[It simply wouldn’t be summer without a new Claire Cook novel to inspire/entertain and this Tuesday, June 5th the New York Times bestselling author (complete book listing) offers readers her ninth book, Wallflower in Bloom
For those (few) who don’t know Claire’s story, writing and publishing nine books in a career might seem easy. Ah, but finding the dedication for her desire took a bit of work and that is all a part of why she writes.]
I write because I can. I’d love to be a musician or a painter, but writing is the place where my urge to create and my ability intersect. I think we all have that place. For some, the trick is finding it. For others, it’s all about having the courage to live the dream.
I’ve known I was a writer since I was three. My mother entered me in a contest to name the Fizzies whale, and I won in my age group. It’s quite possible that mine was the only entry in my age group, since “Cutie Fizz” was enough to win my family a six-month supply of Fizzies tablets (root beer was the best flavor) and half a dozen turquoise plastic mugs with removable handles.
At six I had my first story on the Little People’s Page in the Sunday paper (about Hot Dog, the family dachshund, even though we had a beagle at the time — the first clue that I’d be a novelist and not a journalist) and at sixteen I had my first front page feature in the local weekly. I majored in film and creative writing in college, and fully expected that the day after graduation, I would go into labor and a brilliant novel would emerge, fully formed, like giving birth.
It didn’t happen. I guess I knew how to write, but not what to write. Looking back, I can see that I had to live my life so I’d have something to write about, and if I could give my younger self some good advice, it would be not to beat myself up for the next couple of decades.
But I did. At the same time, I pretended I wasn’t feeling terrible about not writing a novel, and did a lot of other creative things. I wrote shoe ads for an in house advertising agency for five weeks, became continuity director of a local radio station for a couple of years, taught aerobics and did some choreography, helped a friend with landscape design, wrote a few freelance magazine pieces, took some more detours. Eventually, I had two children and followed them to school as a teacher, where I taught everything from multicultural games and dance to open ocean rowing to creative writing.
Years later, when I was in my forties and sitting in my minivan outside my daughter’s swim practice at 5 AM, it hit me that I might live my whole life without ever once going after my dream of writing a novel. So, for the next six months I wrote a rough draft in the pool parking lot, and it sold to the first publisher who asked to read it.
My first novel was published when I was forty-five. At fifty, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie version of my second novel, Must Love Dogs. I’m now the bestselling author of nine novels, including my about-to-be released Wallflower in Bloom.
Writing is still that place for me where my urge to create and my ability intersect. And not many days go by that I don’t take a deep breath and remind myself that this is the career I almost didn’t have.
“A fun and inspiring read . . . Cook’s humor and narrative execution is impeccable; Deirdre’s increasing self-consciousness elicits support for her to overcome insecurity and endure in her journey to find happiness and fulfillment on her own terms.” —Publisher’s Weekly
WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM is a Cool Reads for Summertime pick — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In other words, this book is a winner!
Here’s the synopsis:
A winning and witty novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the round-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.
Then Deirdre’s sometime-boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows with Tag’s vodka, Deirdre comes up with an idea. She’ll use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute replacement on Dancing with the Stars. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre Griffin’s fifteen minutes of fame has begun.
Irresistible, offbeat, yet with a thoroughly relatable and appealing heroine, this is an original and deeply satisfying story of one woman who’s ready to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where she lands.
Read and/or listen to Claire read Chapter One….enjoy!
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook — in a random drawing — to anyone who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight! The winner will be notified by email tomorrow.