CHAT WITH GLYNIS ASTIE

GlynisAstie

After thirteen years in Human Resources, Glynis decided to make good on her promise to write a book. Rather than detailing the bizarre issues she had encountered over the course of her career, she elected to write about her real life French fairy tale: the story of how she met and married her husband, Sebastien, in six short months. She currently lives in Westchester, New York with her incredibly romantic husband, two angelic sons and two adorable kitties. 

Time to chat with Glynis!

What is your latest book?

I have just released French Toast, the second book in the French Twist Series. The books are based on my life and chronicle the very rapid development of my relationship with my husband, Sebastien. The first book in the series, French Twist, sets the stage with our adorable meet-cute, carries through our hilarious courtship and finishes with our first wedding. French Toast, picks up right where French Twist leaves off and shows the difficulty of the first year of marriage…and reveals our next two weddings. Intrigued, aren’t you?

FrenchToast

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

I think that it is important to link the stories across a series, but also to ensure that each book can exist as a stand-alone story. I always love it when I can pick up any book in a series and not feel like I am lost. J.K. Rowling did an amazing job with this in the Harry Potter series. She gave just enough detail in each book to catch you up to where you needed to be in order for the story to make sense. In the first chapter of French Toast, I made sure to provide enough background material so that readers would be able to jump right in to the story and not feel like they had missed too much. There is always time to go back and read the first book later!

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

French Toast: Will their marriage crash & burn or will they raise a glass?

How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?

I think that I have a particularly unique experience in this case. Because my books are based on my life, there are several people who have a vested interest in my characters’ names. Choosing the name for my alter ego was easy. I had always HATED my name (I was teased a lot as a child) and I used to fantasize that my name was Sydney. The choice in last name came from one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I just love the Bennett sisters

As for the names of my characters, I chose what I felt were solid names for my friends and family members, but I left the option open for them to change the names if they wanted to. Does it surprise you to know that every single one of them changed their names? It would seem that many people have a name in mind that they would have selected for themselves given the opportunity.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would end up as a writer. After I had my second child, I decided to be a stay at home mom. Once my son was about a year old – and actually started to sleep – I found myself getting restless. A few months later I had a dream that I wrote a book. It seemed like a crazy idea at the time, so I pushed it aside, dismissing the idea as an early mid-life crisis. (Very early!) But the idea just wouldn’t go away and one day I found myself writing down my ideas. Before I knew it, I had outlined the entire book!

I was completely shocked that it took me only two months to write my first book. I spent another month editing and sent the book on to my sister who is not only a gifted editor, but also the biggest fan of Chick Lit that I have ever come across. She quickly assessed where changes needed to be made and a month later, I was ready for proofreaders. While the finishing touches were being put on the book, my sister designed my book cover. (Does anyone else feel like she got most of the talent in the family?)

All I had left to do was upload my books! Both French Twist and French Toast were self-published. It has been a very interesting ride thus far!

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I am constantly amazed by the power of social media. With my first book, I did very little marketing and did not engage in any form of social media. I was blissfully clueless. However, with my second book, French Toast, I resolved to pull off a marketing blitz. I set up a Facebook author page, got a Twitter account, joined Pinterest, Google Plus, you name it! It was rather overwhelming at first, since there are so many channels to visit, but I found if I set a weekly schedule of posts for myself, things were a lot easier. .

By the end of my first day on Twitter I had met so many interesting people. That led to joining a number of Facebook groups for Chick Lit authors, which has changed my life immeasurably. (It is where I met you, Lisette!) I am so grateful for the vast number of authors out there who are willing to share their experience with me. I am also grateful for the readers who have opened up their lives to me! I believe that social media in general has allowed the development of a number of very rich communities. Being involved with all of these communication channels is not for the main purpose of selling books, but for forming relationships with people who will enrich your life.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

Yes, I do! I have just started blogging in the past month. For years, my sister has told me that I should start a blog about my sons. They are certainly the most colorful characters in my life. One day I will devote a book to them, but for the time being, you will be able to hear my musings on what it is like to be the mom to two energetic (and sometimes maddening) boys. I guarantee that you will crack a few smiles!

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I used to be a night owl, but since I have had kids, I have become both an early bird and night owl writer. When you are a parent, you have to fit in your tasks whenever you can. My three-year-old will often get me up before 6:00 am, which means I need a gigantic vat of coffee. He is then content to sit and watch cartoons while I first get sucked into the social media vortex and then try to gather my thoughts for the day in terms of writing. I don’t usually fit in too much writing during the day, so after my little one and his older brother have gone to bed, I consult my Darth Vader notebook (where I have scribbled random thoughts during the day) and get to work on my latest chapter. This is when I grab a glass of wine and settle in with my laptop and two cats. They are my companions into the wee hours as I plug away on my storyline.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I am so incredibly lucky to have someone as talented as my sister, Megan Eisen, designing my covers. I have received so many compliments on my cover art and am grateful to her for setting me up with such a brilliant brand. I use her images in all of my social media and have even had bookmarks made to match the covers as giveaways. I know that when I am looking for a new book to read, the cover is the first thing to catch my eye – an attractive cover leads me to read the book description, which often leads me to buy the book. The book cover is responsible for the instant attraction of the reader and your brilliant writing is responsible for the relationship (hopefully long-term) that you build with that reader.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

