suspect in his murder.

There will be a sequel to “Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights”, titled “Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate”. Can you spill some secrets?
Melanie O’Reilly (Sophie’s mentor/former-writing-instructor) asks Sophie to test her husband’s loyalty which is another way of saying she wants her to try to seduce him. Sophie figures she’ll just flirt a little with him and see if he makes a pass. He doesn’t which is good but then he’s shot in a drive-by shooting which is bad. Sophie initially assumes that his murder was a random act of violence but soon realizes that there’s a lot more to it.

Do you think there will be a sequel to “Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate”?
I hope so! My agent will be pitching my editor a proposal for Sophie book 4 & 5

Russian characters are very popular in American fiction. Why? You’ve got Anatoly Darinsky, for instance…
Americans are oddly nostalgic for The Cold War. I know that sounds bizarre but since America is geographically so far removed from Russia we were able to romanticize the enemy. Our desire to see our history with Russia (and Russians) through rose colored glasses has intensified as things continue to get worse in Iraq. However none of that has anything to do with why I “invented” Anatoly Darinsky. When I was in college I was invited to a dinner party by a relatively new acquaintance. The minute I walked in the door I saw one of the best looking men I’ve ever laid eyes on….and he saw me. I swear, it was like a movie; our eyes locked, the chemistry was palpable and before I knew it I was by his side and visa versa. His name was Anatoly (not Darnisky) and he was from Russia where he served in the army. Then he moved to Israel and served in THAT army. I thought that was interesting and started asking him more questions about himself. That turned out to be a mistake. It turns out that Anatoly served in two armies because he didn’t have the intelligence or social graces to succeed in any field that was dependant on his physical abilities. I mean the man was a TOTAL idiot. So much for my little “movie.” Now, years later I’ve been given the opportunity to rewrite the scene. My Anatoly has his issues, but he’s not stupid. One of the best parts of being a writer is you can literally rewrite history.

How was Sophie born?
I started writing Sex, Murder And A Double Latte when I was in the middle of my divorce. I was anxious, overwhelmed and more than a little angry. I knew I needed an emotional escape so I created Sophie Katz and her fictional world in which I could legally kill people.

Do you and Sophie have a lot in common?
Somewhat but not as much as people assume. We share the same sense of humor, ethnicity and vocation. But Sophie has a lot of issues that I don’t and the reverse is true as well. For instance, Sophie is jealous by nature, I’m not. Sophie is also never hesitates to ask for help when she needs it while I often hesitate to ask for help even when it’s incredibly obvious that I need it.

Your novels are filled with bubbly, colorful characters. Does Art imitate Life? Or do your characters come out of the blue?
A little of both as my story about Anatoly probably indicates. Usually I’m inspired by an individual (or, as is more often the case, several individuals) but as I develop my characters they take on a life of their own until they are completely removed from the person they were originally inspired by.

You said on your website that you had a passion for theater, at school. Why? Is it still your passion?
Mmm….I miss the theater. I’m not entirely sure if I was right to give it up. However in college I began to worry that I didn’t have what it took to make a living as an actress. Around that same time my French professor told the class that we all needed to choose a historic French figure and write a report on him or her (in French of course). I knew everyone was going to be picking people like Monet and Matisse…perhaps one or two would go with Napoleon or Louis the XIV but I wanted to be different. In the end I chose Coco Channel and it was while researching her that I fell in love with fashion. Never one to do anything halfway, I immediately changed majors and career paths. I went to a fashion school in San Francisco and then The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I worked in Couture boutiques and in buying offices but then my chosen course was derailed again…this time by a man who I later married and then divorced. To be fair I wouldn’t have allowed ANYONE to come between me and a career that I loved and for the first years of our marriage I did continued to pursue my career in the fashion industry but it became clear that I liked the idea of working in fashion more than I liked the reality of it. So when I had my son and had to decide if I was going to go back to work immediately or leave my job (until recently, maternity leave in the States was only 6 weeks) it was an easy decision–leave my job. Of course then my marriage failed and I HAD to go back to work and that’s how I discovered writing and this is one career I WON’T be walking away from.

