Maureen Lipinski discovered she was pregnant just after finishing her debut novel A Bump in the Road. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Shortly after my husband and I got married, I made the decision to fulfill my life-long dream of writing a book. At first, I think I just wanted to see if I could write 80,000 related words. I knew I wanted to set the story in Chicago, with a couple in their mid-20s. The pregnancy part came to me as I examined my own life, asking a lot of "what if" questions. I think the exact question was, "What would be the most shocking, surprising thing that could happen for me right now?" Which, apparently, was destined for both my main character and me!
I finished the book in November of 2007. I was busy compiling lists of agents to query the next month when I discovered my own little "bump in the road". I don't think shocked quite covers it!
I went back and made a few notes and incorporated my own experiences. For example, Clare's glucose test at the hospital almost identically mirrors mine - complete with screaming toddler! Although I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that I really had nailed a lot of the pregnancy emotions in the first draft.
Well, I delivered in August, (during the US summer), so that should give you some idea how cranky I was at the end! My son was almost nine pounds, so I was waddling around in 90-degree heat with hugely swollen feet (four sizes bigger than normal) and enduring fearful looks from strangers who thought I was going to give birth right there on their shoes.
There are certainly many aspects of Clare that mirror my own life but she's definitely a construct of my imagination. I don't have a famous blog or work in event planning. Not to mention, she's much, much funnier than I am.
Definitely. I think Clare is a really relatable character. She's confident but self-deprecating and independent but surrounded by a wonderful circle of support. I feel like she's someone who would be a great friend and wonderful sounding board.
The edits for the second book are staring me in the face as I type this - metaphorically speaking, of course. I'm currently working on the sequel to Clare's story and it should be out next summer. It will detail her first year as a working mom and her struggle to avoid anything resembling Mom Jeans.
It's funny, because I have friends with characteristics of both Reese and Julie. Each character is a conglomeration of different friends, family members and imaginary details. I think I have really interesting friends, which allows for great book material! If I had to choose, I'd say Julie is closer to how my friends and I were in college and Reese is probably closer to reality now that most of my friends are married. So at this point in my life, I'd say Reese - although I think everyone can use a little Julie in their life!
Being a fan of many popular blogs myself, I was fascinated with the idea that these people are so intimately known to us and so easily accessible. In the age of US Weekly, these famous bloggers are the everyday celebrities, sometimes recognized in public. I thought it was a great set-up for and background to all of the hilarious, embarrassing moments that come along with being pregnant.
The Novel Girls is a group blog ("grog") of five debut authors - myself, Tracy Madison, Jillian Cantor, Lisa Patton and Lesley Livingston. We write everything from commercial women's fiction, to young adult fantasy to romance. Each week is a different topic, ranging from plotting tricks to author promotions to our favorite books. It's been a wonderful experience to share my debut year with these four amazing women. Come party with us at www.thenovelgirls.blogspot.com.
I think the best thing about being a published author is first, knowing that I had the courage to pursue my dreams and second, the gratification that comes with people responding to my work. It's both completely humbling and fabulous when I hear from someone who enjoyed my book. I think the worst thing about being published is there are so many things you can't control - things like bookstore placement, sales and print-runs. At some point, you have to let go and just keep writing, as difficult as that may be. But that's why God invented wine and chocolate, right?
Being laid-off has been one of the biggest blessings ever. I spent the last year loudly proclaiming that I wanted to write full-time and guess what? It's been wonderful to focus solely on writing and spend more time with my rambunctious toddler. Although I think I've watched enough Barney now to officially turn my brain into mush.
I just finished up some edits for a young adult book that my agent will be pitching soon and now I'm barreling through the Edits of Death on my second book. After those are done, I have another book clanging around in my head, not-so-patiently awaiting its turn.
I absolutely adore Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella. Their books reminded me that writing can be fun, light and hilarious. Their success gave the confidence to pursue writing the book I really, really wanted to read.
Oooh - fun question! I'd love to attend Heidi Klum's baby shower because I refuse to believe she's that skinny after having like 20 kids unless I see it in person. I'd also like to attend Sarah Jessica Parker's shower for her new twin girls, if only to see if people gifted them with teeny-tiny Manolo Blahnik booties.