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Interview: Beth Kendrick: Author, Reader, Dog Lover

We got the chance to talk to author Beth Kendrick about everything from her latest book, New Uses For Old Boyfriends to her newest obsession with leopard-print Valentino car coats from the sixties and black lace Adrian cocktail dresses from the forties!

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What was your biggest inspiration while writing your book?

New Uses for Old Boyfriends is about many things—mothers and daughters, small-town scandal, and of course boyfriends past and present—but one of the storylines involves the heroine opening a vintage clothing boutique. I am not really known for my elegant chic (I work from home with canine co-workers and accessorize primarily with dog hair), so I had to get out of the house and do some research. I was lucky enough to find a boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona (Fashion by Robert Black) that specializes in high-end dresses and gowns from the past few decades. Robert and his amazing staff gave me a crash course in couture. They taught me about stitching, cutting and construction, and they also told me the history of each dress. Every gown in that shop played an important role in someone's life, and it's those stories of weddings, debutante balls and opening nights at the Paris opera house that bring the clothes to life. I have a newfound appreciation for fashion…and it makes me want to go spend all my money on leopard-print Valentino car coats from the sixties and black lace Adrian cocktail dresses from the forties. Curse you, Robert Black!

Are any characters in your book based on a real person?

I don't base my main characters on real people, but I'll throw in an occasional cameo for family and friends. My friend Shannon shows up as a former Miss America contestant in New Uses For Old Boyfriends, and my friend Chandra is sitting at the bar ogling a hot guy in Cure for the Common Breakup. I always call them and ask permission before I drag them into the storyline, and they usually agree, especially when I explain that they'll be described as glamorous beauty queens.

Which authors have most influenced your writing?

Helen Fielding changed the landscape of women's fiction with Bridget Jones's Diary. Reading her books helped me find the courage to start writing my own novels. Bridget is such a relatable heroine, and Fielding's voice is so distinct. I was reluctant to take any creative writing classes in college because I knew that my voice and characters were too upbeat and commercial to qualify as "serious literature," but Bridget Jones's Diary proved that there was a huge, supportive audience of intelligent women who wanted stories about real women navigating the complexities of modern love, work, family and friendship.

If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be?

Tina Fey. She has been my literary crush since "Mean Girls."

What are your plans as a writer in 2015?

I will be writing like it's my job.

Wait. I guess it IS my job. To that end, I will have two books out in 2015—New Uses for Old Boyfriends in February and another romantic comedy in November.

What are your New Year's resolutions?

-Say yes to new travels and adventures whenever possible.

-Try not spend all my money on leopard-print Valentino car coats from the sixties and black lace Adrian cocktail dresses from the forties. (Curse you, Robert Black!)

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

Wherever I go, whatever I do, it shows up in a story one way or another. I wrote The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service after I adopted two goofy red mutts from a local rescue group and started talking to professional dog trainers and handlers. Second Time Around, which features four former English majors gone bad, was inspired by a night of carousing with some of my writer buddies (that whole night's bar tab should have been a work-related tax write-off!). New Uses for Old Boyfriends includes a scene in which the heroine looks up her old classmates online and drowns her despair in wine when she realizes that everyone else's life looks shiny and perfect while hers is a smoldering train wreck. I'm not saying that's ever happened to me…I'm just saying existential angst, Syrah, and Facebook are a bad mix.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Kirkus Reviews just described New Uses For Old Boyfriends as "charming, poignant, and heartwarming." I'll take it!

Beth Kendrick is the author of The Week Before the Wedding, The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with her two rescue dogs, but she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she goes to Funland, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed.

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