Memphis: The City Magazine (Books feature, February 2016 print edition)
Stacey Wiedower has been busy the past year. The Memphis-based freelance writer has published three novels, with the last one released just last month.
The books — 30 First Dates, Now a Major Motion Picture, and How to Look Happy — are all from Gemma Halliday Publishing, “a small, boutique publisher of quality women’s genre fiction who work with a select number of authors per year,” according to their website.
To be fair, two of the books were written already when Wiedower got the offer to publish 30 First Dates, the second manuscript she’d actually finished.
“I wrote two books before I started seeking a publisher,” she says. “I edited Now a Major Motion Picture (the second book published) for years while I was looking into how to get published and while I was working on the second book. That one wasn’t the one that I felt I was ready to launch with.”
When she wrote 30 First Dates, she knew it was “hooky,” and that it would grab someone’s attention. Her publisher asked if she had anything else she was working on and, as it happened, she did. “Things happen faster in boutique publishing and small press publishing than they do in traditional publishing where it would be a year-and-a-half before your book is on a shelf. Here it’s like you get signed and my contract said ‘within a year.’”
Despite her good fortune, she doesn’t recommend publishing so quickly and so close together. “It did surprise me, the speed of it,” she says. “It would not have happened that way had I not had two finished books on the table to present to my publisher before I signed a contract. Launching a book is so emotionally taxing, it’s been the most exhausting year of my life.”
Write what you know. That’s the advice given to every would-be writer and Wiedower has taken it to heart. She was born in Girard, Illinois, and moved to Manchester, Tennessee, with her family as a child. She’d intended to enter college with the idea of studying law, but was dissuaded by a book of essays written by attorneys looking back at their decisions. She went, instead, into journalism for an undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis. “I would’ve become a writer no matter what I tried to do, that’s one thing I’ve figured out.”
Her first job as a reporter was with The Daily News. But she knew she needed to write what she knew — or what she loved — and that she should tailor her writing career towards that. With that goal in mind, she enrolled again at the U of M for a master’s in home furnishings merchandising, or interior design. Since then, as a freelance writer, she’s worked with The Commercial Appeal, HGTV.com, StyleBlueprint.com, and at an interior design firm, among others.
And, as would happen when you’re writing what you know, How To Look Happy, her latest novel, is about an interior designer. That character, Jen Dawson, works with the South’s hottest design firm and has a fiancé who’s on the short list of the city’s most eligible catches. But the plans she’s hatched for her life fall apart when her boss deceives her and her fiancé dumps her on the same day.
Chick-lit. It’s become a pejorative term in some circles, looked down upon by those with a more highbrow, literary bent. But it’s the genre these books belong shelved with, and Wiedower embraces it. “It was a bona fide term in the publishing industry until sometime in the last decade,” she says. “It became passé and publishers would not touch the genre at all. And it’s because it became oversaturated. Bridget Jones’s Diary was the tipping point. The same thing that happened to vampire young adult literature had happened to chick-lit a decade earlier.”
As she was editing Now a Major Motion Picture, she says, “I was sadly learning that the book I’d written was in a genre the publishing companies wouldn’t touch.”
But she didn’t let that get her down and she certainly didn’t stop or swerve into other topics. She stayed true to what she wanted to write and, in the end, it’s paid off. “At the same time I was learning all that, I was discovering the indie community, which is where that genre moved because it didn’t die; it’s seen a rebirth in indie publishing.”
And by all accounts, the indie community and chick-lit devotees have embraced Wiedower. Sales are brisk and her books are all well-rated on the Amazon and Goodreads sites.
The Wiedower household is a literary one. Her husband, Lance, is a freelance writer as well, specializing in business and travel stories. The couple met in college, have been married for 16 years, and, at one point, she was his editor while at The Daily News. Now, he’s her first reader and the two have found a symbiotic relationship as they both work from home to get their stories into print. Even their 9-year-old son, Colby, is getting in on the family business with a middle-grade chapter book manuscript in progress.
Stacey continues to weave her days around writing from various points of view and with differing intents. She’s stepping outside of chick-lit with her next work in progress and is anxious to see where that might lead. But whether it’s chick-lit or another genre, or a story about interior design for a local publication, the key is to keep writing.
“For my career, I have no real desire solely to do fiction, though I’d like to make that my main focus and have freelance on the side,” she says. “Right now it’s the other way around. I’d love to flip that.”
