I absolutely love picking up a book and laughing with the author through one catastrophe after another. I was so thrilled to receive a copy of Courtney Hamilton’s “Almost Royalty“, and blogged about how much I liked it last week. It was so refreshing to read about a heroine proud of her Southern California roots! But, more importantly, this was a book that sought to empower women and build up their self esteem.
Courtney’s message to females to be themselves and not give in to craziness moved me, which is why I’m so thrilled that Courtney agreed to an interview about “Almost Royalty”.
What inspired you to write “Almost Royalty”?
A brutally bad break-up. Also, the sub-prime loan crises— in the months leading up to the actual sub-prime crisis, I saw some wild behavior—the kind of thing where people with no income and no job—people recently out of graduate school– were buying hugely expensive big ticket items— things like $2 million dollar homes. And a cat—the cat was a huge inspiration for Almost Royalty.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that strikes you about their work?
I don’t have one favorite author, but I have a few that stun me with their ability, and I reread their work often because I’m trying to discover how they accomplished the books that they created. I am stunned by Michael Chabon’s work, particularly “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union”: Not only did he create his own world in the book, but he created his own language— just amazing. I am stunned by Hilary Mantel, specifically the skill she exhibited in her books, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies.” Wow! I’m also incredibly amazed and a huge fan of “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan; she really captures the evolution of characters in an organic fashion, and “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer, which is a wonderful book.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m a perfectionist, which I believe gets in the way of the creative process because you kill yourself with criticism before the final product is out. I think that the greatest, rarest and most under-rated quality that you find in someone is kindness.
How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer. Recently, I looked at some things that my parents kept from my elementary school years, and I guess that I started winning little awards for writing in about third grade—nothing major, but it just started happening. So writing wasn’t difficult for me, maybe because I was always reading, and I just started imitating the writers that inspired me. I never “intended” to become a writer, I just write things that I think need to be written when I find there is a void and I believe that something needs to be written on a topic. It’s also a way for me to synthesize information or behavior that I don’t understand. For instance, if you read “Almost Royalty” you’ll see that I was quite baffled by dating and many friendships and how nasty people were. To this day, I wonder, was that behavior really necessary?
What struggles have you overcome as a writer?
I think the same thing everyone who wants to write has to overcome: self-doubt, as in, will anyone like my work? Finding time to write. Getting over the difficulties that exist every time you begin a new book and wonder if you are going to make it work . . . that type of thing.
What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing, even if someone tells you that your work is crap. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and most people won’t say something good about your work until other people start saying that your work is good. Also, spend time—and if you can, money—on marketing your book. Marketing is very important.
What’s your funniest, craziest or most embarrassing dating moment?
I went to a party and met this guy—he was 31-32—I was 17. The guy called me and asked me to come to dinner at his “new house” and—could I bring a friend? I begged my roommate to come with me and told her that it was going to be a fun, sophisticated evening with “older guys” and a “special meal” in their brand “new house.” We had to drive over an hour and a half to get to there. When we got to the address, there wasn’t a house there—it was just the wooden frame of house, just the skeleton, on a cement foundation—this was the “new house.” I walked around the back and the guy and his friend were sitting around a cement fire pit with a six-pack of beer. The guy said, “You thought we were going to make dinner or something?” My roommate and I left in about 90 seconds. I don’t think she ever forgave me.
Find out more about Courtney Hamilton by following her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ecochaindating and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EcoChainOfDating. Courtney Hamilton’s blog is http://ecochainofdating.com/blog/.