Natalie Aaron

Lit IT Girls: Debut Authors Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz

We been searching long and hard to find which debut authors should rock the Lit IT Girl crown in 2012.  And when we came across Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz, we knew they were destined to wear it! We love the fact that they are great friends that decided to write a novel, just like us.  And their debut eBook, Unscripted, is funny as hell!  Natalie and Marla are reality TV producers that have worked on shows such as Blind Date, Starting Over, Making the Band, Bands Reunited, Bad Girls Club, The Judds, Ruby, Sweet Home Alabama and Little People, Big World. And their inside knowledge of producing reality TV is one of the many things that makes Unscripted great.

Here's the dish on Unscripted: As a producer on a reality dating show, Abby Edwards knows that true love is a myth. Her career and her friends are all she needs. Right?

When her screenwriter ex makes a hit movie based on their relationship, Abby's faults are projected on screens across the country. Suddenly the fact that her job depends on orchestrating hot tub hook-ups doesn't seem so impressive.

Her friends rally to help. Zoë thinks she needs to meet a guy. Stephanie suggests an attitude adjustment. Nancy wants her to get in touch with her inner Goddess. Abby knows they mean well, but she prefers to focus on her work. Unfortunately, she's already embarrassed herself in front of her new boss, Will Harper, who she would find totally crush-worthy if he weren't so irritating.

Abby's about to be reminded that life doesn't follow a script—and good things happen when you least expect it...

Sound fun?  It is!  And we have 5 eBook copies to giveaway.  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!   We'll choose the winners on Sunday January 15th after 6pm PST.  Good Luck!

And without further adieu, we present to you the first 2012 Lit IT Girls!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?  We probably queried about 20 agents. It was a long and slow process but a lot of fun at the same time (one of the joys of writing with a partner).  We will let you all in on a shameful secret of ours.  When mailing out our queries, we did not just shove each envelope into the mailbox at once.  We decided to make a little ritual of it.  So, at about 10 p.m. one night, we took our group of carefully stuffed and addressed envelopes to the post office.  And each time we dropped one into the mailbox, we shouted out the name of the agent, sang a song (if you can call it that) about why they should represent us, and did a mini “happy” dance to accompany each query.  We’re sure if a security guard had spotted us, we would have been carted off to the nearest jail for drunk and disorderly behavior (we were actually sober).  In the end, we got very, very lucky and had a couple of offers.  By no means was it a bed of publishing roses after that, but at least our little ritual got the ball rolling for us.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? We actually tossed each one of those away as soon as they came in.  We were trying to stay as positive as possible, and not let every “no we don’t like you or your book” letter be a punch to the stomach (which of course it was).  So if there were any great lines, we have systematically erased them from our brains.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel?  The hardest part was actually getting started.  It’s like working out.  You go to bed every night, and think to yourself, ”Tomorrow is the day, dammit!  Tomorrow I am going to go to the gym.  I’m going to eat healthy, drink a ton of water, and start on a brilliant vitamin regime.”  And then the sun rises, you hit the snooze button, you go into work, and lo and behold, some schmo brings in donuts.  That’s how writing was for us.  We talked about our book for ages.  We even sat down together many times and tried to write it but realized that we were not going to get anywhere until we outlined.  Once we outlined everything (and by the way, Marla’s husband Matt mistakenly erased three months of work by placing a magnet next to her computer) we were ready to begin the really hard work of putting actual words to paper.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz?

Best: Be patient. We’re used to the fast paced world of TV Production and it was difficult for us to adjust to the, errr, more leisurely pace of the publishing world.

 Worst: We can’t really think of any bad advice…we’ve been lucky to have some great people in our corner.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?

Since Marla’s husband Matt had sacrificed many Saturdays to the Book Gods, he was instrumental to our celebration. The three of us went for an expensive but delicious meal at Mario Batali's restaurant - Osteria Mozza. We ate and drank far too much and for the first time in months we were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief!

6. Who is your writer crush?

Marla– right now, I’d have to say Sara Gruen and Kathryn Stockett.  And I’m not sure if “crush” would be the right word.  More like, “who do you envy?”  And not because of their success, but because they were both able to create these amazing worlds in which you can completely immerse and lose yourself in.  I am so enamored by authors like these, and wish I had a pinky’s worth of their talent.

Natalie– For me, right now it’s Tina Fey.  I read “Bossypants” in one sitting and was laughing from the moment I started reading the blurbs on the back of the book to a few hours later when I finished. Thanks to Tina Fey, we now have a definitive answer for every jackass who ponders the difference between male and female comedians: “The men urinate in cups. And sometimes jars.”

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be?

Marla– Wow, that is not an easy question!  These days, I rarely read a book twice.  It takes me months to read a novel (I work full-time, have a crazy two-year-old and oh ya…a husband) so when I do finish one, I don’t really have time to revisit old favorites.  But there is, however, one book in the last ten years that I have gone back to time and time again and that is, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Oh wait!  Can I pick two?  Well, I’m going to anyway!  My second choice would be “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”  I think those two books would keep me somewhat sane on a desert island.

Natalie– Over the weekend, I was casually asked, “who’s your favorite band?” and I nearly had a panic attack. I can never whittle any of my cherished musicians, books, movies, or TV shows down to an absolute favorite – so I’ll go with the first two that popped in my mind. (What?  If Marla gets two, then so do I!) My first choice is Pride and Prejudice. I love Lizzie’s self-deprecating wit, and Darcy is the standard by which I judge all heroes. I’ve read it countless times and never tire of it. My second choice is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I recently re-read it and it reaffirmed how much I love this book. As someone who lost a parent at a young age (and was similarly afflicted with a nagging fear of dying young), I found great relief in this memoir. And hey, if the Preface and Acknowledgment sections of a book left me crying with laughter, I can easily count that book among my favorites.

8. What's on your iPod right now?

Marla– “Plans” by Death Cab for CutieLove love love those guys and this has been my favorite album for years!

Natalie– “Your Protector” by Fleet Foxes. Their eponymous album is always in rotation on my iPod.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever?

Marla– Probably any form of chocolate I can get my hands on; reading; and sleeping (something that I never realized I would miss so desperately after having a child).

Natalie– Bitching with friends is always helpful (especially if accompanied by a great meal and an adult beverage!) Otherwise a good book or movie can take the edge off.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Three words: Winter is Coming.

Last Fall’s crop of new TV shows were lackluster at best so we’ve been pinning our hopes on the return of “Game of Thrones.” At the end of last season, we wanted to read all the books so we could find out if Joffrey dies a horrible death (and by we, we mean Natalie since Marla has already established her reading speed) but after much debate, we decided to remain spoiler free. We can only hope that Sansa’s poor direwolf, Lady will be resurrected as a White Walker and return to eat Joffrey alive. But don’t tell us!  Is it April yet?

Thanks Girls!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Natalie and Marla, head on over to their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.