In spring 2015, I had my first-ever book tour stop, at Memphis’ big, wonderful indie bookstore, The Booksellers at Laurelwood. Here are a few pics from the event!
News Channel 3, Memphis: Live@9 morning show interview
March 24, 2015: Interview with Marybeth Conley & Alex Coleman in conjunction with the launch of 30 First Dates.
Here’s a link to the video of the broadcast. Prepare to be queasy! The studio had technical difficulties and the program didn’t record. The only recorded videos are hand-held recordings of a TV screen. The whole interview isn’t captured here, either. (Oops!)
Interview with Memphis Flyer editor Susan Ellis, Memphis Magazine’s 901 blog, July 29, 2015: Stacey Wiedower Releases Second Novel
Booksigning on Friday for “Now a Major Motion Picture.”
By Susan Ellis
Stacey Wiedower is one of those multi-hyphenates: journalist-interior designer-novelist. She writes about homes for The Commercial Appeal, worked for a design firm in town (which she has described as being like Designing Women), and recently released her second novel, Now a Major Motion Picture.
Did Wiedower always want to be a writer?
“Actually, no,” she says. “I was the only journalist walking around who didn’t want to write the great American novel, and I meant it.”
Ironically, it was when Wiedower was working for the design firm when the urge to write hit. She says that one day the idea for a book flashed in her head and she then spent the next three hours fleshing out the idea.
That idea was for Now a Major Motion Picture, which she wrote first. The second book she wrote, 30 First Dates, was released first in January 2015.
Wiedower says she finished both books before she sought out an agent and publisher. She landed with Gemma Halliday Publishing, which she says was a good fit amid all the vampire and dystopian novel publishers.
Both 30 First Dates — about a woman who writes a bucket list to be completed before her 30th birthday — and Now a Major Motion Picture — about a woman who becomes paparazzi-famous after she writes a novel series — can be considered chick lit or romantic comedy. Wiedower, who reads just about everything from classics to popular fiction, calls rom-com her favorite, “my comfort food.”
Wiedower’s protagonists have been on the verge of 30, at the cusp of “finding yourself in life, your career. They’re not remotely autobiographical, but there are parts of me. I try to write strong female characters.”
Wiedower is currently at work on her third novel about an interior designer in Memphis. “Still not autobiographical,” she swears.
Stacey Wiedower signs Now a Major Motion Picture at the South Main Book Juggler, Friday, July 31st, 6 p.m.
Living Life With Joy, July 15, 2015: Interview & Review of Now a Major Motion Picture
By Arielle Deltoro
Today I am thrilled to share my review of Stacey Wiedower’s latest novel Now A Major Motion Picture in addition to a fabulous interview with the author!
Now A Major Motion Picture by Stacey Wiedower
Published: June 11, 2015
Eight years after her fiancé’s betrayal rips her world apart, Amelia Wright is at the pinnacle of career success. Using heartbreak as her muse, she’s authored Shattered, a best-selling dystopian series that’s headed for the big screen. Though she writes under a pen name, she’s secretly scared Noah Bradley, her ex-fiancé, will recognize himself in her work, and, worse yet, realize she’s never moved on.
But in a world of Instagram and iPhones, Amelia quickly learns it isn’t easy to hide in plain sight—especially after a paparazzo steals a shot of Amelia in a steamy encounter with the star of her upcoming movie. At the height of the tabloid frenzy, Amelia uncovers a secret about Noah’s betrayal and finds herself faced with a choice. Will she move forward with her new life of Louboutins, limos, and bullying paparazzi, or succumb to the pull of a past she thought she’d finally written off?
To an outsider, Amelia’s life looks great. She’s a successful novelist, whose first book is about to be made into a major motion picture. What people don’t realize is that she’s falling apart inside. She hasn’t even started writing her third novel of the four contracted in the series, and she’s increasingly anxious that Noah will find out about the books and realize they’re all about him! And just because she hasn’t fully put her past behind her, doesn’t mean she’s not ready for the future…right?
My heart wrenched in sadness for what Noah did to destroy his relationship with Amelia all those years ago. It’s incredible how one bad decision can ruin someone’s entire life, especially when that other person is your whole world and the foundation for your entire future. How do you move past total grief over the ultimate betrayal? Not only did Noah’s betrayal lose him his fiancée and his future, but it made him lose his belief in his ability to love.
