Tag Archives: chick lit

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Elizabeth Fournier, author of “All Men are Cremated Equal”


Author interview with Elizabeth FournierFournierElizabethHeadshot0309All Men Are Cremated cover art

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and Broadcasting in 1991, and soon became a local radio personality at KBOO-FM in Portland. Elizabeth is currently the voice of the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine. You can also see her online as the Video Spokesperson for Chinook Winds Casino Resort. She and her dance partner, Scott, teach Ballroom Dance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Oh, and she’s also a full-time mortician.

1) Where did you get the idea to write a book about a blind dating spree by a woman in her 30s who happens to be a mortician?

It’s my life story. I live the mortician part daily, and unfortunately I lived the 77 blind dates, too. Thankfully it was for only a year!

I readily admit that my job title made dating more complex. Since I work in the funeral industry, my career choice made the whole dating situation somewhat awkward. I was always up-front about what I did for a living, because I wanted men to be in the loop before we met. But I also steered the conversation to other topics because my career was too often the focus when meeting people. The first date could easily turn into a question and answer session all about me. I was there to screen them, after all!

The idea to actually write the book came from my beloved father, a member of no less than three Catholic singles groups at the time. He decided this was fun he didn’t want to miss out on. It was his idea to number the dates, run down each thumbnail sketch to him on the phone before each date, and keep a journal of highlights. I would e-mail him after each date, and he kept encouraging me to share these e-mails with other women.

2) When did you write the book?

When I wrote “All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates,” I was newly married. After planning a wedding across the country in only five months, I decided I could do anything. So I promptly sat down at the keyboard after our return from New Jersey and cranked out my manuscript.

3) When coming up with your characters, did you base any of them on people you knew?

Most were real, and here’s the deal: I checked with friends to make sure I could identify them by name and characteristics. The women in my memoir are long-term, fabulous friends who are all important to the story. I confided in them, garnered support from them, and still love them all so much.

My merry group of mansion housemates are all real people, but their names are changed since I wasn’t able to contact anyone to gain permission. They portrayal is flattering, although I use different names out of respect for their privacy, in the event they wanted privacy.

The blind dates all have aliases. Their monikers correspond with their jobs. Names were changed to protect the rejected!

4) What do you think of the chick lit genre in general? Are you thrilled to be apart of it?

I love chick lit! I don’t read it exclusively, but I know who’s out there, what they’re writing about, and am also a sucker for late-night movies on the Oxygen Network.

Chick lit has created millions of new book lovers. Not only women, I might add. I get emails from male fans, too.

5) Tell us a story about your writing experience.

No one knew what to make of me. I have a stockpile or letters and e-mails from literary agents stating “not sure what to do with this.” That was such a common theme. The title was unique, the story was about a single girl in her 30s who wasn’t into Prada or Cosmos, and I’m a mortician. It just didn’t sound too sexy for most people. I did, however, find wonderful, brave souls with a vision who expressed great interest. I will always keep them in my prayers.

6) What newspapers or magazines do you read?

Daily reads are the Oregonian and the Washington Post online, monthly reads are Funeral Home and Cemetery News, Mortuary Management Magazine, and the Black Lamb. There are a few fun blogs I like to sneak a peak at if I have a spare five minutes.

7) What is your greatest achievement?

About 10 years ago I had a great paying job and was able to help three women working in prostitution get off the streets in San Francisco. I had served as the Chair of the Board for the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Oregon five years prior to that, so I was aware of the challenge women on the streets face. They need options, and I was able to provide that for these women who truly wanted out of their current lifestyle. I know I made a tremendous difference in their lives, and I’m very proud to say they never looked back.

8) Do you believe in love at first sight?

Absolutely! I am a rainbow-and-ponyland sort of girl who loves love. I certainly feel that someone can walk in the sort of grace that resonates with our soul in a particular moment.  I believe this is rare, but extremely special gift. It is one that I have never received, but do know two people who have.

9) Do you have any irrational fears?

I have an irrational terror of shipwrecks. The skeletal remains of a large vessel laying on the bottom of the sea floor just plain scares the hell out of me. I also very much dislike really loud water in unnatural circumstances like hydro-electric power stations, lock gates, or mill races. Water alone is OK it is when it is pouring into machinery that I hate the noise and the rush of it.

10) What would you like to be your epitaph?

Inspired many to believe in humanity.

