Today, Change the Word welcomes Jackie Pilossoph, author of Free Gift With Purchase for an interview as part of her Chick Lit Plus blog tour.
Change the Word: What was the inspiration for Free Gift With Purchase?
Jackie Pilossoph: I started writing this book about five years ago, when I threw myself back into the dating scene at 41 (just after divorce.) I could not believe some of the guys I went out with, and some of the things that happened to my single friends as well. They were seriously unbelievable! They were also hilarious. I knew that women would not only be entertained by the stories, but would really be able to relate to bad dates, and how tough it is (at any age) to find the right guy.
The other inspiration for Free Gift With Purchase was my sister, Sue. We are just like Laura and Emma, and I think there are so many women who have sisters who are opposite them, but who love each other and have to learn to deal with their differences without judging or getting angry.
CTW: What is the best free gift with purchase you have received?
JP: TWO: my son and my daughter!
CTW: How did you come up with all of the people Emma and Laura date?
JP: All of the guys who Emma and Laura date stem from real guys who my friends and I dated. However, I embellished big time! I took what was real and I made it much more dramatic and funny. That said, I'm not sure the book would have been as good had the guys not stemmed from actual guys I know (and know of.)
CTW: We recently discussed the merits of re-writing -- did you have to do much with this book?
JP: So much, you have no idea! This book was originally called I've Got Baggage, and it was a sequel to my fourth novel, (to be published in 2013) I've Got Issues. I had at least five professionals, including three reputable agents read versions of this and give me feedback. By the time an author is on her third book, it better be pretty darn good! Even little things, like name changes were addressed. Laura and Emma's names were originally Sharon and Lisa, and my agent for Jackpot!, Kathy called and says to me, "I hope I'm not hurting your feelings, but I really don't' like the names. Names are really, really important!" So, Kathy and I spent the morning texting back and forth different name possibilities to rename Sharon and Lisa, and we came up with "Emma and Laura" by noon!
JP: The best advice I can give is to show people your work. Show your friends, show your family, and show people who read your genre. Beg them to be honest with you. Also, try to get your work to professionals, even if they aren't representing you. They are the biggest help because they know what will sell and what won't. Another piece of advice: when you are re-writing, go back the next day and correct all the typo's of the chapter you re-wrote the day before. trust me, there will be a lot!
CTW: I also loved your book Jackpot! What are three items on your to purchase list if you won a jackpot prize?
JP: 1. Set aside the exact amount of money for two four-year educations at reputable universities for my kids! 2. A second home in South Florida-to visit my parents whenever we'd like. 3. I would probably pay for a really extravagant vacation for my entire family to be together for two weeks.-includes all my brothers and sisters and their children and my parents and kids.
CTW: What sort of planning or plotting do you do in advance of writing your stories?
JP: I really don't know what other authors do, but I spend at least six months thinking about the entire story before I put a word down on the computer. So, I know how the novel will begin, the basic sketch of what will happen during the book, and how it ends. I don't know exact details, but I know some, and as I write, these usually change a hundred times, but I know the basics. And then I start telling the story to people to see if it interests them. Funny story: My kids and I were recently on a plane coming home from Florida, and we were bored, so I turn to my 10-year-old son and say, "Hey, can I tell you a story?" I told him my idea for my new novel. It took about 10 minutes. This really really helps to hear out loud what your novel is. So, when I was done asking a 10 year-old boy if he'd like my romantic comedy novel, he says, "Actually, Mom, that sounds pretty good!"
CTW: What is the best piece of advice you have received about writing?
JP: "Don't ever give up. EVER. Promise me? Promise me right now that no matter what, you will never, ever, stop writing and just say forget it." The person then proceeded to give me an article he cut out from the NY Times Sunday paper with a best-seller insert. He crossed out the No. 1 book and wrote in "Jackpot! by Jackie Pilossoph." It was the best, most motivating thing anyone has ever given me. By the way, the guy is a self-made multi-millionaire who is under the age of 40.
CTW: What's next for you and your writing career?
JP: Ooohh!!! Just wait! My fourth book, I've Got Issues is juicy!! Very dramatic and covers really serious topics. Although, still hilariously funny. I am in the process of signing with a really reputable agency in New York, so I might end up with a big publisher for that book! Fingers crossed!
CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
JP: Can I make a last pitch for Free Gift With Purchase? This book is very different than my first two books, but not in a good or bad way, just different. It deals with much more real life types of issues and it's more serious, but still super funny as well. Free Gift With Purchase will make you think about and appreciate your best friends and your sisters. It will also entertain you with the dating stories and some of the really hilarious scenes. Lastly, it will make you feel great. You will fall in love with a couple of the characters, you will be inspired by a couple of them, and you will hopefully feel refreshed and energized when you are finished reading it.
About the Author
Jackie Pilossoph is also the author of Jackpot! (read my review of it here) and Hook, Line and Sink Him.
She is a freelance corporate and newspaper reporter, and columnist for
the Pioneer Press. Pilossoph holds a masters degree in communication
from Boston University, and is currently working on her fourth novel.
Website and blog: www.jackiepilossoph.net
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