August 2008


Lee Nichols' debut novel, Tales of a Drama Queen, brought the unreliable but loveable Elle Medina to the chick lit world. Her fifth novel, Reconstructing Brigid, is out this month. She lives in Maine with her author husband and son.

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  1. 1. What is it about Brigid that will appeal to readers?

    She's terrific at her job as an accident reconstructionist, but her personal life is a mess and she's trying not to let that color her work - something I think many women can relate to. In my past books the characters have struggled more in their professional lives, so it was fun to write a heroine who was great at what she does. Also, I love that it's her feminine intuition and instincts that make her the best - women don't get enough credit for the unique traits they bring to the workplace. I think she's one of my more complex, wounded characters and the details of her career were fascinating to research and write about.

  2. 2. Why did you turn to writing a mystery?

    I've always wanted to write a mystery. And the best thing about writing for Red Dress Ink is they allowed me to explore other possibilities within a chick lit framework - the paranormal in Wednesday Night Witches and now a mystery in Reconstructing Brigid.

  3. 3. Do you have a phobia about anything?

    I love honey bees and bumble bees, but I'm terrified of wasps and yellow jackets. I completely freeze up when they come buzzing.

  4. 4. Tell us about your upcoming paranormal series for young adult readers.

    I just sold a three-book series to Bloomsbury, which still doesn't have a title. It's about a 17-year-old girl who discovers she can control ghosts. She comes from a long line of ghostkeepers, but has been kept in the dark about her abilities until now.

  5. 5. Will you return to chick lit?

    I actually don't feel like I've really left it. Certainly the heroine in the ghostkeeping series still has that chick lit voice and is trying to figure out who she is, who she wants to be.

  6. 6. How does having a husband who writes help and/or hinder you?

    I can't think any way in which it hinders. Certainly we've had some rough arguments, but they invariably lead to breakthroughs. I can't imagine writing without him. We constantly discuss plot points, characterizations, structure, etc. and when it comes to editing each other's work, we're ruthless.

  7. 7. Which of your characters are you most like?

    I probably identify most with Anne in Hand-Me-Down. I don't have sisters, but had a lot of cruddy jobs before I realized I really wanted to be a writer. Her struggle with finding a satisfying career and not wanting to settle down and have kids (yet) resonated with me and I think a lot of young women. In terms of personality, I'm probably most like Maya, the Drama Queen's best friend.

  8. 8. What's the worst job you've ever had?

    I worked in a factory for about three hours before I pretended I was sick and went home.

  9. 9. How did you get into writing?

    I went to Hampshire College where we had no tests and wrote endless papers, instead. It was sort of the perfect training for a career in writing, because you have so many writing deadlines and working with a professor on a thesis paper is not all that different from working with agents and editors.

  10. 10. What was the inspiration behind Tales of a Drama Queen?

    Actually, my first conception of Tales of a Drama Queen was as a mystery - a fake psychic who gets involved in murders and solves them. But I was reading a lot of Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby and Christopher Moore and decided I wanted to write something more like that. And when Confessions of a Shopaholic and See Jane Date came out, I knew there'd be a market for Drama Queen.

  11. 11. Did you always intend to write a sequel about Elle?

    Yes, I think the second Shopaholic book had been published and I realized this was the same kind character who could have further exploits, hence we came up with a similar title: Tales of a Drama Queen. But I'd already sold the Hand-Me-Down idea - a woman who falls in love with a man who's dated both her older sisters - so the sequel True Lies of a Drama Queen ended up being the third book I wrote.

  12. 12. In Wednesday Night Witches your characters make a wish. What would you most wish for?

    Well, in keeping with the spirit of that book: I wish to be a NYT's bestselling author! But if I were really presented with the chance, I'd probably wish for something that would solve one of the terrible problems we're facing as a country and a world. Like how about all the cars suddenly run purely on wind power? That would be pretty great. Impossible, but great.

  13. 13. If you could invite three fictional characters to dinner, who would they be?

    Right now the heroine, love interest and villain of my ghostkeeping series, so they could just lay it all out for me. This is a fun twist on the dinner with authors question, but I'd be a little afraid of inviting characters that you loved to dinner. What if they started spouting off about something you really rather not know about them?

  14. 14. What career advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

    Mostly, it takes the ability to persevere through rejection. If one book doesn't sell, write the next one. Also, there are tons more non-fiction books published each year. It's a great way to get your foot in the door. It's how my husband and I both got started.

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