Cat Lavoie shares the one rule she’s never willing to break.
There are a few rules that I never hesitate to break. Nothing that will get me arrested and thrown in jail but I do stuff my purse full of snacks – bought at the drugstore a block from the theater – before going to the movies. I jaywalk on a regular basis. Even though cellphones aren’t allowed in my office, I’ll hunch over the desk and send a quick text – crossing my fingers that I don’t get caught. If a sign says ‘Take One Sample’, I’ll probably take two or three. Or more.
But there’s one rule that I’ve learned never to break. It’s a pretty simple life lesson that can apply to almost anything: life, love – and, yes, writing.
Be true to yourself.
When I was in my early teens, I sat down to write what I thought was going to be my first novel. I didn’t know there was such a thing as chick lit. All I knew was that I loved writing stories that had funny bits and serious bits and I wanted my main character to be surrounded by a crazy cast of friends and family. I was a chick lit writer back then and I didn’t even know it. But the thing is I wanted to be a ‘serious writer’. After sneaking into my mom’s romance novel collection and secretly reading a few steamy numbers, I set about writing my own. And it was horrible. The words were on the page but they had no life. I wanted my characters to come alive and leap off the page – and, instead, they barely moved and their lines were as flat as the paper they were written on. I crumbled up the pages and threw them across the room in a fit of teenage angst.
It would take me many years – and many more failed attempts – to realize that I was trying to make myself write in a style that wasn’t my own. My characters and my idea were on the page – but my voice wasn’t.
From that moment on, I stopped trying to write like I thought I should write and starting working on getting my own voice on paper. It’s not something that happened instantly but I knew I was headed in the right direction because I felt like I was writing the kind of story that I wanted to read. And a few years after that I finally had a completed manuscript. It wasn’t perfect and I knew that I’d probably want to change parts of it long after I’d moved on to other projects (I was right) but I also knew that the words on the pages were mine.
And just like I know that I’ll keep sneaking in drugstore candy when I go watch the latest rom-com, I know that BREAKING THE RULES came to life because I followed what is to me the ultimate writing rule.
When twenty-seven-year-old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been – carefree and easy – until they share a heart-stopping kiss. While Ollie escapes to jolly ole England to live out his dream and save the planet with green architecture, Roxy is stuck in New York City working for a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener. She can’t bear to think about her own big-city dream of being a chef anymore. Over the years, her passion for food has only resulted in extra pounds and a staggering credit card balance for fancy kitchen equipment that she barely has time to use. Still, Roxy’s sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends – not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that it’s not worth mentioning to her fiancé, not that he would even listen – all they do these days is argue about their upcoming wedding. Roxy is faced with an unexpected family reunion when her younger sister Steffi arrives on her doorstep, six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss. When older sister Izzie – in the throes of a premature midlife crisis – joins them, she’s determined to crack the case of Steffi’s impending motherhood. With the Rule sisters living under the same roof again, Roxy’s quiet little apartment in the city is about to be anything but peaceful. Breaking the Rules is the story of what happens when you have to redefine the rules of love, friendship and family in order to find yourself.
Cat Lavoie was born in a small town Quebec, Canada. At 19, she moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie. An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and, had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night, she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children. Breaking the Rules is her first novel.
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