What sparked the creation of your first book, Stuck in Downward Dog?
The idea for Stuck in Downward Dog came from the feeling I think many women go through in their 20s, in the transition from being a student to being an “adult” and dealing with the changes that go along with that transition. I thought the juxtaposition of yoga and cosmetic surgery – both popular trends while writing the book was interesting and a metaphor for the main character, Mara’s life.
How did you take it from just an idea or a draft to the bookstore shelves? And how long did this process take?
Late 2004: I started working on the idea that would become Stuck in Downward Dog in my spare time. My boyfriend at the time (who’s now my husband) asked me if I had a plot and a deadline. I had neither. And he suggested that unless I got at least one or the other, I might never finish the novel (smart guy, that one!) I took his advice, set myself a three-month deadline, wrote the first draft, and sent it out to agents.
January 2005: I submitted a revision to an agent interested in me, went off to get married, and when I came back she signed me as a client. We worked on a few more revisions of the book until she felt it was ready to send out.
September 2005: We sent the book out to publishers and we accepted an offer from Key Porter for North American rights.
January 2006: I started revisions with my editor.
May 2007: The book officially hit bookshelves in Canada.
September 2007: Stuck in Downward Dog came out in the U.S.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about the book publishing industry that you did not know before Stuck in Downward Dog?
How long everything takes – see the above timeline! Now, I’ve become somewhat more accustomed to it, but the first time around, it was impossible for me to understand that my editor might have my draft for three months without being able to look at it because she had 37 other books ahead of mine in line to be edited. I’m not a particularly patient person by nature, which I think is good because it gives me the drive to work quickly, but it makes the waiting periods difficult.
What sparked the idea for your new book, Love Struck?
I wanted to write about the dynamics of relationships, and how they can be different when you’re married versus when you’re single, particularly when dealing with infidelity. I started thinking about if there’s ever a case of unfaithfulness that’s forgivable – and that’s when the idea of “Forgive & Forget” came to mind as a theme.
Was the writing and publishing process for your second book easier or harder than the first?
Writing and publishing my second book was SO much easier! It has really been a dream. In July 2008 I wrote a two-page synopsis for Love Struck. My editor said she liked it and so I write a more in-depth chapter by chapter outline and four sample chapters. I gave it to her in September and by November she approved it and Key Porter made me an offer to buy Canadian rights. I wrote the entire novel over the Christmas holidays while I was off work and sent it in early January 2009. I worked on revisions for the next few months and by last summer, the book was finished, and ARCs were printed in September.
What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome throughout your career as an author?
I’d love to be a full-time novelist, but the reality is that it’s rare to reach that with just one novel (unless you happen to sell movie rights). Even Dan Brown needed his second book to make his first a huge success. So the biggest challenge is making the time to write after a full day of work. I’m lucky that I was recently able to leave my full-time magazine career to teach part-time, which allows me a lot more time to write. But in the beginning, it was a lot of hard work with little free time for fun. But I had to do it because I knew it was the only way to get published.
Have you started thinking about/working on your third book?
I’ve started to think about it – but I’m superstitious, so I don’t talk about the book until I have a book deal.