Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jen Lancaster claims her chick lit turf.... plus a giveaway!

Photo by Jeremy Lawson
**Giveaway is now closed**

Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

This past July, I met Jen Lancaster at a book event that featured four prominent Chick Lit authors.  At the time, I had only read one thing that Jen had ever written - a blog post she wrote about a guy who wanted her to help him make amends with his wife after he cheated on her.  From that one post I had formed my impression of her - a tough, no nonsense chick with a larger than life personality, whom I could never imagine being a softie.

Upon finally making it to the front of the line to meet Jen,  her first words to me were something to the effect of, "I was wondering when I was going to get mine" as I handed her a homemade baby strawberry pie and asked her to sign what I affectionately call my "author apron" since I didn't have any a book of hers to sign, just like what I had done with the other authors in attendance that evening. (Yes, Jen, I'm the pie chick!)

In the brief moment I got to speak with her, what I found out is that behind her snarky, tough wit and humor, there's a genuine and caring individual who is sincerely appreciative of the success her readers have afforded her. 

Today, we celebrate the publication of Jen's second novel, Here I Go Again (reviewed here).  Despite many people telling me I must read her memoirs, and the fact that I have two of her memoirs in my possession, this book is actually the first Jen Lancaster book I have ever read.... and now I know why she's a must-read author! She's here to talk about her writing experiences and tell some crazy and funny pet stories (she has a bunch!)

Jen can be found on her website, Facebook and Twitter. You can also view the trailer here. (It's definitely worth a watch...or two!)

Thanks to Penguin Group, THREE lucky (and we mean VERY lucky this time) readers located in the US will win a copy of Here I Go Again!

If Lissy Ryder, from your new book Here I Go Again, had a pet, what kind of pet would it be? What would its name be? What would its personality be like? 
Lissy would have the kind of pet that looks cool but requires very little interaction – I imagine her with an exotic cat. She’d name this cold, dismissive, prone-to-bite something like Miss Dior or Chanel or Tawny Kitten. I could also see her with something ridiculous and attention-seeking, like Paris Hilton’s kinkajou or the IKEA monkey (with bonus shearling coat.)

You have several pets. If you were to write a book about them, what do you think the central plot would be?
I should specify what I have so readers understand exactly what a softie/sucker I am when it comes to rescue pets. I have two pit bulls, a black shepherd, and five cats – a pair of sisters and a trio of brothers. The girl and boy cats are the feline versions of the Bloods and the Crips. They actively despise one another. Except instead of trying to assassinate one another, they just pee on everything to claim it as part of their turf. Awesome.

Last year I was headed out on book tour and my cat Gus managed to nail every single bra I’d packed, so I spent the first night in Seattle trying to unsuccessfully exorcise the evil smell with hotel shampoo. Didn’t work. So, the book about my menagerie would be This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things or perhaps Yes, I’m Aware I Smell Like Urine; Shall I Sign Your Book Now?

Shhh!!!! Don't tell anyone, but when it comes to my pets I:
I have unlimited patience. Whereas I pace like a caged tiger when stuck waiting in line and I have a hair-trigger any time I deal with a customer service agent, I’ll happily endure every bit of their abhorrent behavior as I continue to train them. I never give up on them. Just know that when you’re downwind from me at an event, I’m actively - if not successfully - working on the naughty behavior you may smell.

What do you think someone should consider the most before adopting a pet?
Pets are not an accessory. They’re living, sentient beings and require a commitment for their entire lives. And sometimes they’re expensive and sometimes they’ll wreck your nice things, but if you return the love they’re so anxious to give, you won’t sweat their minor indiscretions.

Here I Go Again, is your eighth book and second novel. What prompted you to write another novel?
My goal is to make the transition into fiction full-time. As much as I enjoy writing memoirs, I’m at the point where I’ve kind of figured out my life. The best books have an element of conflict and I’ve worked really hard to eliminate sources of conflict. I don’t want to manufacture drama in order to write about it; that doesn’t feel genuine.

The beauty of fiction is that the bizarre can happen to a character, yet I don’t actually have to live through it. That’s so liberating! For example, when I wrote If You Were Here, my characters had just purchased their first home. In real life, my husband Fletch and I had done the exact same thing. I originally wanted to write a memoir about renovating a house ourselves but I realized we’d get divorced. So while I happily wrote about toilets raining from the ceiling and having to eat Spaghetti-os hobo-style from the can due to having no kitchen, a skilled professional was stripping my wallpaper and painting my cabinets. (Also? Not divorced!)

What do you find most amazing when you see how successful your writing career has been?
I’m amazed every time people actually come to my book events. Because when I started? That wasn’t the case. There’s nothing more awkward or disheartening than looking at a sea of empty chairs. What blows me away is when fans tell me they’ve been reading since my old allaboutjen.com website I started back in 2002. I’m so grateful to them for sticking around and it’s because of them that I keep striving to be better. (P.S. Lest you think I’m Mother Theresa, I also like that this career has enabled me to buy stuff. Just so we’re clear.)

