We sat down to talk to Elizabeth (figuratively of course as she's across the pond from us!) about her and her upcoming release "Singleish". I absolutely adore Elizabeth, she is so very humble about her work - which is amazing!
We have a review of her book over on the review pages, so go and check that out! Here's what the wonderful new author had to say.
Singleish by Elizabeth Butts - Releases May 22nd 2015!
Ashley MacKillop has it all figured out. She has her boyfriend, a house, a good (if not exciting job). Everything is going according to plan, and everything is fitting into the nice, tidy, neat-freak boxes she’s created for herself.
Until he walks away. Until he says he needs a break. Until he says he’s done. But he forgot to break up with her. Was she part of a couple anymore? Was she single?
A red-wine fueled therapy session with her three closest friends has Ashley trying all sorts of things that force her to break out of her comfort zone and figure out who she is when there’s no man involved.
In the end, what defines a woman? Is it the man she’s with? Is it the friends she keeps? Is it the copious amounts of red wine that she consumes? Or is it who she is when no one is watching?
Will she decide she needs a man in her life? Will she even want him back if he were to come back?
I’m 37 years old, and live near beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I’m blessed to have married my very best friend, and we have been married for 8 years. Mike and I have been an ‘us’ for 13 years. We are both very passionate about animal rescue. I worked at an animal shelter in Delaware for 5 ½ years, and as a result we have twelve four-legged children! I promise we are not hoarders! For fun, I read (obviously), and have been working out a lot at this really cool gym in my town that may just have to make an appearance in a future book!
When and why did you begin writing?
That’s kind of a funny story. I’ve always wanted to be able to write a book. I used to get into a mindset that this was the year I would write the next great American novel. I would get about 2 pages in and the story would be done. Over. So that stopped my efforts. This January, I wrote those two pages and just kept going.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s more a ‘who’ than a ‘what’. In 2014, I happened on the novel ‘Broken’ by A. E. Murphy. Loved it. It absolutely destroyed me. I couldn’t put it down but my soul was bleeding from some of the scenes she wrote. When I got to the end, I was devastated. It was one of those moments where you feel a deep sense of loss that the story has come to an end. I needed more. I reached out to her (which I never do) and somehow, we have become friends across the pond thanks to the wonders of modern technology (aka Facebook).
One day, she asked if I would beta read for her. I was beside myself! The more we interacted, the more she told me I should write. I told her that I had tried in the past, but didn’t have a book in me. She didn’t believe me (she can be very stubborn that way). So one day in January of this year, I sat down and quickly typed out a couple pages and sent it to her. She told me that she loved it and wanted to read more. Those two pages are the prologue of Singleish.
How did you come up with the title?
Initially I had the basic idea of the story in my mind. You know, the way I thought the story would go. And in my head, it was a person fulfilling a bucket list type thing, so it was going to be ‘The Bucket’. As the story progressed, I realized pretty quickly that books sometimes write themselves and take a whole different direction than you planned for them. It was apparent that ‘The Bucket’ was the absolute wrong name for it.
I had just written a part where Ashley was complaining that she didn’t know if she’d even been broken up with or not. The word singleish popped into my head at that moment. I liked it. I kept it.
How hard have you found promoting your book being a new indie author?
So freaking hard! I work a full-time job besides writing. Writing and creating is fun, but I also need to be able to pay my mortgage. When I typed those words, ‘The End’, I felt happiness at first, and then an overwhelming sense of ‘what now’? I had no idea what to do. A. E. Murphy has been awesome at guiding me on various steps…but then someone will ask, “Have you done xyz?” My reaction is, “Huh?”
I’m learning as I go along, but yeah, it’s crazy hard to figure out how and where to promote.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A lot of romance novels, make the romance the number one thing in the heroine’s life. I won’t lie, I love a good romance! Scottish historical are my favorites, but I’m a HUGE fan for contemporary fiction, too. But I think there’s a lot more to a woman than a man. I know a lot of women who lose themselves a little bit when they are in a relationship. They change who they are when they become a part of a couple. I see this book as a woman taking a bad situation (a maybe breakup) and figuring out who she really was, instead of focusing her life on getting the man back. There may or may not be a lot of red wine involved.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I would say that Ashley’s tendency to be accident prone and not too graceful is all me. The humorous feel of the book is my personality. At one point she vacations in Cataumet, MA (a small village on Cape Cod) and gets to visit her grandparent’s old cottage. That was me reminiscing about my childhood. Other than that, I would say it’s all from my head.
