Next stop on my blog tour: T’s Stuff. Check out my interview to find out where I get my inspiration from and where I’d go if I could time travel, among other “stuff.” 🙂
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
I think I’ve always had an overactive imagination. At times when I’m supposed to be relaxing, like before bed or when I’m in the shower, my mind conjures up elaborate stories. While they are usually one-off scenarios, I can picture things happening with vivid detail. Perhaps it’s my way of unwinding. Some people do yoga, I think up happy endings. Anyway, I never did anything with these ideas—just tucked them away with the rest of the useless information that rests somewhere in my consciousness. Until one day when I decided it was time to write that novel, I had the realization that parts of it were already written.
So I channeled some of these ideas into a book. It was important to me that the book felt authentic, so that meant writing about what I know best. And I’m an agency gal. So my first book, Out in the Open, was a romance between two advertising executives, Lexi and Jake. One of my grand visions involved a particular celebrity crush of mine serenading a girl, who may have borne a close resemblance to yours truly. I started there, or technically ended with it, because I thought it would make for a great last chapter.
The inspiration for book two, I Should Have Said Yes, came from my desire to write about dating during a time that’s heavily influenced by social media. I already had my perfect protagonist: Lexi’s sister, Tara. Tara is the youngest of the Winters girls, the irresponsible sister who was always dating someone new. The book is a candid and entertaining look at a singleton’s dating journey when she must say yes to any guy who asks her out because of a pact, all documented on her Adventures in Dating blog. At first I planned to document her dates on Facebook, always posting about her disastrous adventures. But then I decided a blog was a better outlet. It turned out to be a fun experience coming up with new posts to summarize her thoughts on each guy she meets—and lessons learned along the way. The book is essentially one woman’s journey from consummate singleton to finding “The One,” documented for all to see.
How did you do research for your book?
Research in this case primarily required me to take a trip down memory lane. Many of Tara’s Mr. Wrongs were based on men I dated before I met my husband. And it’s funny because that was the hardest part of writing the book: coming up with unique and interesting suitors for Tara. I wanted her dates to be realistic but also entertaining. So I drew inspiration from my ghosts of dating past and those of my friends too. I didn’t necessarily tell them, so I’m just waiting for that phone call! I wouldn’t say it’s autobiographical, but it was interesting to come up with characters that were based on people I knew. Some intimately, LOL.
Do you have another profession besides writing?
By day I’m a marketer. I’ve worked in the industry for 17 years, all primarily with the same agency! I love being surrounded by dynamic and creative people. My favorite part is watching how the seed of an idea transforms into something tangible. There’s nothing like shopping at Target with your kids and showing them the display that your agency designed. What started as a sketch in someone’s mind was now a display in the store—and I played a key role in making that happen. It’s not as enriching as say, saving lives, but fun nonetheless. I don’t think there’s a better job than working in an industry that sells ideas. With each new project, anything is possible.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would go back to 1993. I’m not sure if that’s what you had in mind. You were probably looking for the Renaissance or such a period in history. But 1993 holds significance for me because it’s the time when I was choosing where to go to college. And I feel like that decision set in motion a chain of events that’s shaped who I am today. To be clear, I’m perfectly happy with that person, but I feel like I missed an opportunity. I was debating between two schools: one local and one that was out-of-state. In my heart I wanted to spread my wings, but I chose the safe choice. I went to the University of Illinois, following in my older sister’s footsteps. It’s a wonderful school and I received an excellent education. But I’ve lived in Illinois all my life and wish I had ventured out and tried somewhere new. That’s not to say I haven’t traveled and had interesting experiences, but I feel like I’ve always taken the expected path. Perhaps that’s why I like writing. It gives me a chance to push my boundaries and explore those places I’ve never been.
What is your next project?
I’ve got an outline for book #3 mapped out in my head, I just need to put pen to paper. It’s a romance about an event planner, Lucy, who shares a passionate weekend with a mysterious stranger. It’s so out of character for her that she wants to keep their names anonymous. She falls hard only to never hear from him again. Lucy struggles with moving on and finally meets an incredible new guy who is perfect for her. But can she let go of her “Mr. Anonymous?” And is she in love with a ghost because it’s easier than facing the real thing? Along Lucy’s journey her love and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test. Look for it to hit shelves in summer 2017. I figure if I put that out there in writing, I’ll need to hold myself accountable. 🙂