Emily Belden is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller based out of Chicago. She is also the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. We have interviewed Emily in the past when her first book was released, Eightysixed.
In 2014, you had just written Eightysixed, a personal memoir, what inspired you to try your hand to write a novel?
Your life story is only so much by age 28, I knew that there was much more creative room to grow with a novel. Once I had the lock-tight, salacious premise for HOT MESS, the words flew off my fingertips.
What inspired you to write Hot Mess?
I see a lot of myself in my protagonist, 20-something Allie Simon. She dates an up-and-coming bad boy chef and I once did the same. There was an opportunity for him to open a restaurant, but he needed my investment money to do so. I was looking back on that failed relationship one day and thought…WHAT IF I wrote that check. HOT MESS is the answer to that question.
What are some of the similarities between Hot Mess and Eightysixed?
Both are extremely voice-driven. So it feels like you and I are sitting down for coffee and I’m just telling you a really juicy story. Both are binge-worthy. You’ll find yourself canceling your plans and ignoring your phone so you can finish up just one more chapter. And both are pretty witty, snarky, and funny. Even though HOT MESS has some dark themes to it (addiction, debt, destructive relationships), it still maintains a smart approach to writing.
Where can you currently purchase Hot Mess?
Amazingly, it is at ALL Barnes & Noble stores nationwide at the front “New Releases in Paperback” table. It is also at several local bookshops/independent sellers, so check there, too. And of course, Amazon, Kindle, BN online, Nook, and Audible.
What made you want to become a writer?
I love having control over a world that is so different from the one we live in. It’s a true escape. I love bringing color to my characters’ lives and understanding them as if they are real people. It boils my creative blood.
What inspires you the most about your writings?
I love seeing people react and say “This is so relatable.” Or “I read the whole thing in a day.” Or “This was something new and different.” I really appreciate when other people bring work like that into the world, so for me to do that to a wide audience is very humbling.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I like to write at my handmade black walnut desk usually with a glass of wine, ice cold Diet Coke, or a sandwich within arm’s reach.
What is your #1 piece of advice for all writers?
Be patient and prepare for a lot of rejection. HOT MESS took three years to come out. There was certainly my fair share of “No’s” before my slam dunk. Hang in there and one day when you are holding your book in line at Barnes and Noble, you’ll be glad you didn’t quit your day dream.