Monday, January 30, 2012

Laura Spinella is anything *but* a disaster and she has a book to give away!

Introduction by Gail Allison

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today, we welcome Laura Spinella and her debut novel "Beautiful Disaster." (It came out in January 2011, but is still at the forefront of the chick lit scene.) Laura grew up in Long Island in the 1970s with very traditional parents. Luckily, her older sisters were model children who followed the rules and actually listened to their parents' advice, leaving the door wide open for Laura to try bucking the system by deciding she wanted to be a singer. Sadly, that dream died when she discovered that she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. She turned to writing, and actually wrote the outline for "Beautiful Disaster" during her college years. Fast-forward 20 years, zooming past her time living in the south, a freelance career writing for magazines and newspapers, and even writing a column at one point, and we'll meet the Laura that's here with us today: a wife, a mother to three (to seven if you count two dogs and two kittens), a house outside Boston, and a published novel.

Thanks to Penguin we have TWO copies of "Beautiful Disaster" to giveaway to some lucky readers anywhere in the US or Canada.

Visit Laura at her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m still waiting for the certificate to come in the mail.
Actually, I first thought that validation would arrive with the sale of my novel. Honestly? It didn’t make a difference. Then I assumed I’d feel like writer when I saw BEAUTIFUL DISASTER in bookstores. It didn’t change anything. There was the hope it might sink in after the book, to my amazement, picked up an award or two. That didn’t make a conscious difference either as to how I felt about myself as a writer. So, I’ve kind of concluded that writer is just who I am, kind of like I have brown eyes and really wide feet. It’s just part of the Laura Spinella package. However, I will cop to this much: Occasionally, I’ll pass by the copy of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER I keep on my bookshelf and think, that’s pretty cool.

Any tips to share with aspiring writers?
Lots of people will be willing to critique your writing. This is a good thing. Always be grateful if someone is willing to take the time to read and offer thoughtful criticism. That said, be careful what criticism to you take to heart. If you are lucky enough to find one or two people whose advice you trust, whose thoughts prove worthy, hang onto them. In my experience, that’s a very rare thing.

If you were an animal, which animal would you be?
IDK, sloths have it pretty good. They move, like, two inches a year and eat a vegetarian diet. Moose are cool too. Nobody messes with a moose, and if one wanders into your backyard, chances are it makes the evening news. Ultimately, however, I have to go with the mythic unicorn. They spend most of their time in fairytales and have no natural predators. Also, when was the last time anybody said a bad word about a unicorn.

Tell us three authors have most influenced you the most.
Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read those books until I basically had them memorized. I was absolutely obsessed. Then last year I moved onto…. Just kidding. But those books were my absolute foundation as a writer. I don’t write children’s books, I base very little on personal experience, and I’ve never been to South Dakota. Clearly, however, the idea of putting a story on paper generated from her writing and those books.
As an adult, I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan. All her books influence me, the style of the writing, the voice, the way she layers a plot, weaves a tale. But I think it was MERCY, one of her lesser known books, that really turned my head, gave me real incentive to become a published author—or at least try.
Always, Ann Lamott, she’s just so brilliant and funny and full of smart advice. I’ll tell you a little secret, I’m not good at retaining books, author, characters, words… they tend not to stick for very long in my head. I think everything she ever wrote was committed to my memory on the first pass. For me, that’s huge sign of influence.

Do you have a day job as well?
I do have a day job—two of them! I freelance for GateHouse Media; they own oodles of newspapers in the New England area. I’m also the Editorial Director for AuthorBytes. This is a new gig, and kind of a dream job. AuthorBytes is a web designer that specializes in author websites. They did my site for BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. The owner, Steve Bennett, thought it would be beneficial to have a published author “in house.” As to why he chose me… You’d have to ask him! In the past few months I’ve learned mucho computer geek stuff and had the opportunity to interface with lots of authors—some of them bestsellers. I write in the mornings and switch to my AuthorBytes hat in the afternoon. It’s a fascinating side of the publishing world, particularly with technology and social media changing on a daily basis.

If "Beautiful Disaster" were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?
Now we’re into book club questions! Usually, I answer at the end of the gathering, after everyone has had a couple glasses of wine. For some reason, casting BD seems to go hand-in-hand with reading the book. Interestingly, my answer hasn’t changed since that first book club meeting. I always see Mia as someone like a Jennifer Garner or Rachel McAdams—there has to be an inherent innocence about her. For Flynn, he’d have to be an unknown. I’ve never really come across an actor that captures him. On the other hand, lots of book club ladies have given the thumbs up to Gerard Butler. I didn’t know who he was, so I Googled him. I suppose if I was casting, he’d have a fair shot (-;

If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you?
Mine, so I could edit it some more. It’s amazing what occurs to you after they’ve printed it! Has Jodi Picoult done an anthology yet? That way I could take more than one of her books me. I suppose I’d have to pick a classic, maybe "Wuthering Heights" or a more modern story, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Of course, if I’m on a desert island, "Lord of the Flies," "Robinson Crusoe" or "Unbroken" might offer some necessary survival skills.