If you could co-author a book with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why that person?
I’d say my chick lit idol Helen Fielding but we’d likely not get much work done, what with all my squealing and genuflecting. FYI? When I found out there was going to be a third Bridget Jones book recently, I completely lost my mind. Like, I couldn’t concentrate on anything because I was so excited. Rumor has it that Bridget has taken to Twitter. And now my life is complete.

What is the #1 thing on your life "to-do" list?
Someday I want to sit in a darkened movie theater and read the credit that says Based on a Book by Jen Lancaster. Memoir, fiction – I’m not picky.

Until then, I’d be satisfied if I could get the cats to stop peeing in my laundry. 

Thanks to Jen for knowing exactly how to make us laugh and Penguin for sharing Here I Go Again with our readers.

How to win Here I Go Again:
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 craziest or funniest thing you've seen any animal (a pet or even at the zoo) do?
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. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. 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 February 3rd at midnight EST.

Chick Lit is Not Dead and Booking with Manic are also doing giveaways for Here I Go Again.

Both are US/Canada only and end on February 4th.


Kwana said...

I'm such a Jen fan and like her I lost my mind at the thought of another Bridget book. Oh the time I've spent thinking, "I wonder what Bridge is doing now?"

Yes, I'm a follower too!

kwanawrites (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks for the interview!

Marthalynn said...

My sister recently rescued a baby squirrel and it has been so entertaining to watch her grow! It is so precious to watch it drink from the syringe and cuddle with its little blankie.

I'm a follower :)

marthalynn16 at gmail

Na said...

I think it was interesting when some of the animals really tried to communicate with us. They made eye contact and started gesturing. It makes me wonder what they would say if they could talk.

GFC folower

Lisamarie said...

Love Jen! Can't wait to read this.

I'm follower of CLC on Facebook & twitter & the blog.

Jessica said...

1. My dog has a really funny bark. It almost sounds like she's talking. It's sooo cute.
2. I follow this blog through GFC.
3. I tweeted this!https://twitter.com/xxpaperhearts/status/296297978308751362
4. I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.
5. I follow through twitter and pinterest.

-Jessica M

RegRache said...


i follow.

DD said...

Can't WAIT to read this book. And I was floored by her blog post about the infidel. Honestly. The nerve of some people never ceases to amaze me. Anyway, perhaps I'm a simpleton, but I swear to god the funniest animals on earth are the annoying squirrels in my neighborhood. It was only about two years ago that I was able to distinguish the males from the females. Not sure how I missed that one because, I mean, have you ever SEEN the sack on a male squirrel? It's bigger than it's own head! TMI? Probably, but it cracks me up. Every. Time.

dawndennis66611 at yahoo dot com

Maureen said...

When we first got our kittens they would run at each other and then pop up into the air just before they collided.
I follow on GFC - Maureen
twitter - @MaureenCE
tweet: https://twitter.com/MaureenCE/status/296395247322288130
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Allison said...

I was at the zoo at the penguin exhibit. The penguins were far but started to come over to the glass when I started waddling at them!

I'm a follower.


Jackie Bouchard said...

I've read 1 of Jen's memoirs. She's a riot. Didn't know she was an animal lover. Hooray for that!

1. I saw some tapirs at the zoo once doing it, while a third appeared to try to join in. (I even worked it into a scene in my novel, What the Dog Ate...)
2. I'm following.
4. I'm in the CLC group already on Fbk.
5. I'm already following on Twitter

email is jackiebouchard AT hotmail DOT com

Dolly said...

Great interview, thanks!!

While I love my cats, one is too old & the other too fat to do much crazy stuff; however, the ferret I used to have (Frank Burns) used to sneak up behind my cats, stick his head between their back legs, raise his head & 'flip' the cats - it was hilarious!!

I'm a FB/Twitter stalker, and I shared your post on FB.

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

holdenj said...

I'm so glad Jen is transitioning into fiction, can't wait to read this!

I am a follower.


Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

My new puppy (shorkie) and my old dog (German Shepard) play like crazy now. It is amazingly cute and funny to see all the stuff they do!

I am a fan here and on Facebook

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

I love Jen! One of the funniest things my puppy does is stand on the kitchen table and when caught act as if she was supposed to be there. I follow this blog...

TinaB said...

I already follow you on fb and pinterest!
Brannanflooring@ aol.com

Book Mama said...

The funniest thing that an animal at the zoo did was ... a few years ago we took a trip to L.A. We're from NY, so taking a trip to L.A was an adventure all in itself. We went to the Los Angeles Zoo with our 3 boys. While looking at the hippo who appeared to be basking in the sun, it all of a sudden stood up and had a bowl movement. Now, let me tell you that hippos don't have just any old bowel movement. Theirs sprays backwards and FAR. Needless to say, some hit my one son and it's something that none of us have or will forget!

