Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's such a treat to welcome my friend Cindy Bokma to my blog today. I first met Cindy over at Readerville, a lively forum for readers and writers. She was working on her first novel at the time, and reached out to me since we both lived in Southern California. We have been good friends ever since; I am so delighted to know Cindy—she is open hearted and funny and full of enthusiasm and ideas and ambition. Her novel, A Thousand Dollars for A Kiss just came out. The title comes from a Marilyn Monroe quote, "Hollywood is a place where they will pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul." It's a rollicking story about Barrett Greer, who is obsessed with Kat Savage, a pop star who bears a slight (okay, make that a hysterically dead-on) resemblance to Britney Spears. Barrett ends up getting more than she bargains for when she's pulled into Kat Savage's out of control life.

I was happy to be able to write a blurb for the back of the book:

A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss offers a priceless—and hilarious—look at what can lie beneath the glitz and glamour of celebrity. Cindy Bokma infuses this "be careful what you wish for" tale with great energy, humor, and sharp, witty social observation.
Cindy is no stranger to writing about celebrity. As Distressed Jeans, she penned the wildly popular, decadently funny, Conversations About Famous People blog, which received over 25,000 hits a day (including several from me--it was a very addictive site!) She now has turned her focus to writers and books, with her fabulous Conversations with Famous Writers blog. She also runs the beauty review site Hello Dollface. Both are brimming over with Cindy's wit and verve.

Cindy interviews so many writers on her blog--it's fun to turn the tables and interview her now:

--What inspires you?

I can get inspiration from almost anything or anyone. Sometimes it just takes a hint or clue to give me an idea that blossoms into something else. I love paging through magazines or books and letting my mind wander.

--How do you balance writing and motherhood? And, on a slightly
different note, how do you balance blogging and novel writing?

I’m disciplined when it comes to blogging because I have authors depending on me to post interviews and I can’t let them down. I’ve got beauty companies depending on me to write about their products on Hello Dollface. The novel writing gets done in bits and pieces but I write every day whether it be a blog entry or chapter or an email to a friend. I’m always creating something with words.

With my kids, I have to get them up in the morning and get them to school, I have to pick them up and help with homework and I have to feed them. There is no compromising their needs, its not so much balancing motherhood, it’s doing what must be done.

--You published your novel in a non-traditional way. Could you tell us
about your path toward publication? Any words for aspiring authors?

Well, Gayle it’s a long and windy path filled with heartache and frustration! I wrote two full-length novels and sent out many query letters. I lost count at two hundred, seriously. I made a lot of mistakes and learned from them, one being a seriously embarrassing blunder concerning a very incredible agent that I would walk on broken glass to work with.

At the time I was looking for an agent for A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss, I received an email from a small publisher asking if I wanted to review their books. I wrote back and said I am over committed with all the books I already have, but would they be interested reading in my novel? I submitted it and the publisher liked it enough to set me up with an editor. I signed a contract and less than a year later, the book is out.

Words for aspiring authors? Don’t forget to look to the small publishers or independent presses. Believe me, I would have loved nothing more than a large advance from a big publisher because I really want an Infiniti FX 35 and a trip to Paris along with granite countertops and distressed wood flooring. I would have also liked to sign with an awesome agent who would have held my hand and told me I’m wonderful every step of the way. That was not in the cards for me.

I felt pretty strongly about getting my novel into the world regardless of how it got there. It’s in book stores now and people who aren’t related to me are actually reading it! If I hadn’t jumped at the opportunity that was presented, I would probably be receiving those annoying postcards saying
Dear Author, your work is not what we are looking for right now, best of luck with someone else..

--If you, like Barrett, could be friends with a celebrity, who would
you choose and why?

It wouldn’t be anyone like Kat Savage, that’s for sure. I would be friends with someone like Reese Witherspoon or Julia Roberts or Kelly Ripa. Fellow moms who like to read, who have a good sense of humor and like to laugh and hang out and be mellow. Or else a celeb that went through the glamour and excitement of the 1950's Hollywood. I am intrigued with that era and want to learn more and hear all about life back then.

--Any New Year's resolutions?

I’ve had an idea for a book for a long time now my thoughts are just now coming together, writing the sequel to A Thousand Dollars. I tend to be obsessive about my novels before I even write them, thinking nonstop about dialogue and characters and plots. So my only resolution, besides trying to take up running to lose these extra ten pounds I’ve gained since hitting my mid-thirties (sob, sob) is to stop thinking so much and commit to writing the book!

--If you'd like to read more about the inspiration behind Cindy's sequel, check out this powerful post about Marilyn Monroe on her MySpace blog. With so much passion and connection behind it, I know the sequel is going to be incredible.

It's been a real pleasure for me to watch Cindy grow in confidence as a writer. I look forward to continuing to share her journey. I have no doubt her writing will bring her those granite countertops some day!

Thank you, Cindy, for all you do to support writers, and thanks for stopping by my blog today!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Cindy rocks!