SP: Hey there! Thank you for hosting me, Libby! I had a lot of fun during your Girly Book Blog Hop and was super excited when you asked me to do a Q&A here. Yay!!
LM: Aw, my pleasure!
SP: Without further ado, I present the fun and creative Q&A that Libby personalized for me (so cool!), and I introduce you to the two novels in my When Girlfriends… chick lit series, including my newest release that just came out last week: When Girlfriends Step Up.
LM: Here's the synopsis:
Robin Sinclair is young, determined, and has a promising career. Even though she considers herself unlucky in love, Robin still dreams of a happily-ever-after kind of life. At twenty-five, the world of opportunity is wide. But it’s been a difficult year filled with trials…and it’s only just begun. While long-time friendships are finally on the mend, and things are starting to look up again, Robin is faced with her biggest challenge yet. She’s single and pregnant.
Uncertain of her future and scared of being alone, Robin must re-examine her life and choices, and summon the courage to step up. With the love and support of her best girlfriends, Robin will learn that when the going gets tough, the best of friends become family. And, perhaps, with their encouragement, Robin can mature and gain the confidence she needs. And about being unlucky in love - things are suddenly getting interesting with Robin’s attractive co-worker, Bobby.
The endearing sequel to When Girlfriends Break Hearts is about maturity and perseverance. It’s about friends coming together as family, about finding the strength within and around, and about writing your own happily-ever-after. About what happens when girlfriends step up.
LM: I can't wait to read it. Savannah, could you tell us about the connection between Sophie Wharton and Robin Sinclair, the protagonists from When Girlfriends Break Hearts and When Girlfriends Step Up?
SP: Sophie and Robin have been good friends for several years…since frosh year in college. But what goes down in When Girlfriends Break Hearts essentially creates a huge wedge between them. Their friendship is faced with the biggest hurdle that they must both either overcome, or let tear them completely apart. Forgive? Forget? Forsake?
In When Girlfriends Step Up Robin faces a major personal obstacle. She has to make a difficult, life-altering decision when the going really gets tough. Her novel is about learning what true friendship is all about.
LM: Cool. Did you plan to write a series from the beginning or were you inspired to do so after finishing the first book?
SP: I absolutely knew I wanted to create a series of six books from the onset. I knew I wanted to write about a group of six girlfriends—their ups, downs, everyday lives, friendships, romances, etc.—and I wanted each book told from each perspective. I didn’t, however, expect that I would plan a seventh in the series. Once I finished writing Sophie’s story in When Girlfriends Break Hearts I knew she needed her own sequel! I am extremely excited about her story.
LM: Six books! Whoa. That's impressive. What was it about Robin that made you decide to tell her story in the second When Girlfriends book?
SP: Even though Robin technically plays a major role in When Girlfriends Break Hearts, the reader doesn’t really see her that much (which totally makes sense because Sophie wouldn’t exactly want to be around her). Robin’s role in that story/entire scenario needed to be told, but it definitely deserved its own book. When Girlfriends Break Hearts was not the platform for Robin, but When Girlfriends Step Up is her story and, if I may say so myself, is a rocking story! Robin’s an amazing woman and I so love her story and character.
And when I wrote the ending of …Break Hearts I remember squirming in my seat, as I neared “The End,” thinking, “Ohmygosh! Okay…time to get to Robin’s part of the story! What happens next…this is going to be a crazy ride!”
LM: Why did you decide to set your novels in Seattle? Have you ever lived there?
SP: I had actually never been to Seattle before I wrote the first Seattle-based book in my series. I’m obsessed with the TV program, Frasier, and one of my favorite films is Assassins (don’t ask), and both are set in Seattle. So I decided the best way for me to finally visit the city that I’d peculiarly fallen in love with was to set my books there. (Then maybe one day I would be “forced” to go there for further book research.)
For the first book in the series I studied Lonely Planet’s guidebook like crazy, and some readers actually thought I’d visited Seattle based off of my descriptions. Then shortly after the first book’s release my husband surprised me with the plans for a trip to Seattle. I visited this May and it is truly the best place for my books, as I figured. It is one of the most beautiful and friendly cities I’ve ever visited. Absolutely perfect setting!
LM: That's so great. Tell me - how long ago did you start writing?
SP: I wrote scads of poems and songs starting around the age of five or six. My first novel was written when I was twelve, which I had fun passing around during my Computer and History classes.
LM: Did you always want to be an author?
SP: Absolutely. I was about six when I got a Lisa Frank notebook and decided the cartoon cover of the three ballerina bunnies needed a story, hence The Three Ballerina Bunnies, my first attempt at story-telling via the written word. That was the first notebook of many. I love to entertain; and story-telling and creatively writing are like a day at a theme park for me!
LM: Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?
SP: It’s not too quirky… I need absolute silence or very soft classical or jazz music playing in the background. But only during the first half hour or so when I sit down to write. Once I get into the groove I can turn up the tunes; even tunes with lyrics because distracting me from my writing flow can be tough.
Also, colorful highlighters are must-haves for character development, plot sequencing, special words I want to use to evoke emotions in particular scenes, etc. I’ve got crazy scratch papers and notebooks always splayed all over the desk. For an organized person, my writing space will look like utter chaos during a session.
LM: Hehe. Guess you're a plotter, not a pantser like me. Who are some of your favorite authors?
SP: Chick Lit super hero? Emily Giffin hands down! I’ve got a major author crush on her. J I respect and am inspired by the work of Mr. Stephen King. Wow! There’s a mastermind with a pen. I also love Roald Dahl, Bill Bryson, Firoozeh Dumas, Virginia Woolf, Tim O’Brien, and J.K. Rowling.
