Bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, Claire Cook is about to release her ninth novel, Wallflower in Bloom (June 5). This uber-busy mom and author sits down with SheKnows and dishes about everything from writing her first novel at age 45 -- in a minivan -- to why she's not sure balance exists.
SheKnows: You're active on Twitter @ClaireCookWrite. Tweet us about your latest novel, Wallflower in Bloom (in 140 characters or fewer, of course!)
Claire Cook: Heroine personal assistant 2 famous brother. Melts down & uses his fans 2 get voted on Dancing with the Stars. Dance, Deirdre, dance!
SheKnows: Your first novel was published at 45 and you walked the red carpet of the premier of the movie adaptation of your second novel, Must Love Dogs, at 50. You talk about the importance of realizing your buried dreams. What advice do you have for women who haven't yet realized theirs?
- Rise above the negativity.Whatever the motive, lots of people will tell you why you can't or shouldn't do whatever it is you want to do. You just have to decide to do it anyway. You might want to protect yourself a bit in the beginning too. I didn’t tell anyone about my first novel until it was finished. You don't need anyone's permission — just do it!
- Be who you really are.The big buzz word these days is branding, but I think of it as authenticity. This is the first job I've ever had where I wasn't pretending, or at least trying to pretend, to be a slightly different person. Who I am and what I write are totally in synch. There's tremendous power in that.
- Confound expectations.If everybody's doing it, it's already been done. Put a little surprise in everything you do. Originality counts!
- Do something nice for someone. It's easy to get needy when you're struggling to figure out what's next, but many of the great things that have happened to me (including a Today Show feature!) were triggered by something nice I did for someone else. People talk — your actions determine what they say. As one of my characters once said, karma is a boomerang.
- Get your tech together. Everything you need to know about the world you want to conquer can be found online. Get your computer skills up to speed — fast! Research. Network. Create an online presence on Facebook and Twitter. The internet is a great equalizer — and there are so many opportunities out there just waiting for you to take advantage of them! And while you're online, make sure you check out the writing and reinvention pages at ClaireCook.com where I share everything I've learned so far.
SheKnows: You have two kids, you've written nine novels— you even have a dog! We always ask about balance. What does it mean to you and how do you achieve it?
Claire Cook: What I've learned to do is look for the lulls in the action — and then to go have fun fast!! Beyond that, I'm not sure that balance exists. I do know that passion does — and when you find the thing you truly want to do with your life, balance matters a whole lot less and you don't mind being tired so much.
SheKnows: What are you reading right now?
Claire Cook: I’m reading — and rereading — a draft of my next book, the one that's due the day Wallflower in Bloom comes out! Yikes!!! After that, I'm going to read everything I can get my hands on!!
SheKnows: Are you working on your next book? If so, any hints?
Claire Cook: I am so bad at talking about my books when I'm in the middle of writing them. I think it's because I'm so deeply immersed I can't see the forest for the trees. But I think the new one is about women and friendship, place and the passage of time, the way we regress when we get together with old friends. Or maybe it's not! Anyway, Touchstone will publish it in June 2013, and I promise by then I'll know what it's about!