Monday, April 14, 2014

Emily Belden is on Fire! (An Interview...)

In case you hadn't heard, Emily Belden's memoir Eightysixed: Life Lessons Learned has been selling like hotcakes. With all of the publicity currently surrounding her Emily is a busy lady, but I was fortunate enough to score an interview with her. But first, here's a little info on the book that's got everybody talking...

Chicagoan Emily Belden has no idea what to do with her twenty-something life — particularly as it pertains to love — which is a tough problem for a hopelessly romantic half-Jew who's fresh out of a failed relationship.
But if “figuring it all out” and “wanting it all” were Olympic sports, Emily would have been a gold medalist in both categories. Never one to admit defeat in the face of the enemy, Emily gets back in the dating ring again and again.
But, the more she tries to make her therapist proud, the deeper down the rabbit hole she goes. While recovering the pieces of her broken heart, straight-A Emily’s dating world morphs into a mad soirée of drug addicts, embezzlers, perverts, and pimps.
Just as she begins to believe that a bottle of wine might be her only shot at happiness, a chance encounter with a man she never should have met resets Emily’s buttons. What she experiences next satiates her heart, her soul, and her stomach, as she frees herself from the perils of her mid-twenties and becomes exactly who she is supposed to be.

Steph Post: As Eightysixed is a memoir, how comfortable were you in writing about your own life experiences? Were you nervous that this would have any negative consequences concerning people you know and/or wrote about?
Emily Belden: If I didn’t decide to commit to making this a true tell-all, then it would have been hard. But, I made the choice to put it all out there so that I could write without hesitation or guilt. There’s really no other way to do it. Of course now there are many chapters that have worried my husband-to-be, as his 85-year-old grandma got her hands on a copy, but what can you do!? 
SP: What gave you the inspiration to take a rough part of your life (and everyone’s life- if you haven’t had some awkward experiences in your 20s, you haven’t lived…) and turn it into a full blown book? Was this something you deliberately set out to do?
EB: I was really just sort of journaling about my life at the time. It was a coping mechanism. But as the unbelievable experiences started to rack up, I realized: well, this could be a book. A few years later, behold: Eightysixed. Definitely one of the best accidents to happen to me!
SP: Did you have a specific reader in mind when you were writing Eightysixed? Do you think it can appeal to a wide audience, ie., people not in their twenties or people who have never lived in the “big city”?
EB: For a fact, I know this book has been read and related to by everyone from a pastor’s daughter to a middle-aged Mormon, and everyone in between. The book is ultimate a story about love and hope and the funny way the world helps you find yourself when you’re feeling lost. Between all the one-liners and hot messes, it truly does something for the soul.
SP: I always wonder what people are going to write about once they’ve written a memoir… Some writers continue in the genre by focusing on other parts of their lives and some gravitate towards fiction or journalism, etc. What does the future of writing look like for you?
EB: It will be a hard road now that my life has settled down. I’m three weeks away from getting married (cue the freak-out) and I’m a homebody with my two rescue pitbulls. The days of pimps and bottle service are over for me! So next on my writing docket will be a work of fiction called “Six Months”. What do you think it’s about?
SP: So far Eightysixed has been a tremendous success (and will continue to be, I’m sure!). What advice do you have for up-and-coming  writers as far as navigating the publishing world?
EB: Get used to the word “no” in all its various forms, and just remember that it only takes one yes. Maybe it’s to and from yourself in the form of self-publishing, or maybe your manuscript will land in the hands of someone who truly “gets it”. You’ve got to be patient and go with  your gut.

Special thanks to Emily Belden for stopping by! Please check out her website at and don't forget to pick up your copy of Eightysixed: Life Lessons Learned

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