claire cook

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Never Too Late by Claire Cook

NeverTooLate_final_smallClaire Cook, the bestselling author of eleven novels, has proven time and time again that she can write compelling and entertaining fiction that leaves you wanting more. (Must Love Dogs, anyone?) And now with her latest, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (Without Getting Lost Along the Way), she's proving that she also excels at writing non-fiction. And not just any type of non-fiction. She has penned a funny, yet informative guide to living the life you actually want to live. (Go to to read an excerpt and to download a free workbook.) And we have a copy to give away! Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win. Contest closes on October 12th at 8am PST.

The scoop: Claire Cook speaks to real women—our fears and obstacles and hopes and desires—and gives us cutting edge tools to get where we want to go. Bursting with inspiration, insider stories, and practical strategies. Filled with humor, heart, encouragement, and great quotes. Claire Cook shares everything she's learned on her own journey— from writing her first book in her minivan at 45, to walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Must Love Dogs at 50, to becoming the international bestselling author of eleven novels and a sought after reinvention speaker. You'll hop on a plane with Claire as you figure out the road to your own reinvention. You'll laugh a lot and maybe even shed a few tears as Claire tells her stories and those of other reinventors, and shares her best tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals.

Our thoughts: A quick read with practical tips for everyone, whether you want a major life overhaul or to make small, but significant changes.

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Never Too Late by Claire Cook

Claire_Cook_author_photo1. Why did you write NEVER TOO LATE?

Reinvention is pretty much the theme of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.

I’m now the author of 12 books, and wherever I am—on book tour or at speaking engagements or online—reinvention has become the thing that everyone wants to talk me about. And it feels great to be able to tell them that it is truly never too late.

One day it just hit me that even if I kept traveling and traveling, I wasn’t going to meet everyone in person. So I decided it was time to share everything I’ve learned on my own journey that might help other women in theirs. And that’s how Never Too Late, my first nonfiction book after 11 novels, was born

2. Tell us about the concept of the Reinvention Intersection

I think we all have that sweet spot—the place where the life we want to live and our ability interest. For some, the trick is finding it. If you’re one of those people, you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, whether you’re pushing thirty or eighty.

For others, like me, deep down inside you already know what you want, so it’s all about finding the courage to dig up that dream and dust it off.

Over the last decade and a half, I’ve talked to thousands of women hoping to reinvent their lives, and they usually fall into one of these two categories. I try to give tips, strategies and encouragement for both in Never Too Late.

3. We love that this book can be for someone who wants a major life overhaul and also for those who desire small, but substantial changes. After reading this book, what is the next step for a person in either of these categories?

Stop listening to all the reasons you can’t, or shouldn’t do it—whether they come from within or without. Rise above the negativity and take one simple step in the direction you want to go. Then get up the next morning and do it again. And again. And again.

4. What is your advice for someone who has a "buried dream" but also gives herself a million reasons why she shouldn't unearth it?

To recognize that it’s a choice. The difference between me and someone who hasn’t gone after a buried dream is that I finally shook off all the fear and procrastination, and just did it. If you don’t actually write the book, it can’t get published.

Every day your life gives you perfectly legitimate reasons not to go after your dream. We’re all crazy busy. Somebody always needs something. You have to want it enough to do it anyway, and in the book I offer strategies for building your dream into your life.

5. We love how you tie in the fictional books you've written and identify how the characters in your books might also help someone who wants to reinvent herself. Which of your books/characters do you feel is the most inspiring? Or is this impossible to choose?

Thank you! I always feel like the next book/character I write will be my best work. I guess that’s what keeps me motivated enough to do it again. And I love that my readers all have a different favorite. I think it’s usually the one that cuts closest to their own lives, which makes sense because I think one of the reasons we read is to find ourselves.

One of my favorite parts of being a novelist is that I get to live all of my heroines' lives vicariously, but still stay in my own wheelhouse, focused on the thing I do best.

Sarah in Must Love Dogs is a preschool teacher, and in Book 2, Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, she takes on a summer consulting gig teaching social skills to twenty-somethings at a video game company. In The Wildwater Walking Club, Noreen is duped by a sorta boyfriend into taking a corporate buyout and gets involved in walking and lavender and clotheslines. In Life's a Beach, Ginger transitions from a series of dead-end sales jobs to making sea glass jewelry while she spends time on a movie set as her nephew's guardian.

