20 May 2014

Interview with author of On The Rocks, Erin Duffy

A heartwarming novel about friendship, family, and finding love in the Facebook Age-the perils, pitfalls, and dubious pleasures of being a modern young single woman-from Erin Duffy, the author of Bond Girl.

Six months ago, Abby's life fell apart for all the world to see. Her longtime boyfriend-turned-fiancé, Ben, unceremoniously dumped her-on Facebook-while she was trying on dresses for the big day.
When the usual remedies-pints of Ben & Jerry's, sweatpants, and a comfy couch-fail to work their magic, her best friend, Grace, devises a plan to get Abby back on her game. She and Abby are going to spend the summer in Newport, in a quaint cottage by the sea, enjoying cool breezes, cocktails, and a crowd of gorgeous men.
But no matter how far away they go, Abby and Grace discover that in the era of social media-when everyone is preserving every little detail of their lives online-there is no real escape. Dating has never been easy. But now that the rules are more blurred than ever, how will they find true love? And even if they do, can romance stand a chance when a girl's every word and move can go viral with a single click?
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Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
Sometimes they do! There have been a few times where I’ve dreamed that I’m talking to someone about something bizarre and then when I wake up I realize that that conversation would work great in the story. I actually just had that dream where all of your teeth start falling out and I woke up in a complete panic thinking that I was toothless. That’s not a good way to start the day!

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I started writing in middle school. I used to write little stories in the backs of my notebooks when I was bored or there was nothing on TV after school. I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t working on something now that I think about it. I just never in a million years thought that I’d ever be good enough to publish anything! My first book, Bond Girl, was published in January 2012. Sometimes I still can’t believe any of this is happening!

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? 
I’ve always loved to read and I actually read a little bit of everything. I like chick lit but I also like historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, classics, you name it. I like writing ‘chick lit’ because I like knowing that I can apply snippets from my own personal experiences to the story, and that I can create characters that other girls can relate to. I like to read a good, long epic novel sometimes, but sometimes I like lighter books too, with characters that can make me laugh or say things that I’d never be able to say in real life. That’s what I love most about it.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book, On The Rocks?
It’s a story about a thirty-something girl whose fiancĂ© breaks up with her on Facebook. After that she discovers that she really doesn’t know a whole lot about dating now that social media has become such a huge part of the way people meet and communicate. She has a hard time getting back out in the dating world and quickly figures out she has more to learn than she thought!

What inspired you to write it? 
I’m in my mid-thirties now and it’s crazy how much things have changed in the last ten years. I kept hearing these really funny but just awful stories about things that happened on Facebook or match.com or text messages that were sent to the wrong person early on in a relationship. I realized pretty quickly that these kinds of problems could make for a really funny novel. All I needed was a heroine with very little dating experience and a knack for getting into bizarre situations and all of a sudden I had a story!

Are you a beach lover?
I have a love hate relationship with the beach. I like it early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but in the middle of the day it’s usually too hot for me! I’m one of those people who wears a giant hat and big sunglasses and sits under an umbrella the whole time because I burn easily and quickly. I do love to spend happy hour on the beach and watch the sunset though. There’s nothing better!

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
I did! I once saw someone reading my first book, Bond Girl, on an airplane. It took all of my restraint to not stop and ask her if she liked it, but I decided to play it cool. Instead, I snapped a photo of it with my cell phone and made it my wallpaper for the better part of a year!

If On The Rocks was made into a film, who would you cast?
That’s a hard question! I think John Krasinski would make a great Bobby, and I really love Kat Dennings. I think she is absolutely hysterical and would make a phenomenal Grace. Someone like Kristen Bell could be Abby. She’s funny and enough of an innocent to bring Abby to the big screen.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
Bridget Jones’s Diary! I love both the book and the movie. I could watch it a million times and never get tired of it.

What were the last two books you read? Were they good?
I just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and before that I read The Condition by Jennifer Haigh. They were both really amazing. I’m so impressed with what other writers are able to create, and both of these women wrote really incredible novels. I envy their talent.

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Sonya Rhodes is the author of a great book called The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match, which I like a lot. It talks about how strong women can find love and meaningful relationships without having to settle or pretend to be something she’s not. I think it’s a really positive message to give modern women. I wish more people knew about her!

Where do you write? And how would you describe a typical day in the life of Erin Duffy?I write in my apartment actually! I live in Manhattan and my apartment is pretty small. I don’t have an office or an area that’s designated for work, so usually I just sit on the couch with my feet up and balance my laptop on my legs! I also always write with the TV or radio on in the background because if it’s too quiet my mind wanders and I can’t focus. I usually spend my mornings running my errands and organizing my life, so that when I sit down to write I’m not thinking about the grocery shopping I still have to do or the dry cleaning that I forgot to pick up. I write in the afternoons and typically try to finish up by around 6:00 or 7:00 so that I have my nights free to socialize. I try really hard to keep a consistent schedule, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?

This will sound crazy but I wanted to work on Wall Street. All of my siblings and older cousins worked in finance and I wanted to be like them so badly! I did do it for a long time, but I realized that it wasn’t my dream anymore and that I really wanted to be an author. It was not an easy transition to make but it was the best decision I ever made. To say I got lucky is an understatement!

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Jennifer Lawrence! Not because she’s one of Hollywood’s “it girls” at the moment, but because she seems like she’s so fun and normal. Plus, falling on a red carpet at the Oscars is so something I would do. I can’t imagine how hard it is to walk in those enormous gowns! I’d face plant too, no question!

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy? 
Margaritas on the rocks
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic but I’m trying to reform
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Heels 100%
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie
Exotic beach or enchanted forest?  Exotic beach. Too many bugs in the forest.

Erin Duffy graduated from Georgetown University in 2000 with a B.A. in English and worked as a trader on Wall Street, a career that inspired her first book, Bond Girl. She lives in New York City.
Harper Collins

Giveaway (FIVE Print Copies of ON THE ROCKS by Erin Duffy)
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