Monday, August 9, 2021

Amanda Aksel Interview - Delia Suits Up


Photo Content from Amanda Aksel

Amanda Aksel is a west coast transplant whose curiosity about people led her to earn a bachelor’s in Psychology. Instead of pursuing a career as a couples counselor, she wrote about one in her first novel.

She’s the author of The Marin Test Series and The Londonaire Brothers Series and strives to deliver smart, sexy, funny reads. You’ll often find

her writing novels about fabulous, independent heroines, pretending to be Sara Bareilles at the piano, watching reruns of Sex and the City, or sprinkling a little too much feta on her salad.

Amanda calls Virginia Beach, Va home but loves to travel the world with her high school sweetheart husband any chance they get.
        
  


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve always had an active imagination and would sometimes get called out in class for daydreaming. I can remember writing stories, songs, and poems from age eight, though I never looked at it as a dream or calling until my dream of being an actress wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I knew I wanted to tell stories and so when I was twenty, I realized that writing was the best expression of that desire, and I haven’t looked back since!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There is no feeling like reading a review or message from a reader who’s affected by the story the way I intended and gets it. Every story is not meant for everyone and it’s so great when the story finds it’s intended recipient. I feel the same when I fall in love with someone else’s story too.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I’ve received so much great advice and wisdom from authors and I want to share them all, but I think the most important for me is advice from Michael Palmer who said, “Writing is hard. Be fearless.” I’ve always interpreted that to mean have courage. I think this advice can be applied to anything worthwhile.

In your newest book, DELIA SUITS UP, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Yes! Delia’s been down on her luck since she was laid off from her investment banking job. It seems no one will hire her, and she believes sexism in the industry is the reason. After another failed interview on her birthday, she wishes for something to be different. Delia expresses to her besties/roommates that if she could only be a man, she could be a success in her chosen field and not be judged for it. In the morning, she wakes up in a male body. Empowered by her new form, Delia assumes a fresh identity and unapologetically goes for what she wants. Only by appearing as someone else does she begin to appreciate herself and realize what she’s truly capable of.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Two things:
1. This is wildly entertaining.
2. I’m feeling empowered to go after or continue going for my dream too!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Delia?
In writing Delia and going through my own personal growth, I learned that what we believe about ourselves really matters. It is the difference between success and failure. Happiness and unhappiness.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
You are so much more than you know. May you summon the courage to believe in the power of your own life.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think I’d introduce Delia to Evelyn Hugo from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO. Delia would’ve been so inspired by her story. I know I was!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
My dog’s overactive bladder. Right when I’d get in the zone, she’d need to go out again.

Best date you've ever had?
For Valentine’s Day, my husband bought us tickets to see one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Pablo Francisco, live. We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. Watching stand-up with my husband is one of my top favorite things to do.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Funny enough, when I was 27/28, working in the financial industry and writing my first book. I had so much energy, traveling a lot, meeting all kinds of people, had a super-fast metabolism, and having a blast!

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. I’m a huge fan!

When was the last time you laughed so hard you were crying?
Watching the scene in Seinfeld where Elaine is rushing to get her boyfriend to the airport. It’s funny on its own, but it was so reminiscent of my friend’s experience that I just lost it because it’s real!

First Heartbreak?
When my middle school boyfriend broke up with me for someone else. We didn’t go to the same school but it didn’t stop me from crying the entire day. So much drama when you’re 13. We remain friends to this day. Hi, Brad!

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Riding a sailboat out to snorkel in Saint Martin with my husband and our close friends. Sun, sea, and a little rum. One of the best afternoons of my life.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Hands down true love with a guarantee of heart break. Where do you think all the good songs and books come from?

TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME
  • 1. I married my high school sweetheart after eight years of dating. Now we’ve been together more than half our life. (Please don’t do the math)
  • 2. I’ve had the same favorite movie since I was five—Dirty Dancing.
  • 3. I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo every day like Tina Turner.
  • 4. I love everything from Thai to Mediterranean cuisine but a hamburger and fries is still my all-time favorite.
  • 5. I hate when my hands are wet. It’s like I was a cat in a past life. (Yes, I wash my hands)
  • 6. Music is my oxygen, and if I had a better singing voice, I would’ve been a singer/songwriter like Sara Bareilles and never looked back.
  • 7. The most I’ve ever cried over a fictional character was at the end of Dance Academy Season 2. I love you, Sammy!
  • 8. I have a long bucket list which includes holding a koala bear and doing a dance video with Marie Forleo. (Call me, girl!)
  • 9. If I could live in another time period, I’d go back to the sixties in Los Angeles, specifically Laurel Canyon.
  • 10. My birthday is 7/11 but I’ve never once gone to a 7/11 for a free slurpee. (What’s wrong with me?)
Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from DELIA SUITS UP
The best thing about writing a story that takes place in a day is all of the unexpected characters Delia meets. Each one seemed to give her a bright idea or reflect a lesson she needed to learn. Some of my favorite scenes are:

Chapter Three: I don’t know where I got the idea but I figured that 27 year-olds living in Manhattan aren’t exactly rollin’ in the dough. So I figured Delia and her roomies would enjoy sitting on the living room floor, drinking cheap wine, and playing Truth or Dare. It was so fun introducing Regina and Frankie and seeing their fun dynamic. But I love the moment when they have their shake-it-off to help Delia dance out her despair.

“We each dance with our own flavor at arm’s reach in our tiny living space, the same way we do at a packed nightclub. We belt out the chorus— Regina and I take the high parts and Frankie takes it low. Literally, he’s twerking on all fours. I throw my head back in a laugh, feeling so much freer than when I walked in the door. By the looks of it, I wasn’t the only one who needed a shake‑it‑off. We all pop into our final poses on the last note of the song like we’re a dance crew— the Wednesday Night Winos!”

Chapter Nine: When Delia comes face to face with her career idol, Serena Walters in the lobby at Monty Fuhrmann with a big dilemma to solve. Serena gives her the best advice—“The key to success is the same no matter which industry you’re on. It’s about confidence. You have to walk in like you own the place. Because when you roar like a lion, they’ll treat you like you’re the king of the jungle.”

Chapter Seventeen: Delia finds herself in a seedy bar and strikes up a conversation with Jen, the bartender. Jen was a fun character to write and if the stars align, maybe one day she’ll reappear in another book or get her own story. Delia can’t exactly be forthcoming with all the details of her story and I love the moment when Delia uses the color pink as a metaphor.

“Pink isn’t the problem. Society is the problem. They treat pink like it’s an inferior color but it’s not. Pink is a great color. It’s basically a prettier shade of red. And everyone loves red. Do you know what I mean, Jen? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pink.”


If you had one day to rewrite the rules you live by, would you? Delia Reese takes the financial world by storm in this breakout novel that’s 13 Going on 30 meets She’s the Man.

Just once, Delia Reese wants to be the one calling the shots—not the one waiting to be called. Despite her stellar resume, hiring managers at the big banks won’t give her a chance.

Following yet another failed interview, Delia commiserates with her roommates and drunkenly finds herself wishing she had the advantages that come with being a man. If society wasn’t locked into gender roles, she’d be climbing the corporate ladder in designer heels with no apologies. By morning, her mirror reflects a surprising makeover.

Now that the world sees her as a man, Delia’s determined to double down on society’s double standards. With a smart suit and powerfully pink necktie, she hits New York’s financial district with a big gamble in mind.

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17 comments:

  1. I had to work at the mall selling music at the record shop.

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  2. I've never had just a "summer" job before. I would say working at fast food during the summer really sucked!

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  3. Working at Walmart as a online grocery dispenser it would get so hot wearing the masks outside

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  4. Delivering newspapers. The ink burned my eyes and stained my fingers.

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  5. My "summer jobs" have been good ones.

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  6. "What's the worst summer job you've ever had?" Getting a glimpse of industrial farming.

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  7. The worst summer job I ever had was teaching math to k-3 graders.

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  8. Working as a busgirl in a restaurant, cleaning up tables and helping the dishwasher.

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  9. Painting a house

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  10. Not the worst but the most fun was a summer day camp counselor, so much fun!

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  11. Mainly did baby sitting, most were good, but others weren't--depended on the kids.

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