LM: What's your all-time favorite opening line?
SP: I suppose as an English Lit. student and chick lit lover and writer I should say Austen’s “It is a truth universally acknowledged[…]”. It is a fabulous one, but I’m quite fond of Virginia Woolf’s classic opener: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Just so powerful yet subdued at the same time. Love it! For a modern fave: “They say a lot can happen in a summer.” (Candace Bushnell)
LM: Nice. What's your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?
SP: Emily Giffin status applicable? I want readers to see my covers and go, “That’s Savannah Page!” Just like I did when I first came to know Emily. And, naturally, I want my stories to reach oodles of readers.
Then, Nancy Myers can give me a jingle and say, “We need to make movies out of these stories, girl.” To which I would respond, after picking my jaw up off of the floor, “OMG! When?” Nancy the Brilliant would say, “Yesterday.”
LM: Definitely not. I can totally relate. Now, can you give us a little teaser of what's next in the When Girlfriends series? I was going to ask if you had plans for a fourth one, but I know the answer to that one!
SP: There’s definitely a fourth one! And #5, 6, and 7! This month I’ll be finishing the rough draft of book four (psst, it’s Lara’s story and boy is she causing some trouble in her life). Then in November, in honor of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to try writing book 5. Lots of intense writing weeks ahead of me, but, like I said, writing is usually like going to Disneyland and getting to ride Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean thirty times in a row (and that’s a good thing!).
LM: I hear ya. Okay, now onto "pick one". First question: plotter or pantser. (Side note: I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this one. Hehe.)
SP: I’m the girl with about 7 day planners or calendars. I love organization and planning.
LM: I was right! Character first or Plot first?
SP: Character came first for me with my When Girlfriends… series. I knew who Sophie (and almost all of the girls) was before she even had a story. And that actually helped me create her story.
LM: Mac or PC?
SP: PC? What’s that? Politically correct? Our flat is pretty darn Apple-y.
LM: Edit as you go or Power through and edit later?
SP: Each writing session is the same. I read and edit everything I wrote during the previous session, then I start writing new material. I’ll then edit that material the following day, write new stuff...etc. etc. Then add a glass of merlot. Add 1-2 episodes of Frasier or The Office or 30 Rock. Go to bed. Repeat.
LM: Morning person or Night owl?
SP: Around 9.30 I’m a grumpy girl telling my husband it’s bed time. I have sensitive eyes that don’t produce enough tears (long story) so if I stay up past sleepy time I get itchy and really dry eyes. Then I get grumpier and…let’s just say it’s best that I follow the adage of, “Early to bed, early to rise.”
LM: Coffee or Tea?
SP: Both! I have an espresso machine that provides me that necessary morning Jo: Latte Macchiato. Nice and strong. Then a couple hours later it’s a mug of tea after mug of tea... (Green is best!)
LM: Coke or Pepsi?
SP: Neither. I shop and eat 99% (because 100% is probably impossible) chemical-, artificial preservative- and HFCS-free. One day, after reading a book about the French and their “typical” diet, I jumped up (seriously), and made my husband help me remove everything artificial from our cupboards and fridge. It was a hilarious afternoon. And our kitchen was bare! We went from sometimes 6 cans of Diet Dr. Pepper a day p.p. to not a single drop now. Since 2008 and going strong! I’m almost evangelical about the all-natural food style.
LM: Sandals or Stilettos?
SP: Both. And twenty pairs of each! I live in Berlin, so warmth and sunny days are as rare as a good Pink song (oops, did I just say that?). A woman can look and feel fabulous in heels so if I had to choose I’d definitely say Stilettos!
LM: Diamonds or Pearls?
SP: I have a diamond wedding ring that I don’t really wear; I wear just the band. I do have a pair of pearl earrings that my husband gave me as my wedding present and those I actually wear more than my wedding ring. Love-love me pearls!!
LM: Snow-capped mountain or Sandy beach?
SP: Beach! Mountain means climbing and I don’t do that. And I’m a So-Cal chick by nature. Bring me the beach any day…but with lots of SPF as I’m a ghosty girl.
LM: Cowboys or CEOs?
SP: CEO all the way. I don’t do dust, dirt, wide open spaces, or nature that clogs my pores… And I don’t do cowboys. (No pun intended…or…maybe, yes, pun actually intended. Wink-wink.) Concrete jungles are nice, and the sexy, suited men on the top floor are pretty and shiny!
LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?
SP: Uhhhh the Professor. I had a crush on him as a little girl. (Ah ha. Now I see where my affinity for the man who can take a Q-Tip, sand paper, and some dental floss and fashion me a mini mall came from! After the Professor came MacGyver…)
LM: Superman or Batman?
SP: Batman. Because I had a crush on Robin from that 1960s show. (Oh, wow. I’m seeing a pattern of childhood crushes here…)
LM: Alpha heroes or Beta heroes?
SP: Both! But, if I had to choose just one, then I’d say Beta. They’re more fun to read and discover and write because they’re so unexpected.
LM: Austen or the Brontes?
SP: I might have to go for the Brontë sisters. I really enjoyed when they were on the syllabi in college. But maybe because the courses were usually inundated with Austen material (and for good reason).
LM: Mr. Darcy or Captain Butler?
SP: Again, both. But Rhett is a pretty intriguing character. (And his name is super cool!)
LM: Hehe. The reason I ask this question is because I'm working on amassing recruits for Team Rhett. But that's a whole other story. Thanks so much for stopping in, Savannah! And to those of you reading, here's the adorable cover for When Girlfriends Step Up:
And here are Savannah's links: