This summer I had the opportunity to meet with many amazing book club groups in person, at Barnes & Nobles, and over Facetime. For those who’ve chosen Waiting at Hayden’s as a pick and hosted me, I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all and how much I’ve enjoyed the interesting discussions we’ve had.
Not surprisingly most of our discussions have ended up straying from the actual story itself to talking about our own love lives—the risks we’ve all taken when it comes to following our hearts, how timing has played a role in the fate of our relationships, whether or not we still think about our first loves. I love these conversations and getting to hear your stories!
Many of the questions I’ve gotten have been similar, so I’m answering the most asked below. If you have any additional questions, feel free to add them in the comments. And if your book club is interested in reading Waiting at Hayden’s for a feel-good book for fall send me a message. I’d love to join in and you can find discussion questions here.
My Denim Dress & Heels
Since the premise of the book is loosely inspired by a pact you made with your high school boyfriend, did you show up?
My high school boyfriend and I did set a date to meet up at a restaurant in Portland after college graduation. Unlike the couple in the book we didn’t pick a time. I happened to be in town so I showed and waited for an hour. I was dating someone else so went more out of a curiosity to see him again and hear how he’s been—plus I was writing the story so my mind had been on that night a lot. To my knowledge he didn’t show and we still haven’t spoken. I did break up with said boyfriend shortly after that night however, because I thought if I was even slightly curious about someone else maybe I hadn’t found The One.
Where did you come up with the idea for the funeral party and the idea of burying reminders of ex-boyfriends?
In high school one of my best friends was going through a break up and kept looking at all the mementos from her relationship. To help her move on I suggested we bury all the items and treat the split like a death. Later, when I was living in Charleston, South Carolina writing the first draft of this story my roommate went through a break up and said to me: “I want to put (my ex) in a box and never open it up again.” I added that line to my book and took her to the beach to bury all her reminders of the relationship. It’s sort of a break up tradition now I’ll do with friends.
What character do you feel you are most similar to?
Definitely Gianna. Other than the fact that she’s almost ten years older than me and owns a restaurant (ironically I’m a terrible cook) most of the thoughts she has about love in the story I’ve wondered myself. My inner-dialogue is very similar to hers and writing from her point of view came really naturally.
Where did you come up with the idea for shopfiction™?
From a creative standpoint I LOVED the idea of bringing a story to life visually. As soon as I finished the book I thought, how cool would it be if my readers could see pictures of my characters in the settings described wearing the clothes I wrote about—and bonus if they could shop them (I always wished I could do this in movies or books with vivid descriptions of clothes!).
From a reader’s perspective I thought shopfiction™ would really enhance the experience and be a fun way to keep people more engaged in stories.
And from a business perspective I was seeing how influencers were able to afford to blog by forming partnerships with brands which expanded their reach and helped them better monetize their work. Many people don’t realize that most authors make less than $15,000 a book and the majority of writers sell 250 books or less. I wanted to find a way to give storytellers the same advantages bloggers have so they can afford to tell more stories and reach more people with them.
Where do you get inspiration for stories?
I’ve always wanted to write books that entertain yet also reflect what it’s really like to be dating today. Because of that most of my inspiration comes from my direct personal life, from conversations I’ve had with friends, and from closely paying attention to the choices I see people making about love.
When will your next book be out and what is it about?
My next book is a cross-country road trip love story called Map of Us! It tells the story of two different couples who set out on separate road trips—one to see if they can rekindle the spark in their marriage and the other to see if they have what it takes to get married. It will be out next summer. I’m also working away on my summer 2021 novel and keep getting pulled to that story (when I should be making Map of Us edits!) because the subject of the book is a very timely topic that I’m thinking a lot about. I can’t wait for the discussions that book will start.
Will your next book be published in the same shopfiction format?
Yes! However, we’ve tweaked the format slightly. All year I’ve been gathering feedback from readers so I can keep improving the experience for you all. I can’t wait to share it!