Tell us a few movies that feel like chick lit to you.
Oh gosh, can I phone a friend? I don’t watch very many movies. And if I go back in time to when I did watch more movies I’d really be dating myself! Okay. "The Sure Thing," 1985 John Cusack, Chick Lit before its time! If you haven’t seen it, get it! "Fever Pitch." I know it’s a baseball movie, so how can it be Chick Lit? What can I say? It combines an adorable love story and the Red Sox. I’m in. Also, it has Drew Barrymore. Doesn’t that make it Chick Lit by default? Can I pick a TV series for the third one? "Gilmore Girls" was my television Chick Lit—sharp, sassy and an eye for fashion.

Salt or Sweets?
Oh, sure, why not ask the gluten-free girl which food group she misses more! Actually, I swing both ways. Thankfully, I can still do Lays potato chips and a Hershey bar. Raw almonds and M&M’s are the perfect combo any afternoon!

What are your current projects?
I am about two keystrokes away from finishing revisions for THE IT FACTOR—and, actually, I’m toying with a title change: AN INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP. Maybe this would be a great forum to gather some feedback. I’d love to know which one conjures up more intriguing imagery.

Aidan Royce, rock icon, has it all, money, fame, and an incredible life. The one thing he doesn’t have is Isabel Lang, the girl who left him on their wedding night in Las Vegas. Fate brought together a spitfire Jersey Girl and Catswallow, Alabama’s own Conrad Birdie. Circumstance drove them apart. Seven years later, Isabel works at 98.6—The Normal FM for Easy Listening. It’s a classic AM format with a touch of irony. It’s also a world away from Aidan’s rock-n-roll life. When the station is bought out, demanding a huge promotional event, the always independent Isabel has no choice but to contact Aidan. He’s the boy she loved, the one she left to secure his amazing future.

Special thanks to Laura for not only answering our questions, but really letting us into her head. Thanks also to Penguin for sharing "Beautiful Disaster" with our readers.

How to win "Beautiful Disaster":
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: Which title should Laura Spinella give her next novel? Help her with her decision! (See the last question from our interview.)
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.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends February 5th at midnight EST.


Marthalynn said...

What a busy lady Laura is! I am intrigued by both titles, but I think "The It Factor" piques my interest more.

I'm a follower :)

marthalynn16 [at] gmail [dot] com

Kim W. said...

1) I like "The It Factor" best!

2) I follow the CLC blog

3) I posted on FB

4) I belong to CLC on FB

Kritters Ramblings said...

I like The It Factor title.
I follow via GFC
I am a fan on facebook.

Jeryl M. said...

I like the title THE IT FACTOR.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook fan.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

I like The It Factor

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

The Book Chick said...

I would love to win this one, as I've heard raving about it!


1. I like "An Intimate Friendship" the best, because "The It Factor" reminds me of "The X Factor". I love "The X Factor", don't get me wrong, but I guess that I would be associating the two.

2. I am a GFC follower, of course! I love you ladies!

3. I am a Facebook peep!

Literary Chanteuse said...

I'm so far not in the majority but I like The Intimate Relationship. It tells me it's a love story and the other makes me think it is a sci fi or thriller.

I'm a GFC follower

Tweeted on twitter

Memember of CLC FB group


Stephanie said...

I like "An Intimate Friendship."

I'm a gfc follower.

sneakerdoodle said...

1 I like the it factor best!!
2 I follow the blog
3 I posted on fb
4 I like clc on fb

Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

Na said...

I'm liking An Intimate Friendship.
Thank you for the chance to win your book as I have Beautiful Disaster on my wishlist.

I'm a GFC follower.

Lilian said...

1. The It Factor wins it for me. An Intimate Friendship sounds like any other boring title I will pass by without a second's thought to me, to be honest.
3. Posted.
4. Joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook

lilianxcheng AT

Nina said...

As a fellow Long Islander I would love to read this! And i too favor 'The It Factor!'

bn100 said...

I enjoyed reading the interview. This book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.


1. I like The It Factor as the title.
2. I follow this blog.

Kristen said...

I think "The It Factor" is the most intriguing.

I'm a follower on email and Facebook.


Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I agree with many of the commentors, "The It Factor" sounds much better than "An Intimate Friendship"!

I'm a follower!

amber_johnson2004 at yahoo dot com

Erica said...

Hmmm ... I like The Intimate Relationship.

I'm a GFC follower...

wordywon [at] gmail [dot] com

Kym said...

1. I follow the blog
2. I asked to be part of the FB group
3.I like " the intimate friendship"


Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway!
I like "The It Factor"
I follow on FB
I tweeted this giveaway as well.
Jakki36 at yahoo dot com

IandSsmom said...

I want to vote for The It Factor! I love Beautiful Disaster and it is definetly one of my favorite books!!! No need to win it since I happily own it!! :)
Shannon Johnson

Judy said...

The It Factor, for sure. :) (But I'll force myself to read it if you name it something else. ;)

Jen said...

The It Factor is more intriguing to me!


Maureen M. said...

FB follower
Posted on FB
The IT Factor!

StereoQueenBee said...

. Please tell us: Which title should Laura Spinella give her next novel? Help her with her decision! (See the last question from our interview.)

The IT Factor!

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

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.)

Am already a member.

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Shannon said...

1. "The It Factor"


bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

Heather said...

I like the It Factor!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I'm a follower!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I'm a member of CLC!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com