Ask the Author: Denise Williams

D&orfs Photography

What would you like readers to know about you? 

I love love stories! How to Fail at Flirting is my debut novel, but I’ve been a fan of love stories since I first picked up a book. Outside of writing, my life consists of working in higher education, momming a very active four-year old, and attempting to keep up with my to-read pile. 

What is your book about for those who haven’t read it? 

Dr. Naya Turner is a professor who threw herself into work following the end of an abusive relationship. Feeling in a rut, her friends encourage her to make a to-do list to aid in her attempts to “get a life.” After her initial failed attempts at flirting lead her to Jake, Naya finds herself falling in love. Unfortunately, her new happiness comes with strings that could endanger her career. 

What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

I’ve worked at universities my entire adult life. There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about what happens at universities and who professors are—I wanted to show this professor living her life. She teaches and researches, but she also laughs, she gets drunk, she has wonderful sex, and she deals with the fears and anxieties that plague so many of us. 

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 

My favorite scene to write was at the beginning of the book when Naya and Jake are on one of their first dates. They are learning to salsa dance at Navy Pier and we’re in Naya’s head as she tries to keep up with the steps. I love the intimacy of the dancing and also the realness at being frustrated by not getting something on the first try. Naya spends a lot of the book getting things wrong on the first try and learning to give herself grace. 

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 

I’ve been a reader my entire life. I’m not sure what books initially inspired me to write, but the authors who inspired me to write romance have penned some of my favorite books. Christina Lauren, Mariana Zapata, and Kennedy Ryan are authors whose books I devoured and then re-read. I wanted to tell stories like they did. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?  

Start writing. There are limitless resources available to help you with plotting, craft, character development, pacing, grammar, and all the other components of writing well. That said, the hardest thing about writing is putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and starting. You can always edit, but there’s not much to do with a blank page. 

The on-sale is December 1.  

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