Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a movie star…I mean, for real, and have them totally love you back? I love Ara James’s book Cherries because that’s exactly what happens to her heroine, Lia, during the Sundance Film Festival. Of course, romance is always a wild and harrowing ride, so there are many bumps and bruises along the way–not to mention cocktails and hangovers.
Cherries is a featured story on Wattpad and is currently ranked at #7 on the Chicklit Hot List! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this amazing storyteller!
Reading tip: This book totally deserves fuzzy socks, a cozy blanket, and some hot cocoa.
Lia has a dream job in Park City as a ski instructor to two amazing young girls. When the girls and their family leave town on short notice, they gift Lia two free passes to the Sundance Film Festival, which makes it hard to stay upset for long. With her best friend Callie in tow, Lia vows to enjoy the festival to the fullest – which includes crashing premiere parties and rubbing elbows with one of Hollywood’s hottest bachelors, Wren Ellison.
A week of carefree partying turns complicated when Callie starts disappearing, Wren pops up around every corner, and Lia realizes that the aspects of her life that she considered most stable are starting to shift out from under her feet.
Lia knows how to handle herself when things go wrong on the mountain. But can she manage when things start to go wrong on the ground?
What sparked the idea for Cherries?
Truthfully – sitting at a bar at a ski resort, bored out of my mind. I wondered: what would it look like to be hit on in a funny way, no sleaziness or blatantly ulterior motives? I first imagined Wren (the leading man) drunkenly stealing cherries from Lia’s drink and being escorted away by a caring friend. When I started writing, Lia’s voice was so strong that I knew the story would be about a lot more than a drunken hook-up. Park City, her job, and her best friend were her world, and I wanted them to carry through the whole story.
In your book, your leading lady falls for a movie star. What movie stars have you fallen for? (I’m a big fan of Thor myself.)
One detail Lia shares with me is her first celebrity crush: John Cusack in ‘Con Air.’ See also: Grosse Point Blank. Nowadays I’m a pretty big fan of Naveen Andrews, John Cho (RIP, Selfie, you were gone too soon), and any of Jane’s romantic interests on Jane the Virgin.
As for Thor – one of my readers envisioned Wren as Chris Hemsworth. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the Marvel actors, honestly. 😉
Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?
When it comes to short stories, I’m definitely a pantser. I’ll start with a scene, concept, or even a first sentence, and just see where it goes from there. Usually I can ride that wave for the appropriate several thousand words, and the story chooses its twists and turns (or so I think). Some stories grow bigger as I write them, and as I go along the skeleton plot I imagined turns into something much larger and intricate.
Cherries was a pretty straightforward story until I took an hour-long drive one day and figured out the finer points of the plot and learned some character background I hadn’t known until then. I scrawled out short notes for every chapter on a giant piece of posterboard as soon as I got home.
True story: There were only fifteen planned chapters. I need to learn some self-control.
If you could write in a different genre than your normal one, what would it be and why?
Although my larger ‘plots’ (they’re not books because they don’t exist yet!) have always been YA or NA, I never really saw myself as a Chicklit writer. I don’t prefer to read Chicklit or Romance – instead, I’m a sucker for fantasy, sci-fi, and epics of all sorts. I would really like to write either fantasy or sci-fi in the future, but as I’ve learned on my latest attempt: it involves a ton of world-building. Since I’m used to figuring out the finer points as I go, I need to sort a lot of these things out before I can dive in as much as I’d like. I got to write a fantasy ‘excerpt’ within Cherries which I really enjoyed! I think half the trick is pretending to be a middle-aged classically-educated British man. Preferably writing during World War II, but that part is optional.
How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?
Oh man! First I will need a mental health check to make sure I’m not hallucinating. After that, I might need to get some comfy shoes for my happy dance. And finally, it would seem only appropriate to toast with some well-made whiskey sours and some delectable baked goods. You can always tell when I’ve been writing hungry, my chapters will be full of amazing sounding food, and Cherries was a whole year’s worth of writing before dinner. 🙂