I have persuaded Donna to answer twenty random, silly but sometimes serious questions to delve a little deeper into the mind of this illustrious chick lit author! So please read on and take a look at the previous review I compiled some months ago when I first got my hands on this great little number.
Describe your novel in twenty words or less.
With help from her friends, 30 year old Tara goes on a quest to find closure on her failed marriage.
Haha – I did it! *Am jumping around the living room high fiving myself*
What were some of the biggest obstacles that you had to overcome while writing?
The Seven Steps to Closure is my debut novel, so I’m guessing I was plagued by the normal confidence problems of an inexperienced author. Probably convincing myself that what I was writing was interesting enough to make it worthwhile finishing was the hardest part.
Are you also a reader, and if so, what’s your preferred genre?
I’m an avid reader – as you’ll find out in question 15, and although I do love chick lit I also adore fantasy and horror. The series I am currently working on is YA urban fantasy.
If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’ve had a good, hard, 5 minute think about this and I would have to say Angelina Jolie. I really admire her as a philanthropist and humanitarian and I think she would be fascinating to talk to. Plus I’d be hoping hubby Brad might stick his head in to say hi.
Do you have any weird little habits that get you in the writing mood—downing a bottle of wine, eating an entire bar of chocolate, fornicating on a porch swing?
Geez – now you’ve got me thinking about porch swings. Maybe I should buy one? But until I give that a try I would have to say that I love nothing more than sipping a glass of Malborough Sav Blanc while I write in the evening. Ice-cream has also been known to do it for me and chocolate and a hot cup of tea works well. Okay - as long as it’s yummy I’m eating it while I write.
What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
I think a lot of chick lit novels leave you with the impression that you can’t be happy without a partner, and that marriage is the be all and end all to life. My book is more about my protagonist, Tara, finding herself. Don’t get me wrong, there is some romance in there for her, but she realises along her journey that she has to be able to be happy by herself. I think that is an important message to take home.
Okay, so I bet you secretly hate one of the characters in your novel. Who is it and why?
No secret here – I despise her ex-husband Jake. He’s a downright, dirty, manipulating bastard. I hate those sorts of people.
You’re on death row and it’s your last meal. What will you choose to eat?
Okay – death row – so no need to worry about weight gain or food intolerances.
I’d start with some excellent salty blue cheese and crackers, before moving onto an entrée of seafood risotto with fresh parmesan, served with a bottle of savvy B. (I mean I am about to die, I may as well die happy.) Then for main I’d have a rack of lamb with roast vegetables and a bottle of Claire Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I’d finish up with my special home-made caramel ice-cream topped with freshly roasted, salted macadamias served with a botrytis dessert wine.
After that I’d be so full and drunk that I probably wouldn’t even notice my own demise.
Tell us three crazy things about yourself that you wish no one else knew (I promise I won’t post this … but I lie).
When I was a small child I used to eat sand. I don’t know why – it just tasted good.
If I’ve had visitors staying for a while, when they leave I like to do a nude run throughout the house.
In winter I dress my dogs in fluffy pink jumpers – it keeps them warm and me amused.
Are you a scruncher or a folder? (Yes, this is a toilet paper question)
I’m a fruncher. I start out by folding the length of paper in half, then into quarters, but by then I’m out of time so I just scrunch it and use it like that.
If you had to pick one song to be the soundtrack to your novel, what would it be and why?
‘50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ by Train. I love this song so much, and it’s about having trouble saying goodbye and moving on, which sums up Tara at the start of the novel.
Do you have any future projects lined up that you want to tell us about?
Yep – I’ve just finished writing book 2 in The War Faery Series. I’m pretty excited about this as I love fantasy and it is so much fun to write. Plus I’ve started my next chick lit novel, Cocoa and Chanel, which will also slip into the crime genre.
E-book or paperback, what’s your preference?
I used to be hard core paperback until I got my kindle – now I love e-books. It’s fantastic not to have to lug around 10 books whenever I go on holidays. And as much as I have always enjoyed holding a book and turning the pages, the convenience of my kindle totally overrides that pleasure.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing style?
