I am so excited to kick off my Happy Hour segment of le blog. This is a place where I'll interview creatives and attempt to tell their story. Or at the very least, scratch the surface of their bad ass-ness. In such a short time I have been interlaced into a network of incredible people that I know I can learn a ton from. So hopefully you can learn something from them, too. If anything, I hope to mildly entertain you.
To kick things off, I'm chatting with my fast friend, Ms. Emily Belden. She wrote the amazing book, Eightysixed that I chatted about a few weeks ago. (If you haven't read it yet, get it together and grab it on Amazon!) She's super funny and genuinely nice and incredibly smart. I am so thankful that she found me and thought I was cool enough to talk about her book.
So here we go! This is my interview with Em.
KP: How crazy of a ride has this been? You wrote a hugely successful book at such a young age. What has that been like?
EB: It’s rewarding and inspiring. There’s a certain amount of risk you take when debuting with a memoir, albeit a tell-all. But I love hearing how other people have been influenced by the book and it is a great source of motivation to keep writing more!
KP: What was your life like growing up? Did you see this as your path?
EB: I’ve always been a writer. I thought I’d wind up as a reporter though. It wasn’t until I took an advertising class in college that I realized my writing talents were more creative than I thought. And while I always felt a duty to get the story, my calling to be the story was much greater.
KP: We didn’t really get to see how your relationship with Ryan unfolded. How did it move from a potential work assignment to dating?
EB: It was love at first sight. I mean, as crazy as that sounds for that first sight being a bald, tattooed biker! I just knew from the moment I sat down next to him and started talking that he’d be a special person in my life for a long time to come.
KP: How did he react to the book? Reading about his wife’s escapades in her past life must have been rough.
EB: He’s my biggest fan, but also my hardest. The story existed before I met him and all the events are what lead me to him. So in some respects, it’s kind of romantic. However, I get that even though we all have pasts, the fact that there’s a manifesto of mine makes things little crazy.
KP: A character in your book threw you head first into the fine dining scene. What are your eating habits now? Have you reverted back to microwave tortellini?
EB: There’s a time and a place for my Velveeta shells and cheese, but I certainly have come to know and love the experience of dining. It doesn’t have to be multi-course or fine dining, either - it’s just the idea of eating, drinking and slowing down to experiencing the company around you that I really enjoy.
KP: Working for yourself obviously has its perks. But with so much freedom and flexibility, how do you make sure you are productive?
EB: I’ve got a burning passion in me to write. So even if I wanted to veg on the couch and watch KUWTK all day, the fire to open my laptop and pen the next great scene in a novel will always win. Plus, part of being a successful, modern author is connecting with your readers - especially given the relatable nature of my book. There’s no time to sit on the sidelines.
KP: Tell us about the passing of Total E-Bag (may she rest in peace). What does "E-Bag" mean to you?
EB: R.I.P. E-Bag. That blog was where it all started. Obviously it’s a play on words for “Total D-Bag” which used to be one of my favorite ways to describe the guys I was dating back in my single days. E-Bag was Emily’s take on all that misadventure. It was a place to say whatever was on my mind at the time. I still blog at EmilyBelden.com, but as I get older, my experiences and emotions are different.
KP: What will your new blog be focused on?
EB: I’m going to write about what I’m reading and what inspires me. Giving others a platform wasn’t really something I did on E-Bag because it was so (selfishly) focused on whatever I had going on. Here, I can’t wait to tell people about the next book they MUST read, or about a product I really like, or a place you must travel to before you die, etc.
KP: Have you always been a writer? What got you here.
EB: Always! Since writing to the Tooth Fairy, to being a kid’s reporter for the Chicago Tribune at the ripe old age of 12, to every Christmas volunteering to “write back” from Santa (sometimes Mrs. Claus depending on my mood), I just can’t resist creatively expressing myself through words.
KP: What do you do when you get writers’ block?
EB: Make a sandwich. Honestly, nothing resets my brain like focusing on something else for the moment - i.e., the perfect mustard to mayonnaise ratio and whether I want BBQ chips or regular.
KP: What advice do you have for other bloggers and writers?
EB: Don’t get caught up in revisions and editing. Every time I would open my word document, it’d start me on page one, word one. I was so tempted to re-write that first paragraph over and over that I’d never make any progress on the rest of the piece. You have to keep forging on. Get it all out. Then come back and comb through things.
KP: How long did it take you to find your "voice"?
EB: I’ve always had the voice, I think the delay was on whether or not I’d put it out there (and I mean, all of it) for the world to see. I think I was about half way through the original manuscript before I decided this needs to be more than just a diary entry. This has to be published.
KP: What are you writing now?
EB: I was just offered representation by the famed literary agency, Browne & Miller. They are representing my latest manuscript, a novel called Randolph Street. While that’s being shopped out, I’m finishing a third book - also a novel - called Faker.