Thursday, February 26, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lisa Becker

An interview with Lisa Becker, author of the Click trilogy.

 

Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor, school volunteer and Girl Scout troop leader.  As a writer, I’ve written and published the Click trilogy.  Unfolding exclusively in emails, the Click trilogy (Click: An Online Love StoryDouble Click and Right Clickmarries the friendships of Sex and the City, the epistolary nature of Bridget Jones’ Diary and the online love story of You’ve Got Mail to be a light and breezy series for anyone who's ever been dumped, been in love, had a bad date or is still searching for "the one."  The screenplay based on the first book has been optioned for a movie and I have two movie options to date.  I used to joke that I was the only person in LA not writing a screenplay and am now trying to break into Hollywood. 

What got you into writing?

I remember writing short stories and poems as a little girl and always told myself I would write a book someday.  I started writing Click after my husband and I married but before we had kids.  Then I had to take a break from writing due to the rigors of motherhood.  But I had always told myself – even as a little girl – that I would write a book one day.  So, I made the commitment to finish the book.  I wrote in the mornings while the girls were at school or at night after they went to sleep.  I made it a goal to write – even if only for a half hour – every day. 

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

My husband and I met online on a popular dating website.  After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating.  I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged.   In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred.  Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect.  And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.”  But, the happy ending is real.  Steve and I have been happily married for 12 years and have two amazing daughters. 

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

I most readily identify with Renee.  She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking.  Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating.  He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.”   So if you know any nice single girls, let me know.  ;)  But, my favorite character is Shelley.  She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices.  She was so fun to write.  Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria.  She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell. 

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

One of the funniest and oddest encounters occurs when Renee has a very specific and slightly intimate date with a man named Michael on a Friday night.  He emails her a few days later to thank her for a great time and goes into some detail about their date.  Moments later, she receives the EXACT same email from Michael, but referencing their date on Saturday night.  He writes, “…so wonderful to finally meet a generous, warm-hearted, smart, funny and beautiful woman.  I can already tell how special you are.”  Lucky Michael!  He met two women like that…the same weekend.  Too bad he couldn’t keep his emails straight. 

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

I most enjoy creating characters that people can relate to and want to have in their lives.  Whether those characters are brought to life through plot devices or dialogue, doesn’t matter.  It’s about making that connection with the reader.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

The first book was written in about 10 months over the course of many years.  As mentioned, I started it, shelved it and then committed years later to finishing it.  The sequels each took about 8-10 months to write.  I typically start out with an outline and mini characters bios and then go from there.  I sit in my home office at a HP desktop computer with a really big screen.  My eyes grow tired pretty easily in my old age;)  And, I like to write with the television on in the background.  When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns.  Now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS.  I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served. 

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

My favorite genre is Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance.  I suppose I’ve always been a hopeful romantic.  I never thought I would get married – although I secretly hoped that I would – so some days I still pinch myself that I've got a loving, hilarious, and intelligent husband.  Writing this book reminded me of how lucky I am to have met him. 

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

I don’t have a particular author that has influenced me.  I really enjoy Jennifer Weiner, Sophia Kinsella and others.   But years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails.  I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world.  It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. 

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

I was pretty sure how I wanted these characters to evolve and how the story would turn out.  What most surprised me was the response from readers.  The original book, Click: An Online Love Story, was meant to be a stand-alone – a chance to fulfill a childhood goal.  Not long after its release, I was thrilled to receive such a positive reaction to the book.  For that, I’m so grateful.  People across the globe emailed to inquire about the sequel.  Due to the interest, I sat down and wrote the next chapter (or should I say chapters) in the lives of Renee and friends.  Now, there are three books in the series and I think a satisfying conclusion to the story of whether this tight-knit group of friends is able to find their happily ever after.

About the Trilogy

Click: An Online Love Story – Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds entirely through emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical “B” celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee wades into the shallow end of the dating (cess)pool and endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will cheer, laugh, cry and cringe following the email exploits of Renee and friends. And ultimately, they will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

Double Click – Fans of the romantic hit Click: An Online Love Story will enjoy another voyeuristic dive into the lives of Renee, Shelley, Ashley, Mark and Ethan, as Double Click picks up with their lives six months later. Are Renee and Ethan soul mates? Does Mark ever go on a date? Has Shelley run out of sexual conquests in Los Angeles? Will Ashley's judgmental nature sabotage her budding relationship? Through a marriage proposal, wedding, new baby and unexpected love twist, Double Click answers these questions and more. Readers will continue to cheer, laugh, cry and cringe following the email exploits of Renee and friends.

Right Click – Love. Marriage.  Infidelity. Parenthood. Crises of identity. Death. Cupcakes. The themes in Right Click, the third and final installment in the Click series, couldn't be more pressing for this group of friends as they navigate through their 30's. Another six months have passed since we last eavesdropped on the hilarious, poignant and often times inappropriate email adventures of Renee and friends. As the light-hearted, slice of life story continues to unfold, relationships are tested and some need to be set "right" before everyone can find their "happily ever after.

About Lisa

Lisa had endured her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates, many of which inspired Click: An Online Love StoryDouble Click and Right Click.  The books, about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles, have been called, “a fast read that will keep you entertained,” “a fun, quick read for fans of Sex and the City,” and “hard to put down.”  The first in the series has now been optioned for a major motion picture.

She’s written bylined articles about writing and online dating for Chick Lit Central, Cupid’s Pulse and numerous book blogs.  Her books and story have also been featured in Single Edition, Career 2.0 and The Perfect Soulmate among other websites.

A former public relations professional, Lisa has worked with some of the biggest consumer companies in the world including McDonald’s, Ford, Sony and Gatorade.  She’s also a former college professor, teaching public relations and communications classes at University of Southern California and Oglethorpe University.

As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “for every chair, there’s a tush.”  Lisa is now happily married to a wonderful man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters.  So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!

Find Lisa

Book Links: Click: An Online Love StoryDouble Click, and Right Click
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest  | Web

Book trailer for Click: An Online Love Story


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