Saturday, December 20, 2014

Interview with Ayn Bootham, Author of The Cleaning Agency

the cleaning agency, ayn bootham, romantic comedy, rom com, chick lit,books,holiday reads
Today we are interviewing Ayn Bootham, author of the romantic comedy / chick lit book The Cleaning Agency. 
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a single mother, a Gemini, a chick lit or romantic comedy writer, a terrible cook and a big dog lover. But cats are OK too. Books were a form of escape for me growing up. I think I wanted to write books to give something back to the world of reading. I don’t mind my book falling into the holiday reads category, actually I find that a compliment.

Is there an author that had a major influence on you while you were growing up?

I finished Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind in three days when I was 12 years old. I absolutely loved the drama and the characters. This still is one of my favorite books.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.

Eva Charles is an average housewife whose life is in a rut but she only realizes this once her husband skips the country with all their money. She makes some unusual decisions – with some very funny consequences. She starts a naked cleaning agency, commits a crime and has an affair. But she learns a lot about herself and in the end – about what she really needs to be happy.  

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Women, mothers. Anyone who is looking for some fun weekend or holiday reads. Those fantasizing about moody handymen who are good with their hands…

What made you decide to write a quirky comedy/chick lit novel?

Life is too short for heavy, dull books with boring descriptions you have to skip through! I wanted to write a book that made people laugh and cheered them up, the sort of book women recommend to each other as holiday reads. A romantic comedy with a twist. Chick lit, but darker.

Eva Charles finds herself in a tight spot when her husband flees, yet she adapts to the situation and starts her naked cleaning agency. What drew you to write about a character who is so resilient and resourceful?

I like to think that deep down, we are all resilient and resourceful. We must also allow ourselves to fail sometimes, to fall down, so we can get up again and do something different. Eva’s life may have fallen apart but she has a lot of fun picking up the pieces.

Do you see yourself in Eva or is she a completely unique creation?

I think there are parts of me in her but she also does things I would never do. She is definitely more adventurous!

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?

Writing books is very hard work. Being a writer is not easy. Especially the chick lit/romantic comedy genre, which so many people think is superficial and escapist nonsense. But being funny is serious work. I have learned a lot about applying myself to my work, not giving up, editing and then editing some more.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

Write more books! 

Is there any aspect of writing you don’t like?

Rewriting is a pain. Looking at work you did the previous day and realizing it is rubbish. That hurts. But you’ve gotta go there.

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?

Definitely. There are times when you can’t get a chapter or section right and the more you try, the worse it gets. I usually give myself a break of a few days, try to think of something else. But then I force myself back to the computer to write anything, even just a sentence, to get the flow going again.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?

I like the computer and seeing the sentences appear on the screen, like magic!

What do you have in mind for your next project?

Yup, it’s chick lit again! I’ve got quite a juicy idea for my next book, something that I think people will relate to as it will be around marriages and how to make them work.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

There is some sex in The Cleaning Agency but it isn’t gratuitous and I think it fits into the story. It’s not about sex, so if people want to read about sex they will be disappointed. It’s not erotica as I define it. I would rather say it is a sexy holiday read or a sexy romantic comedy.

An excerpt from chapter 1 of The Cleaning Agency:
For nine years I was a typical suburban housewife, a car pool mom and dutiful wife, spending large parts of the day thinking about what to cook for dinner and where to plant my petunias. I was your basic law-abiding citizen who always got the books back to the library on time and who didn’t even break the speed limit when she was late for a doctor’s appointment. 
Then I got one phone call and everything changed. 
That was all it took. 
One phone call. 
It was the bank, informing me of unusual activity on our accounts. 
It sounded like a joke. I mean, it had to be a joke. What did unusual activity mean? I tried to think of what I had been buying lately, if I had gone overboard with any retail therapy. 
But the bank was not worried by a few big purchases. The bank was concerned about several extremely large withdrawals. I was on the line with an accounts manager or a client liaison person, something like that. I hadn’t really paid attention to anything she said on the phone until she told me that our money was gone. 
All of it. 
Then she had my attention. 
“But we have overdrafts,” I replied, slowly. 
“Well, yes,” she said, kindly. “But these have now also been exhausted.” 
I sat up and tried to process what she was saying.  
“How is that possible?”
More Information
Buy the book on Amazon
Check out the book on Goodreads

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