Aimee Brown talks about her debut novel, Little Gray Dress, mean girls and cozy mysteries.
1. Can you tell us more about your book, Little Gray Dress?
Yeah! Little Gray Dress is full of weddings, engagements, break-ups, and nonsense. It’s fun, romantic and I’ve no doubt you’ll laugh out loud a time or two.
2. How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
I am not one to outline my story and plan it all out before I start writing. Basically, I started this book during the November 2016 NaNoWriMo and the first draft was, rough. Once I had that down though, it was pretty easy to see where I wanted the story to go. Me being obsessed with all things weddings made the overall topic pretty easy.
3. Do you see yourself in any of the characters in your novel?
I think there is a little bit of me in a lot of the characters but especially Emi’s best friend Lily. Like Lily, I’m sarcastic, irritated, and really a ‘just say it’ kind of girl. I didn’t intend for myself to come out in Lily but, like they say, you write what you know.
4. Do you have a favourite part or scene and why you love it?
There is! I’ve been told that one of the things I’m amazingly good at is writing a ‘mean girl’. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. LOL, I’ll take it as a good thing. There is a particular scene in Little Gray Dress that really makes you hate this particular ‘mean girl’ in the book.
Of course. I just love how in one moment you can create a character that people will either love or hate. The antagonist in Little Gray Dress is definitely not someone you will love in any way shape or form. She’s a mean girl through and through and as I wrote one of her main scenes it really set her up for just how ‘mean’ she becomes for the rest of the story. I can’t count the times I’ve heard from readers that this scene is what really what made them just want to smack this girl.
I’m not at all a mean girl, I hate drama and conflict so creating a character where I could really make her as evil or as innocent as I wanted was truly fun for me.
5. What was the most difficult part about writing this book?
Sticking with it and not deleting the whole thing when I reread the first draft. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with a nasty bout of OCD so ‘just writing even if it’s crap’ is really, really hard for me. I want to edit, fix, and rewrite!
I’ve seriously been ‘trying’ to write a complete book for 10 years. I have determination when I want, and I just forced myself to sit down daily and always tried for 5000 words. Somehow, I was able to get to 55k and I knew this would be the one that stuck.
6. What does your average writing day look like?
Well, it’s always different. I have three teenage kids, I run a business with my husband, have a house, 3 dogs, 3 cats, fish… I’m busy. I really kind of wait for the ‘urge’ to write and when that hits me, I have no problem sitting down and knocking out an (at times) 10k word day.
7. Who are your favourite authors?
There are SO many! Sophie Kinsella, Candace Bushnell, Meg Cabot, and Janet Evanovich are all such inspirations to me. I knew chick lit was my genre the moment I started The Shopaholic Series. After that, I’ve managed to fill my house with nearly every pastel cover ever made.
But, there are also so many amazing authors that aren’t quite as famous as the ones above, but they should be. Camilla Isley, Meredith Schorr, and Chelsey Krause are a few that immediately come to mind.
8. Has any other writer in particular influenced the way you write?
I don’t think they have. If you’ve ever met me and read my book, you’ll know that I write in very much the same way that I speak. I’m guessing my family could pick my books out of a lineup without being told up front which was mine. My inner self is really there, across the pages for the whole world to judge. One thing I try not to do is read and then immediately start writing. I feel like someone else’s writing voice in my head could influence my own. So, if I’m reading, I’m not writing and visa verse.
9. If you were forced to write a different genre, what would it be?
Probably cozy mystery. I’d like to say that one day I’ll attempt to write the book that changes people’s lives… but that’s pretty doubtful. I’m just not a serious enough person to write that kind of story.
A cozy mystery is more up my alley. I just love the aspect of the female amateur sleuth. I’m attempting one now so we’ll see how it turns out. It really is a load of fun to intentionally (or accidentally) come up with clues to what’s actually happening behind the scenes. Those are truly the moments I depend on the character writing the story for me.
10. Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
Absolutely! I’m working on two different ‘books to be’ right now. But have a list of future works that I keep in the notepad on my phone, with details, as they come to me.
Little Gray Dress was meant to be a two-book series, the second book following Emi through the new life she did and didn’t know she wanted. But… I’ve been getting email after email from early readers requesting that I not only write book two, but also a spin-off based on a very particular character within the book. I may or may not be working on that right this moment.
I’m also attempting my hand at a (kind of) cozy romantic comedy type mystery that takes place in a small beach town’s vintage Tiki bar! I just love it so far and I can’t wait to bring it to you all!
So, if you love Little Gray Dress, stay tuned, because there is MUCH more coming from me.
Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.
From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress. When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!
Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?
Aimee Brown is a writer and avid reader, often blogging her thoughts on chick lit books. Little Gray Dress is her first novel. Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.