“All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates” can be found on Amazon.com

Visit Elizabeth at http://www.elizabethfournier.com

10 QUESTIONS FOR…”Sexless in the City” author Anna Broadway


Author interview with Anna Broadwaycover1color_headshot_web

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Sexless in the City is a memoir of reluctant chastity that looks at the questions of identity raised for post-sexual revolution women — supposedly free to have sex however we please but at the same time, still often defined and valued by our sexuality. The book began as a tongue-in-cheek blog about my love life, but the longer format also gave me a chance to wrestle with the deeper theological issues. When obeying the God of the Bible in one’s sexuality means forestalling sex for a marriage that has no guarantee of happening, you pretty quickly start to either a) cheat a bit in your adherence or b) wrestle with questions like, “Is this God real? Is he good? What if marriage is not in the cards for me?” Etc.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

As a little girl, I used to whisper stories to myself in bed every night, usually about how I hoped to meet and be courted by my future husband. I never seemed to get very far with writing down that nightly saga, but around junior high, I did begin to produce a few-page monthly newsletter for my grandparents and a penpal, which I dubbed The Tardy Tribune. This led to journalism classes in high school and a two-year stint at a college daily. Under the advisement of a writing mentor, however, I chose to major in something other than writing, so drifted a bit until I moved to New York in 2002, fresh out of grad school. The city was such an overwhelming experience – and my loved ones were so concerned about my fate there, as I’d moved with no job and scant savings – so I started writing these little “update emails” with observations on my life. These little essays acquired more of structure as time went on, and set up the launch of my pseudonymous love-life blog in 2004. In 2005, I landed the book deal with Doubleday by an extraordinary stroke of providence.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Since I work full-time at an editing job in San Francisco (I live north of Berkeley), I usually wake up at 7:25, turn on the coffee maker, do a quick toilet, grab my coffee, a green smoothie, lunch containers, my purse and a bag for knitting and catch the 8:04 BART into the city to catch my bus up to the office. Typically I leave work between 5 and 5:30, walk to BART (sometimes stopping to grab a latte at the North Beach institution, Caffe Trieste) and get home between 6:30 and 7, later if I lingered on my walk.

On more successful days, I’ve managed to get some cooking/email/writing/editing in before going to bed around midnight, but my goal is to start going to bed closer to 10 and getting up sometime between 5 and 6 a.m. to do a little writing while I’m at my freshest. I’m the farthest thing from a morning person, but putting writing at the end of my day rather than the start just hasn’t worked well. A compromise has been to write during my commute, which has worked well, but for longer, more-intense sessions, I need to be able to concentrate longer than those little bursts allow.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Golly, which one? At work, I have a big U-shaped desk strewn with papers, plastic bags from snacks, old bus transfers and other such odds-n-ends. The walls of my cubes are dotted with postcards from friends, art my cousin’s kids and other children have sent me, all but two of the Starbucks “song of the day” series when they were doing that promotion, and a couple posters from shows at a local gallery. Oh, and a picture of Mr. Rogers from a sweater party on his birthday last year, a calendar, and a little wall hanging from India with painted birds on it.

At home, there’s little usable work space, but the piles are more organized than at work. I also have more upright organizers for stationery, pens, sewing supplies and the like. That desk also has various pieces of half-eaten chocolate sitting on wrappers, since my taste for chocolate seems to go in and out like a radio signal during a storm.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I haven’t been as good as I ought to be about reading seriously, but I’ve been enjoying the short stories of John Cheever lately and very slowly reading through Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners. One of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read about the life of the writer is Cyril Connolly’s Enemies of Promise, which a friend sent me. A really fascinating read, even 80 years later.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

I was homeschooled through eighth grade, I once temped at a truck-driver training school (the only office I’ve been in that didn’t have a computer!) and I did most of the work to change my own brake pads on my first car, which was a red Geo Metro I called the Eunuch.

7. Favorite quote

The only one I can ever remember is Mark Twain: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The worst part, I think, is how easily you can succumb to laziness if you’re not careful. Deadlines provide some accountability, of course, but I think the harder thing is when you’re between projects. If the writing isn’t your income, it becomes easy to keep on living out of your last project too long, rather than continuing to grow and try things. The best part of being a writer is when those rare and wonderful sentences come to you that make music each time you say them. That and when some other wonderfully serendipitous thing happens in the process, like a description that works on both a literal and figurative level. Those are moments of real joy.

