Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wendy Francis is not "lion" around...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Brenda Bersani
Introduction and interview by Melissa Amster

**Giveaway is now closed**

As 2013 began, people started looking for ways to be more positive about their lives. There's been the concept of a "joy jar," where you put little pieces of paper with good things that have happened to you, even in the smallest of ways. There's even a virtual version on Facebook. It's so nice to read about the simple things in life that make people happy on a daily basis.

Our guest today, Wendy Francis, captures that concept in her debut novel, Three Good Things. It's about two sisters who aren't completely satisfied with their lives and long for the advice from their mother, who passed away years ago. Her motto was: "At the end of every day, you can always think of three good things that happened." 

Wendy Francis is a former senior editor in book publishing. Her writing has appeared on The Huffington Post. (Great article about When Harry Met Sally. A must read!) She's also been featured in local magazines, such as The Improper Bostonian. Wendy is currently a freelance editor and writer living with her family (including a four year-old son; she and I should definitely talk...) outside of Boston.

She's here today to answer some fun questions...which are in groups of three! It's the last day of animal month and I think you'll enjoy what she had to say on the topic! Additionally, Simon and Schuster has FIVE copies of Three Good Things to share with some lucky readers in the US and/or Canada!

Visit Wendy at her website and on Twitter.

Three things you can't be without when you're writing:
Aside from a cooperating laptop, I rely most days on the following three things to jumpstart the writing process:
Hazelnut coffee with a dash of cream. As my family knows all too well, nothing gets done around here until I’ve had my early morning infusion of caffeine.
Multiple Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pens. Have you tried them? It’s easily the best pen in the world. I like to review what I’ve written the day before and edit on the page with these pens. It probably makes me old-school, but old habits die hard.
A picture of my four-year-old grinning. Whether it’s on my laptop, my phone, or a framed picture on my desk, his impish grin spurs me on. On really tough writing days, I have a bag of red Twizzlers at the ready.

Three authors who have inspired you:
Oh, there are so many! I guess if I had to narrow it down to three, it would be Elizabeth Strout, Elin Hilderbrand, and Lee Woodruff.
• I love Elizabeth Strout’s characters and her finesse for bringing a place to life, as if the book’s setting is a character unto itself. She’s a master at crafting both beautiful stories and gorgeous prose.
Elin Hilderbrand’s affection for Nantucket, one of my favorite places on earth, wins me over anew with each book she writes as does her ability to conjure up wholly new and wonderful characters and storylines time and again.
Lee Woodruff was an author I first discovered in her memoir, In an Instant, where she tells the harrowing story of her journalist husband Bob Woodruff’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury. I’ve since read her other books, including her recent novel, Those We Love Most, and I’ve come to admire her work even more.
• If I could have a “baker’s three,” I’d have to add Claire Cook to the list, whose sense of humor and nod to “late” bloomers in fiction inspire me every day.

Three pieces of advice you have for someone who wants to write a novel:
• Be patient. You won’t write your first novel or your best novel in the span of a few weeks. It takes time, and often setting your pages aside for a few days or weeks can give you some fresh perspective when you go back. Writing is a labor of love; it needs a lot of nurturing.
Be honest with yourself about what’s working -- and what isn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to let things go that aren’t working. I’d written a few chapters that were getting in the way of the overall narrative for Three Good Things, and they ended up on the cutting room floor. But it was for the best. The book was stronger for having lost them!
When you tell a story. . .“Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the (reader).” As Steve Martin famously says in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, it helps to keep the plot/purpose/point of your story in mind as you’re writing. You can have dynamite characters and crystalline prose, but it doesn’t add up to a novel until you have a real narrative thread.

Three favorite animals from TV shows:
Snuffleupagus. Is there any animal better than Snuffy? He’s everyone’s hero because he persevered for so many years despite the fact that no one believed in him.
Snoopy. So he’s a cartoon character, but he’s one of my favorites of all time. When he gives Lucy a big, sloppy kiss and she runs around screaming, “Help! Help! I need disinfectant!” I find him especially irresistible.
Eeyore. Who doesn’t feel a little sorry for and enamored of Eeyore? He’s so gloomy, he makes everyone else’s life look like roses.

Three favorite animals from movies:
Brinkley in You’ve Got Mail: To quote directly from the movie: “Brinkley is my dog. . .[He’s] a great catcher who was offered a tryout on the Mets. But he chose to stay with me so he could spend 18 hours a day. . . sleeping on a large pillow the size of an inner tube.” I think that pretty much secures Brinkley’s place in movie lore.
The penguins in March of the Penguins. The penguins in this movie deserved Academy Awards as far as I’m concerned. The cold, the hardship, windswept Antarctica! How on earth did they survive it all? I live in awe of those birds.
Marley in Marley & Me. If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right. I’m a dog person, and I think every dog person fell in love with that rascal Marley and his antics. Just so long as we weren’t the ones taking care of him. . .

Three favorite zoo animals:
The gorilla. I like the gorilla’s expressions and the way he watches you through the glass, as if he’s about to reach out and grab you. You know those gorillas are thinking wise thoughts and if only they could talk, they’d have some good stories to share.
The lion. I like the lion because of his regal bearing but also because he seems to nap a lot. I’m slightly jealous that he gets to be king and still get all that sleep.
The giraffe. He strikes me as a rather elegant, somewhat smug animal who figured out long before everyone else that if he grew a long neck he’d have access to all those leaves up there on the tree.

Thanks to Wendy for spreading her good cheer and to Simon and Schuster for sharing Three Good Things with our readers.

