Monday, February 1, 2016

Interview with 'The Average Girl' Angelina Goode

Angelina Goode began writing as a teenager. Though her first works were poems about love-struck teenagers, she grew her craft while earning her degree in Journalism and Creative Writing. A former grade school teacher that loved teaching children to write, she enjoys finding creative ways to present everyday events. Now she primarily writes light-hearted contemporary women’s fiction. She lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys the occasional celebrity sighting and year-round sun.

Angelina started gaining first-hand fan and celebrity experience as a devoted follower of her generation’s boy band. Her experience shifted in college when she interned in the promotions department for a Los Angeles based radio station and for the public relations department of a network television station. There she was able to learn about the ins and outs of promoting celebrities and all the backstage activities that are rarely seen by the public eye. She was also able to observe fans’ behavior from an objective perspective, seeing what it looks like to an outside observer.

Now she combines her experience as a loyal fan attending numerous concerts and meet and greets 
 every year, her brief but educational stint in the entertainment industry, and a highly active imagination to create fiction for celebrity lovers of all ages.

Her latest book is the romantic comedy, The Average Girl.

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About the Book:

Being average can lead to wonderful things…
Olivia Fowler, helper of the star-struck, runs a successful business helping average people meet celebrities in everyday ways. Flawless at what she does, the celebrities don’t have a clue they’re part of a pre-planned meeting. Business is booming
and Olivia knows everything there is to know about Hollywood’s famous and their behavior. Her clients trust her because she is just like them, not famous.
But when Olivia accidentally meets the super-famous Alexander Young at the grocery store, her world is flipped upside-down. She can’t possibly resist those charming eyes and sexy arms. As their romance blossoms, Olivia learns she may not know as much as she thought she did about celebrities and their ways.
Then Olivia’s most important and loyal client requests to meet Alexander. Suddenly, Olivia is forced to choose between her love and her business.
Will Olivia be able to keep her booming business a secret from her soon-to-be boyfriend? Will her clients still trust her if she is no longer the average girl?

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Thanks for this interview, Angelina.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

Writing has always been a love of mine. When I was about twelve years old I decided that I would be a writer someday. So when it was time to go to college, it was an easy choice. I decided to get my degree in Journalism with an emphasis on Creative Writing. I’m constantly coming up with ideas for stories and characters.  I love coming up with characters that are very real and then putting them in unique situations.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. There is something very freeing about taking a set recipe and experimenting with the flavors and ingredients. It is incredibly fulfilling when you get to taste what you’ve made, especially when it’s something like croissants, which are quite a process to make. The sense of accomplishment is relaxing to me.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

Both! I’m a mom, so I work twenty-four hours a day. It’s a little difficult to shift gears and go from playing with the kids to writing a romantic scene, but the challenge is good. It keeps me thinking. Socializing with moms can be inspiring. I’ll hear a little tidbit of something and then I let my imagination run with it, and I’ve got a new storyline or a new character. I also love that I have something for my kids to see that I’ve done. Being a mom is great, but I want them to see me as a human as well. I want them to know that you can be a mom and follow your other dreams at the same time.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I decided to self-publish this book because I really wanted to do it for myself. It has always been my dream to be a writer, so this book is like one of my children. I had done a ton of research before I self-published, but I was still surprised about how much of my own decision-making went into it. I wouldn’t say it was a rocky road, it was just a lot of work. I wanted my book to look like a traditionally published book so I hired an editor and someone to design the cover of the book. I also had beta readers. Getting honest feedback on my writing is such a useful learning experience. Then taking all the feedback and whittling it down to the parts of the book you should keep, and maybe expand upon, and the parts that maybe aren’t working so well, and whether you should improve them or just cut them out. Then working with the editor and deciding on which edits to change and which edits to leave the same was challenging. I really enjoyed the excitement of seeing what covers the designer came up with for me, but picking a book cover that I felt represented the book appropriately was very stressful. Overall, it was an incredibly educational and enjoyable process.

What is it about the romantic comedy genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

So many things! I enjoy reading and writing about other women’s lives and how even though all of our stories are different, there is almost always some way we can relate to each other. It’s that common thread that brings us together. Romances are always fun, whether we are drawing from our own experiences or living vicariously. When you throw in comedy, you end up with a great escape from daily life. I think that’s the part that I like the most. I want my books to be a fun, light-hearted escape from reality.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

A clever woman helps fans meet their idols, then accidentally falls in love with one.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

I think the unique storyline makes it stand out. There aren’t very many, if any, books about a woman that helps fans secretly meet their favorite celebrities in inconspicuous ways. The book is also a mesh of very normal, real people mixed in with surreal celebrities. It takes you on a journey through both aspects of it. The reader gets a glimpse into the celebrity’s world as well as the average girl’s world.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

If the Oscars were a holiday, that’s where The Average Girl would go. But until they are, it would probably fall under Valentine’s Day because of the romance aspect and how part of the focus is on Olivia’s and Alexander’s blooming relationship. While it is a book about a woman and her growth as a person, at the heart of the story is this romantic relationship and how it affects her and her life.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I’m not sure. I’ve had several people tell me they’d like to read more about Olivia’s adventures in Hollywood, but I’d have to think about where all the other characters fit in. I’m not currently planning for The Average Girl to turn into a series, but I haven’t ruled it out either.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Most of my ideas come from real life observations of people and situations. When I see something that sparks my interest, I’ll take that small idea and then let my imagination run wild. The idea for The Average Girl came to me after attending several NKOTB concerts over the years. After interacting with all the fellow fans and observing their behavior, I started thinking about how fun it would be if someone helped facilitate “accidental” meetings with celebrities, as a job. As far as the information in the book, I try to be as accurate as I can. I try to go to most of the places the characters in the book have been to get a good feel for the place. If I can’t go myself, I talk to people that have been and do thorough research.  

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on my next novel. The stories I write often change as I write them, but at the moment my next novel is about a conservative single mom that agrees to take a secret job pretending to date a celebrity bad boy to help boost his reputation. I’m having a lot of fun writing it and I can’t wait to see how it turns out in the end.

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