I already follow this blog ... and LOVE it and like it on FB too :)

I also shared this contest on my FB. :)


RenaeH said...

I am so excited to read this book...love Jen's writing!

1. The funniest thing I have seen a pet do, was at doggy daycare. A little dog in the play group is best buds with a big retriever. The little one loves to spin around on his back on the tile floor. So, the little guy will lay on his back and the retriever will spin him around and around with his paw...Hahaha!
2. I'm already a follwer of your blog.
3. Posted it on my FB page. https://www.facebook.com/renaencal
4. I've already joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook.


A.C. said...

Can't wait to read this book, it sounds great!

The craziest thing my dog does is how psychotic he gets whenever you give him a treat. He goes from sweet little puppy to Gollum and "his precious" within seconds. He goes away and hides and then snarls at you as soon as you get too close!

I follow your blog.

I'm a fan on facebook too!

audras (at) gmail (dot) com

Erica said...

My cat grabbed my library card from the counter and ran around the house with it in her house.

I am a follower of the blog by email FB Twitter and GFC.

Erica said...

Ooops gorgot my email: wordywon at gmail dot com!!

Linda Kish said...

There is an orangutan that used to sit and watch a lady take things out of her bag one by one and put them back ever day for hours at a time. She was a regular at the zoo and this particular orang was her favorite animal. It was like they were best buddies.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

I saw a dog that could only walk in circles.

I follow the blog.


Jilleen said...

Funniest thing I saw an animal do.....growing up my cat use to talk to squirrels through our sliding glass window. It was pretty weird the sounds she would make. On day the door was cracked open and she got the squirrel. Thank goodness it got away and was not harmed.

I follow this blog through GFC.

I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.

I follow through twitter and pinterest.

Thanks for the chance to win a book from such a great author.

Jilleen at Seaside Book Nook

seasidebooknook at yahoo

Sue G. said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

I took my kids when they were little to the zoo, and I didn't notice, but evidently the lions were having sex. My oldest who was about 7 noticed! It was pretty funny!

suegaluska (at) yahoo (dot) com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel

i'm a follower, too

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

susieqlaw said...

This pet act probably falls into amazing. I have seen both a dog and a cat function perfectly well on just three legs..with perfect balance and agility. For medical reasons, the dog and cat had to each have a leg amputated, but amazingly, both pets operated just fine! Their sense of balance was truly amazing.

My e-mail sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

I tweeted this contest at susieqlaw

I follow the CLC blog, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

I live in the US.

Unknown said...

We used to have 2 cats who used to do awesome flips when we teased them by dangling a feather in the air :)

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter


Nova said...


I think the funniest/cutest thing was when i took one of my sons to the local farm to get a pumpkin. they had baby goats and they were jumping, kicking their little legs, and making their bleating sounds. so full of life and energy.

I follow CLC blog by email.
I follow CLC by GFC.
I am a FAN of CLC on FB.
I follow CLC on pinterest.

EFC Chrissy said...

Funniest thing I've seen an animal do...our cat was crouched down looking under the pantry door. My husband crouched down next to her to see what the cat was looking at. The cat must not have heard him coming because when she looked over, she jumped about 2 feet off the ground and flew out of the room. We didn't see her again for the rest of the day.

I follow! The blog, pinterest, gmail, facebook.


Videoclimber said...

Our dog tries to feed our kittens, she has never had puppies so she doesn't have any milk

I follow on GFC as Tia


Tami said...

My corgi rescue talks when she yawns. I swear one day words will come out of her mouth and she will just start talking!

Tamileepronske (at) gmail (dot) com

Margie said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the giveaway.
-our dog used to jump around when we said the word "walk"
-Facebook fan
-follower by GFC

rubynreba said...

When we play yahtzee our cat Ruby gets on my lap and puts her front feet on the table. She waits for us to give her a dice and then she hits it on the floor and chases it. She does this whenever we get the dice out!

I am a follower.

Like you on facebook.


Read Baby Read said...

1. My lovebird can ring a bell on its perch when it's prompted, and I have NO idea why I find that funny. I guess it's just adorable!
2. I am a follower.
3. I posted a link on twitter @lilmommareader, and on my blog http://lilmommareader.blogspot.com/2013/02/because-im-cool-like-that.html
mellsimons (at) gmail (dot) come.
Thank you, Melody

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love Jen Lancaster books. They are one of the few books that make me laugh out loud!
I also follow you on Twitter and am a member on Facebook :)

cdyoungs at yahoo dot com

Lilian said...

1. Please tell us: What is the craziest or funniest thing you've seen any animal (a pet or even at the zoo) do?

My friend's yorkshire terrier has this tendency of humping my leg whenever I watch TV. Cute though.

2. GFC follower: Lilian Cheng

3. Tweeted: http://twitter.com/ctoybox1/status/298199424511909888

4. Joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook as Lilian Cheng

5. Followed you on Twitter as @ctoybox1

lilianxcheng AT gmail.com