I read so much, that it’s impossible to say one particular book influenced me over another. I like to think that I take away something from every single book I’ve ever opened, whether I enjoyed it or not.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely A. E. Murphy. She has been so generous with her time and friendship. I really don’t think I would have even started Singleish without her gentle nudging (translation: kick in the butt).
What book are you reading now?
I am reading a book called Crossfire, by Niki Savage. It was recommended by a friend of mine, and so far I like it a lot.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on a book that is (tentatively) titled ‘Secondhand Purses’. Hopefully the book lets me keep that title because I really like it! This is the story of Alex, one of Ashley’s crazy as hell friends. It’s meant to be a stand-alone. So they are a series in that it’s the same group of people, but one doesn’t need the other at all. It will be in a slightly different tone/style than Singleish, because it’s Alex’s story, not Ashley’s. Women are all each very individual creatures, so to tell their stories the same way seems wrong.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From Secondhand Purses:
“My name is Victoria Alexandra Edwards.” Yeah. That was my name. I always thought it sounded like my mom was trying to turn me into a royal with a name that sounded like it should have a Roman numeral after it. You know, Victoria Alexandra Edwards III or something like that.
As I looked at my neighbor, whose name I still didn’t know, I realized she was giving me the same odd look everyone else gave when they heard my full name. I got it, seriously, I did. I didn’t match my name one bit. It was a very flowery, fluffy name, and I was not someone who could ever be accused of being remotely flowery or fluffy.
My mom was an only girl with five older brothers. Somehow, with all that testosterone surrounding her, she had managed to come out very girly. She had always prayed for a little girl, so that she could have someone to be girly with. I was an only child. From what I’ve been told, my mom sobbed with joy when the ultrasound showed nothing was hanging out between my legs. Starting that very same day she started buying every pink, purple and frilly baby thing she could get her hands on. My dad was just wanting a healthy baby, so he didn’t really care one way or another whether I was a boy or a girl. I could only begin to imagine what his reaction was as the little room that they had designated as a nursery started to overflow with frilly and frothy concoctions.
I’d read somewhere that sometimes those ultrasounds can be wrong. I liked to amuse myself sometimes with imagining my mom’s reaction if I’d been born a boy, even after she’d been told I was a girl. I have a strong feeling mom would have ordered hormone therapy and a sex change right then and there.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Flow. Going from one scene to the next without it being choppy and too contrived. Remembering that I had to set the stage and explain reactions and emotions a bit so that things made more sense.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Right now, my favorite author is A. E. Murphy, because she has this crazy ability to not just write emotions, but to make you experience them along with the characters. I think that is such a gift! The fact that she’s only 24 kills me.
I’ve always been a fan of Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, John Saul, Sabrina Jeffries, Janet Evanovich…I could seriously go on for days.
Who designed the cover?
I found this lovely woman, Danielle Camorlinga. I gave her my basic idea, and boy did she run with it! She took my concept and made it a thousand times better!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Time. Making the time to write with all of the competing demands of a (very) full time job, my husband, our furry family, spending time with my parents, etc. I’m having that challenge again with Secondhand Purses.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Trust the process. I’m an impatient person who wants it NOW. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works when writing a book. I learned a smidgen of patience, and the knowledge that I needed to just let the story come out as it wanted to, not to force it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t try to get ahead of yourself, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. If you are hit with inspiration and it’s not the right time for that storyline, open up another document and write it down, because you’ll kick yourself if you forget it! Most of all, enjoy yourself!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am just beyond thrilled and humbled that people have been pre-ordering Singleish. I have been an avid reader my entire life, so I know what it’s like to invest yourself in a book. The fact that people are trusting me with their time is amazing to me. So thank you, thank you so much for giving my book a chance! I just hope you enjoy the story and the characters and hopefully that you get a good laugh out of it!
A massive thank you to Elizabeth for that! Go check out Singlish - releases May 22nd 2015!
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XK4G70K
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XK4G70K…
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00XK4G70K…
Amazon CA http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00XK4G70K…
Bares & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/singleish-eliza…/1121921109…