Author: Lynn Marie Hulsman
Published: 18th October 2015
Today I am delighted to be on the tour for Lynn Marie Hulsman's A Miracle at Macy's. Just look at that cover. There are so many wonderful Christmassy covers out now and I really like this one. I have a really insightful Author Interview with Lynn Marie Hulsman to share with you all. All the other stops on the tour are listed below, so do stop by their blogs for some other great content.
What authors have inspired you to write?
One of my biggest writing inspirations is Jennifer Weiner, author of In Her Shoes and The Next Big Thing, among many other novels. She debuted and broke out with a book that agents told her would never sell… a book about a larger-sized heroine, who had sexuality and wasn’t a wallflower or a sad-sack. She stood behind her story, and found the agent (who found the editor) to catapult her to the top of the charts. Since that debut, she has continued to write complicated novels that lace humor with heavy themes. She’s hilarious, and brassy, and smart. And she tells killer stories. She’s pretty much my hero.
What did you study at university?
I have a degree in English, which is what I started out studying. Halfway through, I auditioned for a play and found I loved acting, so I stayed longer to also get a degree in theater. As an English major, I took survey classes… British Literature, World Literature, American Literature. I’ve read a good number of classics, and what was in the canon at the time. I still like reading those types of books, but modern women’s fiction, chick lit, and rom com is where my heart is.
What authors do you like to read?
I discovered funny English and Irish writers quite some time ago, beginning with Trisha Ashley and Marian Keyes. From there, I found Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews. Back then, before eBooks, I had to dig deep in libraries and buy books when I traveled abroad. I found Rachel Johnson and Miranda Dickenson. I adore Sophie Kinsella in both her personae, and when I read Bridget Jones, I thought I’d found the Holy Grail. Recently, I’ve discovered Alexandra Brown. I started with Great Christmas Knit-Off and am backtracking through her list. Oh, and another new find is Cressida McLaughlin. England, romance, and dogs… right up my alley.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Well, I wouldn’t say no to nightclubbing in the South of France with Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman. And I suppose if Jonny Depp wanted to take me to Reno for a lost weekend, I’d be intrigued. But honestly… having a hotel room all to myself, with maids and room service, and having time to write and read in the quiet. I’d probably pop down to the Jacuzzi, and I’d have some Prosecco and watch whatever I wanted to on TV before bed. Once you have kids, these small pleasures become the gold standard.
What does your writing process look like?
I am a trained improv comic, and I co-own and direct an improv company here in New York City: ComedySportz New York. I teach that “your first idea is your best idea,” and to blurt out ideas without censorship. I keep a massive folder of story ideas on my desktop, ranging from one-sentence ones, to paragraph-long ones, to nearly fleshed-out synopses. My challenge is allowing one at a time to rise to the top and become the one I cherish and polish. Once I know, I do a lot of pre-planning in my mind, so by the time I’m ready to write, I know where I’m going. I do love a good outline, though. Mine just isn’t fussy. I have know the plot points before I get started. I can’t start if I don’t know my ending.
What advice has been the most helpful to you in your career?
Keep your eyes on your own paper. We can only do what we do, and we cannot compare our journeys to the journeys of others. One, it wouldn’t be authentic, and what readers seek, in my opinion, is true authenticity, and two, it’ll make you crazy. If I start wondering why I’m not neck-in-neck with X or why an editor doesn’t love me as much as Y, I waste all the energy I should be using to write the next book. Also: We are all special magnets and our iron filings will be attracted to us, and they will find us. In short, be authentic and trust your voice.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Here’s what I have been: A ticket-sales manager at a New York theater, a direct-mail marketing proofreader, a corporate ideation agent (still am), a medical editor for big pharma, an actor, a cheese cube passer-outer (low point), a corporate trainer, and a stand-up comic. Something involving communication and teaching.
Do you read your own reviews?
Oh, yes. I concentrate on the good by tucking away the fact that a complete stranger connected to my voice and story. I pull those gifts out whenever I have doubt, as every writer does. I get over the bad ones by realizing that not everyone can like everything I do. In my days as an actor, I had to audition all the time. People book a tiny percentage of the jobs they audition for. It taught me something valuable: It’s rarely personal. As an actor, they might not have liked my hair, or I might have been too tall to play opposite the leading man, or I may have reminded the director of his mother-in-law or ex. As an author, readers may not like my genre. Or my voice, or my characters, my setting. That doesn’t mean my book isn’t good, it just may not be for them. I don’t enjoy watching American football. That doesn’t mean the guys on The Green Bay Packers team are worthless. What they do just isn’t my cup of tea. And besides, agents and editors, and plenty of readers have liked my work. I have to focus on the overwhelming number who do, not the few who don’t.
What is one career goal you’ve yet to achieve that you are striving for?
In addition to continuing to write Romantic Comedy, I want to write a standalone Women’s Fiction novel someday, and have it published by one of my dream houses. I won’t name names because I’m superstitious that I might jinx it. I feel certain that I’ll make this happen. Everything’s in place. I’ve grown and learned. I’m still building my craft and learning all I can about story, character, theme, and structure by reading, and through my willingness to use beta readers, get coaching, and accept “notes.” I have the most amazing agent, Stephany Evans of FinePrint Literary Management whom I trust to sell it when I write it. It’s all down to me. When I’m ready,
Do you have any pets?
Our dog Moses, whom we called Mo, passed away a week ago. He was a rescue that we brought home on a whim from a sidewalk Adoption Fair. They told us he was six, but the vet said he was probably twelve. We had him for three years. He was deaf, and blind, but he was funny and feisty. He was ours, and we were his. We still have Piglet, our beloved Bedlington Terrier. He’s 14, and we got him as a wedding present to each other. He was our baby before we had kids. He’s a cranky old man, and we give him his way. I’ll always have a dog. To me, a house isn’t a home without at least one.
A Miracle at Macy's is out now!