Interview: Angela Smith, author of Lessons In Being A Flapper

Tell us about your debut novel, Lessons In Being A Flapper.

Lessons In Being A Flapper is about a girl, an elderly medium, and a twenties-era transformation like no other. It's a light, fun read that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good romcom.

Why did you write this novel? What was your inspiration?

I've always wanted to write a novel, but I never thought it was something I could do. I just assumed I'd get stuck once I got a few thousand words down. But, luckily, that didn't happen, and I was able to finish. While I'd obviously love for the book to do well and for people to love it, I'm more than happy just to be able to say that I actually wrote a story I'm proud of and finished it -- that's been a problem for me in the past. I often started something, whether it be a story or a craft project, and then never went back to it. So I'm happy with myself for seeing this one all the way through.

    Angela and Kora

 Angela and Kora

The story was actually inspired by a good friend of mine named Kora who died this past June (one day after publication, sadly) at the age of 91. She was quite the woman, and I spent many days with her laughing as she said something completely crazy or smiling for the camera as we dressed up as a Flapper (me) and a whoopie cushion (her) for Halloween. Kora was like a local celebrity, and everyone loved her. So, one day, the idea came to me to make her into a character. I took a lot of her attributes to create Marisol, the 99-year-old Medium in the book, and every time I read it, I'm reminded of how funny and unique she was. Some people may think that some of the scenes are a bit unrealistic, but if you knew Kora, you'd know that she actually did and said many of the things in the book. She was very nimble for her age and full of life. I do wish she had gotten to see the book in print, but she was so excited when I told her about it and absolutely loved the cover.

Which of your characters do you identify with the most and why?

Well, obviously, I associate with Marisol because she is based on someone I knew. However, I can associate with Autumn as well in some instances. She's running from her past and looking for somewhere that she can fit in, be herself, and just be happy. Sometimes it's so hard to find that place, especially in today's world. She's also very kindhearted and a bit naive in some ways, but she's trying to put everything behind her and make a new life for herself. Sometimes, I wish I could do the same -- as I'm sure many people do.

Describe the experience of self-publishing your novel. Easy? Difficult? Fun?

Self-publishing was a new experience for me and though I found it fairly easy to publish with Amazon KDP, I think I'd do things a lot differently if I were to publish again. First of all, I wouldn't rush the process so much. I think that I subconsciously wanted Kora to read my story so badly that I pushed it along before it was fully edited and ready for publishing. When you self-publish, you only have yourself to blame if there are mistakes or things that don't work. That being said, I'm still proud of myself for putting myself out there and not knowing what to expect.

What do you enjoy the most about being a contributing editor for ChicklitClub.com?

I absolutely love every single thing about being involved with the Chicklitclub site! I've been with Steph since 2008, and since then I've met so many great people, both authors and readers, and have been able to help promote some really great books. I like the fact that we all act like one big book loving family. I also love to pick the brains of authors and try to ask questions that no one else would. It's been a really fun experience and one that I'm grateful for every day.

What was the last book you read that you loved?

I just finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and I can't stop gushing about it! People are probably so sick of me telling them how great it is, but I can't help it. It's such a beautifully written novel. Rainbow captures the very essence of being a teenage girl in college and experiencing all the new things that you'd experience when you move away from home. She also hit the nail on the head with the whole fanfiction thing. Sometimes, when you write about characters you love, it's hard to come out and face the real world. Sometimes it's easier to hide in your story than to go out and have real-life experiences. This story just has so much going for it. If you read one book this year, make sure it's this one (and Lessons In Being A Flapper of course!).

What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?

I love to sleep (not very fun, I know!) more than anything when I have free time. I also enjoy going to concerts and reviewing them for a local newspaper. I scrapbook, collect postcards, and walk my dogs. I kind of just like to find quiet time to read or write, most of all, but that's one thing that's hard to do!

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I'm just working on my everyday things. I write about celebrities for a website during the day, but I do need to get started on the sequel to Lessons In Being A Flapper soon. I'm very big into procrastinating!

Thank you, Angela! 

Angela Smith is a freelance writer-turned-author who specializes in music and book reviews, as well as celebrity scandals. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and on various websites. She is currently the contributing editor of www.chicklitclub.com. She loves the Roaring Twenties, music, food, and books. Especially books. Follow her on Twitter @itsangdarling.