Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Release Feature 11-6 Happily Ever Madder + Q&A with author Stephanie McAfee

Q&A with Stephanie McAfee
Author of Happily Ever Madder

Debbie - Stephanie, welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction forum.
Stephanie - Thank you for having me!

Tell us a bit about your newly released novel Happily Ever Madder.
The misadventures of Ace Jones continue in Happily Ever Madder, which begins with the grand opening of Ace’s art gallery in Pelican Cove, Florida. She’s a nervous wreck, gives a terrible speech, and, despite her solid dedication to being a nicer person, manages to offend a not-so-nice-herself pillar of the community, Lenore Kennashaw. Lenore doesn’t take kindly to being insulted and squares-off against Ace in what becomes a struggle of one-ups and will power. And she’s not the only problem Ace has in Pelican Cove. Mason gets busy with work, leaving Ace to plan their wedding solo; she has the misfortune of meeting Margo and Cindy, two silly ladies who relish their positions of authority in the neighborhood homeowners association; and then there’s Kevin Jacobs, a big sexy country boy who keeps showing up at the gallery. The good news is that Ace picks up some great new friends along the way. She meets Tia, who has an aristocratic dachshund named Mr. Chubz; Jalena, a fellow warrior in the battle of the bulge; and Avery, who provides some much needed company at the art gallery.

Your website says this is a sequel to your smash e-pub hit, Diary of a Fat Girl.
Are you planning a series?
One more is on the way! It’s called Down & Out in Bugtussle and it’s scheduled to be released in the summer of 2013.
How does this release day compare to your self-published release day?
(Oh, and great job using Pubit the first time.)  J
Hey, Pubit is a great website and I recommend it to everyone. As you might imagine, there’s quite a bit of difference in the two release days. First of all, I didn’t tell anyone I’d written Diary of a Mad Fat Girl nor did tell anyone when I listed it for sale as an ebook. My husband was the only person who knew. I was trying to save myself some embarrassment in case it turned out to be a complete and total failure. After the ebook started selling, I told my parents and then some of my friends. Of course, when it showed up on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, I told everyone.  
The release of Happily Ever Madder is a completely different story. For example, I’ve been talking up the release date and showing off the cover for the past several months. I’ve been tweeting, blogging, and posting on Facebook about it. And there are so many advantages to being with Penguin, all of which I very much appreciate. I have a great editor so I don’t have to worry about being embarrassed by mistakes or typos. I have a great publicist who schedules really cool events and interviews. I think I’m extraordinarily lucky that my self-published book got me to where I am right now. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m very thankful.     

Tell us the history behind your becoming an author. Did you always want to write, was it just something that came about?
My eleventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Jackson, didn’t tolerate laziness in the classroom. And it just so happened that my family went to the same church as her family so anything I was slipping on, she’d let slip to my parents and I would get grounded. So I worked really hard in her class. As a result, I discovered a love for reading and creative writing that I might or might not have realized otherwise. Toward the end of the school year, I wrote a descriptive essay which she read to the class as an example of how to write a descriptive essay. That was a fine day for me. And that’s how it began. I entertained the idea for a long time before I finally sat down and did it.
So what made me do it finally? One day I was looking at my son, who was about ten months old at the time, and thought, “How can I teach him that he can do whatever he wants with his life when I’ve never even tried to do what I really want with mine?” That’s a little bit corny and sentimental, but that’s how it happened. And no one was more surprised than me by how it all turned out.    
Are you working on something now that you could tell us a little about?
Right now, I’m working on a plan that involves a relaxing vacation sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Are you a reader? What genres and authors are your favorites?
Of course, I love chick lit. Or maybe I should say women’s literature that’s humorous. I really like Jennifer Weiner and Laurie Notaro. I’ve read all of John Grisham’s books. I’m also a fan of spy/espionage novels so I read a lot of Robert Ludlum and David Baldacci. And I just finished The New Exotic Marigold Hotel. I loved it so much I read it twice. 

Stephanie, I love your “official author video” (which I’ve posted below). I think more authors should settle down and get serious in front of a camera like you did. While it gives us a glimpse of the “real you,” it’s not a full picture. Could you give us an example of a day in the life of Stephanie McAfee?
Oh me! I have a three year old so, as you might imagine, everything revolves around him. I try to get up early and get some work done, but that doesn’t always happen. When he gets up, it’s eggs and toast or biscuits, sometimes pancakes, and then Jake and the Neverland Pirates. When he goes to his grandmother’s, I work at home. Or I might go to Panera Bread or the library at the college. Then when everyone gets home in the afternoon, it’s choo choo trains, dinner, rocket ships, and bath time. Right before bedtime, we read four or five books. He really likes Little Nutbrown Hare and Scuffy the Tugboat. Sometimes I stay up after he goes to bed. That depends on how early my day started.        

I would love to meet you in person if you ever left your gator-infested back yard long enough to visit the Midwest, and I’m sure the multitude of fans who read this would also like to know if you’ll be visiting their cities and towns. Do you have any Barnes & Noble events planned?
I’m sure I’ll have some Barnes & Noble events. And I’m a rambler so I’ll go anywhere. I love to travel. Maybe I can get out that way soon!

Stephanie, thank you so much for taking time to chat with us and let us get to know the “real you” a little better. Good luck with your new novel and Go Ole Miss (my son is an art professor there).
That is fantastic! I love Ole Miss and I love Oxford. I’m actually doing Thacker Mountain Radio at Square Books on Thursday, November 1 and I’m speaking at the annual Bridging the Gap event hosted by the SAC on November 9. Hotty Toddy! 
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

    photo by Rachel Wade

Enjoy the Author video by Stephanie


  1. Lovely interview, so glad you pursued your dream Stephanie!

    1. Hi Kimba, thanks for the reply. It was the cover, then the title and the video definitely won it for my new release pick today