Tonight our book club had the privilege of speaking to Jill Smolinski, author of The Next Thing On My List, reviewed HERE. Jill was warm and funny, and she patiently answered all of our questions. We had a great time talking with her! And is it just me, or does she look a lot like Courtney Thorne Smith? Anyway, she generously offered to send a book to be given away here at Books on the Brain (BOTB) and agreed to answer a few questions about her best-selling book, which just recently came out in paperback.
JS: I knew I wanted to write about a woman doing a “life list” ever since I started one of my own before my 40th birthday. I set out to write a story about a woman who was doing a list that she herself had come up with, but as June developed as a character, I knew she’d never really do a list of her own. She was too passive about life. It would take something really big to force her out of her rut, which is how the idea of her trying to complete someone else’s list came about.
BOTB: Were any of the characters or events based on real people or situations?
JS: June’s job at the rideshare agency is based on a job I used to do – running carpool programs in Los Angeles. A few of the characters started out very loosely based on people I know, but as I progressed, they took on personalities of their own. Strangely enough, sometimes they’d do or say things that surprised me!
BOTB: You started your own Life List on your blog, with a twist-trying something new each day for a year. What was your experience with the list? Did it change your outlook on life?
JS: It was harder than I expected to come up with something new to do every day – but that’s part of what made it such an incredible experience. I did little things (like trying new foods or treating myself to a bubble bath) and things that scared me (holding a snake) and things I’ve always meant to get around to doing (get my ears pierced). Like a lot of people, I have a tendency to put off things I really want to do because of all the things I “have” to do – this made me put a priority on getting more out of everyday life.
BOTB: Are you a list maker in every day life (to-do lists)? How important is it, do you think, to write down your goals, big and small? To set deadlines for your goals, the way Marissa did? To try new things?
JS: I’m a big believer in writing down goals. It takes something from being a mere idea and makes it concrete. I’ve talked to so many people who’ve done life lists since my book came out, and I’ve learned that it’s the ones who’ve put their dreams in writing who tend to be actually making them happen.
BOTB: I read that TNTOML was picked up by NewLine to be adapted to film. Congratulations! How did you feel when you got the news? Can you tell us anything about when the movie might be coming out?
JS: I couldn’t be more thrilled about the movie – especially since it’s being produced by Wendy Finerman, who did Devil Wears Prada. It’s in the screenwriting phase now so it’s still in the very early stages.
BOTB: Are you a member of a book club?
JS: Yes, for 18 years now! It’s great because when you’ve finished reading a really good book, you’re dying to talk about it, so this gives me a chance to do that. I also often call in to book clubs that have read my novels – I love talking to readers & also learning how other book clubs do things.
BOTB: What is the message you’d like readers to take away from The Next Thing on My List?
JS: At the risk of sounding corny – live life to the fullest every day. Amazing things can happen.
**For a chance to win a copy of The Next Thing On My List, leave a comment on this post by May 15th!**
Filed under: book clubs, Book Reviews, books, Life, reading, Reading Groups Tagged: | author interview, authors, book club, book clubs, book giveaways, books, contests, free books, giveaways, jill smolinski, reading, reading group, Reading Groups