Thursday, May 17, 2012

We may not be getting a goodie bag from Jennifer Gilbert, but we are giving away her book!

Introduction by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Life is not an event that can be planned.

As the owner of Save the Date, it's Jennifer Gilbert's job to help others celebrate life's special occasions by planning, designing and executing parties and weddings. But it hasn't been until recently that she has opened up about the one event in her life she never planned for - a random, violent attack that took place when she was 22 years old.

In her memoir, "I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag," Jennifer chronicles the twists and turns she experienced along the road to recovery, and how event planning not only brought her professional success, but also taught her how to embrace life and led her to true happiness.

Thanks to Engelman & Co, TWO lucky US readers have a chance to win "I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag."

You can visit Jennifer at her website and on Facebook and Twitter. Also, BookPerk has a contest for a lucky US resident to win a Skype consultation with her. (Ends May 24th.)

Which authors do you most admire?
After writing my own book, I admire every single author EVER. It was the hardest work I have ever done!! But I love anything by Jane Austen, my original chicklit writer. I also admire and read Jennifer Weiner, and Candace Bushnell for the lighter fare novels as well as Isabel Gillies, Dani Shapiro and Gretchen Rubin for their voices and true stories.

What do you think the key is to a successful chicklit novel? Lots of sexiness? A studly hero? Plenty of angst?
I think it’s a true voice of the woman. If she or her character is authentic about whatever she writes about, sex or men or anxiety, then it will resonate with female readers. Hopefully it’s a bit meatier, or sexier than it would be in a more general genre.

What was the most challenging part about writing a book?
Writing a book takes time, a lot of time. For me, it was a full 2-year process. As the owner and CEO of Save the Date® (an event planning company,) a wife and a mother to 3 small children, I had to be very focused, and carve out time to write. I locked myself away for at least 4 hours at a time for 2 days a week, then sessions over the weekend to be disciplined and just focus. But, the biggest challenge for me was editing out my own life. When it’s a novel or a movie I’m very brutal about unnecessary parts that don’t add anything. I think most movies should be 20 minutes shorter in general. But for me to pick parts of my own life that are more or less interesting or more or less crucial for to my story was very difficult. I had thousands of really funny stories and anecdotes, but they didn’t make sense for this book. Luckily, I had a great editor.

Favorite springtime food
I love asparagus and it always reminds me of spring, also watermelon and cherries. I associate with clean, healthy foods (getting ready for that bathing suit!) with springtime.

If you could take us on a tour of your town, where would we go first?
I live in TriBeCa, NYC and I have affectionately called it Triburbia for years because it feels like a town within a City. TriBeCa is famous for its cobblestone streets, art galleries and loft type spaces. We have the best restaurants, Nobu, Bouley, Tribeca Grill, so it’s a foodies delight. As I have kids, my daughter is 7 and my twin boys 4, I’d start at the place where we spend a lot of our time,. The beautifully landscaped Pier Parks, which outline the west side of TriBeCa directly on the Hudson River. As you run, walk or bike on the large waterfront promenade you see people kayaking, playing beach volleyball and soccer in front of you, and set behind you is the heart of TriBeCa, and all its funkiness.

How would you define Chick Lit?
Chick Lit is relatable books written by women for women. This genre speaks directly to women, not that men can’t or don’t relate, but I think it lets women have their voice and own their power.

What inspired you to write your memoir?
I started writing my thoughts down years ago when one of my son's Alopecia had progressed and I was feeling angry, vulnerable and out of control. The last time I felt like this was 20 years prior when my own attack happened. I started writing in my journal to sort out my feelings. From experience, I know people don’t know how to deal with someone else’s sorrow and they tend to ‘at least’ it away. Once I started writing, remembering and understanding what my lessons had been and how my life had been built on those years of heart ache and overcoming them, I thought O.K., I’m ready to share now, in fact, I have to share what I have learned, in the hope it inspires others to share their feelings and help others.

What is it about your memoir you feel resonates most with readers regardless of where in the world they live?
Everybody has their own story, the one we carry around, repeating it to ourselves until sometimes, it can define us. Whether its illness, divorce, losing a loved one, unemployment, or just feeling unworthy in our own bodies, we all have one. My book is about letting go of my story. I decided to stop carrying it around and blaming it for getting in the way of my own life. While we can’t choose what happens to us in life, we can control who we want to be after it happens.
I think it’s real, and honest and relatable. I believe it’s inspirational. Of course I hope it’s also highly entertaining, as I am an event planner with some wonky stories about my event planning career, but it’s the right combination of funny and thoughtful. Sometimes the light and the dark can go together in a book, and I think this strikes the right balance. It’s a fast paced, easy read with something in it for everyone. It’s part “novel-esque”, part event planning tips, and a lot of heart-bearing truthful life lessons.

If "I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag" were to be made into a movie, what actress would you want to see play you, and why?
My story starts when I’m 22, goes backward and forwards till 43, so an actress that has a lot of range and ‘gets’ my experience. I love Natalie Portman as an actor; she has a huge range, so maybe? Rachel Mc Adams? I feel the same way about her. Or it could be an actress my age going backwards, Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon…there are so many…may it be my biggest problem and my choice! HA!

May is International Chick Lit month, what do you think it is about Chick Lit that draws so many readers to the genre?
This genre awakens something in me - a hidden dream or desire, or they relate to a part of my life. These books make me feel understood and heard. Who doesn’t like the comeback kid story, or the ultimate story of renewal and overcoming adversity, the plain girl that gets the gorgeous man, the shy woman getting her fantasy job? At the end of the day, we all just want love. I think it’s the one human condition we cannot live without. Money, family, power…they are ways of getting love and validation. These books are relatable and validating.

