Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Georgia Clark Interview - It Had to Be You


Photo Content from Lindsay Ratowsky

GEORGIA CLARK is the author of The Regulars, The Bucket List, It Had to Be You, and others. She is the host and founder of the popular storytelling night, Generation Women. A native Australian, she lives in Brooklyn with her hot wife and a fridge full of cheese. More at GeorgiaClark.com and on Instagram and Twitter @georgialouclark.

        
  


Greatest thing you learned at school. 
I actually learned to cook at school: I did a subject called Food Technology where every double period we did “pracs”; we cooked or baked something that I would then take down to the quad to share my pals. I also feel like I’m a pretty good kisser and I was definitely doing a lot of that in high school too.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
Calling makes it sound so noble! I was always writing, dreaming, making things. I never consciously decided to become a writer: I just always wrote. I was a huge reader as a kid: magic faraway trees, the dark is rising, one ring to rule them all. We didn't have TV and the internet didn’t exist: I was addicted to being swept away in an exciting adventure. I have visceral memories of this joy and my hunger in seeking it out.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Making friends with other authors, being part of a secret nerd club.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I had so much fun working in rom-com, of course, I had to do it again. My next book is another ensemble comedy/drama that takes place in a wild and beautiful place: I promise you will have never read a book set there before. Its centered around two families, one Australian, one American, with a sweet-and-sexy queer rom-com at its giant beating heart. As someone who came out at 19, it’s bizarre to me that I haven’t written a central girl-on-girl love story yet. My next book will remedy that: fans of f/f will fall hard for Liss and Amelia. I’m having a ridiculously good time hanging out with this funny and charming cast, telling a beautiful, feel-good story surrounded by and learning from the natural world.

In your newest book, IT HAD TO BE YOU can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
IT HAD TO BE YOU is a modern romantic comedy set in New York that centers around two mismatched wedding planners. For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, one of Brooklyn’s top wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah Shipley. Liv and Savannah are polar opposites: while Liv is a cynical New Yorker, Savannah would see the silver lining at a funeral. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine. IT HAD TO BE YOU unites Liv, Savannah, and a diverse group of couples in a braided narrative. My aim was to write something sexy, tender, and charming.

I loved playing in the genre and finding ways to subvert it while still delivering what readers of romance want. While IT HAD TO BE YOU features five romantic couples, the pairing at the center of the story isn’t a man and woman, nor is it romantic. It’s Liv and Savannah, two women a generation apart from entirely different backgrounds whose mutual lover’s death ultimately allowed them both to form truer identities. That felt unique in a rom-com. It wasn’t until I finished did I realized I’d told a story about people coming together across deep, ideological divides.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your characters?
I truly loved being in every single one of these character’s heads: I’m a Pisces, prone to fantasy, so all I every really want to do is lose myself in a dreamy otherworld… It was fun being in Zach’s head. Oh, my darling Zach, I love him so much. He was a true joy to hang out with with. Not only is he outrageously charming and funny and a total horndog but as I spent time with him, I realized how deep Zach’s river ran: he’s a sensitive soul, and more complex than people give him credit for. Also I found him extremely hot.

I also really enjoyed channeling/getting to know Gorman. I did a pretty big developmental edit from the first to second draft, and the only characters who made it through were Liv (who was Jude in the first draft), her son Ben, Savannah, and Henry and Gorman. I relate to Gor’s ambivalence about marriage as an institution, his artistic ambition, and his dry-as-a-bone sense of humor. Gorman’s a dark horse; maybe I am, too.

Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?
I’m going through a phase where I’m not reading reviews. You never know if it’s going to be good or bad, and the bad ones really fuck with my mental health and leave me unmotivated to write, which is the opposite of how I want to feel. It’s just safer for me to avoid them. I haven’t checked Goodreads once this year: it’s been very freeing.

Your Favorite Scenes from IT HAD TO BE YOU
In no particular order; Zach and Darlene’s first super-sexy kiss outside Babbo; Savannah’s attempt to make fried chicken for her roommates; Zia and Clay’s meet-cute at Kamile and Dave’s wedding; Henry and Gorman’s dinner with Gilbert; Liv getting a little too relaxed for her Sex Date with Sam; the afterparty dinner for Charles; all the grand gestures, all the first kisses, every single one.

And of course, Vanessa’s first dance with her dad. Sob!