9. Advice for other writers

Find other people who will give you painful feedback when you need it, help you get unstuck when you can’t seem to find your way out of a scene, and generally help you be the writer you want to be but aren’t yet and maybe even lack the courage to become. Community is huge. At the same time, though, pick your influences carefully. Try to find people who will help you become strong where you’re weak, rather than encouraging or enabling you to continue in mediocrity.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Recently I was going through some old papers and came across copies of the newsletter I’d created in junior high – The Tardy Tribune. I was writing it at the same time as a massive immersion in romance novels – Silhouette, Harlequin, that sort of thing. Because of that habit, the novels made occasional appearances in my newsletter – sometimes in book reviews and, in the particular issue I found, a sample vignette I’d penned myself. It was just one scene, but to read it now, I was surprised how well I’d captured the genre. Maybe I could pitch it to Stephen Colbert, for next time he wants to do a romance novel read-off …

Where can people buy your book?

Sexless in the City is available at all major bookstores, online and offline, but it’s probably more likely to be in stock online. If you buy it through my website, www.sexlessinthecity.net, you can also hear samples of all the songs I quote in the book, and buy part or all of the soundtrack through iTunes. The artists who let me quote them were really amazing about the terms of the use, so I really want to encourage people to explore their music. So much great stuff!

10 QUESTIONS FOR…southern humor author Shellie Rushing Tomlinson


Author #14:suck_your_stomach_in_coverbw2

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, host of ‘All Things Southern’ and author of

 Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On, What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too


( Berkley, division of Penguin Group USA)




1. Tell us about your latest book.

 My latest book is Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On, What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too. It was released by Penguin Group this past May.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

 That’s an interesting question. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. As a kid you could always find me in the Mimosa tree in my front yard writing the next great American novel. Of course, if the question is how did I get someone to pay attention to my words, well, we might need more space here. The short version: After writing forever, scratching out words on the back of grocery lists, on the game plans of the girls’ basketball teams I coached, and in the margins of the

estimates I was working on for the clients of my interior decorating business, I decided to try and publish a small book called “Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road.” It didn’t take me long to get way tired of rejection slips. My solution was to go my own way. I knew I’d have to create my own “platform” if I had things to say, (kind of the build it and they will come idea.) I created All Things Southern on the web and got on with it. A couple years ago I was preparing to self-publish yet another book, (my fourth), when I was encouraged to try the tractional route again. Although it had remained a goal, I still didn’t think the timing was right. Still, to show my encouragers how much I appreciated them, I tried again. My contract with Penguin was the sweet outcome of that last effort.

 3. What does a typical day look like for you?

 My day begins with God’s word. It’s what makes the rest of my life work. The rest of the day is full of deadlines and they all demand fresh, new words. I’m either knocking out content for my daily radio segments, prepping for All Things Southern LIVE, my one-hour radio talk show, filming a video segment for KNOE TV8,  writing a speech for an upcoming speaking engagement, etc. In and around all of that, you’ll find me trying to snag time to work on my next book.


4. Describe your desk/workspace.

 I am so blessed. My desk is on the lake side of my house.  Five large picture windows frame Lake Providence, here in the northeast corner of Louisiana. I get to watch the egrets stalking the lake bank for minnows, birds diving down for surprise attacks on unsuspecting fish, and oh yeah– I get to try and ignore the spoiled rotten, moping chocolate lab named Dixie Belle outside the window, the one who is always begging me to come outside for a game of tennis.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Eudora Welty’s “One Writer’s Beginnings” is hands down my favorite.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

• Every time I get to my car I seem to be surprised that I’m actually going to need the keys AGAIN.  One would think I’d put ’em in the same place in my purse every time but that would be too easy, now wouldn’t it?

 • I’m forever stumping my toes, again, as if it’s a surprise to find them there.

 • I can remember the size of someone’s double windows from ten years ago but I can’t remember to stop and buy milk.

7. Favorite quote

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.


8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part, working with words, sticking with it until you can express what’s just out of reach.

Worst part, deadlines. I’m a check it off person,  who now lives with a variety of deadlines.  I’m never caught up. I’ve had to learn to live in that.  Easier said than done.

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t get it right, get it written.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I was nine when I wrote my first book, MARTHA AND HER HORSE. It had interesting chapter titles like “Trouble in the

Pasture”. It wasn’t WAR AND PEACE, but I had a story in me and I needed to tell it. My mother proudly read excerpts of this literary wonder to anyone she could lasso into listening. I’m in my forties now with grown kids of my own but I still love words and my reason for writing hasn’t changed; I need to tell stories. Unfortunately, without Mama’s strong-arm tactics, finding my way in Publisher Land has been challenging. Like Dorothy’s Oz and Alice’s wonderland, the publishing world is an elusive and distant land with its own time system, language and laws. Through careful observation, I’ve been able to ascertain much about this alien culture. I’d be happy to share these secrets with your readers…


The inhabitants of Publisher Land are a hardworking group of people with a special affinity for riddles–as evidenced by their common mantra: Show me your clips. “Clips” are paper trophies, copies of your past glories, proof that you’ve been published before. You need these clips; you must have them in order to get clips. (No, you can’t buy clips.)

