Claire Cook’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over

Crack open the bubbly! Because one of our favorite authors and people is in da house. Claire Cook is back to partay with us at Chick Lit Is Not Dead because her eighth book- Best Staged Plans– is out TODAY! (Has it already been a year since we celebrated the release of Seven Year Switch?) Where did the time go? And speaking of time…where does Claire find the time to write so many darn novels? (*She recently revealed the answer to that question over at International Chick Lit Month. Hint: It starts with waking up and ends with at the crack of dawn!) Anywhoo, back to the partay! 

Best Staged Plans synopsis: Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager who lives and works in the Boston suburbs. So getting rid of her own house and downsizing should be a breeze, right? Well, best staged plans and all, Sandy’s husband, Greg, is dragging his feet and their son, Luke, has returned home and moved into the “bat cave” in the basement.

Sandy reads them both the riot act and takes a job staging a boutique hotel recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time in Atlanta with her recently married daughter, Shannon. The bad news is that Shannon soon receives a promotion and heads back up to Boston for training, leaving Sandy and her Southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. And then Sandy suspects her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side. Fixing up houses may turn out to be easier than fixing up lives.

And if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win one of five copies of Best Staged Plans. We’ll randomly select the winner after 6pm EST on Thursday, June 9th.


5 DO’S


1. Do rise above the negativity. People will tell you why you can’t or shouldn’t do whatever it is you want to do. Sometimes seeing you go after your dream reminds them of what they’re not doing in their own lives. Sometimes it’s simply jealousy. But whatever the motive, don’t let it hold you back. You have to decide you’re just going to do it anyway. You might want to protect yourself a bit in the beginning, too. I didn’t tell anyone about my first novel until it was finished. You don’t need anyone’s permission – as Nike famously said, just do it!

Long shots happen every day. Believe in them. Believe in yourself. And if there are people in your life who aren’t supportive of your dreams, dump them if you can. Or at least stop sharing your dreams with them.

2. Do work your butt off. It’s tough out there, so make it a point to always do more than the situation requires. I did this when I was trying to break in to the publishing biz, and I continue to do it on a daily basis. I meet every deadline. I dive back into a manuscript again and again and again – whatever it takes to make the novel I’m working on as good as it can be.

3. Do decide to be who you really are. The buzz word these days is branding, but I think of it as authenticity.  Being a novelist is the first job I’ve ever had where I wasn’t pretending, or at least trying to pretend, to be a slightly different person. Who I am and what I write are totally in synch. There’s tremendous power in that!

And remember, if everybody’s doing it, it’s already been done. Put a little surprise in everything you do. Originality counts!

4. Do remember karma is a boomerang. This is the truest thing one of my characters has ever said. So do something nice for someone and set that boomerang in motion.

It’s easy to get needy when you’re struggling to figure out what’s next, or you hit a low point in the rollercoaster of your life, but many of the fabulous things that have happened to me (including the Must Love Dogs movie and a Today Show feature!) were triggered by something nice I did for someone else. People talk; your actions determine what they say.

5. Do make friends with the Internet. Whatever your goal, the Internet can help you get there. Learn everything you can about the world you want to conquer – it’s all online if you take the time to look for it, including an ehow video on just about everything! Get your computer and social networking skills up to speed and start connecting – new readers are discovering my books through Facebook and Twitter every day. I’ve also learned to design my own website and taught myself iMovie and Photoshop – so helpful for putting my own stamp on things and interacting with my amazing readers.


Don’t wait around for someone else to make it happen for you. “Nobody gives you power. You just take it,” Roseanne Barr once said. Boyohboy, do I wish I’d learned that one earlier. Here’s the truth: you’re only the center of your own universe. Everybody else thinks of you as a far lesser planet – and that’s if you’re lucky – most people aren’t even thinking about you at all! I think I spent far too much time waiting around politely for other people to give me my power, when, to mix metaphors, I was like Dorothy and those ruby slippers – I had it all along.

So whatever it is you want in your life, figure out how to make it happen yourself. You’ve got the power

Thanks, Claire!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan in the parking lot outside her daughter’s swim practice when she was 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of her second novel, MUST LOVE DOGS, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. Midlife rocks! Her seventh novel SEVEN YEAR SWITCH has just gone into paperback, and her eighth, BEST STAGED PLANS, will be published today! And make sure you connect with Claire on Facebook and Twitter, too!



