**Giveaway is now closed**
Claire Matthews caught the writing bug soon after her youngest daughter started school. She had all the time in the world to either write or seduce the FedEx guy. Since the FedEx guy was a woman, she decided to go the author route. After her first five stories were accepted for publication, Claire began to realize that this was more than just a hobby, and put together a writing studio in the attic using an old TV table, an ancient laptop and a well-worn thesaurus. Focusing on short contemporary romance, Claire balances her writing time with teaching political science at a nearby community college and taking care of her two demanding daughters, her slightly neglected husband and her antisocial dog.
She's here today to talk about her latest novella, "Oh, Baby," and has FIVE copies to give away to lucky readers worldwide (Kindle format only). If you can't wait till next week to get your hands on it, you can purchase it for 99 cents on Amazon.
You can find Claire at her blog and on Facebook.
What was most challenging about writing "Oh, Baby?"
Well, it’s always a challenge to write a novella, because you have to get all the information about the characters across to the reader in very few words. "Oh, Baby" is about 20k words, but there’s a lot going on, so brevity is essential.
In one sentence, what was road to publishing like?
Easier than I ever thought, actually. I subbed a few stories to on-line publishers, got them out in circulation, then decided to try my hand at self-publishing with "Oh, Baby." Oh wait—you said one sentence, didn’t you? What was I just saying about brevity?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read. I teach political science at a local community college. I nag my kids. I drink copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper. I would say that I volunteer my spare time at a homeless shelter, but I gave up lying as a New Year’s resolution.
What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?
It’s hard to say. I read a lot, and I think that’s my biggest motivation. I’ll finish a great book, and think to myself, “I want to write something that makes people feel like this.” My goal is for people to read my books and get that same happy feeling of discovery.
Characters really make the story for us. What 3 words would best describe your heroine & what about her called out to you to write her story?
I’d say Lainey is determined, conflicted, and a little clueless. Isn’t that the best part of any chick-lit book, though? The reader realizes early on what the heroine needs to learn, and then follows her journey towards self-awareness (aka, getting a clue).
If "Oh, Baby" were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?
Hmm. For Lainey, I’d probably go with Emma Stone—I love her, and I think she’s a great actress. For Beck, I choose Matthew Morrison from Glee, because I have a highly inappropriate crush on him.
What do you think the key is to a successful chicklit novel? Lots of sexiness? A studly hero? Plenty of angst? (Something else?)
I think humor is key. If it makes me laugh, then it’s well on its way to being a success in my mind. And I’m a big fan of a beta hero—I’m way too old to find a dominant man attractive. Oh, and angst. Lots of lovely, lovely angst.
What is the best gift you ever gave or received?
We bought my seven year-old a new bike for Christmas, after warning her that Santa probably couldn’t swing a bike this year. The look on her face was priceless.
What TV series feels most like chick lit to you?
Cougar Town. Love that show. I like watching a group of friends with in-jokes and funny rapport.
What is the strangest or craziest date you have ever been on?
I guess that would be a blind date I went on in college. This guy took me to the river for a romantic stroll after dinner, and I fell off a stone landing and broke my ankle. Good times, good times.
Special thanks to Claire for sharing her sense of humor with us through her answers to our questions and for sharing her novella with our readers.
How to win "Oh, Baby":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note:Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)
Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is the cutest or funniest thing you've seen a baby (doesn't have to be your own) do recently?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.
Giveaway ends January 29th at midnight EST.
**This is only for Kindle. If you are interested in entering, but don't have one, you can download Kindle for free to your PC.**