Category Archives: writing

Author Interview with Hilary Grossman

Hilary

 

Today we’re talking to Hilary Grossman, author of ‘real-life’ contemporary romance Dangled Carat – One girl’s attempt to convert the ultimate commitment-phobic man into a doting husband with a lot of help from his family and friends!

Today, Dangled Carat is on offer via eBookSoda for just 99 cents / 99p!!.

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Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship—why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose.

But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready—and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary’s humorous and honest story will hit home.

Tell us a little about what prompted you to write Dangled Carat.
While many of the things that happened to me (two faux engagement parties, for example) were very unique, being involved in a relationship with a commitment-phobe is a very common situation.  I felt that my story was something so many women could relate to which is what prompted me to write this book. 
But more than that, I wanted to share my story in the hopes that I could help someone who was in the same situation.  It is a very difficult position to be in. Everyone in your life has an opinion and “advice”.  You are always seem to be second guessing yourself and your actions.  My desire to help has been accomplished! I recently received an email from  self described commitment-phobic male reader who shared that after reading the book he realized some of the ways that he has sabotaged his relationships in the past.  He completely related to Marc.  He also told me how he learned that he has to go at his own pace regardless of what the other person seems to want – it will either work or not. He also learned that he has to communicate his feelings and just relax – enjoy the moment and let nature take it’s course – rather than worry about what tomorrow will bring.  This new attitude has kept him in a relationship that he would have already ended in the past!
Dangled Carat is written in a unique way. You took a personal story and wrote it like a novel. The reader feels like they are reading chick lit, but at the back of their minds they know it’s a true story. Was it difficult for you to write your story in this format?
It was very hard.  I really struggled with deciding if I wanted to fictionalize this story or stick with it as a memoir. In fact several agents strongly suggested I fictionalize it so that it would be more marketable. But in the end I just couldn’t do it.  For the reasons mentioned above I wanted to keep the story as a memoir. But I also wanted it to be a fun read. I didn’t want it to read like a “how to book” on how to get a guy to commit, as most other similar books are.  So I as I wrote, I just pretended that I was sharing my dating experience with a new friend over a bottle (or two) of wine.
The most difficult part of writing this story was sharing all my innermost thoughts, fears and experiences.  Some of which I never expressed to anyone in the past. It was almost like going through therapy! 
How did you come up with the title of your book?
It sounds corny, but the title came to me while I was driving home from work and stuck in a major traffic jam. I was struggling with what to call the book. And as soon as Dangled Carat popped into my head I knew that was the perfect title. After all, that carat kept on being dangled! No one should have as many faux engagements as me….
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
In my first draft, I didn’t include any s-e-x. My editor, Christina Baker Kline, NYT bestselling author of Orphan Train, told me that I couldn’t have a relationship / dating memoir, of such a personal nature, and not include sex. I knew she was right, but I just couldn’t write it. It took me hours to work up the nerve to write that section!  
What was the most encouraging experience you had during your journey to publication?  
Like all other authors I querried agents. I was very realistic with myself during this process. I didn’t expect to land an agent, but I knew I had to try.  I was shocked that five agents requested my manuscript, and one of them spent an hour on the phone with me making suggestions as to how I could improve the story!  Although none of them ended up taking on the project, knowing that they were interested, gave me a huge confidence boost!  I am also in awe at how supportive and encouraging authors are. They are so eager to offer advice. They help you celebrate your successes and provide a shoulder to lean on if you are unsure, upset, or just need to bounce an idea around. 
Was there a definitive ‘moment’ in your life where you decided ‘I am going to be a writer’?
Not really… Writing was always something that I wanted to do / enjoyed doing. For as far as I can remember I always would dream of one day writing a book.  Actually I played around and started many over the years,  but I never stuck it out long enough to finish one. Then one day, about four years ago, I got tired of dreaming. I decided to started my blog, Feeling Beachie, to see if I had the wherewithal to write as well as to see if anyone would be interested in what I had to say…  I fell in love with blogging, and writing became a regular part of my day.  Then BlogHer had a conference about turning a blog into a book and I jumped at the opportunity to attend. I was so encouraged by the sessions that I started writing Dangled Carat immediately after.
How did you react the first time you held your book in your hands?
I cried. I was so happy that I was able to transform my life long dream into reality.
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Thanks so much for sharing your writing (and relationship) experiences with us. It’s been great having you on the blog!
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Today, Dangled Carat is on offer at eBookSoda for just 99 cents / 99p!!
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Here’s where you can find Hilary online:

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Writing with your best friend

I guess most people think of authors as solitary creatures. That to write a book, you’d have to lock yourself away somewhere quiet and uninterrupted. Well not Genie Davis and Linda Marr. These two friends decided to write a novel together:

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“Don’t tell me you were writing in that office all day long,” Linda’s husband remarked as we finished up work one Saturday and dumped our practically scraped-clean lunch dishes onto the counter that separates her family room and kitchen.

“I could hear you laughing in here,” he continued somewhat accusingly,  “You were laughing a lot.”

Well… hmm… yes, we suppose that’s true.

            We do laugh a lot.