In Summer Blowout, the family business is a hair salon, and Bella's reinvention involves staying away from her ex-husband, who has run off with her half-sister, and creating her own personalized makeup kits. March and her daughter go to college at the same time in Multiple Choice and end up with their own radio show.

And on and on! That’s a whole bunch of lives to live without ever leaving your computer!

6. Tell us about the line from your novel, Multiple Choice, "Karma is a boomerang" and how you tie that into this book

Karma is a boomerang is one of the smartest things one of my characters has ever said. In Multiple Choice, it’s a tagline for a crazy New Age radio show, but it’s also one of my favorite sayings.

That some kindness you put out into the world can boomerang back to you is something I believe with all my heart. This is not to say that I go around doing nice things all day long just to get something back. The truth is that sometimes it boomerangs and sometimes it doesn't. But still, whether it comes back to you or not, sprinkling kindness as you go is a great way to walk through the world.

My two best karma is a boomerang stories are both in Never Too Late—how the Must Love Dogs movie happened and how I ended up on the Today show

Claire Cook's 5 Firsts & Lasts

Time Flies cover Touchstoneweb(1)Today's guest: Claire Cook Why we love her: Not only is she one of our favorite authors, but we just love her--she's incredibly kind & supportive!

Her latest: Time Flies (Out June 11th!)

The scoop on it: Years ago, Melanie followed her husband, Kurt, from the New England beach town where their two young sons were thriving to the suburbs of Atlanta. She’s carved out a life as a successful metal sculptor, but when Kurt leaves her for another woman, having the tools to cut up their marriage bed is small consolation. She’s old enough to know that high school reunions are often a big disappointment, but when her best friend makes her buy a ticket and an old flame gets in touch to see whether she’ll be going, she fantasizes that returning to her past might help her find her future…until her driving phobia resurfaces and threatens to hold her back from the adventure of a lifetime. Time Flies is an epic road trip filled with fun, heartbreak, and friendship, and explores what it takes to conquer your worst fears…so you can start living your future.

Our thoughts: A summer must-read, you will love this escape!

Giveaway: 1 signed copy! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winner on Sunday, June 9th after 3 pm PST.

Fun fact: You have until midnight on June 10th to enter the TIME FLIES Sweepstakes! You and one of your oldest and dearest friends could win an all-expense-paid weekend including airfare at the amazing Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas July 26-28 - worth over $4,500! You'll get a chance to reunite with your friend, relax, and attend a party with Claire! Enter on Facebook or at

Where you can read more about Claire: Her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. And catch one of her Time Flies book tour events.


CookClaire1. Kiss

First: We were six. I was a good girl, all about impressing the nuns, which in parochial school basically meant posture, penmanship, and memorization. And then I discovered the lure of the bad boy. We kissed and I think he knocked out one of my front teeth, though I'm pretty sure these were two separate incidents.

Last: My husband and I just received a notice from the IRS saying we'd underpaid our taxes by an amount of money so big that I can’t even type it. I mean, we were seriously going to lose everything we owned. Major, major panic. I scanned and emailed all ten pages of the notice to our accountant at 8:30 at night, and he emailed back about five minutes later saying that it was a mistake. "We don't have to move in with our kids!" my husband and I yelled. And then we kissed.

2. Risk I took

First: My father had taken the training wheels off my bike. My sole training wheel-less experience at that point had been going back and forth across the driveway with him casually resting one hand on the back wheel. But we’d just moved and I wanted to impress my new friend who lived at the very top of the street. So I walked my two-wheeler up the steep hill to her house. When it was time to leave, I thought I’d just ride until I was out of sight, and then jump off and walk my bike the rest of the way home. I could picture it so clearly in my mind, which to this day I still find is the curse of having the brain of a novelist. Things got out of control pretty quickly, further complicated by the fact that I couldn’t find the brakes. Wipeout!

Last: After two decades living in a little beach town between Boston and Cape Cod, my husband and I sold our 1890 Victorian, got rid of almost everything we owned, and moved to the suburbs of Atlanta. Every day is a new adventure, and it’s been great to shake things up.

