What exactly is American dream? Is it a family of four living in a cookie-cutter house complete with a Range Rover and perfectly manicured lawn? According to the crap on TV, this “keeping up with the Joneses” way of life is the pinnacle of happiness. But is it really?
For Chrissy Anderson, happiness meant living the good life – perfect husband, successful career, uppity friends and all. Even though her life is the textbook definition of happiness, something’s missing.
After a chance encounter with a cute guy at a bar, she discovers an itch that desperately needs to be scratched. She begins to question the authenticity of her “perfect life” and faces some life-altering decisions. Should she take the safe route and just keep going through the motions? Or should she go with her gut and take the road less traveled? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Chrissy Anderson, the author and leading lady of The Life List, was kind to chat about her book. Read on to learn more about her personal quest for happiness, and why society’s depiction of “the perfect life” is all smoke and mirrors.
What made you decide to write a book about a woman whose life is turned upside down after a chance encounter at a bar?
If that chance encounter never happened, my life would’ve continued on a course that was less than satisfying. I would’ve stayed married to a man I had nothing in common with only to please other people, and I most likely would’ve had children with him. I would’ve continued to fake happiness, or worse, become a bitter old bitch who would one day look back on her less than satisfying life wishing in vain for a do-over. Most women aren’t as lucky as I was- they don’t get that chance encounter to slap them in the face. I wrote The Life List for all of the women out there who need a good slap.
Is this somewhat of a memoir/fiction hybrid?
Seems like I did more research on what the heck to label my book than the actual writing of it!!! Most of the story is true, but certain things were definitely embellished/changed to make my real life love story even more chaotically convoluted than it actually was.
Looking at all the star reviews, readers really love your book! Why do you think women connect so well with the main character?
Because the world is packed with mini-Chrissy’s. Think about it…how many of your own friends fall into one of these two categories?
1) They got married too young…before they even knew who they were or what they wanted out of life.
2) They scrambled when they turned 30! Started freaking out that they wouldn’t have the big wedding and the happy little family they always dreamed of, so they settled on a dude just so they could “live the dream.”
I also think too many women live their lives according to what others think. They struggle with defending their choices, and they fear failure and the public humiliation that goes along with it. I know better than anyone what it’s like to have everything I thought I always wanted, only then to say, “Uh-oh.” But how do you un-do plans that involve other people’s lives without suffering huge amounts of shame and regret? The answer is, you can’t, and I think that’s what so many women identify with The Life List. They want reassurance that they’re not alone. At least that’s the bulk of the feedback I get anyway.
What are your thoughts on “life lists?” How can women sabotage themselves by aspiring to live what society deems “the ideal life”?
Living your life according to other’s expectations is like not living at all. I lost thirteen years of my life doing it and I’ll spend the rest of it convincing anyone I come in contact with not to. I can honestly say that I give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of the choices I make now. I’m completely happy. Before you throw up….I’ll quote Charlotte from Sex &The City, “I’m not happy all day every day…but I’m happy.” In my opinion, anyone who has a problem with my choices…my happiness, isn’t happy with their own life and they need to take a good long look in the mirror or get a good therapist!
What message do you hope readers will take away from the book?
My tag line! “The difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.”
What is the best piece of advice you could give an aspiring novelist?
If you believe in what you’re writing, others will too. There is no money in this industry, even when people do give you five-star reviews, so you better have your heart in the game and be committed to your work. Trust me, you’ll be better equipped to handle criticism if you believe in the story you’re telling. When people don’t like my novel,( fyi… it’s usually because Chrissy swears too much and is overly-judgmental) I say to myself, “It’s just not their cup of tea and that’s okay.” My editor actually gave me the best advice and it’s calmed me down quite a bit over the last year. She said, “We want readers to either love The Life List or hate it, no in-betweeners…bad for business!” And you know what? She was right. Average reviews equal mediocrity (blah!). But, overly bad reviews pitted against awesome reviews, creates interest! That’s where the fun begins. Oh, and by the way…only two of my reviews are lower than five stars. So far, so good!
What are you working on now?
The rest of The List Trilogy- The Unexpected List and The Hope List. I just handed over the first draft of The Unexpected List to my editor and hope to have it published by March. My website has totally taken off. I’ve had over 30,000 visits and over 3,000 people have voted in the Leo vs. Kurt poll! The two men are such polar opposites (sexy and compelling in their own right) and it’s fun to see women gravitate toward each of them and find out why. I’m also working on getting The Life List in front of some Hollywood power players. I think it would make an amazing chick-flick. I just need to get it into the right hands and that’s proving to be just as hard as writing the damn book! I won’t quit though. It’s the slap in the face too many women need!