It's a leisurely season for the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, but today I've got a treat... I'm not only welcoming Brenda Janowitz, author of JACK WITH A TWIST and SCOT ON THE ROCKS (both from Red Dress Ink), but I'm excited we'll get to kick off the New Year with a book giveaway!!
Brenda puts her law experience to good use in her latest novel JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don't teach you in law school). She's a native New Yorker who attended Cornell University and, then, Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review and won the Law Review Writing Competition. Upon graduation from Hofstra, she went to work at a law firm. She later left to pursue a federal clerkship with the Honorable Marilyn Dolan Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Since her clerkship, Brenda has worked as a career counselor at two New York City law schools, where she published a number of articles in the National Law Journal and the New York Law Journal, among others. She and her husband live in New York.
Can you tell us the premise of your latest book? JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don’t teach you in law school) is the story of Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller, who plans the wedding of her dreams, all while litigating the biggest case of her career...which just so happens to be against her perfect fiancé. Hilarity ensues. Really. Marian Keyes called it “a funny, sweet romance” and Carole Matthews said it was “[a]nother fun-filled page-turner from Brenda.” Ironically, I wrote JACK before even getting engaged myself!
What's one scene from this story you loved writing? The most fun I had was writing the scene when Brooke’s family met her fiancé’s family for the first time. There was just so much room to be funny, crazy and completely out there. Those situations are always so stressful, so it was fun to infuse that scene with lots of humor and heart.
Name 3-4 of your favorite musical artists/groups. Did you use any musical references in your novel? I love music, so it’s so hard for me to narrow this down! My all time faves would have to be U2, Stevie Wonder, and just about anything from the 80’s. As for musical references, that would have to be the playlist for Brooke’s bachlorette party: “You’re The One That I Want,” “Come on Eileen,” “I Want Your Sex,” and Brooke’s all time favorite 80’s song, “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.” The soundtrack sets the mood for the party and all of the drama that’s about to unfold. (Ahh! We are of like mind when it comes to the sounds of the '80s. Bono. George Michael. Olivia Newton-John. It's all good! :)
What's your Writer Fantasy? For me, it would have to be that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore snap up the movie rights and make JACK into a movie. They, would, of course, have to give me a little cameo role!
What's one piece of writing advice you've found valuable on your journey to publication? Keep writing! It’s so easy to get discouraged or feel like you don’t have the time to write. But like anything else that is important in life, you have to work at it and make the time for it.
Edit! Editing your work is almost as important as the writing itself. Sure, you’re telling your story, but it’s also important to consider the way that you tell it. You want your writing to be tight, elegant and polished. It can only get to be that way through careful and thorough editing.
Develop a very thick skin. You’re putting yourself out there when you write and not everyone is going to love what you do. But that’s okay! You’re not writing to please everyone out there. You’re writing because you have a story that you want to tell. So start getting used to criticism and then see tip #1—keep writing! (I so agree with you, particularly about the need to edit and edit again. That's absolutely been my experience, too.)
Do you remember the moment you had the idea for the book? How and when did that happen? I’ve always been a writer. In fact, that’s the reason why I became a lawyer in the first place—trying to find a career where I could write full time. But I’ve always had a real love for fiction, and I’d find myself practicing law and thinking about these fictional stories that I wanted to write. When I was invited to my ex-boyfriend’s wedding, my life slowly but surely began to resemble some of my favorite chick lit novels, and I said to myself, 'I’ve just gotta start writing this stuff down...' When I finished SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I just knew that Brooke’s story had to continue! Since both she and Jack are lawyers, I thought it would be so much fun to pit them against each other in the courtroom...all while planning their fairy-tale wedding. Thus the idea for JACK WITH A TWIST was born!
Name your top three guilty pleasures. Only three?! I have waaay more than three! But if I had to choose, I think that chocolate, bad reality TV, and shopping top my list. I could live without any one of them, but why on earth would I want to?? (Exactly. Especially the chocolate...)
Brenda, it was wonderful having you here! For all friends and visitors who read this, if you're interested in winning a copy of JACK WITH A TWIST, I'll be choosing a name from the list of people who comment on this post, and Brenda will mail a book to that lucky person. The drawing will be on Sunday at noon (Central Time), and I'll announce the winner by Monday morning.
Also, a heads up to all who stop by: This is going to be a year of many contests and giveaways. MANY. I have stuff lined up in my office, ready to send out to bloggers who participate. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to mail fun prize packages to friends old and new. (Such a perk of this author gig! :) So, please, check back soon. I'll be giving out further details in the next week or two.