AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Irene Woodbury, author of Pop-Out Girl @IreneWoodbury



Irene Woodbury’s third novel, Pop-Out Girl (2017), pushes a lot of buttons. It’s a gripping look at the tumultuous life of a 23-year-old showgirl-wannabe named Jen Conover who pops out of cakes at special events in Las Vegas for a living. The novel offers riveting glimpses into the loves, lives, triumphs, and tragedies of Jen’s family and friends as well.

Irene grew up in Pittsburgh, and has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Denver. The University of Houston 1993 graduate also called Texas home for seven years. Her writing career began In 2000. After five years as a successful travel writer, she switched to fiction. Irene’s first novel, the humorous A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, was published in 2011. The darkly dramatic A Dead End in Vegas followed in 2014. Pop-Out Girl is another dramatic effort. With her husband, Richard, editing, Irene completed the novel in eighteen months. She hopes audiences will enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it. 

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About the Book:

When Zane Hollister returns home to Las Vegas after two years in prison and discovers his showgirl-lover is with another guy, he goes ballistic. After stalking and taunting the couple for
months, his toxic jealousy takes a darker turn. To wipe out Colton, Zane masterminds a devilish zip line accident and a terrifying car crash. When those fail, he resorts to kidnapping Jen and forcing her to marry him. And it gets even worse when Zane shoots Colton’s boss, Matt, by mistake as he aims for Colton in a horrific drive-by shooting.
        
With Matt lingering in a coma, Jen’s cocktail-waitress mother, Brandi, absorbs a seismic shock of her own. After hearing Matt’s name on the local news, she realizes he’s her first love of decades past—and Jen’s real father.
        
Will Matt emerge from his coma to reunite with Brandi and Jen? Do the cops nab Zane, who’s hiding out in Hawaii? And can Jen and Colton’s love survive Zane’s lethal jealousy?
           
There’s a happy ending for some, but not for all, in Pop-Out Girl.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Irene Woodbury!  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I got the idea for Pop-Out Girl as I walked around the Las Vegas Strip. I thought it would be interesting to have a man come to Las Vegas and meet a beautiful, sweet showgirl—not knowing she’s his biological daughter from a long-ago first love he was engaged to. They form a casual friendship, and she gets involved with a colleague of his. What happens when they finally discover they’re father and daughter? I thought of this concept vaguely for a few years as I worked on my second novel. In Pop-Out Girl, this basic theme gets developed in some really dramatic ways. The father (Matt) ultimately gets shot by the showgirl’s jealous ex-boyfriend--who’s really trying to kill her new boyfriend. It’s a complicated, compelling storyline.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

This book was difficult because there are many storylines and it goes back and forth from the past to the present. It was hard to arrange the chapters in an order that would be interesting and easy to follow. I reorganized the book three times. My advice to writers:  get the novel printed out and cut and paste until you’re happy. Then go to your computer. Sometimes it’s easier to work with a hard copy because you can see more.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is SynergEbooks. They have published all three of my novels. I found them in a book that provided lists of agents and publishers.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

The amount of marketing and promotion needed after the book was published. There are so many books…how will anyone know where to find mine if I don’t tell them? It’s almost as much work as writing the book, but it’s a different kind of work. There’s more interaction with people, which is welcome after the solitary process of writing a novel.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Pop-Out Girl came out a couple of weeks ago. I’m immersed in marketing and promotion right now. Another book will come along in a year or two. Maybe another humor novel or a sequel to Pop-Out Girl.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

That the book was really meant to be about the lead character’s mother, Brandi. But as time went by, the storyline of the daughter, Jen, became more compelling. So the book is primarily about Jen and her struggles with the two men who love her. But it’s also about Brandi—and Brandi’s mother, Paulina. The book is really about the troubled love lives of three generations of Putnam women.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I didn’t have any specific message when I set out. But in hindsight, I think the book conveys how important it is to love and respect yourself. And also that sometimes you’re thrown into difficult situations at a young age, and even if you do love and respect yourself, you end up being victimized by circumstances. Life can be very cruel and unfair. Thank God for happy endings.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I hope readers will read and enjoy Pop-Out Girl. The characters are vivid, and the storyline is compelling.
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