XOXO Liz & Lisa

54 Responses to “Claire Cook’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over”

  1. Kathleen Martin

    Looking forward to reading this. Boston & Atlanta – two great settings!!

  2. Margaret

    The Seven Year Switch has been on my wishlist for a while. I’ll definitely put this one on it too. Thanks for the giveaway!


  3. Nina

    Some really great “Do’s” she had on the list! Congrats to her on her 7th book!!

  4. KathFerrari

    Thanks, Claire.
    I have loved all your books but I think these are the BEST Dos and Don’t I have ever read! They certainly resonate with me. I am printing them now to hang in my office. Can’t wait to read the book!

  5. She Said

    OMG, how true is #4??? And I am seriously living her “do-over.” I love her! And I love that you guys do the “5 Do’s and a Do-over! Keep up the great work! xoxo ~ Her

  6. Jane Cook

    Claire is my hero(ess?) I love her books, and have been anxiously awaiting this one!!

  7. Belinda

    Claire Cook is one of my FAVORTIES!!!! I love all of her do’s and her do over. All of them are so very true! Just gotta get off your butt :) Thanks for sharing these!
    My goal this summer is to read all of her books!

  8. Nancy Roessner

    I love Claire Cooks writing! Every one of her books is unique and wonderful, so I am very much looking forward to reading Best Staged Plans.

    This interview is the best! Clair has worked things out for herself and never minds sharing her advice. Thank you, Clair Cook and thank you, Chick Lit is Not Dead!

  9. Mary Ward

    I always enjoy Claire’s books. And she stole my line, I always say karma is a boomerang and it’s never been wrong yet!

  10. Alison Fees

    This book sounds amazing. I love how many new books I’m being introduced to everyday through this site. Thank you soooooo much!!!! I’m also getting a lot of great advice from some very talented people. I’m looking forward to reading this.

  11. Kimmi

    “you’re only the center of your own universe”

    I need to repeat this five times, every morning.

  12. Wanda Z

    I have never read Claire Cook but it looks like it’s time I start. Best Staged Plans sounds like a good read. I enjoyed the movie Just Love Dogs…didn’t know it was a book. And I absolutely love all 5 of her Do’s and her Do-Over!!

    Thanks so much for posting about all of these authors and new books! Just in the couple of months I’ve been following you I’ve discovered so many new authors!!

  13. Karin Erickson

    I have never read any of Claire Cook’s book, but I am very interested in reading them now, since this seems to be a great read. Since one of her “Do’s” is to make friends with the internet……I will now do that, and make friends with Amazon, to look up the rest of her books! ;) Thanks!

  14. Jeannette P

    Congrats on your latest book! Can’t wait to read it!

  15. Gail

    I love the wisdom you bring to the table-like a life refresher course for all of us fellow writers. You certainly followed your instincts and dream regardless of the nay-sayers. Thanks for those “do’s” – they were a morning morale booster.

  16. Colleen Turner

    I love her list, especially about being who you really are. When your younger you try so hard to find out who you are and somehow work that into who everyone else wants you to be. It seems a lot easier as you get older to forget about everyone else and just be YOU. Thanks for the to do list, it was inspiring!

  17. Susan S

    Love your do-over – Don’t wait around for someone else to make it happen for you. Great words to live by.

    Thanks for the giveaway and I can’t wait to read Best Staged Plans!

  18. Michele

    I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Claire’s books. I cannot wait to read them!

  19. Melissa A

    i love this list! very profound and so true! i wish i could share it with a friend who could use this advice but she’s not into me sending her stuff like this.
    count me in for the giveaway. :)

  20. Jules

    I’ve been following Claire Cook for a while now on FB & Twitter ~ I love her (excuse the hippie-ness of the word) VIBE!!! She is R-E-A-L, and you just can’t buy that- I SO would love to meet her in person (Come to Arizona, Claire!!)! Love, love, love her list! Love her novels I’ve read (I admit, I haven’t read them all .. yet!). Love that she’s got a great work ethic & that she didn’t “make it” in a conventional (is there really such a thing, anyway?) way – in her 40s, writing her first novel in her minivan (there may still be hope for me yet!!)!!! And, in a shameless show of home state camaraderie: I love that she hails from the great state of Massachusetts. Thanks for featuring Claire, L & L … you lovely ladies NEVER disappoint!! xox

  21. runner10

    Great advice, Claire!! You have been recommended to me by a dear friend that I must read your books. You are getting great reviews. I must jump on the bandwagon!

