Jen: Today our guest is Irene Zutell. Her book Pieces of Happily Ever After is kick off selection for the SheKnows Book Club (which I will be posting more information about on Thursday). Irene, will you please share a short bio with us?
Irene: I’m the author of three books. My latest is called Pieces of Happily Ever After. I’ve also written for many newspapers and magazines. I was a staff writer for People magazine’s Los Angeles bureau. I also spent a few years as a travel writer.
Jen: Tell us about Pieces of Happily Ever After and where it’s available.
Irene: Pieces of Happily Ever After is about a woman whose husband leaves her for a very famous celebrity. She’s got to rebuild her life while taking care of her little girl and her mom with Alzheimer’s. I came up with the idea when my neighbor’s husband left her for…Julia Roberts.
My book is available at all major bookstores, online and, starting in February, at Target.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Irene: I can’t remember. It seems I’ve always loved writing. When I was a little kid, I loved rainy summer afternoons, so I could sit at my desk and make up stories.
I was first published after college in my local newspaper. I wrote an article on a cat being stuck up in a tree. (I know, very cliché, but true.)
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Irene: A roller coaster ride!
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Irene: No. I wish I did. But with little kids, it’s whenever I have some free time.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Irene: They just come to me. It’s weird. I can’t really describe it, but I never really think about it. Suddenly this name just floats into my head. Maybe I’m insane!
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Irene: Yes. It can be scary and annoying. I’ll be trying to do something else and these whole scenes will just pop into my head and I’ll have to write them down. The worst is when I begin talking out loud about it in the car. I’ll forget that my daughters are in the backseat, and they’ll just look at me like I’ve lost my mind.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Irene: I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in seventh grade and was just spellbound by it. I can still recite the last few lines, even though I haven’t read it in years. I’ll read and reread anything by Joan Didion. She can say more in a sentence than most mere mortals can say in paragraphs.
Jen: If Pieces of Happily Ever After was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the heroine?
Irene: I always thought Renee Zellweger would make a great Alice.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Irene: Making lots of money at it!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Irene: Free time? I have two daughters who never let me have free time. But, I love playing with them and cooking with them.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Irene: Hopefully, I’ll finish my next novel soon.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Irene: Sure. Would you please buy my book— www.piecesofhappilyeverafter.com. And please tell all your friends to buy it. Thanks!
Jen: Readers, we have three (3) copies up Pieces of Happily Ever After up for grabs this week. The contest is for US residents only. To enter, first leave a comment or question for Irene. Then to finish, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to email@example.com. The contest will end on Sunday, February 14.