Monday, January 5, 2009

JACK WITH A TWIST - by Brenda Janowitz

It's a new year and a new GCC tour! My guest today is Brenda Janowitz, author of JACK WITH A TWIST, published by Red Dress Ink.

Planning a wedding can be a trying experience…

A little prewedding anxiety is normal for every bride, and Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller isn’t worried. She’s got the loving support of the world’s greatest guy, so planning her nuptials should be a piece of cake.

But that was yesterday.

Today, Brooke’s landed her first big case and has just discovered that the opposing attorney is none other than her fiancé, Jack. But that’s okay. These two professionals aren’t going to let a little courtroom sparring get their legal briefs in a bunch.… Right? Wrong! Now Jack’s pulling every dirty trick in the law books, and Brooke’s starting to suspect that maybe he isn’t the man she thought he was. Warring with her fiancé at work and at home, Brooke realizes that she’ll have to choose between the case of her life, or actually having a life.

A native New Yorker, Brenda Janowitz has had a flair for all things dramatic since she played the title role in her third grade production of Really Rosie. When asked by her grandmother if the experience made her want to be an actress when she grew up, Brenda responded, “An actress? No. A writer, maybe.”

Brenda attended Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Service Studies, with a Concentration in Race and Discrimination. After graduating from Cornell, she attended Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review and won the Law Review Writing Competition. Upon graduation from Hofstra, she went to work for the law firm Kaye Scholer, LLP, where she was an associate in the Intellectual Property group, handling cases in the areas of trademark, anti-trust, internet, and false advertising. Brenda later left Kaye Scholer to pursue a federal clerkship with the Honorable Marilyn Dolan Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Since her clerkship, Brenda has worked as a career counselor at two New York City law schools, where she published a number of articles on career related issues in publications such as the National Law Journal and the New York Law Journal. She currently lives in New York with her husband.

Brenda took some time and answered a few questions about JACK and the writing life.

What is the elevator pitch for JACK WITH A TWIST?

JACK WITH A TWIST is the story of Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller, who plans the wedding of her dreams, all while litigating the biggest case of her career…. which just so happens to be against her perfect fiancé. Hilarity ensues. Really. Marian Keyes called it “a funny, sweet romance” and Carole Matthews said it was “[a]nother fun-filled page-turner from Brenda.” Ironically, I wrote JACK before even getting engaged myself!

Name three songs that would be perfect for the soundtrack of JACK WITH A TWIST.

Well, that would have to be the playlist for Brooke’s bachlorette party (there are four, but they are awesome 80’s hits, so I hope you’ll forgive me!): “You’re The One That I Want,” “Come on Eileen,” “I Want Your Sex,” and Brooke’s all time favorite 80’s song, “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.”

How do you approach writing your novel? Do you outline the plot? Start with a character or...?

Both! When I wrote SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I had a general idea of where it was going, but by no means a real outline. I just let the story take me where it wanted and I did a lot of editing and re-writing to keep it tight and make it work the way I thought it should.

For JACK WITH A TWIST, I created an outline first to show to my editor so that she’d have a sense of the type of story I wanted to tell. It was really great to work off of an outline since it gives you the opportunity to layer on the things like themes and symbols that I added to second and third drafts of SCOT ON THE ROCKS. I feel that it made for a much richer first draft.

What is your writing schedule like?

I pretty much just write wherever and whenever I can. Writing is an art, but it’s also a job, so it’s important for me to just buckle down and do it whenever I get a spare moment.

Describe how you got your first book deal.

I was sitting in my office when my agent called me to tell me about it. The whole thing was incredibly surreal and exciting. You spend so much of your time writing and not knowing how the outside world will react to your work. When it finally happened for me, it was just this overwhelming feeling of elation and that Sally Field sentiment of: “They like it! They really like it!”

What is your advice for those who looking to get their novel published?

Keep writing! It’s so easy to get discouraged or feel like you don’t have the time to write. But like anything else that is important in life, you have to work at it and make the time for it.

Edit! Editing your work is almost as important as the writing itself. Sure, you’re telling your story, but it’s also important to consider the way that you tell it. You want your writing to be tight, elegant and polished. It can only get to be that way through careful and thorough editing.

Develop a very thick skin. You’re putting yourself out there when you write and not everyone is going to love what you do. But that’s okay! You’re not writing to please everyone out there. You’re writing because you have a story that you want to tell. So start getting used to criticism and then see tip #1—keep writing!

You can find out more about Brenda and JACK WITH A TWIST at her Web site and blog.

Best of luck, Brenda!

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