How do you picture your reader?
I still find it incredible that ANYONE is reading my books! But my guess is that the majority of my readers are women in their twenties and probably quite a few teens. Beyond that I hope my readers are a fairly diverse group of people. I’d like to think that my writing appeals to all kinds of people.

How do you usually work? What about the dreaded writer’s block?
I usually write when my son is with a babysitter and I frequently take my laptop to a cafe (yes I know, it’s a very “Sophie” thing to do). The best way to handle writer’s block is to write through it. Even if I don’t think my idea is very good I know I can always go back and change things later. I just need to give myself something to work with.

Do you have an advice for aspiring authors?
Write something! I know that sounds like odd advice but I’m always meeting people who tell me that they are writers at heart but haven’t found the time to actually WRITE ANYTHING! As I noted in the last question, writers shouldn’t worry about how good or bad their first draft is. The point is to get the ball rolling, once you do that everything becomes easier.

What about the after-Sophie? What will you charm us with next?
My next book is So Much For My Happy Ending and that book is a bit of a departure for me. It’s still my voice but the issues are more serious. The protagonist in the novel is a young woman who marries a man who she later learns is suffering from a mental illness that threatens to destroy them both. There is humor but it’s not exactly a light read. I know it’s being translated into German (which surprised me, this is the first book of mine that the Germans have shown any interest in) but I don’t know if it will be translated into French. Ideally I’d like to write a Sophie book every year and a more serious novel every other year. I should be able to do that as long as people continue to buy my books.


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? I like to alternate every other week
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach!
Sleepy Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Crazy Megalopolis!
Picking a DVD. Comedy or Drama? Comedy, my life is dramatic enough.
Shy or Easy-Going? Easy-going. No one in their right mind would call me shy.
Serious or Funny? Little of both.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to Travel.
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato? I work-out 6 days a week, but Sports? I couldn’t catch a ball to save my life!
Leader or Follower? Leader (I am a Leo after all…)


“Favorite…”


TV show: It’s a toss up between The Daily Show, Project Runway and Grey’s Anatomy
Movie: A Fish Called Wanda
Book: There are too many to chose from! I do LOVE David Sedaris and Nick Hornby so any one of their books would be a good pick. But I also love Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and…oh, I could go on and on about this so I’ll just stop myself now!
Music: I like all kinds of music but lately I’ve become fond of Hip-Hop that is mixed with other musical styles (the single playing on my MySpace page, We Gonna Win, is the perfect example of this).
Food: My ex was a gourmet chef who specialized in Provençal cuisine so I’ve sort of been spoiled when it comes to food. Friends used to come over and ask if I had the necessary ingredients for a sandwich to which I would reply, “No, but we do have Duck Liver Mousse, roasted beets and portabella mushrooms.”
City: San Francisco, no matter where I live it will always be my home. However I do LOVE Paris and Nice
Favorite place to write: Cafes
Quote or motto: Life shrinks and expands in proportion to your courage

Thank you, Kyra!
Visit Kyra’s website http://www.kyradavis.com/

Stacy DawnAuthor Stacy Dawn talks about her short eStories and her upcoming full-lenght novel. Romance and sport can’t live together, you said? Read that!

Hi Stacy! How are you doing? Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Thanks, I’m doing great! Well, I’m a romance author, which is good considering I’m a hopeless romantic. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada in a small house out in the country with my husband and two young sons.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Compassionate, honest, goofy

You’re Libra, aren’t you? I heard they’re diplomatic, romantic but quite indecisive. Are you a typical Libra?
Oh yes, very typical. I’m always trying to keep the peace when I can’t even make up my own mind LOL.