Noah and Amelia are both finally moving on in loving relationships with other people, but they both keep getting distracted by the other. They’re not fully over their shared history, and I’m not sure if they ever will be. They both are ‘in love’ with their current flame, but is that love as great as the love they had with one another all those years ago? Will anyone else ever be as perfect for them, or feel as right?
The biggest theme in this novel was the idea that communication is so incredibly important. Often times things aren’t the way they first appear on the surface and you have to dig deeper to find the truth. Sometimes uncovering the truth can lead to happiness about knowing the truth about a situation and being on the same page. On the same token, not communicating can lead to a world of hurt and pain. The twist of events in this novel was completely unexpected on my part and I enjoyed every minute of the journey! I thoroughly enjoyed the story with all of its twists and turns, and I really connected with the author’s writing. I can’t wait to read her other novels and I highly recommend you get a copy of all of them for yourself too!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Author Interview with Stacey Wiedower
1. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Sure! I wear tons of hats—wife, mom, freelance writer, author and interior designer. My freelance writing is mostly about homes and design, and so is my novel-in-progress. Apart from writing, I love to read, travel and draw.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of your latest novel and the inspiration behind it?
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE is my second book to be published, but it’s actually the first book I wrote. Its main character is a writer whose novel series is being turned into a movie. As she rises to fame as an author, her past (which inspired her books) gets all tangled up into her present. She becomes a paparazzi target and a household name, all the while trying to come to grips with her fame.
As for my inspiration, I was watching the special features on a DVD for a movie that was based on a book. In an interview, the author was asked, “Are any of your characters based on people you know in real life?” She answered “no,” of course (because authors always answer “no” to that question, whether it’s true or not), and that got me thinking, “What if they were?” So I invented my own author/character who gets herself into trouble by turning pieces of her real life into a fictional story that makes her famous.
3. How long did it take you to write Now a Major Motion Picture? What is your writing process like?
The book took nine months to write. At the time, most of my friends were having their second babies, and everyone joked that my second baby was a book. It’s true, in a way.
My writing process varies widely based on what’s happening in my life. I wrote NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE mostly late at night after my son was in bed, but I also wrote scenes with him on my lap, while riding in cars, while flying on planes, while sitting in waiting rooms. I was a woman possessed when it came to writing NAMMP. I wrote my first published book, 30 FIRST DATES, largely in coffee shops. I write when I can.
4. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
Yes! I’m writing my first novel-length story that draws on my interior design experience, which is super-fun. The main character is a designer who gets herself in trouble at work and has to employ every skill in her arsenal to redesign her career and love life. It’s called HOW TO LOOK HAPPY, and it’s coming in January 2016.
5. If you were given an offer to turn Now a Major Motion Picture into a movie, who would you want to see playing the roles of Amelia and Noah?
The actors who look most like Amelia and Noah look in my head are Odette Annable and Chace Crawford. Odette has a quiet, mysterious beauty and a girl-next-door quality that make her a dead ringer for Amelia. As for Chace, it’s mostly the eyes—deep blue. Those eyes make you understand how Amelia could pine for him years after she let him get away.
6. Did you always want to be a writer?
I would say yes and no. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and I worked as a reporter and editor for years before I knew I was meant to be a writer. I left journalism for a time, and it was while I was working full-time at an interior design firm that I realized how much I missed writing. I started my first novel then, and that’s when I truly fell in love with the craft of writing and knew I’d found my calling.
7. Who are the authors that inspire you and what genres do you enjoy reading?
The author I find most inspiring is Edith Wharton. I feel a sort of kinship with her because she was also a writer and an interior designer, and she combined the two by incorporating beautiful details into her settings. Reading her work is like taking a master class in world building and character development. I’d love to publish a non-fiction book about design one day, as she did. As for a contemporary author, I greatly look up to Mary Kay Andrews. Again, we have writing and design in common, and MKA started out as a reporter, like me.
As for books I enjoy, I read in a wide variety of genres. I love chick lit and rom-com, of course. But I also read a lot of literary fiction, YA and classics, and I’ve recently started reading more mysteries.
8. What kind of environment do you write in?
I’ll write anywhere, truly. I think years of working in a newsroom taught me to effectively tune out background noise and distractions. But my favorite place to write is in the good old, clichéd coffee shop. My brain knows that when I’m sipping a latte, I’m living in the fictional worlds in my head.
9. Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?
Yes—The Age of Innocence. Not only because it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (making Edith Wharton the first female novelist to win the Pulitzer), but because it’s captivating and haunting and so very, very vivid. It is easily my favorite book.
10. If you could be plopped down into any book, which one would it be?
For this, I’d pick the world of Emma Woodhouse. Any of Jane Austen’s books would be great fun to live out in real life, I think. That woman knew the power of a happy ending, and she wrote about the most exciting time of life (coming of age) in a fascinating, elegant era.
11. What are the things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Right now I’m obsessed with a jean jacket I bought when I was probably 12. It’s back in style—which makes me feel old, but I’m proud that it still fits! It looks good with everything. Apart from that, I love dresses. Since I spend so much time wearing yoga pants in front of a computer, when I go out I like to dress up.
12. What would we find if we looked in your handbag right now?
Hmm… Along with the usual keys, wallet, phone and lip gloss, you’d find crumpled up receipts, crayons and random small toys (the life of a mom), at least five pens, and loads of Post-its with scribbled notes for some upcoming writing project. Honestly, I should probably dig around in there and find some of the ideas I’ve jotted down and forgotten.
13. Where is your favorite place in the world?
This is a tie. If I could teleport to anywhere in the world right at this moment, I’d land in Paris. Everything about the city is inspiring to me. My dream of dreams would be to live in France and spend absolutely all my time creating fiction and creating art…and eating pain au chocolat.
BUT, I equally love my mother’s hometown of Norwich, England. It’s quaint and modern all at once, sort of a microcosm of all of Britain. When I get to visit (which isn’t often enough), I feel as if I’m standing in a postcard.
14. If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be?
The answer to that last question notwithstanding, the trip I’m dying to take right now is Greece. My perfect holiday would be spent island hopping in the Greek Isles, with a long stretch on Santorini.
Now that you’ve read my review and learned a bit more about Stacey, go ahead and get yourself a copy of her novel Now a Major Motion Picture!
Interview with Books by Banister, June 22, 2015: Casting Now a Major Motion Picture
Ever since my new book “NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE” came out, the question I’ve heard most is probably, “Oh, my God! Your book has been made into a movie??”
To which my answer is, “No, but maybe someday!” No harm in thinking big, right? 🙂
Seriously though, with NAMMP’s title and theme, it only makes sense that we talk leading and supporting actors here today. And so, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the cast and characters of NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!
Amelia Wright is played by Odette Annable. Dark hair, hazel eyes and an enigmatic beauty, with a girl-next-door quality.
Amelia Wright, a.k.a. Mel Henry, is the star of our feature. A small town girl at heart, she moves to New York City after college … and after her ex-fiancé rips her heart into a million jillion little shreds, leaving almost nothing left over for her or anyone else to put back together. When this happens, she’s basically numb, just going through the motions.
Fast forward eight years, and Amelia has built a new life for herself, with great friends, a great career, a great house, but one notable absence: love. Still agonizing over what she lost, Amelia turns to writing fiction to let go of the emotions she’s been bottling up since Noah broke her heart. She writes under a pseudonym in part because she’s shy, and in part to hide what she’s doing from Noah, who might recognize himself in her main character, Nick.
Noah Bradley bears an uncanny resemblance to this guy, Chace Crawford. Clearly a heartbreaker, right?
You probably hate him at this point, and with good reason. But every story has two sides, and as it turns out, Noah Bradley is as destroyed by what happened between him and Amelia as she is. When we catch up with Noah, he’s living a workaholic’s life in Dallas, Texas. Ever since his breakup with Amelia, Noah’s life has contained a void that he’s filled not with other women, but with his job. He’s an architect, and as we meet him he’s just been handed a commission that could make his career.
Once romance finally finds him, it begins to pierce Noah’s rock-hard shell. And that’s when we meet…
It takes someone larger than life to fill Erin Crawford’s shoes, and that’s why Jennifer Lawrence is ideal. Just pop some green contact lenses in those eyes, and voilà … Erin.
That’s right, none other than Erin Crawford, our leading lady from my first novel, 30 FIRST DATES. In NAMMP, you get a peek at Erin’s life before she starts her bucket list, her epic journey and her life-changing blog. In fact, thanks to our trouble-making leading man, you find out just why Erin was so desperate, lonely and fed up with love.
