Today, our writer guest is Meredith Schorr, author of JUST FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, STATE OF JANE, and her latest novel BLOGGER GIRL. We were fortunate to get a little time to interview Meredith about her new release.
The Outside Lane: Kimberly Long, the main character of BLOGGER GIRL, is relatable and beleaguered. What is the challenge in taking an ordinary girl and making her extraordinarily readable?
Meredith Schorr: My brand is “chick lit for real chicks” and so common to all of my books is a very relatable heroine – someone who might remind the reader of herself or at least someone she knows. While I strive to create likeable characters, they are always flawed. I allow them to make mistakes, to feel jealous and insecure, to snap at a friend or colleague, to make dumb choices. I care a lot about my characters and it often hurts me to put them into difficult situations especially when I know their judgment is off, but if it is important to the story and adds an element of depth to my characters, it’s the right thing to do.
TOL: What do you like best about Chick Lit?
MS: I like that chick lit is often grounded in reality but peppered with a lot of humor and *usually* a happy ending. Chick lit takes real life situations and struggles and makes you laugh about them. I often nod my head in understanding while I am reading a chick lit book and feel that I am not alone. And when I read the last line, the book often leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy inside with an optimistic spirit.
TOL: How do you think writing for women has changed since Bridget Jones?
MS: I think initially, many authors tried to ride the coattails of the Bridget Jones phenomenon and write similar stories. Most did not succeed in my opinion but some did. Some authors captured the humor and realism and created unique characters to love but others were just poor imitations. As a result, the market was saturated with unimaginative books full of clichés until editors stopped publishing chick lit unless the author was already very well established. During this time, in my opinion, there weren’t nearly enough humorous books written about women as some of the bigger authors changed their style to write more serious women’s fiction but with the growth of self-publishing and smaller “indie” publishing houses, I am seeing a lot more well-written, original and hilarious stories again. I don’t only write chick lit but I read it as well and so I am thrilled to have discovered so many new authors over the past few years.
TOL: What has been your biggest learning experience in releasing your third novel?
MS: I have learned that giving away free copies of your book in exchange for reviews before the book is released really does make a huge difference in spreading the word. With my other two novels, I didn’t have nearly as much time pre-publication to contact bloggers and readers of the genre. By the timeBlogger Girl was released, there was already a certain amount of buzz from people who had read and enjoyed it and so sales picked up quickly whereas with my other books, it took several months
TOL: Talk about your publishing experience—how did you choose Booktrope?
MS: After I finished writing my second novel, A State of Jane, I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be. I wasn’t interested in spending years querying agents who would then spend years shopping around to publishers. I also didn’t want to self-publish because with my busy day job, I knew I needed the support of a publisher behind me in terms of editing, formatting, cover art, marketing etc. Unfortunately, I was not happy with the publisher of my first novel. A writer friend told me about Booktrope. I knew a few authors who had published with them and had enjoyed their books. Upon doing research, I was incredibly impressed with Booktrope’s “team publishing” philosophy. Every Booktrope author is teamed with an editor, cover artist and book manager and everyone on the team receives a portion of the royalties of the book. It also seemed that Booktrope was very much in tune with the changes in the publishing industry and willing to take risks. I loved that they offered marketing support because my original publisher did not. I also liked that their books were priced competitively, that they were always looking for new ways to market books, that they were staffed with experts in the field yet allowed the author a certain amount of control as well. Although they weren’t accepting unsolicited submissions at the time, I was lucky in that one of their best-selling authors, Tess Thomson, referred me to them and they offered me a contract. I had a great experiencing publishing A State of Jane with Booktrope and so when Blogger Girl was finished, I did not hesitate sending it to them. And now they have taken over the rights to my first novel, Just Friends with Benefits, too. I look forward to a long writing career with Booktrope!
TOL: Cast your book for the movie version. Pick your stars!
MS: Kimberly – Isla Fisher
Nicholas – Matt Long
Bridget – Blake Lively (with red hair)
Hannah – Kristin Ritter
Jonathan – Adam Brody
TOL: How much of your own world figures in to the worlds you write about?
MS: Although all of my novels are 100% fiction, most of my inspiration comes from real life. Characters are often loosely inspired by people I have met. And I will admit that I often take bits and pieces of real life, tweak them and use them out of context. Life is too humorous not to!
TOL: If you could get a cover blurb from any author in the world, whose words of praise would you want on the back of your book?
MS: Well, my chick lit “crush” is Sophie Kinsella but I would have to go with Judy Blume. Her YA books kept me (somewhat) sane turning my tween/early teen years. I read every book over and over again (and not just Forever…) It was like she just knew what I was feeling. To have an icon like Judy Blume endorse one of my books would be a dream come true.
TOL: Meredith, thank you so much for joining us today. We certainly appreciate your time.
I received a promotional copy of BLOGGER GIRL through Chick Lit Plus to review (and I bought a copy, too, because I know how writers rely on sales.) There is a lot to like about Meredith Schorr’s third book, BLOGGER GIRL. There is more to like than not. It is a well written, well edited Chick Lit book that follows the expected rules of the genre while taking some unconventional twists and turns that keep the story original and fresh. I liked how real the relationships between the characters felt, and had fun with the meta aspects of the main character’s (Kim Strong’s) daily life.
Meredith writes assertively and assuredly.
I wish I had liked Kim Strong more, but I have this feeling that she and I would not enjoying sharing a seat on the train. This is mainly because Kim reminded me way too much of the worst parts of my younger self, and I would either be lecturing, or shaking her by the shoulders. No one likes to get yelled at on the train, and certainly no one wants to be shaken.
BLOGGER GIRL really hits its stride right around the halfway mark, and was not a bad way to spend a few hours.
The only thing keeping me from giving the book 4 stars is the fact that Kim and I have a personality conflict, and I am afraid she will make fun of the size of my rear as soon as I am out of earshot. This does not mean that you and Kim will have a personality conflict, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
4 out of 5 stars for me
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks.” When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.
Connect with Meredith!
Buy the Book!
November 4 – The Little Black Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
November 5 – Book Mama – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 6 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt
November 7 – The Gothic Ballerina – Guest Post
November 11 – The Outside Lane – Review & Q&A
November 12 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
November 14 – Livia Ellis – Review & Excerpt
November 18 – Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 19- Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
November 20- Leigh Bennett – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 22 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
November 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Blogger Girl before November 25 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**