An Interview with Linda Joffe Hull
Linda Joffe Hull’s new book Over the Moon is available Januar 1, 2018.
Can you describe what your book is about in one sentence?
After Sunny gives birth to her second child, she comes across evidence that her husband may be having an affair and is forced to re–examine the man she married, the life they’ve created together, and herself.
What is the theme of Over The Moon?
Even Happily Ever After comes with its own set of unique challenges and unexpected issues.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
My characters and plots find me. By that, I mean, when I am compelled by a person, idea, or a story enough that I feel the need to write about it, they (or it) seems to just appear in my head. After that, the hard work of laying out a story that makes sense begins. I lay out scenes on giant corkboard in my office using SAVE THE CAT as a format. As for characters, I figure out who needs to be in the story as a friend or foe of my main character and why. Some of the great fun of writing is that you are the god of the world you create and you get to put whoever you best feel belongs in your story.
What was your favorite part of writing Over The Moon?
I loved leading Sunny into trouble.
Give us some insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special? What are his/her character flaws?
Sunny is smart, funny, complicated, and neurotic. In this book, she is also dealing with some postpartum issues. While she is more moody and snarky than usual,that day?
If you could spend time with a character from your book, which character would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Jim Wolfe—he’s a jerk for sure, but a sexy one. One day with him would be about perfect!
Tell us about the conflict in this book. What is at stake for your characters?
Sunny, having had two children, is overwhelmed and dealing with the effects of postpartum hormones. When she comes across evidence that her husband may be having an affair, she has to investigate. She risks finding out an unpleasant truth about him and a few enlightening, but not necessarily positive, things about herself.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Over The Moon?
I have written in three genres so far: romantic comedy, mystery, and satire, and I also do some non-fiction and memoir ghost writing. While I highly doubt I’ll ever write science fiction or epic fantasy (I just don’t have the brain for it), I never say never because I write where I feel there is a story that needs to be told. What makes your book different from other books in your genre?It is often said that there are a finite number of stories out there and they’ve all been told in some form or fashion. What makes one story stand out from another, then? I believe it’s voice and character. I hope that my voice as an author, and the personalities of my characters, are unique and appealing in Over The Moon as well as in all of my books.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
I don’t play favorites amongst my children, fictional or otherwise. Sunny St. Clair is my first child, if that tells you anything. I love her sense of humor and irony, but I enjoy putting her through the emotional wringer, too.
Tell us about your background. What made you decide to pursue writing?
I have always been an avid reader and wanted to be an English major in college. I would have, had my father, who was footing the bill, not put his foot down (as it were) and insisted I major in something that might result in “something resembling a real job.”
What is your writing process?
At this point in my career, I won’t start a book without knowing what I’m writing about exactly, and where the story is going to go. To that end, I outline and layout the scenes before I start writing. Because I started out feeling my way through the story, and I know that my characters and what they will and won’t do tends to change despite my plans, I allow room within scenes and I’m open to the plot twists that seem to occur along the way. I have written my last four books using a screenplay type format called SAVE THE CAT that translates well into novel length fiction.
Tell us about the challenges of getting your book published. How did it come about?
After numerous near misses with big publishing houses, literally hundreds of rejection letters, and ten years of effort, I landed my agent (my third agent, actually), a book deal for my third novel, The Big Bang, with Tyrus Books, and a three-book mystery deal with Midnight Ink for my Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series in a six-month period of time. It was surreal to say the least. While I’ve seen a few people hit it on their first book, most writers I know realize this is a marathon and not a sprint. I’d hoped to be more of a middle-distance runner, but that’s not how this business usually works.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I read across all genres. If it’s a good, well-told story, I’m interested.
What are some of your favorite authors or books?
Tom Robbins, William Goldman, Jennifer Weiner, Lianne Moriarty, Judy Blume, Kate Atkinson, Daniel Woodrell. The list goes on and hops back and forth across genres.
Who are your readers and why will they love your book?
My readers tend to be women of various ages, depending on which book or series they are interested in. Readers say they like (or love) my books because they are funny and the characters tend to be self-deprecating and relatable.
What other projects are you working on?
I am in the beginning stages of working on both a suspense novel and another women’s fiction project.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
My day job is writing. Specifically, I work on freelance nonfiction projects and memoirs that I ghost write for business people and people with a story they want to tell.
What motivates you to write?
I usually answer this question by saying that I write so I’ll seem interesting at cocktail parties.
Why did you write Over The Moon?
After Sunny finds her prince in Frog Kisses (Book 1), it seemed like a natural progression to check in on her a few years down the road to take a peek into the realities of life behind the white picket fence.
Who did you write Over The Moon for (audience)?
The audience for the Sunny books are primarily women, but I see the audience as anyone who wants to laugh and relate to the realities and absurdities of life for the modern woman.
Where can we find you online?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep your day job, but do what you must. If you’re a writer, you have to write, but you also have to keep food on the table while you’re getting where you need to go. It typically won’t be as easy as it looks.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
You can learn all the technical elements of writing in school, but to be great at what you do, I believe you need to read. A lot. I also believe that if you’re serious about writing, you need to put in the time at your desk writing, and mostly re-writing, until you have your craft down. And find a critique group or Beta readers who will give you honest input that you will listen to and learn from.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Q: You look so young, beautiful, and carefree. How do you do it?
A: Why, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, of course.
Any last thoughts?
I hope I have a lot more years and a few more books in me until I’m thinking about last thoughts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Second Romantic Comedy Novel by Linda Joffe Hull to Be Published by Literary Wanderlust
Denver, CO, January 1, 2018—Over The Moon, the follow-up romantic comedy novel to 2015’s Frog Kisses by Linda Joffe Hull, will be published by Literary Wanderlust in winter 2018.
Five years after Sunny finds her Mr. Right, she owns a gourmet soda company and lives in a house in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, Adam, and toddler son. They live a hip, married-with-one-kid existence—until, that is, Sunny gives birth to baby number two.
While fighting postpartum blues, Sunny finds suggestive emails between Adam and a sexy correspondent with whom he is supposedly breaking a huge political scandal. Then his anti-feminist mother turns up as fill-in nanny and homemaking consultant. Is this what happily ever after means after all?
Forced to examine the possible end of her marriage, the collapse of her business, and the sudden illness of her mother-in-law, Sunny realizes how much she has to lose, and attempts to save it all in the way that only Sunny can.
“Wry, wise and hysterically funny, Over the Moon by Linda Joffe Hull is mommy lit at its best. New mommy, Sunny Dey, charts the highpoints in her newborn daughter’s life with the help of her five-year-old son who is showing signs of being psychic like his uncle,” says Kay Bergstrom, USA TODAY bestselling author of Mountain Shelter and Mountain Blizzard (writing as Cassie Miles).
Over The Moon is set for publication on January 1, 2018.
About Linda Joffe Hull
Linda Joffe Hull is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri, but currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and the various pets her sons left behind when they went off to college. She is a past president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, has sat on the board of Mystery Writers of America, and was honored to be named the 2013 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year.
Her debut novel, The Big Bang, was published by Tyrus Books in 2013. Frog Kisses, her romantic comedy, was published by Literary Wanderlust in 2015. Linda is also the author of the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series.
About Literary Wanderlust
Literary Wanderlust publishes well-written novels and short story anthologies in the romance, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and mystery/suspense genres, as well as nonfiction. Visit us at www.literarywanderlust.com.