17 Jun 2014

Interview with The Job Proposal author Wendy Chen

Can you tell us a little about The Job Proposal?
At the heart of it, THE JOB PROPOSAL is about finding love when you least expect it, when you're not looking, with a person you never thought about in that way.

What inspired you to write it?
Not everyone finds true love before the age of 30. I tend to write older heroines -- Kate is 35 in this story, and by that age a lot of women are focusing on their career. They've figured out what they want to do professionally and their jobs are important to them. Relationships, both romantic and platonic, are important too, and I wanted to write a story that struck that balance.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?

My fabulous editor at Diversion Books and I talked it through. We wanted something that portrayed the big city setting, a strong heroine, and romantic element as well. I love this cover, I am so pleased with how it turned out. The designer did a fantastic job.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
When I was writing "Adam" (the hero) I kept thinking of Chris Hemsworth.
Kate Hudson would make a great "Kate." (That's not how I thought of the character name though, just a coincidence!)

What is it about chick lit that appeals to you so much?
Heroines whose experiences and character flaws feel true to life. And I have always been a sucker for a happily ever after.

What made you want to become an author?
I was always an avid fiction reader, and when I wasn't reading I would think of what story I would tell if I wrote one. It took me a long time to decide to start on my first novel, and a long time to complete it. But now I am hooked. I love the idea of being able to entertain others with the fruits of my imagination!

How do you come up with character names?
Not very well! I had to change a minor character name several times at the proof stage. If any readers have suggestions...

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
You know this is a trick question for any writer!
Since you said just ONE, I'll say SOMETHING BORROWED.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Other writers. I had coffee with Donna Kauffman when my first book had come out and I hadn't yet started anything new. She told me about her journey and career as an author and said to me "keep at it, don't give up." It was some time after that that I chose to really embrace writing as a primary job and not just a hobby. I also had the opportunity to hear Nora Roberts speak at a book signing several years ago and her advice to writers was along the lines of "keep your ass in the chair." I think of that whenever I'm trying to hit my word count for the day!

Where is your favourite place to write?

At home. I set up a little office, but I actually just prefer the kitchen table. Easy access to snacks there and lots of reasons to find to procrastinate!

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?

Name two of your favourite authors.
More trick questions! ;) I have favorites for different reasons. Marian Keyes, for example, I discovered at a used book shop while on vacation in London, so I have fun memories while reading her work. Jude Deveraux is another because one of her books was my first introduction to romantic fiction. I also love the authors I get to work with as an editor with Entangled Publishing.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
This would definitely be a ladies night with "chick lit" and "romance" writers from past and present. I'd probably have to rent out a place and have it catered because there would be quite a long guest list.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I love jewelry and will notice right away if a friend has a new ring or something. I'm like a child and completely distracted by sparkly things.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I can not even imagine my life being interesting enough for a movie!

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I live 17 miles outside of Washington DC.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I've (just barely) started writing Suzanne's story, one of heroine's friends in THE JOB PROPOSAL. I'm really excited about her character, though I'm still in the painful stages of working out how her story actually happens. My favorite part about writing is thinking of how these very different types of personalities find love and happiness, so I plan to continue write lighthearted romantic fiction. I'm also dabbling with a children's book -- I need to find an illustrator!

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Skydiving. It's been on there forever. I love heights!

Favourite myth / fairytale?
King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Such a rich story and cast of characters.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A veterinarian! I loved animals, though I didn't have many pets growing up. I also disliked Biology in school, so I'm not sure why I thought I could be a vet. Maybe I should write in some pets in to my next book...

All's fair in love and work.
Kate is enjoying being engaged—that it's a hoax is beside the point. To succeed at her ultra-conservative finance job she needs to reform her flighty, party-girl reputation, and a good old fashioned marriage of convenience is exactly what she needs to put her one step closer to the promotion of her dreams. But when Adam, Kate's best friend from high school, arrives for a visit, her perfect arrangement suddenly isn't so perfect anymore.
The nerdy boy she remembers from her teen years has grown into a gorgeous and successful man, and he's vying for her affection. Soon all the things Kate thinks she wants will change, and everything she doesn't know she needs, she may not be able to live without.
But will she be able to let down the walls she’s built to guard her heart and trade her fierce independence for love?

Wendy Chen was born and raised in New York City and now lives in northern Virginia with her husband and kids. She is the author of Liar’s Guide to True Love. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can be found editing contemporary romances with Entangled Publishing. She has worked at The Washington Post, Random House, and iVillage.

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