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT IT HAD TO BE YOU
  • 1. IT HAD TO BE YOU was the third name, after BETTER WED THAN DEAD and IN LOVE IN NEW YORK.
  • 2. As part of the research, I moonlit as an assistant on a wedding to get a behind the scenes look at the life of a vendor.
  • 3. In the first draft, Liv was called Jude, and was a much darker character.
  • 4. I was planning and having my own wedding over the course of the book.
  • 5. The backyard of Frankie’s, Gorman and Henry’s fave spot, is one of my fave, too.
  • 6. I had my last book launch at Books are Magic, featured in the scene where Darlene bumps into Charles. I’ve also done an event at The Strand, also featured!
  • 7. In early drafts, other vendors included a cheerfully vulgar photographer, modeled on a Melissa McCarthy-type character, and a cute make-up artist called Ro, who eventually became Honey.
  • 8. I didn’t really have any actors in mind for any of the roles, except (strangley enough) Darlene’s ex-boyfriend Charles: I imagined Neil Casey, a great comic actor/improviser I know from my UCB days.
  • 9. Like Savannah, I’m also a big Taylor Swift fan, and like Honey, I also loved the TV show Feel Good.
  • 10. The hardest thing to write was the lyrics to Zach and Darlene’s song, “Dark Secret”. Truly painful! Easier to write a novel than that one song!
Meet the Characters
There are 10 central characters in IT HAD TO BE YOU. Liv Goldenhorn, 49, is a cynical New Yorker with a secret soft side. Savannah Shipley, 23, is a bright-eyed Southerner ready to take on the world. The other characters are Sam, a handsome chef; Honey, an aspiring restauranteur; Darlene, singer/songwriter who works professionally with Zach, a musician and a Brit; Zia, a server, Clay, and actor, and Henry and Gorman, a couple who run a flower shop in Brooklyn.

Your Journey to Publication
This is my fifth novel but wow, it took a long time to get here. I published my first book, a sweet and simple YA based on my experience being in a band with two of my best friends called SHE’S WITH THE BAND, at 28 thinking it would be a one-off. After I moved to NY the following year, I decided to do it again. I wrote one book that didn’t sell, then spent another 3 years writing an ambitious YA sci-fi/dystopia, PARCHED, which sold about 5 copies (I still really love that book). I changed tack for the next one; I switched genres, I invested in a developmental editor, I read more widely. I sold THE REGULARS in 2014, then wrote another book that didn’t sell, then THE BUCKET LIST, and then IT HAD TO BE YOU.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I’m trying to remember how I came up with the set-up for IT HAD TO BE YOU, but to be honest, most of my set-ups/premises emerge as hazy, dreamlike things—a combination of my life, what I’m paying attention to, what I’m reading/watching/daydreaming about—but okay here goes: I think I wanted a set-up that’d let me careen through a lot of weddings, which I had a feeling would be fun to see from the outside, from the view of the vendors (I was a big Party Down fan—remember that show, about cater-waiters in LA?). So, wedding planners. But you can never make life easy for characters, it’s got to be a bit of a nightmare. I liked the idea of a cynical wedding planner (Liv), and dyads—character pairs—generally work well in opposites. Super-southern Savannah Shipley showed up in my imagination with a fruit basket and a smile, and then, y’know, the thing starts to writes itself.

I always work from an outline, even if in the drafting it goes out the window. I’ve tried pantsing (writing without an outline) but it doesn’t really work for me; I’m a structure nerd.

When things are going well, I feel like a director working with a really talented and committed cast. I’m in charge, I call “action”, but it’s a group effort made possible by everyone’s willingness to open up or be funny or whatever the scene calls for. I love that feeling, that my characters and I are all in this thing together, trying our best to create a story we can all be proud of. Novelists are thought to be solo creatures but really, we’re team players.

Best date you’ve ever had? 
Obviously, the first date with my wife, Lindsay. She was very nervous and excited, which I found extremely charming. I fell for her straight away.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
Coffee and/or cuddles.

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
So many! My college girlfriend and I backpacked around Mexico and Guatemala for 3 months when were 19/20. Did some amazing mushrooms at these incredible ruins.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets "what would it be? 
Buying real estate in Sydney in my 20s. It was cheap!

What is one unique thing you afraid of? 
I used to be really freaked out by dragonflies.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
Unfortunately, it was my home: an old roommate of mine, Risha, kept a dead turtle in our freezer for months because she wanted to give it a Buddhist burial, but never got round to it.


The author of the novel The Bucket List returns with a witty and heartfelt romantic comedy featuring a wedding planner, her unexpected business partner, and their coworkers in a series of linked love stories—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Casey McQuiston.

For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine.

It Had to Be You cleverly unites Liv, Savannah, and couples as diverse and unique as New York City itself, in a joyous Love-Actually-style braided narrative. The result is a smart, modern love story that truly speaks to our times. Second chances, secret romance, and steamy soul mates are front and center in this sexy, tender, and utterly charming rom-com.

You can purchase It Had to Be You at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you GEORGIA CLARK for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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7 comments:

  1. On my desktop is a picture of my 3 dogs, 2 of them are deceased.

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  2. an airplane flying over the ocean

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  3. A dog puppy sitting on a big, red velvet chair wearing a crown

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  4. It's blank...just icons. I don't really pay attention to it. I usually have something open.

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  5. A picture of my cat yawning!

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