Wallflower in Bloom began in kind of a crazy way. The publishing blog GalleyCat asked its Facebook readers which author they’d most like to see on Dancing With the Stars. Amazingly, I was one of the authors nominated, along with Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coban, Ally Carter, David Sedaris, Andy Borowitz, Tatiana Soli, Tishani Dosh and Kathy Patrick.
I have such true blue, incredibly supportive readers, and they got all excited and started voting like crazy – and I won the vote! GalleyCat sent the petition off to the DWTS producers. It was all over Facebook and Twitter, and everyone started asking me if I’d really do it. “Of course, I would,” I said, my knees shaking. “Not just for me, but for midlife women everywhere.” I totally would have done it, shaky knees and all, if Dancing with the Stars had ever called, which they haven’t – yet! But I have to admit it was a lot less stressful to turn the experience into the jumping off point for Wallflower in Bloom.
What was intriguing to me was the thought of a non-celebrity suddenly dropped into a celebrity world. And then I started thinking what if the heroine was the personal assistant to her famous brother, who was the family star. And what if she somehow used his massive online following to get herself voted onto DWTS to find her own fifteen minutes of fame?
Then I went back to my readers and asked them what they thought I should write about next. The comment that sparked the most enthusiasm and discussion was “all the sizes we have in our closets.” Body image and insecurity seemed like a great fit for the book that was just starting to emerge, so I went with it.
And somehow, into all this, Deirdre Griffin and the rest of the characters were born. For me, a big part of the joy of being a novelist is the mysterious way a novel comes together. I love, love not knowing what’s going to happen next!
Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan and is now the bestselling author of nine novels, including Must Love Dogs, which became a movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, and Wallflower in Bloom, which Publishers Weekly calls “fun and inspiring…Cook’s humor and narrative inspiration are impeccable.” Read an excerpt and find book club questions at ClaireCook.com.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.