Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interview with chick lit author Chrissy Anderson

Today’s guest is contemporary romance chick lit author Chrissy Anderson. She’s talking about her new novel, The Life List. 

During her tour, Chrissy will be giving away a $50 Victoria’s Secret gift card to a lucky commenter. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too. 

When she was just sixteen, Chrissy Anderson made a life list…

…The outcome is a dream husband, a career to envy, and the kind of best friends every girl wants. Then out of nowhere…an affair. What would you do if you realized the life you created wasn’t right for you? You think you know the answer? Think again. Follow Chrissy as she lies and cheats and ultimately learns to tell the truth to herself and those that she loves.

At twenty-eight, Chrissy has been steadily checking off the boxes on her life list as she mocks the style and life choices of everyone around her. She’s got it all—or so everyone thinks. Her life begins to fall apart when she unexpectedly meets a much younger man, Leo, who makes her question just how perfect her “perfect life” really is. With the help of her no-nonsense therapist, Dr. Maria, Chrissy learns more about herself than she anticipates. But it isn’t until she stares an untimely death in the face that Chrissy is catapulted into an overdue reality check. Only then does she scramble to correct the mistakes of her past…trying to figure out if it’s her husband Kurt, her lover Leo, or both that she has to leave behind to make everything right.

Women of all kinds will be able to relate to the pressure of constructing the ideal life, only to fall short. Not everyone will agree with Chrissy Anderson’s decisions, but all will pause as they follow along on her journey to ask, “What would I do if I were her?”

The Life List, book ONE of The List Trilogy, will take you on a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows as Chrissy makes mistakes on her bumpy road to happiness. Come along for the ride and you’ll be left breathless and ready to find out what she does next in book TWO, The Unexpected List.

Chrissy Anderson spends her life doing exactly what she always wanted: doting on those she loves. A former fashion executive, she is a writer, wife, and mother whose own life events inspired The Life List. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with the love of her life and her beautiful daughter.

Welcome, Chrissy. Please tell us about your release, The Life List.
How many of us plan out our lives? Come on, admit it! As a young girl you had this idea of the kind of man you were going to marry, the kind of job you were going to have, how many kids you wanted. The list goes on and on. Well, my list did anyway. And the crazy thing about my list was…I stuck to it. Yep, even as a grown woman I stuck to a list I made when I was sixteen years old. It was written in purple ink on binder paper and it was my destiny to fulfill it. And I did. Everything in my life was going according to plan…until it wasn’t.

It took a chance encounter with a young stranger to realize my life list was bullshit. But did I have the courage to correct the mistakes of my past? Was I strong enough to defy the wishes of everyone around me and become the woman I was meant to be? The Life List is my story through my life choices- some good, some stupid, some sleazy. Sure I’ve made some big mistakes, but I learned from them and came out the other end in a pretty damn good place. Women of all kinds–twenty-somethings, housewives and superwomen wanna-bes–will all be able to relate to the same pressures I felt of constructing the ideal life, only to fall short. I suspect there will be a lot of exhaling going on as those women read The List Trilogy.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was tired of feeling like my choices—choices that made me a happy person—were taboo. I wanted to talk about them without feeling like I did something wrong. Once I got the courage to talk freely, and started doing it on a small scale (like at happy hour with friends, and friends of friends), I got immediate interest in my life story. In fact, I started getting e-mails from people I never even met asking me for “secret” advice. They were living my old life and wanted out…but needed help and courage.

I see bits and pieces of my checkered past in almost every woman I encounter and I want to help them, tell them they’re NOT crazy. Those women were the inspiration to write my novel.

The Life List examines the sanity of following the bucket list we make when we are young and the impact of changing our minds after we have checked most things off the list. I think too many women live their lives according to what others think. They struggle with defending their choices, and they fear failure and the public humiliation that goes along with changing their minds…Whether it’s about staying married, changing a career, or a damn haircut! I know better than anyone what it’s like to have everything I thought I always wanted, only then to say, “Uh-oh.” But it’s damn near impossible to un-do plans that involve other people’s lives without suffering huge amounts of shame and regret. I think that’s why so many women identify with The Life List. At least that’s the bulk of the feedback I get anyway.

What exciting story are you working on next?
You wouldn’t know this because you’re not right here with me living in the moment, but about an hour ago I accidently exited this interview without saving it. Just spent over an hour trying to recover the document…failed miserably.

Apparently all that was saved was everything above this question. I’m so pissed I could scream…or drink a martini. Which is what I just summoned my husband to make for me.

Gah! Okay, here is my second attempt at this question. Undoubtedly, it won’t be as good as my first attempt.