Your short stories are published as eBooks, could you please talk about them, for those who don’t exactly know how it works…
Basically, it’s like going to a bookstore on your computer. For instance, you could go to The Wild Rose Press website at www.thewildrosepress.com and click on their bookstore then pick out a book to buy (try Stacy Dawn’s books…I hear she’s got some fun stories) When ordered, you download the book onto your computer, open up the file and start reading. They have covers, dedications, and everything like a normal book but your bookshelves don’t get overloaded.

How did you get published? Did you want to be ePublished at first?
I’ve always wanted to write and be published. I sold a few stories to various magazines and was working on longer pieces when I heard of The Wild Rose Press. I submitted and thankfully, they liked what they read. No actually, ePublishing is new to me too but in all honesty, I love it. The Wild Rose Press also do print books as well which are now available through Amazon.com so it’s like having the best of both the eBook and print world

Tell us a bit more about your latest story, “Sold!”…
Sold! is a funny story about the indecision of making that first move…does he like me or is it all a fantasy in my head?

What do you like in writing romance? What would you say to those who say “romance isn’t a serious genre”?
First, I’d say they were nuts. Romance is a HUGE percentage of book sales and publishing. I like writing it because of what’s called the HEA—happily ever after endings. No matter what problems your characters face, in the end they will find a way to make it together. Like in life, it’s never easy but it is possible.

Your upcoming eBook is called “A Matching Fancy”… can you tell us more?
This is another short story. It involves a woman who, while watching her niece at a wedding thinks love is only for the young…until an outspoken guest shows her differently. Watch out for the little twist in the tale!

And I also heard that there will be a full-length novel coming out in print, soon…
Oh yes! This will be my first full-length novel published and I am so excited. Wanna Make a Bet?–When aspiring artist and purposefully single Sophie Montgomery mutters those four fateful words, her sexy neighbor, Jay Coltrane, pounces on the opportunity to prove she’s not as immune to him as she thinks. Before she knows it, Sophie finds herself not only betting against a seduction, she’s betting against her own ability to keep her dreams intact and a certain luscious landscaper out of them. It will be coming out in mid 2007.

I heard that eBooks publishing will grow faster and faster… What do you think about it?
I’d have to agree. There are many products like ebook readers on the market now that make it so easy to download your books onto it and take them with you on trips, commuting, the bus, whatever. And with today’s technology, most can hold over two hundred books—can’t stuff that many into your knapsack and haul them around very easily LOL.

Do you think eBooks will take the paperback books’ place soon?
As much as I like eBooks, I still enjoy curling up on the couch with a paperbound book in hand so in all honesty, I would hope for a happy medium and not one taking over the other.

What’s the greatest thing about being ePublished? Any bad sides?
One of the first things learned when starting to submit your work is patience and the ability to wait and wait and wait and wait. Because everything is done electronically, the process for ePublishing is a lot faster than print publishing. There is still a lot of waiting time but it’s probably cut in half. The bad side is that there are still a great number of people who don’t know about ePublishing, others who refuse to give it a try because of their loyalty to print books, or simply those who don’t have access to a computer. So promoting your stories can be hard and sometimes limited.

Isn’t it sometimes, let’s say, sad, not to be able to “hold” your work in your hands? (that’s a thought I always had about ePublishing).
That is a consideration and I’m thankfully with a publisher that does do print books as well but yes, most of my stories being eBooks shorts will never be crushed against my chest in ecstatic excitement. But, then I get an email from a reader saying they loved it and you know, that’s my real dream come true.

How do you work (where, when, how…)?
My desk is shoved up against a little wall in the sportsroom. Yes, I said ‘sportsroom’. My husband is a sports-aholic and the room is filled with all sorts of memorabilia, posters etc. Luckily, I face a big window so I get to see the luscious countryside instead. I write mostly during the day, an hour or so at a time in between feeding, playing with, and refereeing the kids. I’m not much of a night owl because they like to get up very early in the morning so I usually only write at night if I’m on a deadline. I find if I balance my time then we’re all happy. I’m half punster/half plotter, which means some stories I just sit down and start typing where other stories I like to lay out a solid outline before I start.

