Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interview with Isabella Louise Anderson, author of The Right Design

Although Isabella Louise Anderson's first book The Right Design came out last year, she's been plugged into the Chick Lit community for a while as the founder of the Chick Lit Goddesses. I recently asked her to chat about her work, chick lit in general and her predictions about publishing in the coming year. 

Have you always lived in Texas? Yes, I’m a proud Texan…without the accent.

Why did you decide to split the setting between Texas and Palm Beach? There was no doubt that I wanted to Texas to be part of it, but then added Palm Beach, Florida, because my family has a vacation home there. Having been going there since I was a child, I have a lot of Palm Beach memories.

The Right Design and your upcoming Cards From Khloe's Flower Shop both have a design element to them, yes? Have you worked in the design world? Geez, I wish I could say that I have worked in the design industry, but I haven’t. I knew very little about interior design, but since my parents had recently renovated their house, I learned a lot, which created the job for Carrie in “The Right Design.” As for my upcoming book (due out later this year), I love receiving bouquets of roses, and one day, right before NaNoWriMo started, I got an idea about a woman who owned a flower shop, which was my motivation for “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop.”

Do Carrie and Khloe's stories intersect at all? No. Carrie and Khloe’s stories do not intersect, and are quite different.

Calling yourself a Chick Lit author (and reader!) can earn you some eye-rolls. Why do you think that genre is so controversial? Personally, I think it’s silly that it’s even a topic about the genre being controversial. With so many other genres out there, who’s to say that Chick Lit isn’t one, too? To me, just because it might be perceived that our book covers are pink (mine won’t be because I hate the color pink), it and its characters are most of the time predictable, and the books have a happily ever after, is the same as a black cover with blood and a knife on it, in the Mystery section of the bookstore…it’s just a different genre. As for beloved readers of the Chick Lit genre, I love how they stand up for the books they love!

You know and speak to a lot of other Chick Lit/Romance writers. What do people want to write about? Great question! Whether authors write for themselves, their fans, or their characters, the main thing we want to write is a book that will make our readers feel engaged in the story. We want just not only our characters to feel pain or happiness, but our readers, too.

Isabella Louise Anderson
Which books have caused you the most "pain" and "happiness"? Typically, I’m one who likes books, so no book has really caused me “pain.” Though, when a book isn’t written or edited well enough that I can enjoy the story, to me, that’s very painful. Books that cause me “happiness” are the ones that leave me with a happily ever after ending for the characters.

What do you think readers of Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy want to read about? Most of the time Chick Lit books are predictable, but that’s why readers read them—they want to enjoy the fuzzy warm feeling when the book ends, along with the happily ever after.

Which books have left you with the most "warm and fuzzy"? I would definitely say “Blogger Girl” by Meredith Schorr! If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.

You're an indie writer. What made you decide to go that route instead of the traditional one? While I thought long and hard about self-publishing, my dream to be an author with a publishing house. After “The Right Design” was rejected, there was no doubt in my mind that I still wanted to be an author (no, my dreams weren’t tarnished, just redirected). I had a lot to learn, and that I did! “The Right Design” had a long way to go before it was published, so I hired editors, a cover designer, etc., and didn’t stop until I pressed the publish button. Self-publishing is the best decision I’ve ever made!

At the end of 2014 everyone started talking about how the industry was suddenly hardening and it was going to be much tougher for self-published writers than it had been. If you were going to make some predictions about publishing for the next few years, what would they be, particularly for Chick Lit? To be honest, I’m happy about this. Self-publishing isn’t as easy as it sounds, and I wish some people took it more seriously—like they might if they were published traditionally. As far as the Chick Lit genre, it’s never going to go away. People love the genre because they know that they’re going to get out of it, which is most of the time a happily ever after.

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn't blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing. Isabella Louise Anderson created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies! She loves featuring authors and their books. She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading. Isabella's short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig's Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel.

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Do business and pleasure mix?

In the author's debut novel comes a story about picking up the pieces, letting go of the past, and finding love along the way--even if morals are tested!

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job--Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him--something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one?