Monday, March 6, 2023

Addie Woolridge Interview - Anatomy of a Meet Cute

Photo Content from Addie Woolridge

Born and raised outside Seattle, Washington, Addie Woolridge is a classically trained opera singer with a degree in music from the University of Southern California, and she holds a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University. Woolridge’s well-developed characters are a result of her love for diverse people, cultures, and experiences.

Woolridge currently lives in Northern California. When she isn’t writing or singing, Woolridge can be found baking; training for her sixth race in the Seven Continents Marathon Challenge; or taking advantage of the region’s signature beverage, wine.

Greatest thing you learned at school.
Besides how to read? (Jokes…kind of).

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I was pretty much born making up songs! I started singing more formally when I was in elementary school as a way to help me manage my reading disability (thanks, mom and dad!). From there, I’ve more or less stayed in the creative process every day. It sounds silly, but I am happiest when I have a creative outlet, so I try to make sure that I have something creative to do every day, even if its coloring!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My favorite thing in the world is hearing from readers when a book resonates with them. I save their messages in a special file so that when I have a really bad day, I can open it up and be reminded that there are people who were able to feel seen, or were inspired to do something after reading my book. I love that so much!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It’s amazing what I can turn into a distraction when I don’t want to write, especially during the pandemic. Ha! For me, it’s usually my kitchen. There is always something that can be rearranged or reorganized in there. Not to mention all the things I could cook, or coffee I can make. It was bad enough that after a while I broke down and got a formal office space in a building away from my house…with no kitchen.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes? Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I don’t know that reading a single book changed my life--more that the act of reading, in general, is so powerful. I didn’t read well until I was a little older, so I actually remember the day I realized that a) I could read, and that, b) reading was fun. When I was young it was an escape mechanism and a way to let my imagination whirl. It is still those things! However, as I age, I’ve also come to see reading as an act of rebellion and self-determination. Historically, reading was an illicit act for my community. For centuries words were denied enslaved Black Americans. Storytelling is how we preserved our history, culture, and humanity in a world that tried every cruel way imaginable to strip us of those things. To me, that is still the role that storytelling and books play. It asks us to reflect on humanity and the world around us.

Can you tell us when you started ANATOMY OF A MEET CUTE, how that came about?
I started Anatomy of a Meet Cute right around that bleak period in the pandemic when social distancing had really started to wear on all of us, and I was so grateful to have something else to think about beyond existential dread! My mind works in weird ways, and basically, I’d been reading medical news fairly regularly. One day Stanford Medicine put out an article about some of the research their physicians had undertaken to better understand why lesbian families have poor pregnancy outcomes. It got me thinking about the poor outcomes for my minority community and people with disabilities and just about everyone else, and I started to wonder what research had been done on mitigating factors, which led me to doulas. Then I remembered a funny story I’d heard about a doctor on a plane and the two ideas combined to create a meet cute. From there I was off to go write!

