Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Featured Author: Annie Wood

CLP Blog Tours brings Annie Wood here today, to guest blog about finding time, to talk about her romantic comedy, Dandy Day, and to treat us to an excerpt from the book. Plus, don't miss the Rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

About the book:

Dandy Day is a thirty-five-year-old free spirited commitment-phobic, Venice Boardwalk roller skating waitress. When Dandy is suddenly dumped by her therapist, right when they were on the brink of figuring out why her relationships last only a whopping three months, Dandy decides to take her relationship issues into her own hands.

With the reluctant help of her lifelong best friend, Simon, Dandy tracks down her exes one by one and does a relationship autopsy on each of them in order to get to the bottom of her relationship challenged life.

Interview with Annie Wood

Annie, by my count, this is your fifth book, plus you write screenplays and a web-series. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I remember, around the age of six or so, having an idea about a leprechaun and a pot of gold. The idea was immediately followed by an intense need to write it down. The point of the story was that instead of the pot of gold being on the other side of the rainbow, the leprechaun had the pot of gold all along. It was under his hat. (I didn’t know how to spell leprechaun back then and I still don’t now. Spell check is my favorite invention.)

How did you come up with the title Dandy Day?

I like old-timey phrases, so I once I told someone to have a “dandy day.” Then the thought occurred to me, what if their name was Dandy? And, like Doris, what if their last name was Day? Would they constantly feel pressure to have a dandy day because they are Dandy Day? These are the things that keep me up at night. Until I write them down. So, I did.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I’m an actress, on-camera as well as voice-over. I also write comedic scenes for actors on a “writer-for-hire” basis.

In the past I have done all sorts of stuff. I was a nanny, I taught acting to kids and teens, I sold Bonsai trees and rain sticks that I made at swap meets, and my first real job was as a front office receptionist at a talent agency when I was 15.

Wow. I am such a slacker. How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)

A short novel about love, friendship and grown ups, (sort of), growing up (sort of).

Do you have imaginary friends? When do they talk to you? Do they tell you what to write or do you poke them with a Q-tip?

They wake me up in the middle of the night! Usually whatever characters want to be written about next. The characters nudge me and then put them in situations. That’s usually how it works for me. They don’t poke me with a Q-tip though. They gently massage me. (I’ve trained them well.)

In that case, can you have your imaginary friends talk to my imaginary friends? I love massages...but I digress. When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?

I usually know the main character. After I allow myself to get to know him/her better, they introduce me to their friends, like a host at a party.

As it should be. Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Simon’s niece, Ashley and Dandy’s Grandpa. I love writing kids and seniors. I feel a great respect for kids and seniors because I think they know things the rest of us have either forgotten or haven’t learned yet. Plus, there’s such a freedom in being very young and being very old. You usually say what you mean and mean what you say, without a filter. That’s appealing to me.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters?

I love this question! (Actually all of your questions are damn good.) Why thank you! I enjoy name searching. I’m in Italy right now, and I’ve been keeping a list of Italian names of people I meet for my next book. (Part of it takes place in Italy.) I sometimes, with permission, use friends’ names. I also search online sometimes for baby names that were popular when my characters were born.

What would Dandy say about you?

Dandy would be very impressed with my happily married state. Then I would remind her that I had to go through much of what she went through before I was rewarded with this curtain state of being. Then we’d drink some wine and tell stories. I think we’d be pals.

Are you like any of your characters?

I was like Dandy in the over-thinking way. I was like Debbie in the free spirit way. I was like Ashley in the “tell it like it is” way. Now, I’m a calmer version of all of them. Grown up but not entirely. Never entirely.
Who is? What song would you pick to go with your book?

I always have a soundtrack in mind when I write something. This book was based on my screenplay by the same name and in the first scene I had in my mind the song "Tell Him" by The Exciters (1962.) I LOVE that song! The chorus repeats the line - "I know something about love" (which is what I always thought the title of the song was). The tune is so optimistic, and it was in one of my favorite movies, The Big Chill.

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? Music? Acting out the scene? Long showers?

I sometimes create a playlist to write to. Working out on the treadmill and chilling on my hammock in the front yard helps with the flow. So does driving. I do act out the dialogue often. But mostly, when I sleep at night, those characters gently massage me awake and lead me to my office where I write by the light of the silvery moon. (If this romantic idea of the silvery moon is not practical on any given night because the moon is not at it’s silveryest, I will turn on a small, amber light and light a candle.)
What are you working on now?

Another novel (or novella, not sure yet) La Tua Casa, based on my screenplay, Martin’s Theory. It’s another romantic comedy, this time with a male lead finding the love of his life in a parallel life where he manages a B&B in Italy. Which is ironic because in his current life he hates traveling, hates the country and doesn’t much care for other people either. Here’s the logline: With the help of an eccentric professor and his book, a lonely man discovers the ability to travel to his parallel lives, falling for the woman of his dreams in one of them while trying desperately to avoid some of the others.

