Thursday, March 22, 2012

Author interview: Lynn Messina
by Brenda Janowitz

I'm so thrilled today because we've got the wonderful Lynn Messina here to chat!  Her latest novel, The Girls Guide to Dating Zombies, is out, and it's everything you'd expect from the title: funny, original and a great read.  Lynn and I are talking publishing, inspiration, and of course, zombies!

Tell us about your latest novel in 25 words or less.
Hmmm. (Hold on, that "hmmm" doesn't count. Neither does this.) Post zombpocalypse, 99.999 percent of men have been turned into zombies, so women start dating them. But don’t worry: These zombies are on their meds.

What was the inspiration for this novel?
The first glimmer: I was on an Internet talk show promoting Little Vampire Women and we fell into the inevitable vampire-zombie-werewolf conversation. I was emphatically on Team Vampire because the zombie seemed like such a nonentity to me. Where was the learning curve? The room for growth? But while we were discussing it, I found myself trying to figure out how a zombie could be a non nonentity. And that challenge became the core of the book.

How did you become a writer?
For me, the key was working out a schedule that allowed me to devote entire days to writing. I'm not one of those people who can come home from work and sit down at the computer. I flop on the couch. And I can't imagine getting up early to write. So I needed to figure how to structure my life around writing time--which I did by becoming a freelance copy editor. 

What is your writing schedule like?
I work at a magazine two weeks a month and write at home for the other two weeks. With copyediting you have lots of downtime, so I get a lot of writing done at work, but I always look forward to the uninterrupted days when I can write for eight hours straight (well, seven, counting lunch eating, couch flopping and TV watching).

Who would you cast as the characters in your novel when it (inevitably!) becomes a movie?
Ha! You're talking to a woman whose first book has been under option for nine years. Trust me, there's nothing inevitable about it. 

What's the thing that's surprised you most about being a published author?
How hard it is to sell books to friends and family. Everyone wants a freebie. 

What books are on your nightstand right now?
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Funny. I just tried to type that without the "sir" but it seemed so oddly naked.)
Julia, Naked by Nick Hornby
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

What advice would you give to aspiring novelists?
Keep writing. The first book I sold, Fashionistas, was the eleventh book I wrote.

Thanks for stopping by, Lynn!  

I’m the author of Scot on the Rocks and Jack with a Twist.  My third novel, Recipe for a Happy Life, will be published by St. Martin's in 2013.  My work’s also appeared in the New York Post and Publisher’s Weekly.  You can find me at

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