How to win Three Good Things:
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: Who are your three favorite animals from a movie or TV show (or a combination of both, such as two from a movie and one from TV)?
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/Canada only. Giveaway ends February 6th at midnight EST.

23 comments:

marlene said...

My 3 favorite animals from a book or show are: Lassie, Benji and Bear (from BJ McCabe and his best friend, Bear). I know. I'm aging myself. I'm not following CLC on pinterest too!!!

mengel2(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

TinaB said...

I'd love to win a copy! I follow u on fb and pinterest.
Brannanflooring@aol.com

pascale said...

First, I must say, Wendy had me at Elin Hilderbrand! I love her books for exactly the same reasons.
Second, she had me at her thoughtful expanations of why she loves the specific animals... I cannot imagine how beautifully her book will be written... a MUST read.

So, I am surprized I could come up with animals so quickly!
First: Winn Dixie... that dog made me WANT a dog... so faithful
Next: Flipper... so smart and faithful
Finally: Lassie... so faithful, smart and loyal
Sense a theme??? So,my dog is a Wheaten terrier ad he is smart, faithful and loyal!!

OF COURSE I follow this wonderful blog and am also a facebook friend and even twitter (which I just dont get).

I really enjoyed Wendy's anwswers so much. It was a nice way to start the day.
pascale.poitras@verizon.net

pascale said...

one more thought... thanks for the author recommendations of Elizabeth Strout, Lee Woodruff and Claire Cook (didn't know she wrote must love dogs). WOW.... my TO READ list gets longer....

Sue G. said...

What a wonderful concept for a book. I am a very positive person always trying to see the good in everything. My hubby calls me overly optimistic to his realistic views!

My 3 favorite animals:

1. Brutus - sheep dog from Donna Kauffman's Sweet Stuff. This dog made me laugh out loud.

2. Tiger - dog on the Brady Bunch. He always seemed like the perfect dog.

3. Garfield the cat - I love his attitude! And his love for lasagna!


I signed up for this blog.
I signed up at Facebook.

Thanks for the chance to win!

suegaluska (at) yahoo (dot) com

Margaret Literary Chanteuse said...

My three favorite are all in one movie the Incredible Journey. They are different personalities but thewy end up working together. My kids love that one too.

-blog follower
-tweeted
-ClC/fb member
-twitter & pinterest follower

Margaret
singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

DD said...

My 3 favorite animals are Dory from Finding Nemo and Timon and Pumba from the Lion King. Hakuna Matata!

dawndennis66611 at yahoo dot com

Marthalynn said...

I love when authors give their recommendations about other authors/books! It's a great way to find out about ones that would otherwise be off my radar.

My 3 animals - Dumbo (such a sweet baby), Dumbo's mama (such a good mom!), and Little Roo (from Pooh's Corner).

I follow.

marthalynn16 at gmail

The Every Free Chance Reader said...

Thanks for the giveaway chance!

Three animals from movies...(1) Willy (Free Willy), (2) Mrs. Jumbo (Dumbo - my favorite is her rocking Dumbo when she was locked away. I watched that and cried when I was pregnant with my second child. I did not watch it while pregnant with my 3rd!), and (3) Hedwig (Harry Potter)

I follow the blog, facebook, twitter, and pinterest.

everyfreechance@gmail.com

susieqlaw said...

Three favorites:
Curious George
Fozzie Bear
Yogi the Bear

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

I tweeted this contest at susieqlaw

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I follow the blog and like the facebook page

Does Alf count as an animal, if so I loved that furry crazy alien dog thing!

I also loved Old Yeller, not how it ended, but the story!

And I loved Flipper. I still want to swim with dolphins before I die. It is number one on my bucket list actually!

mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews @ gmail dot com

karenk said...

my favourite animals: Benji, Lassie, Marley

Thanks for the chance to read this novel

I'm a follower, too

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Lauren McCormick said...

I love the concept of your book. My favorite animal/characters are Kermit, Tigger, and Pooh.
I'm a CLC member, follow the blog, on Facebook and Pinterest.
itzhunicAThotmailDOTcom

bn100 said...

Lassie, Simba, Baloo

I follow the blog.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

rubynreba said...

My favorites are:
Lassie
Marley
Garfield

Like you on facebook

I am a follower.

pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Nina said...

Hmmm, 3 favorite animals! Well, I adored the movie Beethoven as a child, so he is number one! And the two dogs from Homeward Bound were just precious. :)
Gorgeous book cover, btw!
I follow on twitter and my google reader!
nina565(at)aol(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

Mr. Ed, Lassie and Beethoven

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Bridget O'Neill said...

My favorite animals are Hedwig from Harry Potter, Sid the sloth from Ice Age, and Dug the dog from Up :)

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

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

Maureen said...

When I was a kid I loved Lassie and some other favorites are Eddie from Frasier and Babe the pig.
I follow on GFC - Maureen
I follow on Twitter - @MaureenCE
tweet: https://twitter.com/MaureenCE/status/298043102751518720
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Jennifer L. said...

I'd love to win this book!
3 favourite animals: Garfield, Odie and Tigger.
I follow this blog as Jennifer L.
jentam777 at gmail dot com

Jilleen said...

Great review and giveaway - thanks

Three animals for me would be....Willy (free Willy), Tamom (Lion King), and Flipper.

Follow on FB, Twitter and Pinterest

Blog Follower

Linda Mc said...

My 3 favorite animals are:

1. Lassie
2. Marley
3. All the dogs from the movie "Eight Below."

csolinda(at)hotmail(dot)com

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

I have to go with Sassy, Chance and Shadow from Homeward Bound... ahhh, that movie makes me tear up just thinking about it!

missamberljohnson at gmail dot com