Colin Marks is played by Jake Pavelka, of The Bachelor Season 14 fame. No matter whether you love him or hate him (and the verdict is out), those eyes! That smile!
And just who is Colin Marks? If you don’t know, you’re about the only person on the planet who doesn’t. He’s only, like, the Jude Law of Amelia’s fictional universe.
The funny thing about Colin is that to cast his character I’m actually casting two characters—Colin and Nick, which means that in a sense, Colin is Noah. And this muddies up the romantic waters in both Amelia’s real life and the fictional life taking place in her head. Confused? That’s my intention! To solve the mystery of Colin, you’ll have to read the book. 😉
Eight years after her fiancé’s betrayal rips her world apart, Amelia Wright is at the pinnacle of career success. Using heartbreak as her muse, she’s authored Shattered, a best-selling dystopian series that’s headed for the big screen. Though she writes under a pen name, she’s secretly scared Noah Bradley, her ex, will recognize himself in her work, and, worse yet, realize she’s never moved on.
But in a world of Instagram and iPhones, she quickly learns it isn’t easy to hide in plain sight—especially after a paparazzo steals a shot of Amelia in a steamy encounter with the star of her upcoming movie. At the height of the tabloid frenzy, Amelia uncovers a secret about Noah’s betrayal and finds herself faced with a choice. Will she move forward with her new life of Louboutins, limos, and bullying paparazzi, or succumb to the pull of a past she thought she’d finally written off?
Book Review & Interview with The Bad Mommy Diaries, April 8, 2015:
Women Hero Wednesday! Stacey Wiedower
Fellow Chick Lit author Stacey Wiedower just released her first novel in January, and let me tell you, it was one of the most FUN novels I’ve read in a long time. Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After years of horrible luck in relationships, she decides to start a blog called “30 First Dates.” Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday, all to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes laughably bad dates, she crosses off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—and kills two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinnydips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is 4.5 stars but I wanted the author to get the benefit of a 5 star rating because this is probably the best chick lit novel I’ve read to date. (Trust me, 4.5 stars is HUGE from me…I don’t just give these stars away). I started this book and saw it was about a “bucket list”, a 30 by 30 list of things to accomplish. I just read a very similar book (“Twenty Five” by Rachel Hamm), so I was initially disappointed it would be about the same thing. Only it wasn’t at all. It was so poignant and funny and true to life. Sure, there were some unrealistic things that happened and sure, I figured out the ending, but the journey was much better than I expected. In the first book I read the list was mostly about the character feeling inadequate for her age. Maybe I couldn’t relate because at 25 I was married with a career, a house and a baby on the way. I think I related more to the idea that thirty really is a turning point in your life. It’s the point where you say, “well now what?” Even though I wasn’t looking for love at 30, most of what Erin went through in this book resonated with me. To me it was about finding what made you happy and being true to that. I really admire Erin for realizing even though she had a great job, it wasn’t what she was meant to do. Taking that huge step to change careers, even at a young age of 30, is a huge risk.
It doesn’t happen often that a book inspires me outside of the pages. I liked this book so much that I decided to make my own bucket list. I’m way too close to my 40th birthday, so I decided 50 things by 50. Some are risky, some are just about getting out of my comfort zone. But I know even if I don’t accomplish all of them, even if I only get a few done, I’ll be proud of myself. Just like Erin.
I loved the character of Erin. She was funny and ballsy and everything I inspire to be, a new kind of literary heroine. I spoke to Stacey about her own literary heroines and this is what she had to say:
“My favorite literary heroine is Jane Eyre because she’s strong and stands up for herself, and yet when people are cruel to her she only becomes kinder, rather than hateful or spiteful.”
Stacey is now one of MY favorite female writers, but I was curious, who her favorite was:
“My current favorite female author is … good grief, that’s a tough question. I’m going to answer Emily Giffin simply because I met her at a book signing last week, and she confirmed my long-held suspicion that she’s the type of person you’d love to have as a best friend.”
Writers love to envision their novels made into movies. I was curious who Stacey saw in the main role of Erin:
“My friends had a Facebook debate about this, and the consensus was Jennifer Lawrence.”
(I agree…she’d be perfect!)