3. Book I read

First: The Nancy Drew Mysteries were the first books that I fell completely in love with. I can remember telling myself I’d go to sleep after I finished this chapter, but I just couldn’t do it, and would have to keep reading into the night.

Last: The last book I read was my eleventh novel, right before I sent it off to my literary agent. It’s such an odd thing to read your own manuscript at this stage, because you’re so close that you just can’t tell what works and what doesn’t. And you’re on pins and needles waiting for the verdict, doing productive things like trying to come up with Plan B for your life if you find out that between novel #10 and #11 you’ve somehow forgotten how to write.

4. Hell ya! moment

First: Maybe not the first, but the one I’ll never forget is walking the red carpet at the Must Love Dogs premiere and doing thirty-five interviews with everyone from Access Hollywood to Extra. It was the year I turned fifty, and in that moment I knew that midlife could totally rock.

Last: When our 1890 Victorian sold in two weeks. (I give full credit to the home stager heroine of my novel, Best Staged Plans, for the quick sale in a down market!)

5. Aha! Moment

First: I had my first story published in the Sunday newspaper when I was six. It was about Hot Dog, our family dachshund, even though we really had a beagle at the time. I loved the attention. I loved that I’d discovered a way to make things up and not get in trouble.

Last: I should probably pretend this one came from a loftier place, but the truth is it came from American Idol. Keith Urban quoted some music producer as saying, “When you have a hit, you have a hit. But when you have an audience, you have a career.” I think it’s so, so true for authors, and I’m incredibly grateful to my readers, my audience, for giving me the gift of my career.

Thanks, Claire!

Claire Cook's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Claire Cook Her latest: Wallflower in Bloom

Why we love her: What's not to love? She's a bestselling author of 9 fabulous books (always the perfect summer reads). Not to mention she's super supportive of lil ol' authors trying to make it in the big ol' publishing world. Ahem, like two gals you might know.

The scoop: Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Our thoughts: As reality TV junkies, we love the idea of a regular gal making it on a show like Dancing with the Stars. C'mon, how great is that?

Giveaway: 5 copies of Wallflower in Bloom (one of them is signed by Claire!). Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, June 18 after 6PM PST.

Fun fact: Lisa recently got to meet Claire. She's hilarious. And she has great stories about a lot of things-- including John Cusack.

Where you can read more about Claire: Facebook, Twitter and her website.




Thank you so much for inviting me to do this, Liz and Lisa! And can I say how excited I was to finally meet Lisa in person on book tour – so much fun hanging out with you, Lisa! xxxxx

1. When people show you their true colors, color yourself convinced the first time. Do not give them three or four or twelve chances to redeem themselves. Do not think that if you were a better friend, you would inspire them to be, too. Skip all the drama that’s sure to follow, and get out now.

2. Always do more than the situation requires. When you do just the bare minimum, that’s what comes back to you. And because so few people do more than they have to do in any given situation, it’s a great way to stand out.

3. Karma is a boomerang. Do nice things for people. Lots of people. One day you will find that the goodwill this has generated over the years is the thing that propels you to where you want to go.

4. Hang around with the quirky people. They’re so much more interesting than the cool people.

5. Life is long. If you don’t write a book by the time you’re twenty, you’re not a failure. You simply need to live your life to find your stories. There’s no rush, and you will have soooo much fun and appreciate it more when it finally happens to you at forty-five. Yeah, I know that sounds ridiculously old, but trust me, it feels different when you get there.

Thanks, Claire!



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!



Play Nooky with Liz & Lisa

We were thrilled when so many of you flipped for Liz & Lisa this past summer.  Y'all were amazing- we reached our goal of 1000 new "likes" on our Chick Lit is not Dead Facebook fan page in record time and named not one but TWO top fans who each received a YEAR OF BOOKS.  You heard that right.  So not only did we give a away a bangin' Flip Slide HD camera, we also gifted two very deserving fans with TWELVE books from authors we've had on the site in 2010.  Not to mention our Friday book giveaway. And being the complete giveaway whores that we are, we loved every minute of it! Which is why we're about to do it again!

Only this time, instead of flipping for us, we're hoping that you, your Facebook friends and your Twitterverse will come play Nooky with us. That's right, as soon as we hit 3530 "likes" on our Facebook page, we'll be randomly choosing one lucky fan to win, a B&N Nook- our favorite ereader!

And there will be a lot of other ways to win too. We'll also still be giving away a book each "Nooky Friday" and will be crowning yet another "Top Fan"!

And the best part of all?  It's so damn easy to win!  Want to know how?

Just give us your friends.

Your Facebook friends that is. All you have to do is “encourage” (you know… bribe, force or even threaten) your Facebook friends to “like” our Facebook page. Just one little click of the mouse. Because our little hearts flutter each time someone hits that little like button. (I know, we have issues...)

So…for every 1,000 people who click that “like” box (with the thumbs up sign) located on the top of our fan page, we will enter them and you (you’re automatically entered if you’re already a fan) to win a B&N Nook (retails for $149). Named "One of the Ten Best Gadgets" in 2010 by Us News & World Report, it will be the ultimate stocking stuffer this holiday season. And with it’s built-in wireless connection, you can download over a million titles in less than 60 seconds! (How’s that for instant gratification?) When we hit our goal, we'll randomly select a winner. Once the winner is announced, he or she will have ten days to claim the Nook!

Here’s how you can help us get from 2530 to 3530 fans (That’s the magic number!):

1. On Facebook and haven't "liked" us yet yet?  It’s okay, we’re not judging.  Just click here or on the Facebook icon located on the upper right side of this page (right below the “connect with us” banner).

2. Suggest the page to your friends on Facebook.  How?  By clicking “suggest to friends” underneath our Liz & Lisa coffee cup photo located on our Facebook fan page.  It’s the easiest way to personally ask people to come on over and join the fun.  And it just takes a minute!

3. Go to your Facebook profile page. In the status box, write an “encouraging” message asking your friends to become a fan of our page on Facebook. Make sure to tag in your status update. (In case you don’t know, to “tag”, you simply type @ and then and will come up as a live link in blue.)

3. Be sure to tell your friends that in exchange for simply “liking” us, they have a chance to win a Nook. Because, let’s be honest, everyone wants to know what’s in it for them! And who doesn’t want to win something?

4. And for you overachievers (you know who you are!) you can always tweet a link to our Facebook page as well. Be sure to include our handle @Lizandlisa because we’ll be watching and looking for our top fan (more on that in a minute).

And don’t forget that we’re planning a giveaway every Friday. If you’re on Twitter, RT any of our “Nookie Fridays” tweets and/or tag us in your Facebook status and you’ll be entered to win the prize we’re giving away that day.  This Friday, we’re giving out a copy of Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook.

And last, but definitely not least, we’re also honoring our top fan. The fan that goes above and beyond to help us reach our goal. We’ll announce that winner after we reach our goal. And, don’t worry, there will be another fantabulous prize for that person too.

So let’s get tagging and tweeting so we can give this Nook away!  We were blown away by your support during our Flip for Liz & Lisa campaign.  You have no idea how much we appreciate all of you.  Thank you so much!  Now can you please do it again? =)

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

5 Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about...Claire Cook

Summer is FINALLY here and we are so ready for some great beach reading. (Now we just have to find time to make it to the beach!)  And with so many fantastic releases from our favorite authors, (And some great debuts too!) they'll be plenty to choose from.

Speaking of great new releases, Today we're learning five things about fabulous bestselling author Claire Cook!  She's the author of SEVEN ENTERTAINING NOVELS (including Must Love Dogs, which was made into a movie starring our girl crush Diane Lane!).  Her latest,  Seven Year Switch follows sassy single mom Jill as she tries to pick up the pieces after her husband leaves her to raise her daughter by herself.  It's an inspiring tale about starting over, finding strength and rediscovering love.  Perfect for a summer getaway!

Not only is Claire revealing five things, she made a video (complete with music-we're impressed!) about the five things we don't know about her. We're loving it and have a feeling that you will too.(She has a very interesting past job that involved a leotard!  She's been on the Today show!)

And don't forget to connect with Claire on Facebook and Twitter too-she hosts lots of cool giveaways and we know y'all love getting free stuff!

And...To celebrate the release of Seven Year Switch, we are giving away FIVE copies.  You know what to do-just leave a comment to be entered!

So sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy!  xoxo