Sound impossible? Welcome to Publisher Land. The law of the land is simple. If you’ve been published, you can get published. If you haven’t been published you need to get published, so you can be published. Your chances of getting published are much better if you have an agent. Oh yeah, that reminds me, most agents like to represent people that have already been published.

 I’ve determined there are only six people running Publisher Land.

Writer’s Market 2001 lists at least one-gazillion editors (a gazillion is a little more than a million). But I think most of them are the same person because their letters are suspiciously similar. They all speak publisher-ease, a second language I’ve been somewhat successful in learning. For example: their letters might say “we regret to inform you that after carefully reviewing your manuscript we feel it’s not right for our present needs”. This should be read as “you haven’t been published before and pigs will fly before we take the first chance.”

Just as their words have different meanings, the laws of time in Publisher Land differ, too. Often a letter from a publishing house will say they hope to have a firm reply concerning your manuscript in twelve to fourteen weeks. You might think this is a month or two. The people in Publisher Land will be laughing at you. They know it means sometime this calendar year–if you’re lucky.  I say, let ’em laugh, but get in the game! I’ve recently had a few small victories, nothing grand, no six-figure advances or anything, just enough success to throw gas on my word fire. But that’s okay. I still have an ace in the hole; a back-up plan I don’t think Publisher Land is ready for–Mama the Literary Agent.

It’s worked before.


 Where can people buy your books?

You can find more about me than you need to know at my

website: http://www.allthingssouthern.com

You can buy my books there, subscribe to my weekly emag, watch my video segments, check out my blog, etc. Warning, I will try to hold you captive.

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Barbara Davilman & Liz Dubelman


Author(s) #5:what-was-i-thinking-small1







Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman, editors of  “What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories”

1. Tell us about your latest book.


2. How did you get started as a writer?

LIZ: I wrote a short story called CRAZIEST which I made into a VidLit (video literature ) because I wanted to get the story out there and that seemed the best way: http://www.vidlit.com/craziest/


3. What does a typical day look like for you?

LIZ: I wake up at 6 to deal with publishers in NYC.  I live in LA.  I write when I can and do a lot of work gathering inspirational elements for stories or VidLits.


4. Describe your desk/workspace.

LIZ: I have 5 computers and tons of small scraps of paper that contain images and ideas.


5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

LIZ: I love John Fante because he writes the way I feel. The Invention of Hugo Cabret because  it uses pictures as an intricate part of the story.  I also love Yiddish with Dick and Jane  by my co-editor Barbara Davilman (and Ellis Weiner) and all of my husband, Paul Slansky’s books, especially The Clothes Have No Emperor about Ronald Reagan


6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

LIZ: 1. I once smoked a joint with John Lennon.

2. My father was killed by a mouse.

3. I helped revive Come to Your Senses Day http://www.c2ysd.com  — a much needed holiday celebrated Feb 15 every year.


7. Favorite quote

LIZ: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx




8. Best and worst part of being a writer

LIZ: The best part is it’s fun to see what my subconscious can do.  The worst part is sitting down to face the page.


9. Advice for other writers

LIZ: The thing about writing is you have to write, at least that’s what I’ve heard.


10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

LIZ: We got about two-thirds of the stories for our book What Was I Thinking: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories from craigslist, Facebook, youtube and myspace.


Where can people learn more? Where can they buy the book?


Vidlits for the book can we seen at http://www.vidlit.com



10 QUESTIONS FOR…Chick-lit authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke


Author(s) #3:

About Liz and Lisa    

Liz & Lisa - Chick lit is alive and well!

Liz & Lisa - Chick lit is alive and well!

I'll Have Who She's Having

I'll Have Who She's Having



Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been friends for twenty years since the day Lisa walked into Freshman English class wearing red eyeglasses that made her look like Sally Jessie Rafael’s younger, more stylish sister.  They both attended Cal Poly Pomona University and each graduated with a degree in Communication. Lisa is single and a supervising producer and writer in television. Liz is married with two children and works in pharmaceutical sales.  They both reside in Long Beach, California.


1. Tell us about your latest book.

I’ll Have Who She’s Having

What happens when a man comes between one desperately single and one very married sister?

Kate’s been depressed ever since yet another long-term boyfriend unceremoniously dumped her.  When her younger and married sister Kelly convinces her the way to meet a quality man is for the two of them to sign up for a volleyball class, she’s just desperate enough to agree. But Kate becomes so fixated on their coach that she fails to see an unlikely but perfect match right in front of her.