  22. Nicole

    Claire is one smart lady. I love her Do’s and Do Over. I haven’t read any of her books YET, but I did buy Seven Year Switch not too long ago and will be reading it soon. I keep hearing how amazing Claire is as a writer, and I would absolutely LOVE to win Best Staged Plans. I follow her on Facebook and twitter. Her fans are crazy about her books. That’s very cool. :)
    Thank you for doing the giveaway, CLIND!

  23. ErinB

    I do adore her books and her website is chock full of awesome info! She is inspiring…dying to read this book. and i am alllll about karma-what goes around comes around!! you ladies have good karma no worries :-}

  24. Heidi M

    OMG, I loooooove her!! I’ve been waiting for this BSP to come out and can’t wait to dig in! She is so down to earth… love her wisdom and authenticity. Great combo! Makes me want to seize my power!! Thanks, L and L! xoxo

  25. Jill Kearney

    I LOVE Claire Cook!! And just in time for a summer cruise… this one’s gonna be on the chaise with me by the pool! : D

  26. Bren

    What an inspiration! I’ve been trying to get my hands on Seven Year Switch, but its always checked-out at the library! I’d love to have my very own copy of Best Staged Plans to tide me over while I wait my turn :)

  27. Shannon J

    Soooo excited!!! I loved the Seven Year Switch!! Oh and love the daughters name in the book!!! Great choice of name!! :)

  28. Jonita

    LOVE the Karma comment! So true- what goes around, comes around and I try to react to the different situations in my life keeping that in mind. I would love to win this one!

  29. Meg Munson

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this list!!! They are all so true and such great advice! I just read the Seven Year Switch a few months ago and loved it. Can’t wait to read this one too:-)

  30. Mary

    Great list ! (Sounds like one of my pep talks that I give my patients on a daily basis.) Can’t wait to check out her books.

  31. Jen Daiker

    This sounds so awesome!! I want this book! I have a feeling already that the minute i’ve devoured it I’ll be reviewing it on my book review blog! I hope I have luck *crosses fingers*

  32. Tracy

    I can’t wait to read this book. I’ve been a fan of hers for years. I love her comments on motherhood via her stories.

  33. RivkaBelle

    Love this list! Especially the bit about being who you really are … I think we all need that reminder from time to time :) Huzzah & happiness on launch day! :D

  34. Lori

    This book sounds hilarious!
    By the way, just finished reading all about Kate and Kelly…loved your book!

  35. Kristen

    Best list I have read on this website. Thanks for the inspiration!

  36. Joan

    Love Claire Cook’s books. Thank you CLISNDY for first turning me on to her.
    Oh yes, I believe in karma bigtime.

  37. Kim W.

    So looking forward to reading this book! Love Claire Cook! And love your blog & give-aways CLIND.

    PS: Great DO’s and do-over

  38. Maureen

    Congratulations to Claire on her new book! Sandy’s story sounds like an interesting one.

  39. Kirsten

    I love Claire’s favorite quote by Roseanne Barr…”Nobody gives you power. You just take it.” I’m loving what I’ve read about Claire Cook!! And I definitely would like to read her book!! C’mon Liz and Lisa….throw this dog a bone! ;)

  40. Claire Cook

    Thank you so much for you nice comments, everybody!! I think I’m going to print them out and read them over and over again the next time I have a tough writing day.

    Thanks for all your support, Lisa and Liz! I’m such a huge fan of CLIND – and of both of you!! Can’t wait to read YOUR new novel!!

  41. Liz

    Claire! Thank you so much for sharing your Do’s and a Do-Over! We loved having you on the site-we are huge fans of you!!! xoxo, L&L

  42. Jen Daiker

    I am over the moon with excitement of snagging a copy!!! Thank you for your constant love and support of chick lit! I love finding people who have as much passion for it as I do!

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