Would you like to add something, Stacy?
I would urge everyone to give eBooks a try. I’m not saying everyone is going to like them but I think they will surprise a lot of people too. I also love to hear from readers and writers. I can be contacted through my website at http://www.stacydawn.com. And most important, I want to say a big thank you to you, Veronika! I’ve had fun.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
I’d take twenty of it to splurge in a stationary store (I LOVE pens, papers, and nik-naks) then, sad to say, the rest would probably go to regular things like groceries, bills, or new clothes for the boys who grow like weeds.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Read a book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach
Country or City ?Country
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Romantic Comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?Half and half
Serious or Funny ?I like to think I’m seriously funny LOL but of course I’m also delusional.
Traveler or not ?Not. I admit I’m a homebody.
Sporty or not ?I don’t have a choice in this house. I’m not very sporty but am learning quickly
The leader in the group or not ?Leader, usually by default

“Favorite…”

TV show: Survivor
Movie : While You Were Sleeping
Book : I Will Survive by Samantha Connolly
Music : Country
Food : Chocolate
City : New York at Christmas
Favorite place to write: Living room
Quote or motto : For safety sake. “Better pack an extra snack for the boys for safety sake.” “Better take another once over the manuscript for safety sake.” “For safety sake, you better not tell anyone you have character voices talking to you in your head” Things like that LOL.

Thank you, Stacy!
Stacy’s website http://stacydawn.com

F.G. GersonEscape to Paris with F.G. Gerson and climb the “21 Steps to Happiness”! If you like books and travels, get ready!

Hi F.G. Gerson! Welcome to “Veronika asks” ! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I was born and grew up in France (Paris and Antibes, in the Riviera). Like you, Veronika, I was a true bookworm and started to write novels very early on. I sent my first manuscript to über French publisher Gallimard at the age of 16 (I was still writing in French, back then). Writing and traveling are my two things. I became a “professional foreigner” by the age of 20 – living in many different countries, from Poland to New Zealand. Now, I live in Goteborg, Sweden and Paris with my wife Maria and my two-year-old daughter, Ilo.

Cancers are known to be emotional, intuitive but really moody. Are you a typical Crab? 🙂
I am ‘zee’ typical crab. I’m a walking Cancer profile. I’ve been entirely relying on impulses and intuition for every important decision in my life never on logic and common sense.

Could you tell us more about your first novel, “21 Steps to Happiness”?
21 STEPS TO HAPPINESS tells the story of Lynn Blanchett, a young American dropped into a ridiculously cushy Couture job in Paris by her distant fashion-icon mother. She has no real experience, tons of pressure from people who expect her to have the genius of her mother running in her veins, and has little to guide her but a self-help manual that promises “20 Steps to Success.” Oh, and the novel is structured like a typical self-help book. Follow Lynns 21 Steps rigorously and YOU WILL BE HAPPY – or your money back guaranteed 😉

And then comes “Manhunting for Beginners”…
Manhunting for Beginners is the humorous tale of a retiring fashion model turned novice Manhunter in the cutthroat jungle of the Parisian Haute society. Its also the perfect novel for anyone wanting to learn how to “catch” the right partner and make him/her commit pronto. The novel is also full of great tips on what sort of shotgun to choose, what type of rope or handcuffs to buy, and what are the best season and places for Manhunting.

What gave you the idea and wish of writing a book (the first one)?
Strangely enough, most of 21 Steps to Happiness came from personal experience. Especially the ‘drop into a ridiculously cushy job’ and ‘expect to have the genius of her mother running in her veins’ parts.

It’s really uncommon to see a man writing Chick Lit. How did you begin writing in this genre?
Writing Chick Lit begins with loving to read Chick Lit, of course. It started in New Zealand. I discovered Candace Bushnell, Melissa Bank, Helen Fielding, Marian Keyes, etc while living there. With Chick Lit becoming a major commercial genre, I found the perfect outlet for the type of novels I was writing. I thought – hallelujah! now, I can write about contemporary urban life, relationships, and romance and even see it published! Being French helped a lot too. I think we are less concerned (or not concerned at all) by the gender of the writers when it comes to novels and literature, (Madame Bovary was written by a French ‘Dude’, right?). To put is simply: I write the novels that I would love to read – regardless of whats my gender and I’m thankful that an open-minded publisher sees it the same way.