Kelly’s been less than happy for longer than she wants to admit. She’s the one who appears to have it all: the perfect husband, the big house and the beautiful daughter. Despite it all, she feels an emptiness she can’t explain and is conflicted when it’s her volleyball coach who offers an answer.

I’ll Have Who She’s Having follows Kate and Kelly as they battle themselves and each other in their search for a happy ending.  Through a series of hardships and self-doubt, they both realize they were looking for happiness in the wrong places. It’s a novel for anyone who ever secretly let their insecurities get the best of them.

2. How did you get started as writers?

Lisa– I wrote my first book, “There’s a Jungle in My Closet” when I was 8 years old. My mom submitted the ten-page book—handwritten in pencil, illustrated with crayons and bound by staples, to agents. But back then, they all said, “Who would want to read a children’s book that was written by a child?” What? Thirty-five years later, it’s obviously a much different world as 9 year olds are writing books on courting women.

Liz- For me, it was writing in slam books. At least I was eloquent when I trashed the prom queen!

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Liz & Lisa–We both have full-time jobs so the balancing act that goes on rivals Cirque De Soleil. And on top of all the hours we put into our careers, Liz is the mother of two kids under 5 and Lisa constantly travels to Chicago to see her “manfriend” (boyfriend is just too sophmorish) and his two children often.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Lisa—I’m proud to say that my desk is organized and even fung shu’d. I have that workspace that confuses people. How can I be so neat and tidy while working in a frenetic environment like television production? The fountain, the cool blue walls, the pictures of my family and friends and the tropical vacation spots I long to travel to, surround me.  My workspace keeps me sane–just don’t look too closely at the food stains on the calendar that sits below my keyboard.  The desk that I use for my writing is the tray table on an airplane.  I’d like to say I’ve come up with some of my best ideas at 30,000 feet!

Liz- My desk situation is less than desirable. It’s located in the Grand Central Station section of my home, perfectly positioned between the front door and the French doors that open to the backyard where my two dogs spend most of their time barking at me to let them in. I also share my desk with my husband. So when we’re not fighting over the laptop (For some reason, he doesn’t understand why I don’t find checking fantasy football stats important), it becomes my territory. I put the kids to bed, turn on my IPOD (Nick Lachey is very inspirational these days) and type, hoping to get at least 100 words down before I fall asleep sitting up.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)


1. Straight Up and Dirty: A Memoir by Stephanie Klein

2. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

3. Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch

4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

5. Beginner’s Greek by James Collins


1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

2. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

3. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

4. Me Vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski

5. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin


6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you


1. I’m a Facebook whore. 202 friends strong and growing…

2. I’ve had stitches in my head three times

3.  I’ve had acupuncture two times and think it works.



1. I really, really wish I could sing. I have secret karaoke dreams.

2. I used to like cats until I had a cat named Merlin who used to pee on my bed. Now I’m a dog person.

3. Turning 35 was way more traumatic than I thought it would be.


7. Favorite quotation


“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Albert Schweitzer


“Play for more than you can afford to
lose and you will learn the game”
–Winston Churchill

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Lisa & Liz–Putting ourselves out there and putting myself out there

9. Advice for other writers?

Put on your boxing gloves and be prepared to fight for what you believe in. You’re going to get knocked down and maybe even knocked out, more than once. But you’ll survive the match if you stay strong and learn how to use criticism (all forms) to your advantage.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

We have a “slush pile” of our own. Only our stack, several phonebooks thick, is comprised of rejection emails and letters. Some we felt were worthy of our attention because they offered constructive criticism and valuable advice but others, like the one addressed simply to “Mr. Fenton” weren’t worth a second of our precious little time. Obviously, we weren’t about to listen to an agent that couldn’t follow his/her own submission guidelines and at least get the name right! But there was one rejection in particular that we loved to hate. The agent slaughtered our characters, said they reminded her of people she hated in high school and then proceeded to gloat about her rejection of us on her blog. She then went on to write about how excited she was about a new writer she’d agreed to represent that had written a book about a psychic dog.  No joke.

 Where can people buy your book?


Our book is available at Amazon.com and through our publisher, www.makdanpublishing.com

www.chicklitisnotdead.com is a blog we started because nothing makes us want to hop up on that soapbox like arguing against the sentiment that chick lit is dead.  As far as we’re concerned, it’s still very much alive and kicking. Like we say on our site, we’re “two girls who believe books with high fashion and happy endings never go out of style!”

We know that there are women, even men, out there that want an new and sassy perspective on a very old but classic story of boy meets single girl and sweeps her off her feet. Everyone loves a story with a happy ending.