Author Interview with Abby Irish

April 3, 2010

Today we have the privilege of interviewing Abby Irish, author of the chick-lit, romantic comedy, There's Always Chocolate!.

Welcome to The Hope Chest Reviews, Abby.

1. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I'm not sure. Somewhere between reading books by Nora Ephron, Danielle Steel and Billy Crystal.

2. Which authors have inspired you the most and in what ways?

I think I just answered that one above, don't Billy Crystal did it for me. NOT THAT! Just reading and laughing is so good for the soul, I thought I can do that too. I enjoy laughing and want everyone to laugh everyday. Life is too short to worry about the small things, and sometimes the big things. You have to sit back, relax, read a funny book and laugh out loud!

3. I understand that There's Always Chocolate! is your first published novel. How long did it take from start to finish to get it published?

It is really hard to put 'starting and finishing' in a time frame. I didn't keep a time card on myself, so I probably am only getting my two cents an hour for my efforts. I also don't write full-time, like most authors. I write when I am inspired, and mainly when the chores are done, my house is clean, and someone else has made dinner.

I went through breast cancer in the middle of my writing, so I decided to put it down while going through the process of surgery, radiation and recuperation time following.

No one can put a time limit on any piece they are working on. Writing is continuous, because there are always rewrites, take-outs, etc. It could go on forever and back again. But for the most part to give a real answer, I'd say it took about a year. You think I could have said that in the first sentence and then you all wouldn't have had to read this mini-novel.

4. Do you have any advice for other new authors who may be trying to get published?

Advice, hmm. I am not an expert on anything, except ruining dinner, so I just think new authors have to be inspired by someone or something in their lives. My husband actually was my first inspiration. You may ask, why? My husband laughed at me when I said I wanted to write a book. That was it! He said I couldn't, so I did!!!

5. What was the most challenging part of writing There's Always Chocolate!?

The most challenging part of writing my book was to follow my outline. I couldn't do it. I changed it so many times. But that is the beauty of writing and being creative. There isn't a right or wrong in writing. You go with the flow, wherever it takes you and no one can say to you that you are doing it wrong. It is your book, your writing, your creativeness, and part of your soul.

6. What was your favorite part of writing There's Always Chocolate!?

My favorite part of writing is laughing at my own work. I would sit here and laugh at what I just wrote. My husband would ask, "What's so funny?" I would reply, "ME!" and continue on with both my laughing and writing. I enjoy laughing so much, so actually writing while I am laughing, if I can do both at the same time (multi-tasking) was my favorite part.

7. The story is set mainly in Los Angeles with a couple of side trips to Phoenix and New York. I thought I detected a certain fondness in your writing for all three cities. Do you have personal ties to these places?

Actually I do. I grew up in New York and Southern Cal, and I have been living in Phoenix since 1984. I know all the locations and could see them in my mind as I wrote. I would love an apartment in NY and a beach house in LA....someday....

8. Amy, the main character in There's Always Chocolate!, (obviously) loves chocolate. Are you a chocoholic, and if so, what is your favorite kind?

Chocoholic and Abby Irish are synonymous. In case you didn't notice, I am telling you now. If I could have a swimming pool filled with whatever I wanted, it would be milk chocolate, with a spa on the side filled with caramel. The saliva in my mouth is drooling out on my right side, brb.

9. Amy has two dogs, Tom and Jerry, who are her "babies." Are you a dog lover too?

Am definitely a dog lover. I, too, have 2 dogs. One is my dalmatian, Gizmo, who is a Mama's boy, and the other is Bomber, our basset hound, who takes after me with the short legs and wide body.

10. I really related to Amy being clumsy and cooking-challenged, because I am too. In what ways are you like Amy?

Oh, there have to be some secrets between me, myself and I. I will leave this up to all of the readers to digest on their own.

11. In what ways are you different?

Here again, I cannot say: "What goes on in the book, stays in the book. What happens in real life, is real life!" I don't want to give away too much info about myself just yet. Wait until my second novel comes out.

12. I think that There's Always Chocolate! would appeal to a broad female audience, because in Amy, you managed to capture the essence of what many women are searching for and trying to achieve in life, and you did it from a variety of different angles (eg. coping with loss, trying to be a good mom, trying to find her place in the world, etc.). Was it a challenge to do this or did it just come naturally?

Haha! I laugh in your face, actually my husband would be hysterical right now if he read your question. He would say everything is challenging to me! But I just want him to believe it is challenging. That is a tough question because 'life' itself is a challenge. What you do and what you say are all part of going through the different stages in life. Sometimes we make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Sometimes we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.... like burning dinner, oops did I say that?

13. The secondary characters in the book are delightfully varied and colorful. Where did you get your inspiration for them (especially the scrumptious Joel)?

He is definitely a figment of my imagination, and probably for all the females in the world. We all dream our husbands should be like Joel, but in reality, they actually all have a piece of him in them. And by the way, Joel looks exactly like George Clooney, if you're asking.

14. What is one thing you would like readers to know about you or your work that we haven't discussed?

We all go through different stages in our lives. We need to know that we aren't alone and we can talk to other women about what we are going through, because we all know MEN don't understand ANYTHING. I also want women to know that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff and to laugh out loud, everyday of our lives.

15. What are you currently working on?

I actually have 3 projects right now. I started a sequel to my book, but it will stand alone when I am finished, meaning, it will be its own novel and not necessarily a continuance. My second novel is going to be a comedy about a death in a family and visiting baseball fields....I will let you all ponder on that thought. My third book is going to be a compilation of stories about women who are all cancer survivors. I want to put it in every doctor's office in the nation! Wouldn't that be an accomplishment? I want women to help one another while going through cancer, as I have. And I think a book of stories will help them realize they aren't alone, nor are there any two stories alike.

Thank you so much for visiting with The Hope Chest Reviews today, Abby. It has been a pleasure interviewing you, and we wish you all the best.



Read our review of There's Always Chocolate!