Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everything's coming up roses for Colleen Oakes....plus a book giveaway

I'm not sure why I don't like admitting this, but I'm totally a girl who loves to get flowers.  I also can spend a sizable amount of time just staring at them.  You know the saying, "Take a moment to stop and smell the roses?"  That's me... literally!

Flowers are used as part of the central theme of the novel, Elly in Bloom written by our guest today, Colleen Oakes.  Colleen was born and raised in Denver, CO and graduated from Concordia College in Bronxville, NY.  Prior to writing her first novel, Colleen was a wedding florist.  However, though she found success as a florist, she could not deny her love and talent for writing.

So please take a moment to "stop and smell the roses," as we welcome Colleen Oakes to Chick Lit Central!

You can connect with Colleen on Facebook, Twitter, and her Website. Thanks to BookSparks PR, we have TWO copies of Elly in Bloom for some lucky readers in the US!

Have you read Elly in Bloom since it was published? If so, are there things about the book you wish you had done differently? If not, why not?
I have read it since it was published, and it was an interesting experience. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. As for things I would have done differently, I maybe would have lightened it up on the flower descriptions. While I can get wrapped up in them like I’m falling into a lush field, not all readers have felt that way. For the sequel, I tried to keep the flower descriptions lighter and added the extra depth to the characters.

Why do you think your characters resonate with readers?
Elly, of course, is absolutely my favorite character to write because she is an embodiment of my own heart, my own insecurities, and the combined personalities of several extraordinary women in my life. She is a woman who struggles with her appearance, her weight and the way she wishes that she came across to people. I hope that my characters resonate with readers because they see themselves in Elly. It isn’t the gorgeous, successful magazine editor that they are reading about, it is a chubby, clumsy and sometimes socially awkward florist who has no clue how to dress. I think we all feel a bit more insecure than we let on.

How many drafts does it take for you to feel like a manuscript is in its best possible form?
"Elly" had three drafts before it went to my test readers. After that, it had one more draft before the final copy was ready. Even after that it went through another edit to make sure everything was perfect. So I would say about six drafts before I was completely comfortable with the manuscript.

If the courtship with your husband were to be made into a Chick Lit novel, what would be the storyline be?
My husband and I met at a Lutheran summer camp, and our story would make a fabulous chick lit adventure that included meaningful candy exchanges, withered flowers left on cabin doorsteps, notes written on camper napkins and midnight kisses in the middle of the woods. Oh also, a TON of unattractive sweat in a Nebraska humidity.

What's your all time favorite candy bar?
It’s not a bar, but M&M’s are about the most perfect thing man has ever invented.

At one time you were a wedding florist. What was your favorite part of that adventure?
I loved designing. I loved getting up early, pulling up my hair and going out to my studio to work. I would turn on show tunes ridiculously loud and get to work. I loved everything about designing; the smells of the rich blooms, the way a flower draped against another, the collision of colors that was almost too beautiful – the richness at times would make my heart feel weepy. I miss designing all the time. I will never stop loving flowers with a passion that would embarrass most people. The greatest adventure was seeing new arrangements come together in my hand and knowing that no one on earth had ever made this exact arrangement, ever.

On your website you describe yourself as a "pop culture nerd". What is the most obscure piece of pop culture knowledge you could share with our readers?
That the ship from Firefly makes an appearance in the pilot episode of the relaunched Battlestar Galactica. My husband has turned me into a huge nerd, but seriously? It’s like the best show ever.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Such an interesting question! I have a couple of friends that saw their spouse and said “this is the one.” At the same time, I was friends with my husband for a few months before we got together, so I believe that a great love can be slow to develop. I think Elly experiences both of these situations: an intense connection at first sight, followed by a relationship that grows over time. I hope readers have fun determining which one is the right man at the right time for Elly. She needs the one to make her bloom – don’t we all?

~ Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

Thanks to Colleen for chatting with us and BookSparks PR for sharing Elly in Bloom with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US only. Giveaway ends October 29th at midnight EST.


20 comments:

Linda Kish said...

I like Three Musketeers bars.

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

Twix! Gotta go get me one now. :)

susieqlaw said...

butterfinger

Connie said...

I adore a small Heath Bar because toffee is my favorite!

rhonda said...

Almond joy

Janine said...

My favorite candy is Reese's peanut butter cups

Sara Gallagher said...

5th Avenue is my favorite.

jodi marinich said...

chunky

bn100 said...

Hershey bars

Chanpreet said...

As a total chocolate aficionado, I don't have one favorite. I love caramel, chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon, peanut butter, almonds, coconut, and toffee. Any candy with any of the above in any combination or alone will do it for me. I know you asked for one, but I love them all!

Felicia said...

butterfingers for sure

Sienna Snow said...

Mars Bar is my favorite :)

Lisamarie said...

Paydays! Love the sweet & salty

Bridget O'Neill said...

Kit Kat, but I also love 100 Grand bars!

StephTheBookworm said...

Kit Kat

rubynreba said...

Almond Joy

Bonnie K. said...

Snickers Dark Chocolate

Nova said...

Snickers (but I love them all!)

Shannon Williams said...

My favorite is TWIX!!

Janine said...

Thank you so much! I really look forward to reading this book.