Often! I get very little time to write since I have two active boys to keep up with. So many times, I will have a short window in which to write and nothing comes to me! It can be very frustrating. When I draw a total blank, I start taking care of items on my household to-do list. Five minutes into whatever task I chose, an idea comes to me and I frantically run to my laptop and start tapping away. Never underestimate the inspirational power of mundane tasks.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Mashed potatoes are my absolute favorite. Rich, creamy and delicious! I do not like sushi. I detest fish, so the idea of eating it raw makes my stomach turn.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I have always wished that I could sing. Unfortunately, I am completely tone deaf. It doesn’t stop me from belting a tune at the top of my lungs in the car though! I just make sure that a) I’m alone in the car and b) the windows are shut tight. No one needs to hear that kind of cacophony.

What music soothes your soul?

Billy Joel will always put me in a good mood. My favorites are “Only the Good Die Young” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” I could listen to his albums all day. In fact, he now has his own station on Sirius XM. Color me excited!

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Making chocolate chip cookies with my boys. Not only do we end up with a tasty treat, but we have a wonderful time dancing around the kitchen (because you have to have music) while we prepare the cookies.

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Comments

CHAT WITH GLYNIS ASTIE — 11 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Lisette! I had so much fun answering your interview questions – you have quite the creative mind. The only thing that would have made it better would be if we were able to sit down and chat with a glass of wine. A girl can dream, right?

    I am so excited to be featured in your Writers’ Chateau and look forward to some fun conversations!

  2. Glynis Astie! What a fun chat in Lisette’s Chateau this is! And wonderful things I am finding out about one of my favorite authors! I, too, love Billy Joel, but my favorite is All for Leyna. And I cannot sing either, but that does not stop me! This chat really brings across your joie de vivre that totally comes across in your madcap romances, despite the turbulence in the plot. Woo-hoo for French Toast – the zany adventures of Louis and Sydney continue!

  3. Hi, GVR!!! All for Leyna is such an awesome song! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by to visit. Yesterday, I got totally lost in reading your ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) Romance Entry for She Likes It Rough. (http://www.amazon.com/She-Likes-It-Rough-Entry-ebook/dp/B00JOU346O/) I know, I know, I have read your book before, but it is so GOOD! Following the adventures of the zany Lisa Flyte and the gorgeous adventurer, Jack Hawkins, was so much fun! You are hilarious and kept me engaged for every single page of that book. Thank you for the awesome ride! PS – when is your next book coming out?

  4. Hi, Glynis! Great to see you here 🙂 And what an amazing interview – kudos to you, Lisette, for asking such an interesting bunch of questions. I have to say, though, I was sooooo green with envy when I read how quickly you wrote your first book, Glynis, that I barely took in the rest. I was gobsmacked! And you think you missed out on all the family talent? Good grief! (head-desk) I can’t wait to read French Toast! It sounds tres magnifique! (LOVE Frenchmen… sigh…)

  5. Hi, Maggie! I completely agree; Lisette has amazing questions! I particularly love the question about summarizing your book on a bumper sticker. 🙂 I am green with envy too!!! I just read the excerpt from your Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Romance QUARTER FINALS entry – A Heat of the Moment Thing – and it is awesome!!!! (http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Moment-Thing-Maggie-Page-ebook/dp/B00BUCJV70/) I immediately bought the book and have been devouring it way too fast. You have written a very engaging story with some very steamy scenes. Well done! Can’t wait until your next book comes out!

  6. Great interview!! I love your unambiguous feelings on fish!!! 😉 I’m glad I had a cup of coffee for this chat and can’t wait to dig into your stories! Vive la France! (I’d go there all the time when I lived in Italy!!)

    • I heart you, Michelle. 🙂 I do have very definitive feelings on fish. It’s too bad for the hubs that he loves it so much! I am so glad that you enjoyed the interview. Lisette is a whiz with her questions. I had a wonderful time!

      So thrilled that you are looking forward to reading my books. I hope that you laugh a lot. It is easier for me to laugh now, since I know that the fairy tale ends well!

  7. What a delightful interview! My experiences are so similar (but different–no Frenchman swooping me off my feet here). I agree that social media has changed the game for me. So glad for our FB group!

    Oh, and because I can say it …a bientot!

    • Hi, Kathryn! So nice of you to visit. I am actually reading Hold Her Down (http://www.amazon.com/Hold-Her-Down-Kathryn-Biel-ebook/dp/B00IPH4SJE/)right now – along with Maggie Le Page’s A Heat of the Moment Thing. How I ended up reading two books at the same time is beyond me, but I am loving them both so much! I can absolutely relate to Elizabeth’s struggle with her job, family and disinterested husband. I think that we have all been there at some point in our lives. I may have chronicled the good points of my marriage in my books, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t times when things were hard. No one tells you how much work marriage is – especially once you add kids. Thank you for writing such a real and moving account of what life can be like and that you can get through it with grace. I hope that I get to see you on Saturday!!! 😉

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