My husband and I sold our 1890 Victorian in a little beach town on the coast between Boston and Cape Cod and decided to move to suburban Atlanta to be closer to family. So this is my temporary writing space, tucked into a corner of the master bedroom in the house we’re now renovating, the only room not stacked to the ceiling with boxes. When I stare out the window, I can almost imagine the chaos behind me doesn’t exist. I even wrote some of my next novel without doors, with a house full of carpenters and electricians and plumbers coming in and out and telling me about the book they’re going to write one day! I can’t believe I finished it, but I did. My tenth novel is called Time Flies, and will be published by Touchstone in June 2013.
Tag Archives | Claire Cook
We’ve been discussing Claire Cook’s wonderful novel, WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM, all month with our online book club. We’ll be wrapping up the conversation this weekend, but there are still a few days left to join us if you’d like to chime in.
For those holding out we thought you might like to hear from Claire herself:
When my mother died suddenly just before my eleventh birthday, I decided that spending time with Nancy Drew was preferable to inhabiting my own life. So I disappeared into my mother’s worn blue copy of The Mystery of Lilac Inn and quickly worked my way through the rest of her collection. I liked to close my eyes and pretend the pages smelled like my mother, though they actually smelled more like mildew. Even then I knew you could always imagine something better than reality.
I think you have to be an avid, joyful reader before you can become a writer, and when I was teaching writing to middle schoolers, some of the kids just weren’t big readers. So we all lugged in a crazy assortment of things to school — novels, magazines, comic books, manga. We swapped everything around and curled up in corners all over the room and read. I brought Nancy, and a couple of my students really took to her.
I revisited Nancy Drew a third time just before I finally pushed aside decades of fear and self-doubt and wrote my first novel in my minivan outside my daughter’s swim practice. I dusted off my entire collection and reread them all one after another, even though they had no real connection to the novel I was hoping to write. They taught me to jump right into the story and to end each chapter in a way that the reader simply has to find out what happens next. And my old, dog-eared Nancy Drew mysteries reminded me once again that once you really, really fall in love with a book, or a series of books, you’re a reader for the rest of your life.
Claire Cook is the bestselling author of nine novels, including WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM and MUST LOVE DOGS, which became a movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She shares writing and reinvention tips at ClaireCook.com.
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.
It’s always fun to put a voice with a face so we thought you’d like to see this month’s featured author, Claire Cook, in a recent interview on The Today Show.
Claire is the author of WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM, our book club selection for August. Looking for one last summer read? We’d love you to grab a copy at your local bookstore and join us (and Claire!) all month as we discuss.
I’ve said before that I look forward to the first Monday of every month and it’s just as true today as always. This is the day that we get to announce our newest book club selection! When deciding on a book for August (the month we resume our busy schedules and mourn the loss of summer) we had one word in mind: FUN. We wanted you to have fun this month. So it was a no-brainer to choose bestselling novelist Claire Cook’s latest novel, WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM.
Our giveaways this month include:
For the main drawing: Claire’s publisher has provided ten hardback, first-edition, signed copies of WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM. Each book comes with a hand-made, Wallflower-inspired hair clip made by Claire (so cute!). Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to win one of these book/clip combo’s.
For the online book club: Claire is giving away a beach bag stuffed with autographed copies of all nine of her novels, including WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM! She’ll be hanging out with us all month, participating in the discussion, and sharing about her life and writing. I (Ariel) will lead this month’s discussion since Laura Polk, our long-time online book club leader, has moved on to other things. We’d love to have you join us this month! There’s no cost to join and no longterm commitment. You’ll be entered to win the bag of books every time you comment on the discussion! You can join our online book club here.
For our monthly e-newsletter: Claire is giving away a copy of the DVD of Must Love Dogs, and a signed copy of the book in a dog dish. Anyone who signs up for our newsletter this month (in the top right part of the sidebar) will be entered to win this prize.
About the book:
From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “Dancing with the Stars.”
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.
Then Deirdre’s sometimes boyfriend informs her that is is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and pysically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.
Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.
Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan when she was forty-five. At fifty, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is the bestselling author of eight other novels and divides her time between the suburbs of Atlanta and Boston.