Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. I have an MFA with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I've been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator. I've also been involved in film finance.
Now tell us how you got into writing.
Mail-Order Groom is my first attempt at writing a novel. When I thought of the idea for the story in 2006, I wrote it as a screenplay. At the time, I was a screenwriter, and I also helped producers and other writers with their screenplays. I went a step further and tried to have Mail-Order Groom made into a movie. I created business plans and budgets, sought financing, and reached out to directors, co-producers, and actors. I personally hand-delivered the screenplay to a major talent agency in Los Angeles for a famous director to read. I never intended to write fiction until the movie project went nowhere. I wanted to tell this story so badly. I realized that turning it into a novel was the one definite way I could do that. I'm working on several other stories now, so it looks like I'm here to stay.
Was getting published hard?
Mail-Order Groom is self-published. Before I finished writing it, someone who read my manuscript expressed interest in possibly publishing it. I decided to hold on to it because I wanted to know what it was like to publish my own book. I really enjoy business, and I liked the idea of being involved in the business side of this endeavor. The process has been very exciting. I plan to publish more works in the future.
Give us a summary on your novel.
Mail-Order Groom is about Lisa, an American woman, who marries Krzysztof, a Polish stranger, who needs a green card in order to stay in America. She's just about to marry her fiancé Jeff when he calls the wedding off and breaks her heart. In a twist of fate, she meets Krzysztof on a website that her friend Daphne shows her, and she recognizes him as the man she has seen in town. He and his uncle Jerzy convince Lisa to marry him. It's strictly a business deal, but she finds herself falling for Krzysztof. The problem is that he's not planning to stay in America forever. She faces the risk of being heartbroken all over again.
Where do you get your ideas?
I thought of the idea for Mail-Order Groom after I read about Polish men who marry for green cards, but all of my other ideas usually come from my own experiences. I create fictional characters and events around them. So, they're similar to things that have happened in my life, but not identical.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
It took me at least three years to write Mail-Order Groom because I wasn't able to work on it full-time. I was busy with my job and with life in general. There were times when I couldn't work on it for many days or weeks, and even as long as a couple of months. It was frustrating because I loved writing the story and I wanted to finish it. I remained focused on my goal no matter how many distractions came along. Reaching the end of the final chapter was incredibly rewarding.
Do you find certain times of the day or certain things inspire you to write?
Music inspires me to write, especially when the words or the tone of a song are similar to what my characters are experiencing. Music helps stir feelings inside of me that I wouldn’t feel otherwise, and it enables me to write better scenes. I also tend to get ideas late at night when I'm trying to sleep. I often find myself turning my computer on at the oddest hours so that I can write my thoughts down.
We'd love to hear a few quirky facts about you...things that don't normally come up in an interview!
Even though I write romantic comedy, and Mail-Order Groom was meant to be a romantic comedy movie, my favorite movies to watch are action films. I love big explosions and wild car chases. I don’t care how unrealistic they are. I enjoy the ride. Even when it comes to TV shows, I'm not the type to watch sitcoms. I enjoy crime shows and reality shows that involve competitions, like Survivor and The Amazing Race.
Anything else you want to add!...
Mail-Order Groom has Polish characters in it as well as some Polish culture. If you enjoy the Polish culture or like learning about other cultures, I think you'll enjoy this story. Everyone who reads it says they really like Krzysztof.
The book opens with a history of the story and idea. The author actually wrote it in screenplay version first and it looked promising that it would get turned into an actual movie. Then, what happens to many writers happened to Cindy...she heard promising things and then nothing more. I could see this movie doing well on the Lifetime channel or somewhere else that plays cute little love stories. It would be a welcome addition. The executives who make those decisions can take my word for it. Ha.
The book was what I would call a romantic comedy and the lead male character was very funny. He had a few lines that made me laugh out loud and I enjoyed the lead female character's antics as well. This book was a fun, light read that really helped pass time. It was hard to put down because you just wanted to know what happened to these people! The characters were likable and easy to relate to in many ways.
My only complaint about the book was the lead female character's ignorance about marrying for a green card and the illegalities that go along with that. She seemed very surprised that it was an illegal thing to do and that seemed unrealistic. Otherwise, the book was well written, well plotted, and easy to read, not to mention humorous on top of everything else.
I also felt like the book ended too quickly. I was into the characters and wanted to see a happy ending etc. The ending was nice, but it seemed as if it happened too fast. The book could have been several chapters longer to let the reader see things play out a little more instead of speeding through it. I was enjoying it too much to see it end!
I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy light romantic comedies. It's very enjoyable and worth the time reading.