Okay, so this is Lisa talking. I have a MAJOR girl crush/writer crush/mom-to-be crush on Aidan Donnelley Rowley. It was when I discovered her website and started reading her intelligent, humorous and very candid blogs, that the girl crush began. Then her debut novel, Life After Yes was published. And that was it. There was no turning back. I was head over heels. (Aidan, I promise you that I am in no way a stalker type-I blame my pregnancy!) And then she started sharing stories on her blog of being pregnant with her third baby. And being the total first time prego sap that I am, have loved following along with her journey. Hence the the mom-to-be crush. Not surprisingly, when I shared Life After Yes with Liz, she also felt mad love for this incredibly talented author. And we knew we had to ask her to be our guest here at Chick Lit Is Not Dead. And she said yes. She's here today telling us everything from how she got her first agent to her GNO drink of choice...
But first, Life After Yes begins: "I'm choking. I can't breath. The air's as thick as cream and smells like peanut oil. Everything is White. I begin to see shapes: the smooth surface under my elbows, the big box in front of me with the soft blog, my own trembling hands. I'm in my office but there are no windows or doors. Just walls." (Talk about a first page that draws you in!) Life After Yes is the story of Quinn O'Malley, a young attorney, who, after losing her father, finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her boyfriend wants to get married and whisks her off to Paris to propose. But Quinn's not so sure. It's a fabulous story of life and love in chaos.
And five of you will get the chance to win a copy! Just leave a comment and we'll randomly select the winners on Thursday.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS: LIT IT GIRL AIDAN DONNELLEY ROWLEY:
1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I queried fifteen (maybe twenty?) agents before securing representation for Life After Yes. After weathering several rejections, I was preparing to send out a second wave of letters when I received a request for a partial submission. Soon after, I submitted the entirety of the manuscript. And then, shortly after, an offer! Just recently, after much thought and soul-searching, I signed with a wonderful new agent, Brettne Bloom of Kneerim & Williams. I am thrilled to be working with her now on my second novel.
2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? Just a few months after polishing Life After Yes and sending out my first slew of queries, my father died of cancer. This also happened to be a time when I was receiving several rejections from agents I’d approached. Needless to say, it was a rotten period of my life. I decided to put my writing dreams on hold to take time to grieve and to take care of myself (I was five months pregnant with my second daughter). Two weeks after I lost Dad, I got an offer for representation for Life After Yes.
3. How long did it take to write your book? I wrote my book on and off for more than three years. There were large chunks of time in which I did no writing at all (my first pregnancy is a prime example; I think I spent twenty hours per day sleeping and/or ordering obscure and ultimately useless baby items online!), but I always came back to my pages, often with a fresh eye and focus.
4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? This might sound odd, but I don’t remember many details! It was right before Christmas and I had a newborn at home and I think I was still struggling from sleeplessness and postnatal mental mush. I am sure I had a few celebratory cocktails that evening!
5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I would have stressed a bit less and enjoyed a bit more. I look back at certain stages – the title search, the cover search, the quest for blurbs – and I can literally taste the anxiety I felt then. I realize now that so much of the publishing process is out of the author’s control and we should surrender a bit to its ebbs and flows. Publishing a book is in its own right an immense and incomparable privilege; I wish I had been able to keep this critical bit of perspective throughout.
6. Who is your writer crush? This is a tricky one because there are so many fabulous writers out there these days. Among many others though, I love Claire Messud, Elizabeth Strout, and Jhumpa Lahiri. I adore reading and swooning over the words and worlds of fellow authors.
7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? My two little girls are by far by biggest (and best) distraction. I feel so lucky to have the flexibility to write when I want, but the problem is that it is very hard for me to not spend time with my girls given the choice. I do not stick to a fixed writing schedule, and I’m trying to be better about self-discipline, but it’s tough. Now that I am pregnant with number three (another girl!), I fear that my ambitions for increased productivity are a bit laughable.
8. GNO drink of choice? Easy! Pinot Grigio. This was one purely autobiographical element of Life After Yes. Quinn, my protagonist, loves her Pinot Grigio. I like to think I have my consumption habits better under control than my fictional friend, but I do like to indulge. I have not had a sip of Pinot in twenty-two weeks and I miss it. Just a little.
9. Favorite trashy TV show? Recently, I have been craving trashy television and watching it every single night before bed. My poor husband is not thrilled with this. I blame my current viewing habits on the pregnancy and tell myself that there must be something redeeming about these programs (some kind of existential protein or iron?) that I am missing in my life. Lately, I have been quite loyal to the Kardashians and our nation’s sundry Real Housewives. I do worry that I am exposing my unborn child to a symphony of utter junk, but I try to make up for it by blasting classical music while writing.
10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? Perhaps inconsistent with my above answer, but I do not even know what celebs are on Twitter! I have no problem savoring the celebrity weeklies (religiously) and checking various gossip blogs, but I have not (yet) explored the celebrity angles and avenues on Twitter. I am not even sure what a “Twitter war” is, but it sounds intriguing!
Thanks, Aidan! xoxo, L&L