Is THE SECRET RULES OF ROMANCE your first novel?
It's my fifth novel, but the first one I dared to hit the publish button :).
In the author's note at the beginning, you stated the book was previously published in 2018. Can you explain this a little more?
The first time around, I had taken a little break from writing (okay, a looong break that spanned several years). I never thought my novels were "ready" to release into the world.
Then one day, I was watching an episode of Shark Tank, and Mark Cuban said, "Perfection is the enemy of success." From that moment, I vowed to publish a novel even if it wasn't perfect. Within two months, I wrote my book and released it on Amazon before I could change my mind. I'd always intended on cleaning up the writing, but life threw me a curveball. Two years later, I was finally able to settle down, taking the time to carefully go through each sentence and rewrite it. And I'd have to say, I'm pretty happy with how the new version turned out.
How similar is the original version to the revised one?
Extremely similar. Plot-wise, the storyline is identical. I trimmed some parts (especially in the later half), fixed the dialogue, slightly changed a few scenes around, but mostly cleaned up the prose. I plan to write a blog post describing the differences in detail, for anyone who's curious.
How much of THE SECRET RULES OF ROMANCE is fiction?
A good portion of the story is fiction, but a lot of things actually happened to either myself or one of my girlfriends. For that reason, this book has a special place in my heart since it's closely related to my real life.
Are you similar to Allison's character in the book?
In some ways no, but in a lot of ways yes.
I've always been that awkward girl. I've been called a combination of "funny, weird, and unique" my entire life. But instead of shying away, I lean in and embrace it. My personality is also what I believe makes me unique as a writer.
A lot of thoughts that ran through Ally's head have gone through my own. I would say she's similar to my younger self, who was a hot mess, to say the least. As a former ENFJ who became an ENFP, I'm not messy (anymore), and I'm pretty organized with borderline OCD. I also don't drink nearly as much as Ally does, but I do love cheap wine.
Between Tristan and Grant, who is your favorite?
Tristan. It's funny how my dream guys have evolved throughout my writing career. Years ago, the men in my novels were cocky, sexy, rich bad boys. Now I write about handsome, mature, nice men who have jobs. Mmm, responsibilities... so hot. But I do feel bad for Grant in some ways. I don't think Grant's a bad guy--he just prefers to be in control and have his life a certain way.
I read Mhairi McFarlane's If I Never Met You and noticed some similarities. What's going on?
I address this topic in a blog post of mine. As I stated before, THE SECRET RULES OF ROMANCE was originally published in April 2018 under a different title and cover. I did not plagiarize or copy any authors. The novel is based on my own experiences and is wholly original.
I have no idea how Mhairi McFarlane, a Scottish lady living in the UK (whom I had never heard of prior to this incident), wound up writing so many of the same passages and ideas two years after my book was released. If someone can clue me in and offer an explanation, I'd be eternally grateful.
How long have you been writing?
My entire life :). But writing seriously for about fourteen years now.
Do you plan to write more books?
Yes! Several novels are in the works. Please stay tuned.
Have any other questions? Feel free to email Leah at: firstname.lastname@example.org.