Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nadine's Website Promo Blitz Week - Day 3

Hump day already... And I've got a MAJOR treat for you aspiring chick lit/humorous women's fictious writers out there... today's featured author, you see (and prizes...) will be of special interest to writers who are breaking into the genre. Back when I was a wide-eyed wannabe writer, armed with nothing but the Shopaholic trilogy as my guide into the world of pink covers and shameless designer name-dropping (yes, in 2002 most people thought chick lit was a brand of bubble gum, not a cutting-edge literary genre), I would have killed for today's featured book. But today's newbies are being spoiled… with not one but two Chick lit writing guides out in one month!

But first, the winners of yesterday's draw: Risha Parker, Chris Ganim, and Sanjay Sirinvas! Congratulations, you've earned yourselves signed copies of one of the following: sMothering, Goaing Coastal and After the Rice (you can e-mail me with your preference, as well as your address please), AND a mini Coco taxi direct from Havana's Calle Tacon.

And well done to all of you who guessed 3,000,000 (judging by the responses this question seemed to be easier than yesterday's...)

And now, onto our interview of the day.

A self-professed writing guide junkie, how could I miss Cathy Yardley’s Will Write For Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel? Like Jerry Cleaver’s Immediate Fiction, this volume is short on pages but long on useful information. It cuts to the chase of what chick lit is about, gives a little historical perspective on the genre, and has the most useful appendices I’ve ever seen (sample chick lit query letter, synopsis, chick lit friendly agent list, etc…). Just check out the table of contents for yourselves. Cathy is well-placed to be writing about, well, writing since she’s sold to RDI, Duets, Blaze, and has even penned a YA among other things. Here’s a Q&A with the accomplished author.

1. What inspires you to write?

Everything! Although I will say, I usually get a title first, then create the story around it. I love a good title! (Unfortunately, I don't often get to keep the title... but that's another story.)

2. Do you have a writing routine, if so, what is it?

I just had my first child, a son, in July, so my routine is now whenever he's sleeping or I can get my husband or the "Mom squad" (my mother, his mother) to watch the boy!

3. Are you a plotter or a pantster, or a little bit of both?

I am a hard core plotter. In fact, my book covers what I call "Cathy's Insane Plotting Guide." It really does help, though, especially if you're writing to deadline.

4. How long does it take you to write a novel?

It depends. If pressed, I can write a 75k word novel in a month, a 100k word chick lit novel in 3 months. It all comes down to the outline (hence my insane guide.)

5. How do you deal with writer's block?

A lot of meditating, reading books I really love, and reading new books seems to help.

6. What's the biggest myth about being a writer?

That it's fun. It's usually like yanking out your hair, slowly, over the course of hours. Having said that, however, it's a hell of a lot more fun than any other job!

7. Which of your many novels was the most difficult to write? Why?

Couch World was the hardest, I think, because it involved a lot of research into the world of DJ's and it was completely alien to me. Also, I wrote alternating first and third person, so it was a creative challenge as well.

8. What do you think is the biggest mistake new chick lit writers make?

They write something that's only a little bit different than what's out there. Like "It's Bridget Jones' Diary set in Detroit." Granted, that's different... but it's not enough to really set you apart.

9. What advice would you give to budding chick lit authors in this competitive environment?

Take risks, and write something that scares the hell out of you. When I say that, I mean be utterly truthful, to the point where you wonder if you'll scare the neighbors. That's the sort of writing that has juice. Right now, the market's too tight for knock-offs. You've got a much better chance with something daring. It's a perfect time to take advantage of it -- dust off your really "weird" ideas!

10. What kind of attributes do you think make a good chick lit writer? Are they different from those of other genres?

I think that chick lit writers need to have a good sense of humor and a lot of girlfriends to kvetch with. That's the best sort of tone, and the vibe (and support) will help with your writing.

11. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Jennifer Crusie, Mary Janice Davidson, Nancy Warren, Laurel K. Hamilton,
Stephen King, Dean Koontz.

12. What can readers expect from you in the future?

I've got an anthology out now, called COME SEPTEMBER, with a novella about a winemaker (Oooh… looks like wine’s going to be a hot topic in the literary world next year!); in January '07, I've got a Blaze called JACK & JILTED; and in June '07, I've got another Blaze, called ONE NIGHT STANDARDS. I hope you enjoy them!

Thanks Cathy!!!

Cathy has very graciously donated an autographed copy of her latest release Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel, so get those fingers ready to send me the answer to today's question!!!. And just like every fabulous pair of shoes needs a great bag to go along with it, I will be providing a free critique of the first three chapters of the lucky winner’s chick lit (or humorous women’s fiction) novel. I’ll be using the same critique guidelines as those of last year’s Stiletto contest. Here’s your question. As always, you can check out this site if you’re stumped, and then send me your answer via the In Touch page on my website. Good luck!

What percentage of Arab Americans are Christian? (and since you guys said you couldn't find the info on the site, here it is... can't get any easier now!)

a) 5%
b) 35%
c) 45%
d) 63%

Good luck!


Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Cathy is such a DOLL. I loved her lunch keynote at Emerald City a few years ago. And I LOVED L.A. Woman!

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