Today I am very happy to have with me Lisa Becker, author of Click: An Online Love Story. I absolutely loved Click, which you can read my review for here.
Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical "B" celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.
CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOURSELF AND CLICK:AN ONLINE LOVE STORY?
I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor, volunteer and Girl Scout troop leader. But, I’ve always wanted to learn to professionally decorate cakes. Not only does it look fun, but really yummy!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS BOOK?
My husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating. I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged. The ultimate goal was to create a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for "the one." But, the happy ending is real. Steve and I have been happily married for nine years and have two amazing daughters - ages 7 and 5.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DID YOU DO FOR THIS BOOK? DID YOU YOURSELF SIGN UP FOR ANY ONLINE DATING SITES TO SEE HOW THEY WORKED?
Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me. In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.”
THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK ARE QUITE AN ECLECTIC MIXTURE OF PERSONALITIES. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES BEHIND THE PERSONALITIES? ARE ANY OF THE CHARACTERIZATIONS BASED ON PEOPLE IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
I most readily identify with Renee. She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking. Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating. He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.” So if you know any nice single girls, let me know. ;) But, my favorite character is Shelley. She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices. She was so fun to write. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell.
DOES THE IDEA YOU START WITH AS INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WRITING EVER TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY WHEN YOU ARE DONE?
I had a pretty clear vision for this story once I began. In this case, it started with the character’s story. As mentioned, I started reading through early email exchanges between me and my husband as well as some of the other emails I had received during my online dating experiences. I started writing up some of the hilarious stories. From there, the idea of a novel developed. And the fate of the characters was truly inspired by people in my real life, so the ending was easy to create.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE WRITING CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED? WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE ON THE ROAD TO PUBLICATION?
Like all writers, I’ve encountered my share of writer’s block. My solution: Chocolate! No joke, I eat chocolate. If I’m stuck on a certain section or not feeling motivated to write, I give myself little chocolate incentives to get past the blockage. Judging by my thighs, I had some serious problems writing this book. ;)
Seriously, though, the hardest part was keeping the timeline and email exchanges organized. Sometimes, I would have to look back a few pages earlier to make sure I had cc’d or bcc’d the right people on an email and that the subject lines were consistent. In some cases, there were replies to forwards to replies. Keeping it all straight was a challenge, but essential to the book’s format.
Regarding having the book published, Click is a self-published novel. I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there and was very easy. The hardest part is marketing the book and spreading the word about it. So, I’m especially appreciative to blogs like yours for helping me with that process.
I'm also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, "Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them." One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I have a Facebook page here set up for Click: An Online Love Story. And I’ve been asked numerous times when the sequel is coming out. I’m thrilled people are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more. With each positive review and reader comment on, I get more and more motivated to continue writing. I have a sequel in the works, Double Click, which picks up six months after the original book ends. I hope people will be excited to see where Renee and her friends are in their lives.
IF YOU COULD WRITE A BOOK FROM ANOTHER AUTHOR’S SERIES, WHICH WOULD IT BE?
I would have to say Helen Fielding’s Bridget from Bridget Jones’ Diary. Her format is very similar to the modern epistolary novel I’ve created and Bridget is certainly someone who I, and my heroine Renee, could certainly relate to.
WHAT WAS THE BOOK THAT MOST IMPACTED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
Many years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails. I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world. It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. Considering the importance this novel is playing in my life, I’d have to say that e was most influential.
Thank you again to Lisa Becker for taking the time to answer my questions and also for hosting this generous giveaway! One lucky reader is going to win their own digital copy of Click: An Online Love Story. Since this is for an ebook, it is open internationally! Good luck!
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