Feature Book by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Neurotically Yours

Synopsis

Smart, attractive, and ambitious, thirty-seven-year-old Dara Harrison is , nonetheless, still single—and on sabbatical from dating. Ironically Los Angeles’ most renowned relationship advice columnist, Dara has become a Southland sensation with her “tell-it-like-it-is” approach to the mating game.

Parlaying her success into a new business, Dara launches a revolutionary dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. Its no-holds-barred theme soon makes the company a roaring success, even catapulting Dara onto the national talk show scene—until, of course, it all backfires.

With her company under threat and a publicity stunt gone haywire, Dara is forced to join the ranks of her lonely heart clientele, and suddenly realizes that saving the business she cherishes, means facing her lifelong fears—and maybe even falling in love again.

Witty, poignant, and immensely engaging, this romantic comedy from the bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel features sparkling dialogue, colorful characters, and a story that pulls you in and never lets you go.

An Interview with Author Bonnie Trachtenberg by Elizabeth Cassidy

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel and Neurotically Yours: A Novel. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for LoveaHappyEnding.com. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog.

Q. First of all, when I heard about your new book title, I thought it was surely about my own life. So I am glad to hear that I am not the only neurotic woman out there. Thank God for intensive therapy. So my first question has got to be – how did you come up with that title? What I think is so clever about the title Neurotically Yours is that it stays with you and it stands out for the crowd. Or am I just being neurotic?

Thanks, Elizabeth. I promise you are not alone! I happen to LOVE the title Neurotically Yours, but I didn’t come upon it easily. I struggled with a few names that didn’t really thrill me, and finally (probably through divine inspiration) it popped into my head. And boy is it the perfect title for this romantic comedy about neurotic relationships.

Q. Neurotically Yours is your second romantic comedy about women getting to what is really important in their lives whether it is being Ms. Independence or leaving the door ajar a bit to allow someone else in. How would you describe your protagonist, Dara Harrison, the co-owner of MateSearch, a revolutionary dating service?

Dara is a very strong, independent, and opinionated woman with a vulnerable and loving side to her. Much of her outward strength is derived from her fear of abandonment, though, which becomes clear when she finally finds herself interested in a new man after years of avoiding love.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about Neurotically Yours’ storyline and its fabulous cast of characters? I just really connected with most of them – they were such great portraits of human beings doing the best they can in life. And where does Jesse, Dara’s best friend, get all those great outfits?

It’s funny, but it’s hard to believe these characters were hatched from my imagination because they immediately came so alive for me they practically wrote themselves. Hey, if I can teach my next book’s characters to actually write themselves, I could take a much needed extended vacation in the Caribbean. Food for thought. But I digress. Neurotically Yours is the story of Dara Harrison, a single thirty-seven-year-old woman in Los Angeles. Dara starts out as a renowned tell-it-like-it-is advice columnist with a deep seated philosophy about mating and dating, but then takes her ideas to the next level with MateSearch, a dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. But due to a publicity stunt gone awry, she is forced to join the ranks of her lonely-heart clientele, much to her chagrin. The events that follow are funny, relatable, and poignant too. I love Reggie and wish I had a friend like him to make me laugh and bring me back to earth during my own hormonal fits. And as for Dara’s “bestest” friend Jesse, he has a trunk of old Hollywood costumes in his bedroom! Don’t ask.

Q. When it does come to character development, how do you go about adding depth and humor to each of the individuals found in your new book? How much is based on your life and the lives of people that you have known over the years? And is there one character in the book that just flowed out of your imagination?

In the past I used writing books to make sure I was flushing out the characters, but as I said before, these characters were effortless. Dara (surprise, surprise) is a lot like me but taken to the next literary level. As I wrote Reggie, I saw Cuba Gooding, Jr. for some reason. Jesse was inspired by a neighbor I had back in 1994, who I barely knew but never forgot for obvious reasons. I developed Jesse purely from my imagination though. I derived my sense of humor from so many sources throughout my life. Family, people I’ve worked with, men I’ve dated, and comedians and movies I love. I’ve lived a very full and adventurous life so far, and good or bad, it all makes great fodder for novels.

Q. Just curious – who was Nick Wyatt based on and do you still have his phone number? I have a friend…

I once dated a stunt man and so knew a lot about what they do and how they live their lives. But aside from that aspect, the man I dated had nothing in common with Nick, unfortunately. Sorry to say Nick was purely from my imagination, where apparently I store warehouse of coveted dream men (let’s not forget Michael in Wedlocked!)

Q. When I lived in Manhattan, I was asked to join a writers group. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Much to my horror, I came to quickly realize that it was a romance novel writing class. I ended up calling it, “The Thrusting and Throbbing Club” and soon made myself scarce. In your opinion, what is the main difference in books that fall under the romance genre now?

One of the reasons I never say my book is a romance book is because it conjures up Harlequin romances and the whole heaving bosom thing. But both my books are funny romantic stories so I refer to them as romantic comedies, even though that description is usually reserved for movies. Nowadays, Harlequin books are usually referred to as genre romance, whereas books like mine are described many ways including: contemporary romance, modern romance, women’s fiction, chick lit, and even commercial or literary fiction.

