Oooo…Do I have a special treat for you today! Lisa Becker is here and blogging about her new book, Click: An Online Love Story.
But you didn’t come to hear what I had to say, you came to hear her. So take it away, Lisa…
It was 1994 and I was a graduate student studying public relations at Boston University. (Boy, I’m really showing my age here, huh?) I was asked to interview Charles Rosen, a producer for the original “Beverly Hills 90210,” for an article in the alumni magazine. With me being from Los Angeles, the magazine editors figured he and I would have a lot in common. And considering they used to film some of the “90210” scenes down the street from my childhood home, I thought we would hit it off. The “California connection” certainly helped kick things off nicely and it was a fascinating, albeit brief, conversation.
Little did I know at the time, that one piece of advice from Mr. Rosen during our interview would serve me well throughout my career. During our chat, he said, “Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them.”
After graduate school, I moved to Atlanta and worked at a small PR agency for nearly three years. And, for the last 13+ years, I’ve been with one of the largest global PR firms. I’ve worked with some of the biggest consumer companies in the world including McDonald’s, Ford, Sony, and Gatorade. And, I’ve spent countless hours writing news releases, bylined articles, marketing proposals, brochures, advertising copy, public service announcements, radio copy, mat columns, fact sheets, photo captions, media alerts, pitch letters, letters to the editor, video news releases, etc.
And, I’ve carried Mr. Rosen’s words with me every day as colleagues, bosses and clients have “changed my words” sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
When it came time for me to write something personal, based on my own experiences and initially for my own pleasure, I relished the opportunity to write what I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted. You see, my husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating. I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged. Click: An Online Love Story is about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles with the entire story told in emails between her and her friends, as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online.
It was only after I considered publishing the book that I nervously harkened back to Mr. Rosen’s advice. But, I took the plunge and explored the traditional publishing route, getting feedback from multiple literary agents. One suggested that I rewrite the book into a typical format with just a few emails here and there. But I wanted to stay true to my vision. Another agent explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. She recommended self publishing as a way to get my work out there and allow me to control the process.
And, so, I decided to self publish Click: An Online Love Story. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier. For better or worse, this is the story I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell it. Thankfully, readers and reviewers seem to be enjoying it.
And so, thanks to the popularity and ease of self publishing, I say to all of the aspiring writers out there, “Go ahead and fall in love with your words.”
I’ve read Click and let me tell you it is easy to fall in love with! Click is a witty, witty read. Lisa Becker takes four unlikely friends on one’s journey through internet dating. Tired of the traditional dating scene, Renee allows friend Mark to convince her to sign up for an online dating service. Through “Choose Jews” Renee meets a menagerie of men including a cyber stalker, a serial texter, and great guy who just might be the one. Click is told entirely through emails back and forth between the friends. I admit to skimming over the to/from section (at the beginning of each email) to get to the best part. At times I lost my place and had to back track. My fault or the author’s? Mine. Definitely mine.
Lisa has a great handle on the voices of her characters which is a commendable feat considering no one actual speaks. But even through their emails, they come alive—Mark’s compulsive, Renee’s got a low self-esteem, Ashley is a goody-goody (though she’s incredibly likeable), and Shelley’s a…well, Shelley’s a slut. :) And all of them quickly became my friends as I rooted for Ashley and her impossible relationship with boyfriend Evan, laughed at the nicknames Shelley gave her conquests, and rolled my eyes with a smile on my face as Mark complied list after list and did his research on EVERYTHING! lol And Renee? I was behind Renee all the way, hoping and praying that she might actually come out on top in this crazy dating scene.
Click is humorous, well-written, and an enjoyable read. Kudos to Lisa Becker for a unique idea that so clearly shows the sign of the times–internet dating—in this era of computers.
And even more of a treat, I got to ask Lisa some questions about Click, and here’s what she had to say–
Your bio says you met your husband through internet dating. How much of your book is based off actual dates/events that you experienced?
Well, a true lady never kisses and tells. Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me. In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” The ultimate goal was to create a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for “the one.” But, the happy ending is real. I met my husband online. We’ve been happily married for about eight years and have two amazing daughters – ages 6 and 4.
Click’s four main “friend” characters are all very different from each other. Which of them was the hardest for you to identify with and why?
Honestly, it was easy to identify in some way with all of them, which is probably why they are written the way they are. Each character is inspired in some way by someone I know and love.
Is there one “friend” in particular that you more readily identify with?
I most readily identify with Renee. She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking. But, my favorite character is Shelley. She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices. She was so fun to write. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn’t long before they met and dated for a spell.
What was the biggest challenge for you, writing a book with absolutely no direct dialogue?
The hardest part was keeping the timeline and email exchanges organized. Sometimes, I would have to look back a few pages earlier to make sure I had cc’d or bcc’d the right people on an email and that the subject lines were consistent. In some cases, there were replies to forwards to replies. Keeping it all straight was a challenge, but essential to the book’s format.
Click has a very clever format—now the dreaded question—where did you get the idea?
Many years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails. I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world. It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times.
Anything new in the works that you’d like to tell us about?
Since Click was published, I’ve been asked numerous times when the sequel is coming out. I have started jotting down notes and have a working title, Double Click. I would love to incorporate reader feedback into it, so if someone has an idea of what they would like to see happen next for Renee, Shelley, Ashley or Mark, please stop by the Facebook fansite and post suggestions.
Whoo-hoo–all the more reason go get your copy of Click: An Online Love Story today! Click the link– Get it…? Click? it’s– oh, never mind! Just buy the book. You won’t regret it!
Happy Reading! <3 Amie