Marian Keyes and Janet Evanovich made me want to write chick lit. I love the edginess of Janet Evanovich’s books and Marian Keyes’ characters always have so much depth. I’ve also read the Twilight Series a number of times trying to analyse what makes Stephenie Meyers writing so compelling.
15. If you were stuck on a deserted Island would you choose:
a) A total hottie to keep you company over the lonely nights ahead.
b) A solar powered Kindle with limitless reading potential.
c) Tom Hanks and Wilson to help get your ass off the Island.
Geez – Hard call…. I’d really like to say a) a total hottie, and make myself sound really exciting, but I’ve been working so hard lately I’d actually pay to be shipwrecked on a deserted island with b) a solar powered kindle with limitless reading potential.
Where can we find you?
Blog/Website: You can find me at www.DonnaJoyUsher.com
Facebook: Donna Joy Usher - The Author
Who has been your biggest support on your writing journey, and please, feel free to add my name here …
I’m not brown nosing here but you have been, and continue to be, one of my biggest supports. My Mum would have to be my number one fan though, and she is a huge support always reading my blogs and guest posts before I publish them.
What is one of your favourite scenes from your novel? Feel free to provide a small excerpt to entice the readers.
Hmmmm, there are so many scenes I love in my book - I still get emotional whenever I read the ending, and there are so many places I still laugh. Here I’ll give you a snippet that won’t spoil the story for you.
Ahhhh, the joys of clothes shopping: the smell of the leather shoes, the feel of the fabrics under my fingertips, the sight of my dimpled white ass glowing in the fluorescent lighting. I was a vision to behold in the outfit I had just squeezed into. It had taken me a good five minutes to get the pants up. I had struggled and jumped up and down in the dressing room, until the sales assistant - hearing the moaning and groaning - had come to the door to see if I was all right.
'I'm just great,' I said in my best now-piss-off-and-leave-me-alone voice.
'How does it look?' asked Elaine brightly, from the other side of the door.
'Fine and dandy, if you like muffin tops.'
'How bad can it be?'
'You have no idea.'
'Are you ready to show me?'
'Promise not to laugh.'
‘You know I can’t promise that,’ she said.
I undid the lock and opened the door just enough to give one of Elaine's eyes access to the disaster in the change room.
'Oh dear,' she said on viewing the pants.
I had pulled them up as far as possible but the zip was only one inch long. I mean seriously how were you meant to wear these?
Exactly what body shape had they been designed for?
'Jump up and down,' she said.
I jumped about five centimetres off the ground a couple of times. I could feel the part of me flowing over the top of the waistband wobbling on when the rest of me had stopped. It was disconcerting.
'Bend over.’ Elaine was obviously curious as to how far we could push the limits of the shiny, disco club material. I bent over as far as I could without ripping open the back of the pants, which was not very far. When I stood back up, a small amount of pubic hair popped over the top of the pants. I saw Elaine's eyebrows shoot up as she started giggling.
Unfortunately the shop assistant chose that exact moment to join Elaine, and pulled open the door to get a better look. I squealed in horror and held both hands over the offending tuft of hair. Elaine was doing her darndest not to laugh out loud. Her eyes were filled with barely suppressed mirth and her face was turning as red as mine felt. She probably would have made it, if the sales assistant hadn't chosen that precise moment to say, 'Mmmm. They look quite nice.'
If you had to cast your characters, who would you reconcile to play their parts?
This was a hard one but here goes:
Tara – Kristen Wiig (Annie from Bridesmaids)
Jake – Derek Shepard (Mc Dreamy) - he’s got the correct look for this part.
Matt – Without a doubt Daniel Craig - more because I’d like to stalk him on the film set than any other reason. Yummy!
Elaine – Wendi McLendon-Covey (Rita from Bridesmaids)
Dinah – Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau)
Natalie – Katherine Heigl
Tash – Malin Akerman
Any last words? (feel free to write Kristy Berridge is super awesome right here)
I just want to thank you for hosting me on your blog, even though I know this is not your normal genre. And I want to let your readers know that if they buy a copy of my book during the tour - it’s only $3.99 on kindle - to make sure they send a copy of their receipt to ChickLitPlus.com for five chances in a draw to win a $25 amazon card. There’s two to be won.