Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Lisa!
I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor and community volunteer. Clutch: a novel is my 4th book. The book actually started out as a screenplay that was optioned by a production company housed at one of the major movie studios summer 2014. Unfortunately, it fell out of development. I was eager to have this fun story with some of my favorite characters told, so I turned it into a short novel earlier this year.
How long have you been a writer?
I started writing Click: An Online Love Story after my husband and I married but before we had kids. Then I had to take a break from writing due to the rigors of motherhood. But I had always told myself – even as a little girl – that I would write a book one day. So I made the commitment to finish the book. I wrote in the mornings while the girls were at school or at night after they went to sleep. I made it a goal to write – even if only for a half hour – every day. That was five years ago. I’ve since published three additional novels - Double Click, Right Click and my latest release Clutch: a novel.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
I spent nearly 20 years working in the public relations industry, most of it at a global agency with marquee brand clients such as Ford, Sony and Gatorade. When I turned 40, I quit my job to spend more time with my kids. I’m fortunate that my husband makes a nice living and I’m able to be at home with my kids and focus on writing during my free time.
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
I remember writing short stories and poems as a child. I didn’t really ever anticipate becoming a writer. But I always said I would write a book. After my husband and I met online when online dating was in its infancy, I started writing down funny things that happened to me and stories from friends. From there, a novel emerged. It was only based on the positive reception of the book that I decided to continue writing. Now I can’t seem to stop the flow of sweet, romantic and funny stories that flow through my head.
Please give a brief description/storyline about Clutch.
Clutch is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit story that chronicles the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer, who goes through a series of unsuccessful romantic relationships she compares to various styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to stand up for the handbag style that embodies what she ultimately wants – the “Clutch” or someone to hold onto.
What was the inspiration for this story?
When I was writing the Click Trilogy, (Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click, Right Click) I was obsessed with NCIS reruns and would have the show on in the background as I wrote. There was an episode when one of the characters mentioned that men were like purses – something useless to hang on a woman’s arm. I started thinking about how men are like handbags and the idea grew from there.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
I honestly wasn’t sure anyone would buy it or want to read it. I figured my parents would buy a few copies and proudly show their friends that their daughter wrote a book. I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support of the book community who embraced the story all told in emails. It was enough of a success that it inspired me to continue writing.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
I write books that I myself would want to read. And I love chick lit and romantic comedies. As much as I also enjoy a good Pulitzer Prize winner or tear jerker, I feel like the world is so serious and sad already. I want a fun and sweet escape. And that’s what I hope I give my readers.
What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
As mentioned above, I love chick lit and romantic comedies – anything with lots of heart, humor and a happily ever after.
Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?
I sit in my home office at a HP desktop computer with a really big screen. My eyes grow tired pretty easily in my old age;) And, I like to write with the television on in the background. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns. As mentioned, now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS. I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
The Click Trilogy was inspired by my own dating misadventures and stories from friends. While writing the series, as mentioned, I was obsessed with NCIS reruns and would have the show on in the background as I wrote. There was an episode when one of the characters mentioned that men were like purses – something useless to hang on a woman’s arm. I started thinking about how men are like handbags and the idea for Clutch: a novel grew from there.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I have two school-aged girls, so my writing window is somewhat limited. I try to sit down every day for at least an hour while they are in school to jot down ideas that come to me. And I always have my iPhone handy to jot notes down when inspiration strikes.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
I really enjoy writing engaging, realistic and fun dialogue. I tend to let my characters have conversations in my head and then quickly write it all down before I forget. I would say I struggle most with descriptive narrative.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I can often be found watching my girls play soccer, going to the movies, reading a book or hanging out in my small beach town with my family and friends.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
Years ago, I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, "Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them." Having spent nearly 20 years working in the public relations industry where I spent the bulk of my time writing, and now being a fiction writer, I’m finding that to be absolutely true.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
Knowing that someone is giving up a few hours of their time to immerse herself into a world that I’ve created is very humbling and fills me with a big sense of responsibility. I want to make sure she has a good experience and feels it was time well spent. It’s most gratifying when she tells me she wishes she could really be friends with the characters I’ve created.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
I’m active on both Facebook and Twitter and happily respond to messages there. Feel free to reach out to me.
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
In my Click series, all of the characters were fictional, but some of their qualities and characteristics were inspired by real people I know, such as Shelley. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell. In clutch all of the characters are just figments of my overactive imagination and not in any way based on anyone I know.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
Many years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails. I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world. It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. Without that first experience, I probably wouldn’t have embarked on this new career.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
That’s a tough question to answer, as there are so many ways to look at it – financial, audience reach, reviews, etc. For me, I feel good when I see a positive review and know that I’ve brought some entertainment to someone for a few hours.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
In addition to promoting the new book, I’m looking into making connections within the motion picture industry to try and get a movie version made. As mentioned, the book started out as a screenplay that was under option at a major studio, but fell out of development. I’m eager to see if there’s interest from someone else on bringing this fun and quirky story to the big screen. So if you happen to be a well-to-do movie producer looking to make a new romantic comedy, please get in touch!
Thank you Lisa for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing with us a bit about yourself and your writing career.
About The Author
In addition to clutch: a novel, Lisa Becker is the author of the Click Trilogy, a contemporary romance series comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. She’s written bylined articles about dating and relationships for “Cupid’s Pulse,” “The Perfect Soulmate,” “GalTime,” “Single Edition,” “Healthy B Daily” and “Chick Lit Central” among others. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and two daughters.
Clutch by Lisa Becker
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: October 26, 2015
Format: Paperback - 214 pages
Kindle - 329 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
Buy The Book:
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
clutch: a novel is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to discover the “Clutch” or someone she wants to hold onto.
My Book Review:
Clutch: A Novel is an entertaining chick lit story that will keep you in stitches! Author Lisa Becker weaves a sassy fun tale that follows handbag designer Caroline Johnson's romantic trials and tribulations that she encounters during her journey in search of the perfect Mr. Right.
The reader can't help but follow Caroline as her dating life becomes a crazy roller coaster ride wrought with misadventures and date disasters that provides a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. She compares the men she dates to the various handbags that she creates. From the hobo bag - starving artist, the briefcase - businessman, the diaper bag - single dad, and the doctor bag - the professional, to name a few ... it's all about finding the clutch - the perfect man that she can hold onto.
And if that isn't enough, add in Caroline's relationship with best guy friend, bar owner Mike Barnsworth, who is by her side throughout her journey, each supporting the other as they go through the dreaded dating process, only to find out that the perfect person has been right in front of them the whole time!
Clutch: A Novel was such a fun and lighthearted story, it easily kept me engaged and entertained as Caroline and Mike's opposite approach to dating is full of dramatic and hilarious twist and turns. I really enjoyed following Caroline and Mike, they had such an awesome friendship bond, their witty banter and crazy antics kept me snickering as I turned the pages. I thought that the author's comparison of the variety of handbags to the male relationship types was fascinating, it made me wonder how many of us readers paused to compare our own handbags to the different men that we have dated ... hmmm ... very clever!
If you are looking for a delightful chick lit tale that has an enjoyable mixture of humor and romance, then look no further, Clutch: A Novel is the book for you!
RATING: 4 STARS
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