Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Author Interview: Addison Westlake

Hello everyone!

Today I'm welcoming Addison Westlake, author of Facebook Jeanie to Melissa's Midnight Musings. Read on to learn more about this wonderful author.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?

I made my debut as an author at age 13 by rewriting the "Sweet Valley High" series. Despite copyright violations, I maintain that my rendition of Elisabeth and Jessica Wakefield as preteens in a British orphanage is a classic. Between then and now I went to some fancy schools, swapped out the East Coast for the West Coast, and had oodles of kids. Some of my favorite things in life include coffee, Aretha Franklin's inauguration hat and the sleepwalking scene in "Step Brothers."

 When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

Around nine or ten years old I started keeping a journal and writing stories in those little blue examination books. Writing for me has always been like having a great conversation with a friend; I find it really fun and enjoyable. I don’t think I ever formally thought about pursuing it, I’ve just always done a lot of writing.

 Where did the inspiration for Facebook Jeanie come from?

I think we all have those moments when we wonder… what if? What if our lives hadn’t followed the path we chose? What if we did take that job offer in another city or if we did decide to marry that ex-boyfriend? “Facebook Jeanie”  came out of that universal experience. I imagined what if there were some way for a character to have a ‘do over’ with the one that got away.

Are your characters mainly based off of people you know, or mostly fictional?

They’re pretty much entirely made up! As I write them, I may take bits and pieces from real life or impressions of others. But, in essence, they’re 100% fiction.

Many books are now incorporating social media as plot elements. What makes Facebook Jeanie unique?

I find Facebook fascinating—it both connects and disconnects you. You can keep in touch with friends and family, and you can spend two hours on it not paying any attention to the friends and family in the room with you. I created a character stuck in a Facebook rut, engaging more with photos of someone in her past than anyone in her present. What’s different is I imagined a new Facebook app that lets her travel back in time, making her past her present. That’s unique.

Describe Facebook Jeanie from as a status update written by Clara.

Back in high school. Having a ‘do over’ with the one who got away. Freaking out.

 Who is your favorite author?

Jane Austen! Of authors who are alive, Kristan Higgins.

 Do you have writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?

My routine is to write whenever and wherever I can! I have oodles of children and whisk around all day long, so writing is rarely the romantic endeavor of sitting down with a cuppa at a quiet desk to compose my thoughts. On any given day, writing can consist of waking up at 5am while the household is still sleeping, making notes in my car if I’m 15 minutes early for a school-pick up, or pulling out my laptop to make some notes while waiting in the dentist office. It’s more of a constant flow than a routine.

 Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?

Yes, I do. I enjoy the feeling of getting deeper into plot and characters and making it all fit together more, making the whole book better. It’s satisfying.

Do you do a lot of external research in the process of writing? If so, what's the most interesting thing you've uncovered in your research?

Yes, it’s so easy with a click onto google to learn about anything and everything. For my last book “Christmas in Wine Country” I loved learning about the winemaking industry in Northern California. For “Facebook Jeanie” I had fun learning about the greentech industry and breakthroughs in solar energy. I also like spending time in the setting that I’m writing about – when possible.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

Finding the time to write!

 Are you working on any new projects?

I’m excited to start work on “The Never Been Kissed Club” series. Four friends band together at 13 years old. In the midst of all the braces and glasses and gawkiness, they take an oath to stay friends forever and remind each other that—just like Josie from their favorite movie “Never Been Kissed”—no matter how bad things get they have to keep believing in true love and have faith in happy endings.

The first book, “Just Between Us,” is about one of these four friends. Molly Bridget Anderson has become a 28-year-old accountant who likes to keep things orderly. Which is why chaos—in the form a 2-year-old nephew she suddenly has to look after and a tattooed rock star writing songs for her—is just what she needs to get her life on track. Look for “Just Between Us” in 2014!

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Rainy in a heartbeat.
Hard Copy or e-book? Both!
Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice
Last book you read? Anna and the French Kiss
What's a quote that inspires you? “I call everyone 'Darling' because I can't remember their names.” Zsa Zsa Gabor.
What's your favorite comfort food? pizza

I want to say a big thank you to Addison Westlake for stopping by my blog. She has previously stopped by to share her thoughts on Holiday Baking. Learn more about Facebook Jeanie or check out my review of Christmas in Wine Country

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