Special thanks to Jennifer for her thoughtful and interesting answers and to Engelman & Co for facilitating the interview and sharing Jennifer's book with our readers.

How to win "I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag":
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 do YOU think it is about Chick Lit that draws so many readers to the genre?
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 only. Giveaway ends May 22nd at midnight EST.


Christy {SparklesandSpinach} said...

This book sounds like an amazing story! I would love to win it!!!

I'm also tweeting about the giveaway & following on FB =)

Sparkles & Spinach Blog

Christy {SparklesandSpinach} said...

Here is the link to my tweet ;)!/Christy1225/status/203102186744463360

BRN2SHOP9 said...

It's fun and takes your mind off things.

Brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

I follow via GFC, fb and twitter

MomofTwinGirls said...

Chick LIt makes me realize we all have the same kinds of experiences and we are not alone!

marcyrosenbaum at gmail dot com

Marthalynn said...

I think it's the empathy. We can really put ourselves in the characters' shoes and experience their viewpoint.

I'm a follower :)

marthalynn16 at gmail

Erica said...

I think the fact we all share similar circumstances is the big draw to the genre.

I follow!!

wordywon AT gmail DOT com

Cyndee said...

I think Chick Lit is characters that we can relate to and cheer for if they are the underdog in relationships, money, sex and love.
Cyndee Thomas

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this great novel.

i'm a follower, too :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Stephanie said...

I think the connections the main charcter makes with other characters draws the reader in.

gfc follower

mep said...

What draws women to chick lit? I can't speak for everyone, but I'm drawn to novels that feature smart women negotiating life's challenges and joys with a sense of humor, thoughtfulness, and a sense of their own worth.

I saw a blurb on I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag in Entertainment Weekly and was drawn to the title right away. I tried to get on my library list, but I can't request the book until the library's copy is processed! So ... it would be fantastic if i could just win my own copy!

mep AT nottobrag DOT net

I CLC on Twitter (I'm @nottobrag)

Jeryl M. said...

I would like to read this book.

Jeryl M said...

I think people are drawn to Chick Lit because in Chick Lit the characters always get their happy ending.

I am a Facebook fan.

I am a subscriber.

bn100 said...

I think people are drawn to the genre because of the characters and stories.

I follow the blog.

Thanks for the giveaway.


sneakerdoodle said...

I think people are drawn to the genre because they want a light fun read that will let them get an inside view of the relationships between the characters.

I follow the blog with GFC

I also joined on fb

Maureen said...

I think it is seeing a woman deal with adversity successfully.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Bridget O'Neill said...

I think women are drawn to chick lit because usually they can relate to one or more characters and their situations, and also because it's nice to escape reality sometimes :)

I follow this blog

I'm a fan on facebook

Anonymous said...

There's wisdom in this book -- "Letting Go of Life" might be an alternate title. I'm older than the offer and it made me stop and think about the incidents I've allowed to define me.

maryannelewis (at)

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I'm very interested in reading "I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag" because Jennifer's story sounds compelling and inspiring. I also think that I will like Jennifer's writing style which I expect will be open and candid based on her answers to the interview questions above and the story she's sharinging and will also contain, as implied by the title, humor and advice.

Thank you for a great post and for this awesome giveaway.


Unknown said...

1) I think there are several reasons readers are drawn to chick-lit. The story-lines are compelling and usually concern issues most women can relate to and understand and often they're issues women are coping with in their own lives.
The characters also are very relatable, most women can identify with them and feel an empathy and understanding for them.
Finally, many books in this genre are writtenn by women and I think many women, myself included like supportin women authors especially since as women themselves, the author's write books that women can really connect with.

2) I'm a GFC follower of Chick Lit Central
4) I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook


bas1chs said...

I think people are drawn to the genre because it mixes many genres together - not just romance, suspense, mystery, etc. but all of those can be in a chick lit book. It's not so easy to narrow down all variety in chick lit books - in my opinion.

2. I'm a GFC follower - Shannon
3. I tweeted about the post:!/ggjunk/status/204736784054239232
4. I'm a member on facebook

bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

Heather said...

Thank you for the great giveaway!
I would love to win this book. Look great.

goweezie AT aol DOT com

1. I think many people are drawn to the genre because people (women) can relate in some manner, shape, or form.

2 I am posting this giveaway on my blog:

3. I am posting the giveaway on Twitter

4. I am a follower of your blog

Kritters Ramblings said...

I think that chick lit is current, and being current can bring in readers.
i follow via gfc
i am a fan on facebook

Allison said...


Chick lit is a popular genre because it's fun! It's nice to get away in a world not full of stress.

I follow gfc.

Margie said...

I think chic lit is so popular because the reader can identify...either yourself or someone you know.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

-follow by GFC
-Facebook fan

Debbie said...

1. I think chick-lit is popular because it's a bit of an escape. You can laugh at the characters because you are not them even though it could easily be you.

2. I follow through GFC

3. I am a member of the FB group

4. I tweeted:!/LibraryOfOurOwn/status/205124207414218752

alibraryofourown at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I follow through twitter will tweet at rhondareads

rhonda said...

I forgot I am fb

susieqlaw said...

I follow this blog and CLC on Facebook, twitter, and goodreads.

Readers can relate to Chick Lit stories and can vicariously live out their dreams through the characters-a wonderful escape from the real world. Plus: BEST BOOK COVERS EVER!