Dee Ernst – Author Interview

Today I’m delighted to welcome Dee Ernst to Me, My Books and I:

dpic DEE ERNST

Dee Ernst was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Morristown. She attended Marshall University, where she majored in journalism. Several years, career changes, and a few daughters later, she was listening to the Joan Hamburg Show, where a guest made the suggestion that if you want to be happy, you should go back to what you were doing when you were ten and try to make it a career. Since Dee was writing stories when she was ten, she decided to give writing another go. After three novels and many rejection letters, she self-published Better Off Without Him. It became a success and was optioned by Unique Features for possible development. Her next book, A Different Kind of Forever, was released in April of 2012. In the spring of 2013, she signed with Montlake Publishing, which re-released Better Off Without Him and launched her third title, A Slight Change of Plan, that fall. Though Dee finds a lot in common with all her heroines, she is happily married and living in New Jersey.

To find out more:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Hi Dee,

Where did the idea for A Slight Change of Plan come from?

My friends are starting to experience the same kinds of issues – aging parents, grown children returning home to live and changing careers. And, because I know a few divorced ladies, dating after 50. I wanted to write about those things, but I also wanted to write a love story. Last year, I found my college ‘crush’ on Facebook, and fantasized about what it would be like to meet up with him again after all these years. I’m happily married, by the way, but the ‘what if?’ stayed in my mind. So I brought the two things together – thinking you’re going in one direction with your life, only to find all these surprises getting in the way, and reuniting with an old love.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

The team at Montlake designed it, but I must say they were very open to my ideas. In fact, I filled out a long questionnaire about what I wanted the cover to look like. The problem was, I filled out the questionnaire before the book was even finished, and it took quite a turn from what I originally intended, so my ideas didn’t really apply anymore. We went back and forth – a lot. In the end, I wanted something to symbolize Kate’s journey, and how she learned to step outside her ‘life plan’ and take a few chances.

Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?

I’d love a friend like Cheryl. Well, actually, I already have a few friends like Cheryl, but you can never have too many smart, loyal, slightly crazy women in your life.

What do you hope readers will learn from A Slight Change of Plan?

That everything happens for a reason. I’m a big believer in that. Everything that is put in your path, the good and the bad, has a purpose. You might take a long time to figure out why something happened to you, or you may never know, but you have to trust that there are no accidents in life. All of Kate’s ‘disruptions’ were part of her journey, and because of them, I liked her much better in the end.

How long did it take you to write A Slight Change of Plan?

The first few drafts were about six months, but that was not full-time. I was pretty sick for a bit, and then there was Christmas, so it probably took longer than it should have. When it came back from my editor, it took a few weeks for the first revision, and then another week for the second pass.

Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?

I’d like to think I know where the story is going, but it never turns out that way. I listen to my characters. I also listen to the advice of others – that second or third eye on your story is SO important. My editor for this book made one suggestion that completely changed the way the book ended – for the better. Sometimes, you really can’t see the forest for the trees.

Do you think your writing style has changed since your first book?

Very much. Technically, I learn so much every time I send a book to an editor and then have to go back and correct all my mistakes! But also my style has changed – I’m more comfortable with the first person narration. I’m also more confident that what I write is funny. A Slight Change of Plan is a funny book, even though it deals with some pretty serious issues.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read like crazy. In the summer, I have a great garden to play in, and I love to cook. I also have the best group of friends in the world, and anytime I can get them together for a little wine and cheese is time well spent.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?

I read every review. Some of them, I read more than once. But as much as I write for my readers, I have to write for myself as well, and I could never be happy putting out a book I didn’t believe in. Look, you can’t please everyone. Nobody can. But I think I’ve connected with enough readers to not let the haters get me down.

FUN QUESTIONS

Paperback or eBook?

eBook

Snow or sun?

Sun – for sure!

Tea or coffee?

Coffee – with lots of cream and sugar

Telephone or face-to-face?

Face-to-face – and don’t get me started on texting!

Dogs or cats?

I have both , and I love them all, but – I have to say dog.

Any last words for your readers?

I self-published my first book when I was 54. I’m a big believer in that ‘Second Act’ and that it’s never too late to do what you love.

Thank you so much for being here today Dee, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog.

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Now check out the book:

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“Widowed Kate Everett is looking forward to starting her ‘second act.”  She’s planned out everything that she wants – new house, new job, maybe even a new man.  She can’t wait until everything falls into place.
But life has a way of butting in, and Kate soon finds herself dealing with unexpected house guests, helping her daughter plan the world’s smallest wedding, and sudden unemployment.  Things get even more complicated with the reappearance of her old college love, Jake Windom.  Jake realizes the mistake he made years ago in letting her go, and is eager to win her back.
Kate thinks that she and Jake can build something real, and that maybe her happy ending is in front of her at last.  But the arrival of Edward, her daughter’s future father-in-law, presents Kate with an unexpected choice.
It looks like real happiness may require a slight change of plan.”

A Slight Change of Plan is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

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A Different Kind of Forever – Dee Ernst

“Michael Carlucci, the hot, young musical genius behind the successful rock band, NinetySeven, knows that he’s found the woman for him. Diane Matthews is not just beautiful and smart, she’s got an infectious passion for everything in her life, from her three daughters to her new play. For him, the search is over. He knows they belong together.

For Diane, it’s not as simple. She’s almost twenty years older than Michael. She’s not interested in remarrying – she’s very happy with her life just the way it is, thank you very much. But she can’t deny the growing attraction between them – and it’s not just his touch that she craves. But it’s not until Michael is gone and an old love returns that she realizes just what he meant to her. He said he would love her forever. Can she trust that? Or should she find a safer route to happiness?”

I was lucky enough to win this eBook from a giveaway on DizzyC’s Little Book Blog.

I found this to be an easy and comfortable read but have to admit that while I enjoyed the book, it didn’t blow me away.

Diane was a lovely character, I got a feeling of homeliness from her and so I warmed to her pretty much straight away.  An exciting encounter whilst trying to eat her sandwich for lunch led to a dreamy experience with a hot rock star called Michael – the two of them together were electric and I could almost feel the sparks jumping out of the page at me.

Michael was a fantastic character and I really wanted to hear more from his point of view.  He was sexy but with a sensitive side that just made me want to jump in the book and bring him home with me :). His family and friends were entertaining and I enjoyed the scenes that included them.

I liked the idea for the story, it would certainly be a dream situation to find yourself in.  It also tackled some sensitive issues like the struggles and worries of dating after a divorce, particularly when you have teenage children!  Obviously I can’t relate to this but found it interesting nonetheless.

Some of it was a bit predictable but I enjoyed following Diane and Michael’s journey anyway.

This was an enjoyable read – a perfect book to curl up on the sofa with.

A Different Kind of Forever can be purchased from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

To find out more about Dee Ernst visit her website here.