Q. One of the main characters in the book is a cat. A cat named Mallory with healing powers. Do tell.

Well, as a major cat lover (I have four inside and three others living in a house I built them in my backyard) it was inevitable that a cat would paw its way into one of my books as a supporting character. Nothing says neurotic like a woman and her cat, even if the woman is far from it. Of course Dara isn’t far from it (obviously neither am I) and among other quirky things, she believes her cat has healing paws. I must have come up with that after I began my reiki classes (I’m a reiki master myself) but don’t remember the exact moment of inspiration. Mallory also happens to look a lot like my Isabella, who to my knowledge does not possess the power to heal, but is adorable nonetheless.

Q. Are there any authors who you looked to when you started to work on Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours? You seem to be one of the authors who are bringing romantic comedies to a whole new audience which now includes me. I have to say I avoided them because I felt here was no substance to them, but you and author Claire Cook allow us to care about the people and the storylines...and there is no need to wrap them in a brown paper bag when we travel outside the house.

Well first, thank you for mentioning me in the same sentence as Claire Cook. And second, I think authors like Ms. Cook, Marian Keyes, Susan Isaacs, Jennifer Weiner and Janet Evanovich all helped inspire me in some way. The same people who enjoy romantic comedies on film will probably enjoy my books. In fact, many have suggested I try to get them made into films as they are written so visually and lend themselves to the screen. One day! I, too, do not enjoy shallow romance stories, which is why I write characters with depth who not only face funny situations, but poignant ones, too.

Q. Now that you are self publishing for the second time, what pitfalls do you think you will avoid this time around? And what do you love about self-publishing?

Well this is the first time I’m truly self-publishing with CreateSpace under my own company name (That’s Amore Publishing) so it’s completely different from what I did last time with Wedlocked. Wedlocked was published through a print-on-demand publisher who did most of the work to get the book out the door. This time, I took on that burden, and if I didn’t set a deadline for my launch, I’d probably have a lot more hair on my head right now. However, next time will be easier. With Neurotically Yours, I not only had complete creative control, but now I can control my price and actually see how many books I sold up to the minute! I don’t have that luxury with Wedlocked—yet.

Q. Can you offer your top three tips to author wannabes out there who are looking to get going on their books?

1. Don’t waste too much time trying to get an agent, or if you have an agent, trying to get a traditional publisher. If you want to go that path, give it a limited amount of time and then do it yourself if at all possible. Otherwise, your book may sit around collecting dust for eons. My agent submitted Wedlocked to a bunch of publishers back around three and half years ago. I still haven’t heard back from a couple of them and Wedlocked is now a kindle bestseller. ‘Nuf said.

2. Learn everything you can about social marketing, even if you have to hire someone to teach you. Whether you are published traditionally or go indie, you will have to market your own book. The traditional publishers do very little if anything for you on that front. Learn Facebook and Twitter and get your name and your book out there on a daily basis. You’ll be surprised at all the helpful people and opportunities that will come your way. Take advantage of them!

3. Devise a platform for yourself. There are countless ways to do this. My platform is that I found a home for my own relationship advice column at LoveaHappyEnding.com. Now, people can read things I’ve written in bite size chunks, which often whets their appetites to read my books. Start a blog and talk about things you have an affinity for that should appeal to a large sect of the population. Then get the word out through social media and drive people to your blog.

Q. Rumor has it that there is a third book coming from that comedic brain of yours. Anything you would like to share with us now beside Nick’s email address?

LOL Try HotStuntman@fantasyman.com and let me know what happens. Yes, there is a book reeling around in my head that I have not had a chance to plot out due to the promotion of Wedlocked and the launch and promotion of Neurotically Yours. It’s about a young, privileged woman who has a near death experience that upends her life. Stay tuned…

More Info About "Neurotically Yours"

Bonnie’s new humorous (with a generous pinch of sarcasm) and charming book, “Neurotically Yours” is available at:

Buy at Amazon: http://amzn.to/HY4PyF

Buy at Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/IcWr0Mhttp://bit.ly/IcWr0M

You can learn more about Bonnie and read her blog at http://www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com.

Read her relationship column at http://loveahappyending.com/editor-bonnie-trachtenberg/

Find her on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/BonnieTrachtenberg

Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/writebrainedny

About the Interviewer, Elizabeth Cassidy

Elizabeth Cassidy is a humorist, artist, creativity coach for artists and writers and a faculty member of the Art League of Long Island. She is an award-wining blogger for skirt, a featured columnist for Here Women Talk and has seen her writings published in GalTime, ShareWIK, The Smartly, More and Huffington Post. She is the founder of My Views from the Edge and Coaching for the Creative Soul and is a former stand up comedienne and comedy writer for WNBC Radio. She was once compared to a young Woody Allen. Her family and friends were relieved to hear that she did not actually morph into a short Jewish man. She has also been published in The Renaissance Writers Anthology and is a published poet. © 2012 My Views from the Edge ™ Please visit her site: My Views From The Edge. You can become a fan of hers on Facebook at: elizabeth cassidy Views from the Edge with a Slice of Reality Follow her on Twitter at: EdgyCoach

  

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