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Q & A with Author Nino Gugunishvili

Hi, Nino! Thanks for joining me! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
Oh, would it be too unrealistic to say that I would love to see any of my books on a New York Times bestseller’s list? Or that I’d so want to see my books made into movies with some stellar cast? Say, with George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston?  In an ideal world I guess I would have enough confidence and devotion to write down all the stories that are brewing inside my head and then discuss all of them as they become loved by readers, ideally on Ellen’s show!   

Those sound like great goals! What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?
Past seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy”, where Cristina Yang and Derek Shepherd are still there. I’ve watched them countless times, and have a feeling that I know each of the characters as close as my family members. Also, “Sex and the City” of course!  I can pick up any episode of any season and start watching as if I’m seeing it for the first time.

What is the most unique talent or hobby that you have?
You caught me with this one! The most unique talent?!  I truly don’t know...  
After realizing I was completely useless in mastering that inhale-exhale technique, my Pilates teacher once asked me, what I thought I was particularly good at. 
“Think of anything” she suggested. 
“Writing, maybe?!” I mumbled. She didn’t look convinced though and shortly after I quit the class. Now, if you read the blurb of my book, one of the first sentences there says: She’s bored with Pilates, she’s never tried yoga...  so, apparently Pilates did me good since it’s on my book cover, right?
But sorry, getting back to my hobbies...  there are many things that I love to do, but I don’t know if these are actual hobbies. I love watching movies and TV shows and I love to read and I’m addicted to coffee and Google and my phone and Facebook and my friends, but I guess I’m now talking about addictions and habits. 
A long time ago I was filling in some job related form and the question at the end of it was about my hobbies. I turned to my father who was sitting nearby while I wrote down everything carefully, and asked him to help me with that last question. He suggested putting my closest friend’s name in the graph. “Tell them Katie is your hobby” he joked and partially that was true, we were inseparable. But today, I honestly don’t have a clear answer to the question about hobbies.  For the record, Katie still is my closest friend.         

A lot of the things you mentioned sound like great hobbies to me! Do you believe in fate or love at first sight?
I absolutely do. I believe in faith, and that many things in our lives both good and bad happen for a reason. I believe in lucky coincidences and chances, accidental meetings that may change the entire course of our lives. You may call me hopeless romantic, but that’s how I feel. 

A hopeless romantic is a great thing to be! Which writers inspire you?
That list would be so long, it would take several pages to put everyone down on it, and yet I may forget someone so, let me name few. Helen Fielding, Elizabeth Gilbert, Marian Keyes, Nora Ephron, Candace Bushnell, Lisa Genova and many, many, many more who’s brilliant writings and talent I greatly admire. I’ve reread Ann Patchett’s beautiful essay, “A gateway car” several days ago, and wanted to highlight all of it in my Kindle. I think it’s an absolute must-read for any debut author who wants to get an inside look on the process of creativity.

I'll have to check that out! Give us an insight into how you create your main characters. 
The first ever character I created was Balthazar Hamish -- an editor-in-chief of a magazine from Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock. It all started from the name which came out of nowhere, and then got physical looks, habits, gestures, voice, manners, tastes, personality.
Usually, the process of character creation starts for me with detailed visualization. I must see a character in great detail, I have to know where my characters live, what’s their ambiance, what they do, what they hate or love, what they wear, what do they want out of life, what are their motives. However, I sort of don’t know it all in advance, characters develop as the story and plot goes on but I need to know something basic, something integral about them, their lifestyles. For example, I knew from the very beginning, that Tasha would be traveling to another country, or that she would have a very close circle of girlfriends and an old, adorable grandma. By the way, I have discovered that I’m sort of emotionally attached to grandmas, since in my new manuscript there is a charming old lady too. I guess, unconsciously, I’m following that archetype to which a notion of a family is very much attached. Or maybe, it’s related to something more deep and personal, because I myself had two of the most extraordinary grandmas, but that’s another story, that will possibly make another book someday.   

What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on my second novel, which turns out to be in a slightly darker tone than “Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock” or so I thought until almost recently, before  a new character  called Lavignia  popped up, and honestly I don’t know where the story is going. Up until now it was about two sisters, Cecilia and Tessa. The eldest, Cecilia, gets into a terrible car accident that leads to an unexpected chain of events that will shatter not only her life to the core. I’m on a very early stage of writing now, so we’ll see what it’ll look like at the end. What I can say for now is that it’s about relationships between the members of one, not so ordinary family.

What draws you to writing chick lit books?
A possibility to tell a story of sassy, smart, funny, often straight forward, in times insecure, full of doubt but strong female protagonists, that are  finding their own place and voice, struggling their life and career choices, pursuing their high goals and living their life at its fullest.

Is that also your favorite genre to read?
Not entirely, to be honest, I don’t have much of genre specific preferences. I love chick lit as much as psychological thrillers or memoirs. I can read pretty much everything, although I must confess, I’m not a big fan (read not a fan at all) of the fantasy genre. 

Why do you write?
Because it’s fun, or because it’s the most fulfilling, thrilling, scary, often excruciating experience one can get. I write because it brings me great satisfaction and joy. It is challenging, and as someone surely cleverer than me said “because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.”  I found this beautiful quote on Pinterest not so long ago and immediately saved it. Confession number two: I’m getting addicted to inspirational quotes!

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to publish their own book?
I would recommend having as much information as you can get before deciding which route you want to choose, traditional, or indie. Self-publishing worked wonderfully for me as it gave me full involvement in the process.
On the other hand, there are things that might be quite difficult and time-consuming for a self-published author, like self-promotion, online presence, getting reviews etc... So, in other words, do your research, be prepared! Be ready to work even harder after you publish your precious book. I know it may sound too cliché or obvious, but keep in mind that you might be exposed to negativity and don’t get discouraged, not everyone will buy and read and love your book the moment it hits the stores, but those who do are exactly the ones who really count.   

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Staring at the blank page and thinking, what on earth am I going to write next and how am I going to rule this character out of the mess she found herself into?!

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Typing the two beautiful, most important words: “The End”

What is your all-time favorite book?
A Moveable Feast - By Ernest Hemingway.

What is your favorite quote?
Actually there are three! 
First is: "Carpe Diem!" 
And another one is: “Work like you don’t need the money. Dance like no one is watching. And love like you’ve never been hurt” 
And the last one from Lisa Genova “You’re going to be dead someday. Write it now.” 

Those are all great quotes to live by. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I would add a huge thank you for hosting me on your blog!

You're very welcome! How can readers discover more about you and you work?
If they read “Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock” I can guarantee and assure you, readers will know more about me. Alternatively, here are the links to my book’s Facebook page, my Twitter and Goodreads account.

Thanks again for joining me and best of luck writing your next book!

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