And ironically, that helps us work a lot. You see, first and foremost we’re best friends. Then we’re also two writers who have already been successful in our own careers for a number of years. But along the way, both of us felt that something was missing in all those hours we spent getting to do something as cool writing for a living. Something like – dare we say it? – fun.

            It’s not like we don’t like writing by ourselves. Genie has already published a number of different books including several award winning romantic suspense novels and a mystery. Linda comes from the world of television where she’s worked on everything from comedy to reality to news. And we both know a thing or two about romance, or at least we like to think we do. Romance certainly factored into a lot of our conversations. So for two best friend writers who like to talk romance it was just a small – albeit relatively work intensive — step to actually writing about it.

A romantic suspense novel, to be exact.

The way we figured, with all the differences in the way men and women think, there’s bound to be a little suspense to any romance. We just wanted to push the envelope a little — to situations, and love interests, that might be way beyond what could happen to us in our every day lives. It was just a simple matter of finding the right story. That, and figuring out what we wanted to eat for lunch.

Seriously.

Two good girlfriends, food, and making up our own romantic rules where, in the end, everything comes out all right. Meaning, of course, the way we want it to. As women and writers, what could be better?

Many of our friends and a few total strangers have asked us why we wanted to write together, all lunches aside. After all, doesn’t writing conjure up images of sitting alone in a room, an intense internal struggle raging inside a writer’s head?

Well, we do struggle. We just do it loudly. Together. If Linda’s husband didn’t actually have to work, he’d hear us go at it quite a bit as we discuss story and characters. In fact, it can seem like we’re having a bad time when actually we love the exchange, talking about ideas, about what romance means to us, what sizzles, or what keeps us in suspense.

We also love that when one of us is a little off, the other one can step in. Basically, what we’re doing is telling each other stories. About our own past, about our hopes and dreams, about other people’s lives whose emotions reflect our own experiences. And we also get to dish on the juicy stuff, like favorite romantic getaways, how we like the men in our lives to treat us, what turns us on. Okay, that means we are essentially gossiping, but its all in the service of telling a good story.                                               

            And isn’t telling a good story and sharing feelings what friendship’s all about? Whether we were writing together or not, we’d be sharing together.

            As Anais Nin famously said “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” When we’re writing together, we do just that.

The way we see it, friends take the ride that is life together– including the hard work and the discouragements; they don’t just wait for the accolades to come streaming in. No matter what, friendship rekindles the enthusiasm and joy. That’s what writing together means to us. And that’s what we hope shines through to our readers.

            All in all, the combination of writing with a good friend and just being with a friend is pretty much unbeatable. Then of course, there’s lunch.

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And here’s the fruits of their lunches, erm labours . . .

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Between The Sheets

Romance writer Jenna Brooks lives an ordinary life in a quiet Oregon town, putting her sensual heart into her fiction rather than her everyday life. But suddenly, Jenna finds herself drawn into her own stories, literally. When the seductive, mysterious Riley Stone rescues her from an attempted hit and run, she’s plunged into a reckless, wild relationship unlike anything she’s ever experienced — except on paper.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and produced screen and television writer. Recent releases: mystery thriller: Marathon,  romantic suspense: Executive Impulse, The Model Man, and Five O’Clock Shadow, literary fiction: Dreamtown. Her erotic romance Rodeo Man won an RWA Passionate Plume award.

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Linda Marr is a producer/writer on America Now. She’s also co-writer of the comedy book Dear Neighbor. Her many television projects include the NBC comedy The Mommies, HGTV’s House Hunters and Design on a Dime, a Nickelodeon skateboarding special, and some of the most successful infomercials on the air.

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Best and worst things about being a writer

We love this funny and insightful guest post from Scott Cramer about the highs and lows of being a writer:

writerBest and worst things about being a writer:

Best – Not having a boss.

Worst – Not having a boss! Once in a while it’s good to be told what to do.

Best – Being selected by a sixth-grade reader to be their “author” in their school author fair.  Thank you, Katie.

Best – Naming a tropical storm, ‘Katie’, in my next book, and naming a hurricane (which plays a very big role), ‘David’.  David’s Mom is a YA book blogger from Chicago and David pitches in to write reviews every now and then.

Best – Having a reader write to say they are well beyond the young adult years (72 years old) and they loved the book.

Worst – Trying to come up with tweets and facebook posts when I have nothing to say.

Worst – The psychic torment/the pain in the soul/the gut wrenching sense of imbalance that I find myself experiencing during a first draft, which can last for months and months.

Best – Surviving the above.

Worst – You tell someone you have written a book. They immediately respond that they like to read and then tell you about the book they are reading.

Best – Getting to know people from Bulgaria (my cover designer), Portugal, Sweden, UK, and the US (beta readers) and bloggers from everywhere.

Worst – Reading the work of so many talented authors and thinking, wow, incredible, what command they have of the craft… and then realizing there is no way I can do that; it is simply a talent gap that exists.

Best – Realizing that I have something to offer that nobody else does… I can be me, with a unique point of view, and if I really stay true to who I am and how I think and speak and view the world,  then talent doesn’t matter as much.

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Book 1 in Scott’s fantastic YA sci fi Toucan Trilogy is currently FREE, so I’d definitely bag yourself a copy. It’s a great read!

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