And you talk a lot about fashion in “21 Steps to Happiness”. Why?
Ah Fashion! I grew up in a family of famous fashion designers. I spent my childhood in various workshops in Paris. It gives me this unique (and very personal) point of view on fashion and a lifelong fear/fascination for fashion models (their hands, their huge hands!).

Being french, why don’t you write in French? I noticed that you will publish your book in Germany, Poland, why not in France?
I love writing in English. Its very liberating for me. I feel completely free to twist and bend the English grammar and style (oh, my poor copy editors!). It keeps the writing and the voice very lively. I could never go back to French: I’m too self-conscious in French – too much pressure. As for publishing in France You’ll see, Veronika, It will come. I’m sure. I’m working hard on it 😉

You said you looove Paris. Why? Do you have favorite places there?
Paris is unique. France is unique. The more I travel, the more it becomes obvious to me. Culture, History, literature, food, fashion, packed in a single City. And the French are irresistible. I love that they are so “different”, arrogant and protect so proudly their ‘frenchitude’. I prefer Rive Droite over Rive Gauche. Rue des Martyrs (near by Pigalles) is where I live when I’m in Paris. It’s also my favorite area in the city. From Notre Dame-de-Lorette, all the way up to Sacré-coeur, going through Montmartre, of course. Rue d’Hauteville is where my parents used to have their workshop. Les Halles is not too far. Le Marais. Les Grand Boulevard. Ha! You can keep your Saint-Germains, your Parc du Luxembourg and all of your Saint-Michel. I’m a Rive Droite boy, through and through.

You say you travel a lot: when do you find time to write? 🙂 And how do you write in general?
I handwrite my first draft on notebooks, so I can write absolutely anywhere, even while queuing for hours to get my resident visa renewed. I have only one rule: I write 5 hours a day, everyday, no matter what. The rest of my life is mine.

You traveled to Germany, Poland, England, America. Do you feel yourself French or American?
Its funny you’re asking that. I’ve lost all sense of nationality. I’m a professional foreigner. I dont feel French. I dont feel American. I dont feel Swedish. I’m a nightmare for every immigration officer out there. It takes hours to explain my case and why I’m registered as a resident in 5 or 6 different countries. Do you know that Gerson means ‘from nowhere/foreigner/nomad’ in Hebrew?

You already planned another novel, “Mrs Moore and the Divine”. What is it about?
I’d rather not talk about Mrs Moore well, yet. Even though I would love to 😉 The novel is in development, its always a bad idea to talk about a story at this stage.

Do you think you’ll write something in another genre? Or did you already try?
I found a genre thats just right for the stories I want to tell. Im going to stick to Chick Lit for as long as publishers and readers stick with me.

Who are your favorite authors? Which books do you like to re read?
L.F. Celine, right at the top. Big Balzac Fanatic (Lost Illusions also living right at the top of my list) Candace Bushnell (shes some sort of genius, isn’t she!), Proust (and proud of it). Colette (she invented modern Chick Lit, you know) oh, and Rene Barjavel (I’m sure you know what I mean The Ice People “La nuit des Temps” one of the most beautiful love story ever written and one of the very first ‘real novels’ I ever read – oh, what a book!)

