Dating advice columnist and author Lisa Daily can tell you why he didn´t call, the color you should never wear on a first date, and even where to snoop for evidence if you think your guy´s been fooling around. Millions read her dating advice column or tune in to see her every week on Daytime, and the early buzz on her debut novel Fifteen Minutes of Shame says it pops with the same signature quirky humor and fresh, irreverent voice that made her dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped! a bestseller.
Women from 16-60 flock to Lisa´s popular Dream Girl Academy at the Learning Annex in New York City and events across the US. Lisa is a dating coach, speaker and popular media guest — she has done more than 2000 interviews on top radio and television shows, including iVillage Live, MTV Live, Entertainment Tonight and top UK national morning show, This Morning, and she appears as a real-life dating expert on the HITCH movie DVD starring Will Smith. A frequent source for reporters, Lisa has been quoted in hundreds of publications, from the New York Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune to Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men´s Health, Christian Science Monitor and US Weekly Magazine.
We had a chance to interview the new author of the bestselling book, Fifteen Minutes of Shame (Plume/Penguin, March 25, 2008) and to find out more about this dynamic author whose books keep us yearning for more!
Thank you for this interview, Ms. Daily. Can you tell us if your expertise in dating wisdom helped in writing your new book, Fifteen Minutes of Shame?
Thank you for having me! My experience as a TV dating expert definitely helped me in writing Fifteen Minutes of Shame. The main character, Darby Vaughn is a TV dating expert who finds out her husband is cheating, live on national television. The week before my dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped! was first published, a very prominent dating expert was going through a very public divorce, and she was really taking a lot of heat in the media. At the time, my husband and I had just been married a few years — I remember thinking how awful it would be to go through one of the most difficult times in your life with the entire world watching — and the idea for Fifteen Minutes of Shame was born.
As I was developing the story, a lot of the funniest scenes deal with the world of television — the disparity between how something (and some people) look on TV, versus in real life, has always been hilarious to me.
How long have you been helping others with relationship problems? When did you first start and where did you publish your first relationship column?
I wrote my dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped!, in 2002, and started writing my column at the same time. The column developed into regular TV and radio appearances, and I’ve done the weekly segment on the DAYTIME show for just over two years.
Your book is chick lit/humorous women´s fiction. Did you find it hard getting an acceptance with a major publisher for a genre that critics claim is dying? Do you still see a market for it?
I think there will always be a market for good, smart, funny women’s fiction. Other humorous women’s fiction authors, like Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella will continue to sell their wonderful books, whether they’re called chick lit or women’s fiction or something else. I feel fortunate, I didn’t have any trouble getting acceptance for Fifteen Minutes of Shame — we sold it to the same house (Plume/Penguin) that published my non-fiction book. They loved the story, and bought it on nine chapters and a proposal.
That said, I do think the market is tightening a bit. When chick lit became popular, publishers flooded the bookstores with chick lit, and in some cases, contemporary romances dressed like chick lit. There was more supply than demand, and now we’re seeing the publishers and the marketplace adjust.
Your first dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped!, became an overnight sensation and a bestseller. In what ways did you become a part of making that happen? In other words, what kind of promotions did you do on your own or did you rely mainly on your promotion team at Penguin?
I was fortunate to have a great team at Plume/Penguin — Trena Keating was my genius editor in chief (and also the person who encouraged me to write Fifteen Minutes of Shame) and my publicist, Sarah Melnyk, was really enthusiastic. That said, I took on the responsibility of directing the marketing efforts for Stop Getting Dumped! — every publisher has limited time and resources for any given book, and while I was grateful for any and all support Plume provided, I knew it was my responsibility to get the book off the ground.
I did a lot of online marketing with dating sites, I wrote articles, I pitched the media incessantly, I left postcards in NYC taxis, and spoke to any group who would listen.
Can you tell us more about your Dream Girl Academy?
After Stop Getting Dumped! became a bestseller, I received so many letters from women across the country asking if I taught a class or a seminar to teach women some of the methods in the book — I began teaching the class at Open U in Minneapolis and The Learning Annex in New York City – a sort of dating finishing school for fun, fabulous chicks. Eventually, I was teaching the class as far away as London, and was surprised by how popular they became. Women would bring their girlfriends and their mothers, and it was this amazing, supportive, fun, feminine environment. A lot of times, I´d end up staying after the class and talking to the women for hours. As soon as we posted information on the web that I´d be doing a 20-city tour for FIFTEEN MINUTES OF SHAME, we started getting requests from readers — so I´ll be doing Dreamgirl Academy events all across the country in March and April.
You are a speaker and popular media guest, appearing on more than 2000 top radio and television shows. That’s an amazing amount of appearances. Can you tell us which one of those shows stood out as your most memorable and would you like to tell us about it?
I really love doing interviews, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people that way. I think the most memorable was when I did a little talk show called SOAP TALK (which I’d never heard of before they booked me), and sat next to Rick Springfield in the makeup room. I’d had a HUGE crush on him when I was a teenager, and it was completely surreal to sit next to him. We chatted for a bit, and he was very nice. Then, he went on for his segment and sang JESSE´S GIRL, and I stood there swooning with a few of the producers on the side stage.
Your book, Fifteen Minutes of Shame, is about a relationship advice columnist much like yourself. Do you see a little bit of yourself in your main character?
Darby is a lot like me –although, to the best of my knowledge, my husband is not planning to dump me on national television. Darby has a real desire to help other women find love, funny things are always happening to her, and we’re both madly in love with men who have sparkly green eyes.
Darby, like me, tends to think her way through difficult emotional situations, and because she’s so rational, seems so pulled together, people think she’s fine, even when she’s not.
Aside from that, Darby and I both have the same perspective on dating and love — each chapter begins with dating advice from Darby, which is the same advice I would give as a real-life relationships expert.
What does your book have that people are going to say, “I need a copy of that book!”
It’s margarita-out-your-nose-funny, and it will make you want to be braver in love.
What plans do you have for the future?
I’m working on a new dating advice book, out January 2009 called HOW TO DATE A GROWN-UP, and a new novel, titled THE TRUTH ABOUT GOSSIP, which should be out sometime in 2009 as well.
Thank you for the interview, Ms. Daily. Can you tell us how we can find out more about you and your delightfully funny book, Fifteen Minutes of Shame?
Thanks so much, I had a great time! You can learn more about me and FIFTEEN MINUTES OF SHAME at www.lisadaily.com