I’ve been lucky enough to chat with the fabulous Lisa Becker today; author of the Click trilogy of books (Click, Double Click and Right Click) I absolutely loved these books and I was very excited to be able to quiz Lisa about the novels which are written entirely in e-mail format. I couldn’t wait to ask Lisa what gave her the idea for her novels and was surprised at just how close to home online dating is for her…
I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor and volunteer. Somehow in between all of that, I managed to write a novel. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment around here.
Can you tell us a bit about your Click trilogy of novels (Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click)?
The Click Trilogy starts with one woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles. The book unfolds exclusively in emails between the heroine, her friends and the hilarious dates she goes on. Based on reader interest, I turned the book into a trilogy. Each of the subsequent books picks up six months after the last, where we learn more about this group of friends. Overall, the trilogy marries the friendships of Sex and the City, the epistolary nature of Bridget Jones’ Diary and the online love story of You’ve Got Mail to be a light and breezy series for anyone who’s ever been dumped, been in love, had a bad date or is still searching for “the one.”
I adored Click and Double Click (I’m really excited about reading the Right Click too!) What gave you the idea to write an ‘online’ romance?
Thank you! That’s so nice to hear. My husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating. I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged. In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” But, the happy ending is real. Steve and I have been happily married for 12 years and have two amazing daughters – ages 10 and 8.
Are the characters in your novels, Renee, Shelley, Ashley, Mark and Ethan, completely fictional or are they based on anyone in real life?
Some of the characters are rooted in people I know. I most readily identify with Renee. She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking. Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating. He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.” So if you know any nice single girls, let me know. 😉 But, my favorite character is Shelley. She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices. She was so fun to write. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn’t long before they met and dated for a spell.
What was it like writing a novel entirely in email format? I love novels like this (it feels as though you’re snooping in on people’s private lives!) but I always imagine it must be tricky to convey a whole story purely through email conversations, what’s your take on it?
Many years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails. I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world. It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. The hardest part was keeping the timeline and email exchanges organized. Sometimes, I would have to look back a few pages earlier to make sure I had cc’d or bcc’d the right people on an email and that the subject lines were consistent. In some cases, there were replies to forwards to replies. Keeping it all straight was a challenge, but essential to the book’s format.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a writer?
If I weren’t a writer, I would likely be teaching public relations courses part time. I used to teach at University of Southern California and gave up my part time position to focus on my children. Now that they are a bit older, I would likely get back into that role.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there and was very easy. The hardest part is marketing the book and spreading the word about it. So, I’m especially appreciative to blogs like yours for helping me with that process.
I’m also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I’ll never forget what he told me, “Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them.” One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love to read. Always have. Always will. My favorite genre is chick lit, which is probably why I felt compelled to write a novel the way that I did. I don’t have a particular author that has influenced me but I really enjoy Jennifer Weiner, Sophia Kinsella and others.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
The screenplay based on the first book in the Click Trilogy has been optioned for a movie and I have two movie options to date. I used to joke that I was the only person in LA not writing a screenplay and am now trying to break into Hollywood.