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use it?
I’d go to the beach with Ilo and Maria and buy everyone extravagant gourmet ice-creams.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Put Ilo to bed, read a book, fall asleep on the sofa after twenty pages.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach (and extravagant gourmet ice creams as mentioned earlier).
Country or City ?City by the sea (Goteborg, Sweden)
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Comedy. Romantic Comedy, even better.
Shy or Easy-going ?Very easy-going with individuals and extremely shy within a group
Serious or Funny ?Funny
Traveler or not ?Couldnt live without a passport
Sporty or not ?Fitness fanatic
The Leader in the group or not ?Never a leader. I dont like groups. “One on one” is always my favorite option.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Medium
Movie : Woody Allen’s Annie Hall
Book : L.F. Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night
Music : Big fan of Fiona Apple
City : Im going to surprise you here: Wellington, New Zealand
Favorite place to write: My home in Goteborg, Sweden (quiet quiet quiet)
Quote or motto : Dream

Thanks, F.G. Gerson!
F.G. Gerson’s website http://www.fggerson.com

Melanie Lynne HauserSuperman is so old. Welcome Super Mom! Meeting Melanie Lynne Hauser, author of “Confessions of Super Mom”.

Hi Melanie! Please, introduce yourself to your readers…
Former member of the PTA, Melanie Lynne Hauser is a prototypical Super Mom. CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is her first novel, and she is a contributor, along with Jodi Picoult, Jacqueline Mitchard, Jennifer Lauck and Marion Winik, to the anthology Its a Boy (November 2005, Seal Press). SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD will be published by NAL in March, 2007. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two teenage sons.

Astrology now: you’re a Sagittarius, right? They are often philosophical, optmistic and restless. Are you a typical Sagittarius?
Not so much – I think I am restless, but I’m definitely not optimistic! Although I am argumentative & stubborn, which I think are also traits.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Lose ten pounds.

Now, let’s talk about your book, “Confessions of Super Mom”. Tell us more!
The book is about an ordinary divorced mother of two teenagers, who suffers a Horrible Swiffer Accident one morning. All of a sudden she has strange new powers, and discovers that she is actually a superhero. The book is about how she juggles these two worlds – superhero, and plain old mom. So she goes out and has to save the world from evil villains, and then come home to laundry, dirty dishes and mouthy teenagers.

How did you get that idea, Melanie?
I wanted to write about ordinary women, but it’s important, in publishing, to find a little something extra that will get people talking. So I came up with the idea of someone who’s just so ordinary, so down to earth – so like the women I know in my own life – but who also has this secret identity; these fantastic powers that the rest of us can only dream of.

Superheroes are often bitten by mutant spiders, receive X-rays and survive nuclear wars. But why, in your book, a Swiffer accident?
I thought it was important for her accident to be caused by something that we all do, every single day. It could have been a cooking accident, but I liked the idea of a cleaning accident. And then I thought, “What’s a product that almost everybody knows, that you would understand what it was just by the title?” And I thought of Swiffer – it’s almost become a verb, actually. I hear women talk about “Swiffering” their floors. And so that’s why I chose the Horrible Swiffer Accident.

Would you define yourself as Super Mom?
Um, no. I think one of the points of the book is that we really can’t be super moms, unless we’re given actual superhero powers. The rest of us just do the best we can – and it’s still rather heroic, isn’t it?

What about the sequel, “Super Mom saves the World”?
Super Mom is back, finding that her town – like her children – is starting to take her for granted, and not really appreciate all the hard work she does keeping them safe. She and her own super man are also taking the next steps toward blending their families, as they contemplate marriage – but her ex-husband reinserts himself back in her life in an unexpected way. And of course there’s the requisite evil villain – this time, a politician who wants to exploit the children of the town by focusing too much on organized sports (baseball).

If you could have any super power, which one would you pick?
The ability to eat anything I want without gaining weight.

How (when where) do you work? Do you keep a diary?
I tend to work most in the afternoons. The morning is usually spent organizing my life and the lives of my children; exercising, catching up on busy work. Then I write in the afternoons, usually from 1-4. I can’t write more than 2 or 3 hours at a time without getting very stale. Although when I’m nearing the end of a book, I do find myself tending to shut everything out and writing at all hours, whenever, wherever, because I’m so caught up in the story. I don’t keep a diary, no. Although I suppose my blog (www.melanielynnehauser.com/wordpress/) is starting to serve that purpose!