I’m working on The Hope List, part III of The List Trilogy. It’s the gut-wrenching finish to my real life fairytale and my hope is to release it by March, 2014. However, it feeds into a whole new trilogy and so much more planning goes into this last book. I pray my readers don’t turn into angry torch wielding villagers if I have to delay the release.

Some fun news…Once The Hope List is put to bed I’m taking a break before the next trilogy to work on a test pilot for television. Yep, I got contacted by a screenwriter who thinks The List Trilogy would make great TV! A sort of Ally McBeal meets Desperate Housewives kinda thing. So, that’s my next big project and I’ve never been more excited!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I haven’t yet. My editor and publicist keep nagging me to call myself a writer, but without graduating from Harvard with an advanced degree in English, I struggle with the title. Up until I wrote The Life List I was a business executive in the fashion industry. I’d never written an essay, a magazine article, or performed any kind of freelance writing work to save my life. Never even had the interest. But once I came up with the storyline to The Life List, or rather the courage to tell my real life love story, it’s all I became interested in. I quit my job and it’s all I’ve done since. I write for hours and hours a week, and when I’m not writing I’m peddling my writing to anyone and everyone. The sales and marketing of this writing gig is BRUTAL and I thank God for my business acumen to guide me though it. To be successful in this line of work, one needs some serious right-brain power. Believe me, it’s not all creative and artsy-fartsy! It’s one thing to write a book, quite another to publish it and sell it. I could’ve gone the agent route, but quite truthfully I didn’t think any of the ones who contacted me could market my work better than me. For me, a five thousand dollar advancement with no promise of future money was enough to hand over the fate of The List Trilogy. No way!

(Thank God I’m sipping on this martini now. I’m so pissed about losing the answer to this question my head is spinning. Or, perhaps it’s the vodka working it’s magic, eh?)

I’ve met crooks who call themselves “mortgage brokers,” I’ve gotten food poisoning from people who call themselves “chefs,” and I’ve met some butt ugly women who call themselves “models.” Just because you call yourself something doesn’t necessarily make you that something. My books would have to go New-York-Times-Best-Seller before I ever consider myself a writer. That’s just humble ‘ol me.

Anyway, the most I consider myself is a story teller. I’m a hopeless romantic with a huge potty mouth and lots of sarcasm. As long as there’s a market for my kind of writing style, I’ll continue to write, and you can call me whatever you want!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Ha! I wish I could write all day, every day. But I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, Aunt, friend, cook, housecleaner, dog-sitter, gardener, laundromat, jogger, writer…In that order. At the end of the day, all I can squeeze in is one of my shows on the DVR and a cup of tea or glass (or 4) of wine.

I’m a very scheduled/regimented person. I carve out three six hour days a week to devote to all aspects of my writing (i.e. actual book writing, blogging, marketing). I won’t even touch the work if I’m not able to get in a full uninterrupted six hour slot, it’s too unsatisfying. I wish it could be more, but like I said above, there are so many other things that have to get taken care of. I don’t function well when laundry starts to pile up, there’s no food in the fridge, or when the toilets are dirty! I’m only able to work on my writing when everything else in my life is in order. All of my writing work also has to be done at 3pm. That’s when I pick my daughter up from school and the second part of my days begins. It’s impossible to devote myself to her needs (she’s knee deep into learning division and it’s a grind) and to enjoy the time with my husband when he gets home shortly after that if I try to cram in writing after 3pm –so I don’t even try. It’s hard, impossible sometimes, to block out the creative stuff after 3pm and at times can be very frustrating. But it’s a good frustration and I feel so blessed to have it. I wish that feeling on everyone!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My house has to be clean (i.e. beds made, laundry done, dishes in dishwasher, dinner planned out) before I can focus on my writing. Once that’s all done, I light a candle and sit at my desk with hard copies of The Life List and The Unexpected List in front of me. I also have the music I reference in the books playing in the background. I’m musically inspired! No music = No fun!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A flight attendant or a waitress. Obviously there was an overwhelming desire to serve people, huh!? Guess that explains why I make such a good mom!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Nope. I think I shared enough. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of your blog. Other than losing half of the interview after I it was already done, I had a blast! Go check out the reviews to the trilogy on Amazon and tell me what you think after reading them! I love hearing from you guys. It might take me a week, but I reply to all e-mails. Martini is kicking in now…Thank God for cocktails!


Thanks for the great interview, Chrissy – and for re-creating your answers for us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good read.

Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting me today Lisa! I'll be checking in to answer any questions:)

Catherine Lee said...

I'm smiling here...because I never made a life plan; never sought a "perfect life." Along the way, I've managed to construct a pretty good life.
capefearlibn at gmail dot com

Stormy Vixen said...

I never really had a life plan, I started mine too young and all my choices have been made in the best I can do at the moment. I don't know if I would go back and change anything either. Thanks for sharing! evamillien at gmail dot com