  • I tried all the quirky ice cream flavors that I mentioned in the book! If you are ever in the Bay Area, find me on social media and I’ll tell you where to find all of those flavors. (The ice cream that Duke eats with balsamic vinegar is amazing!)
  • Originally, I was going to make Sam, our heroine, a medical resident. But, after writing the first few chapters, I realized that a first-year resident wouldn’t have learned enough to make this story work. So, I made her a research fellow instead!
  • While writing, if I was low on energy I would put on Lizzo and dance around my office or my house for a three-song minimum. Her music never let me down!
  • In the book, the hero, Grant, talks about Karl the Fog…and it’s a real nickname for the fog. Someone even did a story about it on public radio!
  • Speaking of fog, in case you haven’t noticed, the fog is basically everyone’s beloved, quirky neighbor around The Bay Area. I am writing this on the roof deck of my building and watching the fog roll in thick and ominous right now as it does every day around 5pm. It is truly something spectacular.
  • Like me, Grant’s mom is an opera singer. In the book, Grant mentions his favorite role that his mom ever sang and it’s from a real opera, La Fille du RĂ©giment. It’s a completely silly rom-com. I recommend you watch the Met’s 2019 version. Enjoy!
  • I turned in the first draft of this book and then went on vacation because I didn’t expect my wonderful editors, Maria and Lindsey, to read the book so fast. Only they got the edits back to me in a week and a half, so I ended up revising it on trains, planes, and automobiles (if you were following me on Instagram, you witnessed it firsthand). I was visiting family friends in Paris and my adorable little cousin had to lend me his computer charger because I didn’t even bring mine!
  • In the book, Sam has a strained relationship with her mom. The one thing they can bond over is a shared update about their quirky neighbor, Mrs. Morrow and her cats. In real life, Mrs. Morrow was one of my elementary school teachers and I loved her! (I have no idea if she had cats. Ha!)
  • Originally, I named Sam’s brother Gavin, and her doula coworker, Gaiya, but after writing a few chapters, I realized there was no way readers could keep Grant, Gavin, and Gaiya straight in their minds, so Gavin became Isaiah, and Gaiya became Kaiya. I like those names much better.
  • I maintain that A Goofy Movie is one of the best Disney movies. Anytime it is playing in San Francisco, I will be there…even if it is in a freezing cold park like the one Sam and Grant visited.
What is the first job you have had?
I started babysitting in the 5th grade, but the first job I had that I actually paid taxes on was as a barista at Starbucks and as a theater stagehand.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I went on a safari in South Africa. It was like living a childhood dream, only I could have a gin cocktail and watch elephants while the sun set. Best experience ever!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Realizing that Mozart was just pop music of his day. It sounds silly, but I didn’t really engage with a lot of pop culture until I went to college. Then it hit me that the only reason we know Mozart’s name is because he was and is extremely popular, so there was no reason for me not to enjoy pop music, or grocery store paperbacks, or soap operas. They are just classics waiting for time to pass.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yup. I’m an Aquarius and I have an extremely strong sense of justice. Shaking my fist at “the man” is a pastime, a hobby, and a blood sport for me. If I don’t say a word when something is wrong it literally eats at me and I hate living with regret, so I speak up.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Heartbreak for sure. The first time I had my heart broken, I remember crying and one of my beloved auntie-mentors pointed out that I wasn’t special. If you live life your heart will get broken by something or someone someday, so you may as well love in the process.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
“I look good!” Seriously, my hypercritical thoughts about my looks don’t kick in until after coffee, which means my clothes can be mismatched, my hair uncombed and I’m still like, “this is fine!” for at least a half hour. Ha!

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?
I would take more naps in college. I worked harder than I needed to. The truth is, you only need good enough grades to get into grad school. Straight As don’t really matter, so take more naps and go to more parties. Stay out all night and make friends. Live your life! Grades aren’t what make up a personality, lived experiences are.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I had a dream that an ex-boyfriend stole my mattress and hid it in a basement in Manhattan. I spent the whole dream trying to get it back with my mom (ah!). There were people in clown masks, and it was dark and icky and in the end, we found my boyfriend and my mattress and I decided I didn’t even want it anymore. My mom and I lugged it out of the basement, and then she said, “Don’t worry Addie, we’ll just buy you a new one.” Then I woke up. SO WEIRD!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
“The Big One” earthquake. I’m not even a little scared of regular earthquakes, that’s just a fact of life on America’s west coast, but I want nothing to do with a massive scary fault line fissure. I love The Rock’s movies and have seen most of them, but I literally have never watched San Andreas because the concept is too scary for me. No thank you!

Sparks fly when an ob-gyn butts heads with a doctor at her new hospital in this delightfully charming romance about bad timing, good friends, and fresh starts.

The last thing I ever expected was to insult a colleague before I even started a new job.

But here I am, already on thin ice after I mistook a fellow doctor for a patient on a bad drug trip. Oops.

No matter how handsome or infuriatingly aloof he is, Grant Gao isn’t going to spoil my fresh start. Instead, I’m going to keep myself (maybe too) busy with my roommates, work, and passion: starting a new program to improve pregnancy care in the community.

But getting the hospital bigwigs on board with my idea is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated, and I may be forced to swallow my pride and ask Grant for help.

But will working with Grant bring us closer, or will I be crushed under my ever-growing list of responsibilities?

You can purchase Anatomy of a Meet Cute at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ADDIE WOLLRIDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Anatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge.


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