Change the Word: What kind of planning do you do before writing your books?
Emily Shaffer: I've heard some people refer to the way I write as being a "pantser"...writing by the seat of your pants. I get an idea, and I just start writing in almost a stream of consciousness way. Once I do get some of the story down, I will try to quickly plot a few points that will get me from the beginning to the end of the story. My outlines are always less than a page long.
CTW: How did you come up with the idea for this book?
ES: The only thing I knew was that it would start with the main character, Ellie, getting fired. Everything after that point I sort of made up as I went along. I did draw on bits and pieces of my own life and relationships for some of the scenes, but the story mainly just flowed from my mind as I typed. Initially I thought I would write something with a more serious tone, but a friend of mine suggested that I might be stronger with humor, and that change made all the difference. Finding my "voice" helped the story move along much faster.
CTW: If Hollywood decided to make a big budget feature film about your book, and they asked you to cast the main character, who would you pick and why?
ES: Many times during the writing process, I would try to answer this very question. There are so many actresses that I drew inspiration from. I loved Kate Winslet's character in The Holiday and the way she played the harried and unlucky-in-love, Iris, and I thought she could relate to Ellie. I love Emma Stone's humor and intelligence, and I could definitely see her bringing Ellie's antics to life. I also think Emily Blunt would make a wonderful Ellie. After seeing Jessica Biel in Valentine's Day, which was the first time I'd really seen her do more of a comedic role, I thought she would make a good Ellie. There are so many talented ladies in Hollywood, I feel like any of them who read and really related to Ellie, could do a great job of bringing her to life.
CTW: What is the biggest lesson you learned while writing this book?
ES: From a formatting standpoint, I learned that you should NOT indent your paragraphs with the tab key, as e-book versions will not look correct. That was a very hard-learned lesson.
CTW: What was the greatest challenge while writing?
ES: I loved writing the first draft, it was fun and it actually happened very quickly. However, when the first draft was finished, I was still about 20,000 words short of where I needed to be. Finding a way to add to the story was fairly challenging, because I didn't want to just add scenes for the sake of adding length to the book. In the end, I think it worked out better than having the opposite problem....needing to cut scenes. I was able to have a foundation and continue to build on top of it until the story was just right.
CTW: What advice can you give aspiring authors?
ES: If you want to write, but haven't yet....START NOW. I always thought about writing a book, but it took me years to actually sit down and start working on it. The other piece of advice is just don't give up. I went through the rounds of querying agents and publishers, and it does take a while, and it takes a thick skin. In the end though, it's all worth it to get to do the thing you love doing.
CTW: What books would we find on your bookshelf?
ES: I am a huge lover of biographies and classic literature, so my shelves are filled with lots of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. I also have a compulsion to collect old etiquette books. I have more editions of Amy Vanderbilt's etiquette than I know what to do with.
CTW: What's your favorite latest read?
ES: The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. I just watched Anne of the Thousand Days and was in the mood to read some more about the real people behind it.
CTW: What is up next for you and your writing career?
ES: I am currently working on a sequel to That Time of the Month, and hope to have the first draft finished in the next couple of months. My plans beyond that are to continue promoting my work, and hopefully continue to produce more work.
CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
ES: I would like to thank you for having me. It has been a lot of fun introducing people to my work, and meeting other writers and bloggers.
Read my review of That Time of the Month here.
About the Author
I am a Tennessean by birth, and have lived pretty much everywhere. My Dad always says that when I was born, and the doctor tried to slap me to make me cry, that I stood up on the table and slapped the doctor instead…and from then on, I never did anything that I didn't want to do.
Luckily, what I want to do is write…and not carjacking or vandalism.
Like my main character, Ellie, I love making random lists…so here are some random facts about me: - I'm nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. The world looks like a fun-house mirror if I don't wear my glasses or contacts.
- I was almost kicked out of Graceland for using flash photography in the peacock-mirrored front room, and my tour group shunned me the entire rest of the tour. That made for a lonely trip through the Jungle Room.
- I was once mistaken for a member of Hanson…granted, they all had long hair at the time, but still… not what you wanna hear as a girl.
When I wrote That Time of the Month, I really saw it as though it was a movie. I can see every scene, every character and what they are wearing, every piece of pie, perfectly in my mind. I'm currently writing the sequel, That Time of the Year. I love the story and characters so much, that I am tempted to turn the series into a trilogy.
Connect with Emily
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