~ Interview by Alana Albertson
Our Chick Lit blog has some wonderful news!
Publicists at St. Martin’s Press contacted us because they love our blog and wanted to know if we would like to interview their authors and review their new books.
Please welcome author Kate Rockland to our blog! Her beautiful new book, 150 Pounds, is set to be a new Chick lit classic in the vein of Jennifer Weiner.
Q: Tell us about your book?
A: Full time bloggers Alexis Allbright, of Skinny Chick fame, and Shoshana Weiner, of Fat and Fabulous stand out in the blogosphere like diamonds. Both have over five million loyal readers. Both are hungry for success. But their similarities end there as they send out directly opposing messages about women, weight and what is healthy.
After being invited as guests on Oprah Winfrey, Shoshana and Alexis are forced into each other’s lives but hope never to see each other again. However the result of two exciting life events means a drastic weight change for both of them, and they are forced to confront the real issue at hand: What is the best message to give women about their weight? Should they try and shed it, or learn to love their own skin?
These two writers living across the Hudson River from one another in Manhattan, NYC and Hoboken, New Jersey must put their differences aside as they realize there is no perfect number on the scale.
Shoshana and Alexis, once enemies, will discover they have much more in common than they ever thought possible: by the end of the novel they will both weigh 150 Pounds.
An entertaining yet poignant look at a difficult and pressing issue that will affect all women at some point in their life or other. The book ends with a positive message and a lesson that we can all learn from.
Q: Tell us about your path to publishing?
A: I started out writing a sex and relationship advice column for The Targum, Rutgers’ daily newspaper. I mainly interviewed my roommates, and injected a lot of humor into the column. I think it was probably very badly written, but I had a blast with it! I then worked at a few different book publishing houses, including Rolling Stone magazine’s book division, and I made enough contacts there to pitch my first novel, “Falling Is Like This.”
Q: Your review from Publisher’s Weekly stated that “Rockland does an excellent job of subverting chick lit tropes”what do you think they meant by that?
A. I actually had no idea what “tropes” meant; I had to look it up in the dictionary! I actually love Chick Lit, and don’t feel bothered by the label at all. I never wanted to write “serious” fiction. How boring! I think the New York Times should review Chick Lit though, they’re such snobs! Maybe people have this conception that Chick Lit is all about purses and shoes, but what it’s really about is women working out their relationship problems by talking about them, writing about them, and calling their girlfriends to talk about them. It was nice of Publisher’s Weekly to consider me a serious writer, but I’d rather be considered a Chick Lit writer. I grew up reading Mariane Keyes’ books over and over again, and then graduated to Emily Giffin and Jane Green. I love Chick Lit.
Q: Do you consider your book chick lit? What is your take on the status of the genre?
A: See the above. I think there should be several categories of novels written by women, some Chick Lit, some serious fiction like Joan Didion, some mysteries, some Dramas, some Romance, etc. I think Harlan Coben is Chick Lit for guys, as is Stephen King. Chick Lit is similar to Pop Music. But I totally sympathize with women who are writers and feel their books are being forced into a pink cover just to sell copies. They should be able to market themselves however they’d like. For my own views, I always wanted a powder blue cover with pretty pink cupcakes on it, and that’s what I got!
Q: Tell us about your writing process?
A: I don’t really have a writing process, I’ve always been all over the place. An idea appeals to me and interests me enough to write down thoughts about it. Sometimes I hear a snippet of a line on TV, or in a movie, and that gives me inspiration. I tear out pictures from magazines. For my character Shoshana in “150 Pounds,” I clipped together many pictures of women from magazines, to get the description of her auburn, wild hair correct. I’ve always worked full time as a teacher while writing, so I’d set my alarm before work and write for an hour. These days, I have an 11 month old and haven’t gotten very much done. I’d like to get a babysitter to come over twice a week, but they cost a lot.
Thank you so much, Kate!
Kate Rockland lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband, son, and cat, Elizabeth Taylor. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times. She weighs 150 pounds.