And finally, since this was a novel about self exploration through a “bucket list”, I wanted to know, what’s on YOUR bucket list, Stacey?:
“I want to live in England for a while. A year, give or take, to really experience life somewhere else, get to know my family better (my mom is British), and expose my son to another culture. And while there, I want to travel and see as much of Europe as possible.”
If you love “The Bachelorette”, you’ll love this novel. If you love a fun read, you’ll love this novel. Ok, if you love books, you’ll love this novel! Pick it up today at: http://www.amazon.com/30-First-Dates-romantic-comedy-ebook/dp/B00S02R4UY.
Interview with Books by Banister, January 20, 2015:
Character Interview — Stacey Wiedower
My special guest on Books by Banister today is RomCom author Stacey Wiedower. Her debut novel, 30 First Dates, came out of the gate strong last week (58 Amazon reviews and a 5-star average in just 10 days!), and I’m sure there are more great things in store for this funny and talented lady. I loved Stacey’s short story in the holiday anthology, Cozy Christmas Capers, and can’t wait to dive into 30 First Dates. Be sure to grab your own copy of the book while it’s being offered at an introductory price of 99 cents!
Read on for Stacey’s interview with the heroine of her novel, romance-challenged Erin Crawford . . .
* * * * *
The main character of 30 First Dates, Erin Crawford, is going through a bit of an existential crisis … though she doesn’t know it yet at the start of the story. A few months prior, she’d broken up with the potential love of her life because he was in love with someone else. When her current boyfriend becomes ex-boyfriend material, she hates the pattern she sees emerging. And that’s where I’ll start this interview. Consider this a conversation with Erin just as she’s launching her blog, which of course is named “30 First Dates!”
Me: How was the idea for 30 First Dates born?
Erin: Out of a drinking game, really. (Laughs.) I was goofing off with some of my friends, and my roommate Sherri suggested we all write a bucket list. The last item on my bucket list was to start a blog.
Me: So it was that simple? How did the dating portion of the blog come into play?
Erin: Well, I was mulling over my bucket list one night, which is actually a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. But I had no idea what to blog about. A few weird coincidences put the idea of applying for “The Bachelor” into my head, and instead of doing that I decided I’d create my own dating reality show on my blog.
Me: You were engaged once. What happened to end that relationship?
Erin: I got engaged my senior year of college to Mathew, who I met at the start of sophomore year. The short answer to this question is that I found out he was fooling around on me, but the more complicated answer is that I was too young, totally scared and in no way ready to get married and settle down. I don’t think we’d have made it, so all in all I’m grateful things worked out the way they did.
Me: What about your ex-boyfriend Noah? You’ve referred to him as “the love of your life.” How did he become the one who got away?
Erin: The crux of the problem with Noah was that while I thought he might be the love of my life, I was not the love of his. It became clear to me while dating Noah that he wasn’t over his ex-girlfriend, Amelia. I could have seen a future with Noah, but in it I was always going to be second best. That’s why I broke up with him.
Me: Let’s talk career for a bit. You’re a teacher. Was that a lifelong dream?
Erin: You know, it wasn’t. I think like many entering college freshmen I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. In high school I was good at several different subjects and I really liked my senior calculus class – I had a teacher who made it interesting and even inspiring. That’s what pushed me in the direction of choosing math as my major, and probably what led me into teaching. If I could reach one kid the way she reached me, how cool would that be? Once I made my choice, I stuck with it all the way through graduate school and into Teach for America.
Me: If you could go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, where would you land?
Erin: Paris. No question. It has this romantic quality about it that just seems so exciting, like by being there anything could happen. I’ve never been out the country before and haven’t seen much beyond the American southwest, but I have a strong feeling that’s about to change. That’s another impetus behind my 30 by 30 bucket list and 30 First Dates.
Me: How would you sum yourself up in five words?
Erin: Wow, only five? Anybody who knows me knows I talk a lot, and often before I’ve thought through what’s coming out of my mouth. But I’ll give it a shot: Outgoing, fun, hard-working, loyal and, if I’m being completely honest, a bit hard-headed.
Me: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Erin: I have absolutely no idea. That’s the exciting part about 30 First Dates, and it’s also the reason I started the blog in the first place. I wanted a new adventure, something to drive me to change things up in my life and maybe figure myself out in the process. I was tired of “floating.”
Me: You’re an only child. How do you feel that’s affected you, especially when it comes to relationships?