Thank you so much, Amy! I really enjoyed answering this terrific questions!
Love and Peace,
Annie Wood

Thanks for being here, Annie! Come back anytime.

Animated Excerpt

Excerpt from Dandy Day


I’m in the middle of a field, with my arms outstretched. It starts with Robert Downey Jr, then Johnny Depp, quickly followed by Colin Farrel, Bradley Cooper and then Hugh Jackman. They all come raining down upon me from the sky, each one trapped inside their own personal raindrop. I feel like I can catch them all, save them all and then, by doing so, save myself. I reach out my arms, preparing to gather the man-droplets but something goes horribly wrong. They are much heavier than I expected, and it turns out the raindrops are made of glass. The weight of the droplets is just too much for me so I drop them and then watch in horror as they loudly crash to the ground. Bradley, Hugh, Colin, all of them shatter into a million little pieces right before my very eyes. All because I wasn’t able to hold on.

I think about crying, but instead...

I wake up.

My alarm clock is playing the same tune it always plays, I Know Something About Love. I’m a fan of irony. My recurring raining-men dream doesn’t bother me so much anymore. I’ve grown accustomed to it. Although, there’s always a moment, when I’m watching them slip through my fingers, where I’m deeply saddened. Saddened because I know it’s inevitable.

The crash.
The shatter.
The end.

I grab my breakfast, which consists of one large chocolate Yoo-Hoo, and I put on my roller skates. I remind myself to try a strawberry Yoo-Hoo one day to shake things up a bit. It’s another sunny day on the Venice boardwalk and I’m ready to skate on over to my head-shrinking visit. Why am I getting my head shrunk? Because, I live in Los Angeles. It’s what we do here. Besides, my health insurance covers it and I was curious as to what my subconscious is up to. Mostly about men. I love men. I think they love me but seemingly just in small bursts, then, “POOF” the love is gone. I can’t seem to make a relationship stick.

I’m thirty-five years old. 

I’d really like one to stick.

Other books by Annie Wood:

Guest Post

Time Finding

by Annie Wood

I’m a life long actress and writer and a big fan of creating my own stuff. Short films, web-series, books, plays, you name it, I’m creating it. I do it because I need to create. I need to create and share stories or else I’d go bonkers. Because of this driving need, I often have a continuous outflow of projects. The question I get all of the time is, How do you find the time?

My answer has remained the same for years now. “I just do it.” Sometimes the simple answer is the most honest, useful answer that was used in a Nike shoe campaign. In this hustle and bustle world, how does any of us find time to do anything at all? Because the honest, simple truth of the matter is, when we want it bad enough, we find the time. Or better yet, we create the time.

It’s true that we can’t actually create time by adding additional hours to the day but it’s also true that we can get up earlier, stay up later or replace facebook time with writing (or whatever it is you want to have the time to do). Since life is a series of choices, we, at any time, can change or add to those choices.  For me that sometimes means not going out on the weekends and waiting to watch my favorite TV show on TiVo tomorrow instead of immediately (averting my eyes while on twitter to avoid spoilers.) For me, those aren’t such huge sacrifices. If you have family obligations, by all means tend to them, but remember that your family wants you to be a complete, fulfilled, happy person so explain to them that in order for that to happen you are taking the time to get what you need to get done for yourself.  Even if that’s just thirty minutes a day, take it! You’d be surprised how quickly it all adds up and by the end of the week you could have a short story written, a new drawing, new ideas, a song, whatever it is you’re doing, it can be done if you create the time for it each day.

Seriously. Just do it.

About the author:

Annie was born in Hollywood, raised in the valley. She avoided the valley girl accent by speaking backwards for the first 15 years of her life. As an actress she has guest starred on several TV shows. You may remember her best in her recurring role on Becker with Ted Danson, Lara in Good Luck Chuck and as the host of her own nationally syndicated dating show, BZZZ! which she also co-produced. As a writer, she is a produced and published playwright and recently had a comedic scene in the NBC/UNIVERSAL showcase. Her web-series, Karma’s a B*tch was chosen by Virgin America as BEST OF THE WEB, and season 2 is now in the works. Her books of comedic scenes, Snapshots! & Act Up & Make a Scene have been performed on Hollywood stages and is available on Amazon. She lives in Los Angeles with her charming, Italian husband and her equally charming, Jewish/Buddhist/Italian dog, Lucy.

Connect with Annie!

Website | Blog (Annie occasionally blogs at SheWrites) | Lucy's Blog (Annie's dog, Lucy, blogs when they travel each year to Italy, where Annie's husband is from.)
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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