Today, I welcome back to my blog an author I admire very much. She has published three novels, all in different genres, and all are excellent. I recently found time to read her book, Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!. It's a romantic comedy that will appeal to fans of chick lit, and anyone who likes contemporary fiction.
After reading the book, I was keen to invite Lisette over here for a chat.
She has generously agreed to give away 2 e-book copies of Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! I've set up a Rafflecopter giveaway for this contest; you can enter by following the link: Winners will be picked on 30th April 2013.
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Here's the interview:
I absolutely loved Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! It's chick lit, I suppose, but grown up chick lit; I couldn't help thinking as I was reading it that it would make a wonderful romantic comedy in the cinema. The style is very different from your other two books. What made you decide to write a chick lit type novel?
First, thank you for your very kind words, Maria. Many people have told me that they could envision Molly as a feature film. She’s still waiting to be discovered. Yes, the style of this book is quite different from my other two novels. A very honest answer to your question: I got the idea to write Molly in 2006, before it was feasible to publish independently. I chose to write chick lit because I saw so much of it selling. But then, in late 2007, I discovered that I could publish on my own, so I set the book aside. I first published my novel Crooked Moon, and then Squalor, New Mexico. After I had done that, I thought about the 65K words I had already written for this chick lit book called Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! I liked what I reread and decided to finish it.
You have written three books and all are different in style, with Crooked Moon being more geared towards an adult readership; Squalor, New Mexico, a young adult novel, and finally Molly is a chick lit/rom com book. One thing that shines through in all your novels, in my opinion, are your observational skills about human behaviour and motivation. This, to me, makes your books among the best I've read. The characterisation is so realistic. How do you go about developing your characters?
I love a good story, but I relate to people first, situations second. I have always been fascinated by human nature. As we all know, fact is always stranger than fiction. It’s funny that I couldn’t even fictionalize some of the situations I see in real life because readers would find them too far-fetched! That said, I take a lot of mental notes about the actions and characteristics of people everywhere. I’m a people-watcher, for sure. I like seeing what makes people tick and what ticks people off.
Fact is definitely stranger than fiction. I totally relate to that, having had comments about stuff I've written in my own books, taken from real life, where people have said in reviews "it's unrealistic, that would never happen." Um... it did... LOL
Molly Hacker, as everyone knows by now, is too picky. Are you picky about anything?
Oh, my, Maria. Yes, I’m picky about a lot of things and easygoing about others. I am picky about people who aren’t professional when they should be. I’m picky about my work (but so are most authors, yes?)
Oh, yes! Definitely. We have to be picky about our own work.
Leading up to your release of Molly's book, you created a website for the character and some wonderful videos on YouTube introducing her. Molly also did a series of interviews with authors and other artists (myself being one of the lucky interviewees!). How successful was that pre-launch promotion, and would you recommend that type of thing to other indie authors?
Yes, for eight months, I blogged as Molly. Every week, I published a new blog with original artwork (by Charles Roth) or original photos. This was one of the most time-consuming things I have ever done with my life. And because I am so picky about my work, I labored over finding just the right topics to present each week. And yes, simultaneously, also as Molly, who is a reporter, I interviewed creative people on another part of the website. It was an experience; I’ll say that much. People really loved the blogs, but I can tell you that I would never do it again. (By the way, all of the blogs and interviews are still up for the world to see at www.mollyhacker.com.)
I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Molly, if anyone is interested in checking that out, by the way.
Lisette, you've been promoting your work online for a few years now, do you have any tips as to what works best and what doesn't work when it comes to marketing a book?
I often hear people say, “I prefer Facebook to Twitter, so I just market there.” They’re both social media sites, but as you know, they work quite differently. I do have a Facebook author page and regularly post content about my work, authors who I am interviewing (and vice versa), and topics of interest to readers/writers. But my personal Facebook page is really a place for friends. I share news, but I don’t like to do very much promotion there.