Erin: I grew up with parents who wanted me and made me feel loved in a neighborhood surrounded by other kids, including my best friends Ben and Hilary. So I won’t give the expected answer about feeling lonely. And my parents’ relationship gave me a good model for how I want my own family and home life to look one day.
Me: Does that mean you want to have an only child, too? How do you feel about having children?
Erin: (Laughs.) I get this question a lot, probably because I’m the girl who flees the room when the conversation turns to child-bearing and parenting and such. The whole process terrifies me, if you want to know the truth. I feel like I need to have a better plan in place for my life before bringing someone else into it who depends on me to have it all together. But just to get it on record, I do want children someday. Or a child. I wouldn’t be opposed at all to having just one, because like I said, it wasn’t a bad experience for me.
Interview with ChickLitCentral.com, January 15, 2015:
Stacey Wiedower makes herself at home
When I first saw the title of Stacey Wiedower’s debut novel, 30 First Dates, I kept thinking of 50 First Dates, which is one of my favorite movies. However, the concept of this story is completely different, but it still sounds like a lot of fun (and hopefully less sobbing involved). In any case, I’m glad that Stacey could stop by to talk about her favorite things and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her in this way.
Stacey started her career as a reporter at a daily newspaper before following her passion to interior design school. She spent three years at a firm with bizarre similarities to Designing Women, and now she funnels all of those experiences into her work as a full-time writer. Along with magazine articles, website copy and a weekly feature called “My New Home,” she writes romantic comedy, and the zany characters she’s met poke their heads into her stories from time to time. Stacey lives in Tennessee with her husband, also a writer, and a son who’s inherited their overactive imaginations.
Synopsis of 30 First Dates:
Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After years of horrible luck in relationships, she decides to start a blog called “30 First Dates.” Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday, all to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes laughably bad dates, she crosses off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—and kills two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinny-dips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl?
Oprah used to give away her “favorite things” on her show. If you were to do a show where you could give people FIVE of your “favorite things,” what would you include and how would you present it?
I love reading “favorite things” lists! One of my favorite magazines, Elle Décor, features a designer or trendsetter in a list of “12 Things He/She Can’t Live Without,” and I pore over this article every month. You learn so much about somebody by finding out what they love (and you get great ideas for things you might want to try yourself). I’m super excited to write my own list of five favorite things:
Bare Escentuals mineral foundation. I discovered bareMinerals makeup probably six or seven years ago, and I don’t think I’m overstating things to say it changed my life. I still don’t understand how it works, but this small tub of powder is like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for your face. It goes on easily, stays on all day and covers any and all blemishes and splotchy spots. It’s even helped my complexion! And it’s made with natural ingredients that give it a low ranking on the toxicity scale, which makes it even better.
My old-school Kindle. I stare at a computer all day long, every day, so when I read the last thing I want to do is look at another backlit screen. That’s why I love my early model Kindle, which reads like the pages of a “real” book. For my giveaway I’d upgrade viewers to the newest non-lit model, but honestly, that good old original Kindle does me just fine.
PG Tips black tea. My mother is British, and so even though I grew up in the American south, I’ve started and/or ended most days of my life with a nice, hot cup of English tea. A teaspoon of sugar, a splash of milk … perfection. My favorite brand is PG Tips, and my parents used to bring back suitcases full of it before it became readily available in the United States. My electric tea kettle is another must-have in my life.
MacLeod Family Vineyard zinfandel. I had an amazing experience touring this small, family-owned vineyard on a trip to Sonoma County, California. My husband and I sat on hay bales in the bed of the owners’ pickup, their sweet dog right beside us, as we rumbled across the hilly terrain. We tasted wines, cheeses and chocolates on a red-and-white checked tablecloth under a shade tree, surrounded by a panoramic view of rolling hills draped in grapevines. It was as idyllic as it sounds! The trip inspired a scene in 30 First Dates, though my vineyard experience was a bit less risqué than main character Erin Crawford’s. (Let’s just say I was fully clothed.)
Time to myself. I can’t for one second imagine life without my family and friends. But there’s nothing like a weekend away to recharge, forget your mountain of responsibilities and relax, already. On my show, I’d give an audience full of busy working moms a long weekend at a technology-free spa. Oh, and if anybody wants to give me that, I’ll be your new best friend!
Thanks to Stacey for sharing her favorite things with us and for sharing her book with our readers!
~Introduction by Melissa Amster