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Buy shoes!


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or read a book ?Book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Mountains.
Country or City ?CityWatching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Westerns!
Shy or Easy-going ?Ooh – neither. I think I’m probably more high-maintenance than I’d like to be!
Serious or Funny ?Funny!
Traveler or not ?Not so much, although I find myself doing more traveling, and enjoying it.
Sporty or not ?Definitely not!
The Leader in the group or not ?Yes – the leader!

“Favorite…”

TV show: The Amazing Race
Movie : Giant
Book : Howards End
City : Chicago
Music : Nanci Griffith is my favorite artist
Favourite place to write in : a cabin in the mountains of Colorado
Quote or motto: “Life is a marathon, not a race.”

Thank you, Melanie!
Visit Melanie’s website http://www.melanielynnehauser.com

Zoe Rice

Posted: June 3, 2007 in Chick Lit, Interviews
Tags: , , , ,

Zoe RiceZoe Rice accepted to inaugurate Veronika Asks and be my first-interviewed author. She speaks a little about her first novel, ” Pick me Up “, which was released in June 2006.

Hi Zoe! So, ready? Here we go!
Hi Veronika. Ok!
What would you like, first, to say to introduce yourself to our readers?
First, any opportunity to talk to readers is both welcome and fun. To find people who are excited about books just makes my day. I’m a former book editor who just had my first novel published. In the past, I edited the first three Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella, and she’s been so supportive as I tried to write my own funny chick-lit novel. I’m so happy when people love the book, which–lucky for me–has been often!
Ok! So, to talk about you: I’ve heard that Aquarius are usually original and don’t care about being different. They love change, are independent and intellectual. Are you a typical Aquarius?
In many ways I am a typical Aquarius. We’re supposed to be creative, I hear, and sensitive to others. I don’t know that much about astrology, but I do think I like to be different while still remaining one of the gang.
So, you’ve been an editor before, how did you start to write?
Being a book editor is very, very hard. You don’t usually get paid very well, but you work as hard as people who make four times your pay. Sometimes you get to work on your dream book, and then it’s all worth it. But sometimes you’re assigned a book you’re not in love with, and then it’s not as rewarding. In the end, I decided to create an ideal of the book I’d most like to read. I thought it would be more fun, and in many ways it was!
That’s cool! I love the idea to create a book you’d like to read.
That was really my greatest goal, and it really worked out.
Now, tell us, please, a bit more about your first novel, “Pick me up”…
Pick Me Up centers around Izzy Duncan, a gallery director in New York City. Unlike many chick lit characters, she loves her job and is great at it. Early on, though, changes at the gallery threaten her career. Now, she has to put her professional future in the hands of two men: one a painter with whom she fights constantly, but whose show is her next big project. And the other is her new boss, who seems to be the man of her dreams.
That sounds really great! It takes place in New York’s art world. Why did you choosethe world of art and not another? Did you research about it? Did you meet artists?
My second love after books/writing is art. I spent a semester studying History of Art in London, and it was tremendous fun. Also, my boyfriend is a painter and works for an art dealer, so I’m around that world a lot. I did research very carefully with one of the stars of the young gallery scene, and she was a lot of help.
I love art too. What are your favorites?
My favorite period is Modernism, although I also love the peacefulness of Renaissance art. I particularly like art that plays with language, like Jasper Johns, and I’m a big fan of Picasso’s cubism. I could probably take a lot of time just talking about artists!
Is your novel only for women and girls or would you like to reach another public?
The men who have read the novel so far are surprised at how much they enjoy it. While the primary audience is women, I’d say that guys who want to get in good with their girlfriends/moms/sisters should pick them up a copy! (I should also note that two of those men are my father and boyfriend. So they may be biased…)
The question every young writer would ask: How do you work in general? Do you need a special time or a special place (or state)? Never faced the “writer’s block”?
I don’t remember battling writer’s block. The actual writing was finished a year ago, but my publisher waited to put the book out in summer because it’s such a fun beach read. I like to write in the afternoon, when I’m least tired. I always have two enormous mugs of coffee first. Once I start, I get in a zone of focus. I find that hours will pass without me even noticing. If I can’t get that focus, though, the process is very tedious.
You have a great book cover. Did you pick it yourself?
Thanks so much Veronika! I was worried about the cover, because I think it’s so important to grab someone’s eye. When my publisher showed me the artist they wanted to use, I thought it seemed more sophisticated than what I wanted. But when I saw the drawing, I fell in love. I think the artist did great! I did give some key words to my publisher about what I wanted. Mostly: “pink!”
Aw, a girl’s favorite subject: I’ve noticed you own a cool blog about beauty products. Which ones are your favorite? Do you prefer modern cosmetics technology or old GrandMa’s tips? Do you have some tips to share with girls?
Ahh, yes. Real Girl Beauty has become surprisingly popular, and I’m grateful for everyone who sends in comments with advice. I like modern products best because they have innovative ingredients. I very much like Aveda’s lip tints, which have sunscreen. The most important beauty product is always sunscreen!
Returning to books and your novel, do you already have another project? Or would you like or continue a bit with Izzy? Or simply have a break and enjoy?
Right now I’m deciding whether to continue writing chick lit or to try out writing young adult. I have ideas for both, and my publisher is just waiting to see how Pick Me Up does in stores. I think at some point I’ll write young adult fiction. I like the idea of writing for eager young readers.
So you’re not interested in trying fantasy or mysteries (or something really different), you’ll continue with chick lit…
My favorite part of writing is making people laugh. I might try a chick lit mystery, where I could combine the two. But certain traits of chick lit–the humor, the female protagonist, the first person voice–really appeal to me and make the writing process more enjoyable.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money? Without thinking too long
I would buy a great dinner in New York. We’ve got super restaurants, but they’re expensive and so often it feels like a “splurge.” Every good chick lit character loves food!
Well, before starting the “pick an answer up” (don’t ask me why I chose that title 🙂 would you like to say something to our readers?
Welcome to Veronika’s interview blog! I wish you great success. And anyone who wants to find me on MySpace and talk about the book is welcome. I do truly appreciate every reader who takes the time to enjoy (hopefully!) my novel.
Thank you so much, Zoe
Thanks Veronika! Best of luck to you, and I can’t wait to read your future interviews.
That’s really nice. So, ready for a quick “Pick an answer”?
Sure.