Twitter, for the most part, is a better place for promotion. It is great because you can make relationships with people all over the world without having to be personal Facebook friends. But there has to be a balance. Neither Facebook nor Twitter exists solely as a place to advertise your work. It’s like any other community. If you don’t care about other people, nobody is going to care about you. Every tweet should not be about your work. If it is, you’ll turn people off quickly. I recently wrote a lengthy blog about how to use and not use Twitter that is on my website. I support authors like you, Maria, who care about others and cross-promote. I don’t care how great someone’s work is; I am just turned off by the it’s-all-about-me kind of person.
I also think that book bloggers and well-read review sites help writers tremendously. I think it’s good to diversify, throw things up against the wall of the universe and see what sticks.
Are you working on any other books at the moment?
Yes, I am. I am working on a YA paranormal set in the California desert.
Ooh... paranormal. Different again! I like that :)
If you had the opportunity to have one of your books made into a film, which one would you choose, and why?
Oh, that is a really tough question! I’m going to say that Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! would be my choice only because I think it would have the most commercial success.
Molly has some hilarious dialogue, and is in essence a comedy. Who are you favourite comedians?
Comedy is something I’m very picky about. I don’t really have any favorite comedians, though I do like Steven Wright quite a bit. I can watch one comedian after another and not laugh even though I appreciate their talent. I think the people who make me laugh are the ones who best know how to poke fun at real life. Billy Connolly is quite funny, and I enjoyed seeing him in the film Quartet.
As mentioned above, all of your books so far have been different in style. Which was the hardest to write, which was the easiest, and which was the most fun?
Molly was easily the most difficult to write. For one, as stated earlier, I stopped writing it to publish two other books, then came back to it. So I had to completely immerse myself back into the book and all of its tiny details in order to get it right. As you know, Molly is dating four men, pining over a lost love, fighting with the town socialite, working hard to keep her love life a secret from well-intentioned but interfering gal pals, and sharing her romantic adventures with her co-worker and friend, Randy. There’s a lot going on, and I wanted to make sure that it all came together well and was easy to follow. I kept careful track of all of the details. My other two novels were more emotional to write but easier.
How long did it take to write Molly?
Because I stopped in 2007 and started again in 2009, I’m not sure how long it took. At least a year. And that is only because I had so many things going on at the time—like a cross-country move.
I know you have qualifications in acting. If you could star as one of your characters in a film, who would you choose?
I would choose someone else to play the roles! But the one I think I could best portray would be Frankie in Crooked Moon.
What's the nicest thing someone has said about Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!?
Oh, my, that’s a tough one! There has been so much great feedback and many wonderful reviews. I think what makes me happiest is when people have said that they really related to the characters, laughed a lot, and loved the ending.
I loved the cat character in Molly. Was he based on a cat that you own or have owned?
As you know, Maria, there were cats in Crooked Moon, but they were just supporting players. Molly’s Captain Jack is a leading man! He was partially based on my beloved Saki, a cat I had for over 20 years. But Jack is his own man.
Molly has quite a few suitors throughout the course of the book. Are any of the men based on people you've known, or were they all entirely fictional?
For the most part, entirely fictional. But of course, there are bits and pieces of some of the men who remind me of real-life people.
Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! is written in the first person, and often when books are written in that way, the reader can begin to think that the writer is speaking through the character; almost like it's a memoir. How much of you is there in Molly?
I don’t think I could’ve written this book in the third person. It wouldn’t have worked. Molly insisted on being up close and personal with her readers, and I agreed with her. I’m like Molly in some ways but not in others. I’m definitely very unlike Molly dating-wise. We’re very different there. Like Molly, I can tend to be overanalytical and drive myself nuts on some topics. I am also like Molly in that I don’t suffer fools gladly. But she is definitely her own woman. And she has a lot more energy!
Do you have any other news you'd like to share with your readers?
Yes, thank you. I recently published a book of my mother’s poetry. It’s called My Way to Anywhere by Jean Lisette Brodey. It’s a collection of poetry that my mother wrote as a young woman, before she reentered the workforce and became a university professor. I’ve blogged about my mother and the book here: http://bit.ly/Xh1KTX
Yes, I have a copy of that book on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it!
Thanks for coming back for a chat, Lisette, you've been great as usual!
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