This week, I am delighted to welcome Emily Liebert to Skipping Midnight. A two-time published author and journalist extraordinaire, chances are you’ve seen her on TV discussing Facebook, Bing, or the line of Zoya nail polish that coincides with her latest book.
YOU KNEW ME WHEN, released this past September, is both her first novel and her first book published with one of the major houses. Like Hazel Gaynor last week, she is a true go-getter, breaking down boundaries with hard work and brimming with advice for aspiring writers hoping to do the same.
1. First off, I have to say that your resume is utterly dizzying! Editor-in-chief of a luxury lifestyle magazine, executive assistant at ABC News, editor of Kerry Kennedy’s bestseller, spokesperson for Bing and Facebook, author of two (soon-to-be three) books, AND mother of two boys. Phew. How on earth do you find the time – and the energy – to keep moving?
For starters, I’ve always had a lot of energy. I like to go, go, go. Relaxation isn’t really part of my agenda, unless I’m reclining on a lounge chair in Anguilla with a cocktail in hand, but even then I can’t sit still for long. Seriously, though, between managing a big career and being a devoted mom to my two boys (Jax, 4 & Hugo, 3), it’s definitely a balancing act. There’s a good deal of planning and strategic thinking that goes into it. I don’t believe in “having it all.” I believe in having as much as you can manage, which in my case tends to be a lot!
2. You published your first book, FACEBOOK FAIRYTALES, with the small publisher Skyhorse Publishing. What led you to this decision?
Honestly? It wasn’t a decision. At the time, they were the only publishing house that wanted to buy the book!
3. How did working with a small press prepare you for what came next?
There’s no comparison. Working with Penguin has been a dream. Different ballgame, so to speak.
4. YOU KNEW ME WHEN, your debut novel, is about how friendship changes and endures with time. What is your favorite thing about the story and why do you think so many people have fallen in love with it?
My favorite aspect of YOU KNEW ME WHEN is that the characters are real. These women are flawed, as we all are, but—at the core—they’re all good people. I think readers can relate to the characters; they see at least a part of themselves in either Laney, Katherine, or Luella, which I think is one of the keys to writing a successful novel. Also, I believe that most people can relate to the idea of either falling out of touch or having a falling out with a close friend and that feeling of wanting to reconnect, for better or worse.
5. Right now you’re working on your second novel, WHEN WE FALL, which is due out next September. Can you tell us about that?
Yes! I’m so excited about WHEN WE FALL! It follows the lives of two women—Allison and Charlotte. Allison lost her husband in a tragic accident 11 years earlier and found out two weeks after the accident that she was pregnant with her son Logan. Now she’s moving back home to a suburb of NYC. She runs into her dead husband’s best friend, Charlie, from summer camp, where they all met, and ends up becoming good friends with his wife Charlotte. Unfortunately, Charlotte and Charlie are in a tumultuous marriage and that leads to a whole set of problems. Like YOU KNEW ME WHEN, it’s about women who are trying to find their way and their happiness.
6. What is your writing process like?
When I’m in full blown writing mode, which is about seven months out of the year (not including editing), I write five days a week for about four to five hours a day. After that, I burn out and all of the words start looking the same. I do write in silence in my home office while my kids are at school. I start with the first line, always. I have to write the book in order, though I know some writers do not.
7. Becoming a published author is never an easy path. How do you make it through the tough days?
Wine and tears. Kidding! (kind of) You have to develop a thick skin. It’s something I’ve learned along the way. Everyone gets rejections. And it’s not fun. But you keep pushing yourself. If someone slams a door in your face, you have to kick it in.
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received that you can share with aspiring writers hoping to one day land a publishing deal with one of the Big Six?
Write what you’re passionate about and what you know. Don’t succumb to trends. In other words, if ghosts and goblins are all the rage and you’re a women’s fiction author, don’t be lured to the dark side because you think another genre will be easier to sell.
To keep up with Emily and the latest on WHEN WE FALL, check out her website at emilyliebert.com, visit her Facebook page, or tweet with her at @EmilyLiebert. She is also active on Pinterest.
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