“Tea or Coffee?” (yes, we changed the title since)

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Going out. There’s too much here to do!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Mountains. I love hiking.
Country or City ?City city city. It’s all I’ve known.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?Easy-going most of the time.
Serious or Funny ?Funny, definitely!
Traveller or not ?I wish I were more so. So I’ll say yes.
Sporty or not ?Depends on the sport! Baseball/tennis yes, American football not so much.
Working on team or alone ?Alone, for me. I like to create my own little worlds.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Lost right now
Movie : Hmm. I do love the Bridget Jones Diary movie. The perfect chick flick! Also The Forty Year Old Virgin.
Book (and by the way, what are you reading during your free time ?) ? : Right now I’m reading Wickett’s Remedy, the second novel by the author of “Bee Season.” My favorite book is so hard! But I’ll say Confessions of a Shopaholic because I loved getting to work with Sophie Kinsella for the first time. She is brilliant, lovely, and hilarious!
Music : I like Gwen Stefani a lot, and Norah Jones. Also, like the character in the novel, I confess a soft spot for Robbie Williams.
City to visit : I’ve been lucky to see many of the cities I’ve wanted to. But I’d love to return to Paris. I went when I was 16, and even then I appreciated the art.
Favourite place to write: My apartment, with my cat right behind me.
Quote or motto : That’s a hard one! I’d say “Keep your chin up.” Because when you feel successful or pretty or outgoing, then others feel that too.

Thank you, Zoe!
You can visit Zoe’s site http://www.zoerice.com