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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

❤author: Elisa Lorello interview and giveaway!

❤ Today, I'm featuring author, Elisa Lorello at ¡Miraculous!. Elisa, will you please share a short bio with us?

Elisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, the youngest of seven children. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and eventually launched a career in rhetoric and composition studies. She has been teaching first-year writing to university students since 2000. Elisa currently resides in North Carolina, where she splits her time between teaching and writing. In addition to Why I Love Singlehood (co-authored with Sarah Girrell), she is the author of Kindle bestsellers Faking It and Ordinary World.

❤ Tell us about your books.

Why I Love Singlehood is about a coffeeshop owner named Eva Perino who starts a blog of the same name as the book. With her best friend Minerva, as well as her quirky co-workers and clientele, Eva sets out on a search to find out what (or who) is the love of her life.

Faking It is about a writing professor (Andi) who meets a male escort (Devin) and proposes an unusual arrangement. Ordinary World picks up Andi’s story approximately five years later.

❤ Here's the official blurb and cover for Elisa's newest release, Why I Love Singlehood:
Eva Perino is single and proud of it. Owner of The Grounds, a coffee shop nestled in the heart of a college town, thirtysomething Eva cherishes her comfortable life filled with quirky friends, a fun job, and no significant other. In fact, she’s so content to be on her own that she started a blog about it: “Why I Love Singlehood.” Yet when she hears the news of her ex-boyfriend’s engagement, her confidence in her single status takes a surprisingly hard hit. 

So begins Eva’s clumsy (and occasionally uproarious) search for love as she secretly joins an online dating site, tries her hand at speed-dating, and breaks her own rule by getting involved with one of The Grounds’ regulars. Soon Eva is forced to figure out exactly who—or what—is the true love of her life. Sparkling with warmth and wit, Why I Love Singlehood is a charming and insightful must-read for anyone—single or otherwise—who has ever been stymied by love.
❤ When and why did you begin writing?

The first thing I remember writing was in first grade: my teacher handed me a picture card with a boy reaching for a cookie jar, and I made up a story about it. For as long as I can remember, writing was something that felt normal, natural, and pleasant—even when it wasn’t so easy. I liked to write little stories, but it also became an important outlet of expression for me, especially during my turbulent teen years. I wrote nonfiction prose for a long time because I thought I wasn’t any good as a fiction writer. After Faking It, the damn broke, and I’ve never felt more at home.

❤ What inspired you to write your first book and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

The idea for Faking It came to me in 1999, after watching an episode of Sex and the City. I wondered what it would be like to talk about sex as casually as one talks about shoes or music—that wasn’t the world I grew up in! When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite movies, so a “what-if” formed along the lines of: “What if a very inhibited woman met an uninhibited man, and what if they became friends?”

I didn’t actually write the novel until five years later—despite the stories I wrote during childhood, I never believed myself to be a fiction writer. But the idea wouldn’t go away, and pretty soon the characters began speaking to each other, and I had to get it down on the page. When I finished the first draft in 2004, I was surprised by how much I liked what I had written. After revision (not to mention relocating to another state), I met someone who took me through the query and submission process, and I queried about 50-60 agents. All of them rejected the Faking It, but some liked it, liked my writing, and gave me some helpful advice. I thought the book was good and decided to self-publish it through in late 2008. About six months later, I published it on the Amazon Kindle, and that was the game-changer. By January 2010, Faking It peaked at #6 on the best-seller list and sold about 15,000 e-copies. (To date, it’s sold well over 50,000.)

Ordinary World followed, and peaked at about #25.

AmazonEncore, an imprint of Amazon Publishers, were very enthusiastic about Faking It and contacted me in June 2010, and the rest is history! They’ve been very supportive of Why I Love Singlehood, and Sarah and I are thrilled to be AmazonEncore authors.

❤ How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories? 

Because publishing was the last thing on my mind when I wrote Faking It, and because I had less confidence as a fiction writer, I relied a lot on what I knew, and used a lot of surface details that mirrored my own life: Andi was a rhetoric and composition scholar, and I had just completed my masters degree in the same field. She was a Long Islander who lived in southeastern Massachusetts, as was I. She had brothers who were musicians, as did I. But the more I got to know Andi as a character, the more she came into her own, and she had a very different life story from my own.

The more confident I became, the less I relied on those kinds of surface details. For example, I don’t have as much in common with Eva other than that I’m single and have had some negative experiences with online dating (although hers were way worse!).

That said, there’s always a little of me in every character—even the guys—and I write about things that I like. I always write the book I would want to read. I love Picasso’s quote “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” I’m always exploring a truth that needs to be told, but doing so in ways that are not necessarily autobiographical. Once in awhile a real conversation, story, event, etc. goes into a scene, but it’s re-told to suit the purpose of that character or scene or story.

❤ What are your biggest motivations for writing?

When people ask me when or why I became a writer, I usually answer that I never became a writer—I always was a writer. I write because I’d be very unhappy if I didn’t. I suppose writing is home.

❤ What’s the most challenging aspect of writing?

Revision can be the sandbox of writing, or it can be the hole you’ve fallen into and need to dig yourself out. I’ve gotten writers block a lot of times, and that’s never fun. I also dread when I need to research something, because despite my teaching research methods to my students, I dislike the research process!

❤ Easiest?

Dialogue comes easiest to me. I love writing dialogue. I’m surprised I didn’t become a screenwriter. I also love narration.

❤ And the most rewarding?

I think the rewarding part is when I get an email from someone I’ve never met and they tell me how one of my books has touched them in some way. That, and I love when something I’ve written makes someone laugh, especially if s/he is someone special to me!

❤ Describe your books in three words.

Smart. Thoughtful. Funny.

❤ What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

Hmmm… that’s a good question. A lot of people call my books “smart chick lit”—I think it’s kind of a smack against chick lit, but I get what they mean. My favorite description of one of my books came from an Amazon reviewer who called it “a beach book with a brain.” I’ve been using that pitch ever since!

❤ What's next for you?

I’m working on novel #4—I don’t like to talk about my works in progress, but I’m really liking the story so far. I’m also writing solo again. Sarah and I had a blast writing Why I Love Singlehood together, and we never rule out a future collaboration, but we’re both doing separate things right now.

❤ Where can you be found on the web?

Right now I’m probably most visible on Twitter, and anyone can follow me. I have a blog called “I’ll Have What She’s Having” but I don’t get to write as consistently as I’d like to—I’m just way too busy! And I have a rather boring, amateur website that is in serious need of a makeover.

❤ Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I’m always interested to know what resonates with readers in terms of characters or relationships. Additionally, what makes them pick up a book and keep on reading it?

❤ Thank you for being here today, Elisa! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your books better :) Everyone, be sure to check out my review of Why I Love Singlehood as well.

Thank you for hosting me!

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity, I have one print copy of Why I Love Singlehood up for grabs. To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What do you love about singlehood? To be frank, I hate being single. I'm sorry, but I'm not one of those people who can put on a brave face and pretend like being alone is a good sort of thing. But if I had to choose... well I like how it means I can flirt with whoever I want :)

Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so I can contact you when you win. This giveaway is open to US readers only, and will end on July 13th, 2011 at midnight EST.

As a reminder, following my blog is NOT required, but it is much appreciated!

Good luck!!!