Today, I have Phoebe Fox, a Henery Press author that I absolutely love. Last year, she wrote the cutest book, THE BREAKUP DOCTOR, and while I adored Brook- I realllllllly enjoyed Sasha! And I am just too excited to have Phoebe- the creator of both Brook and Sasha- here today!
Interview with Phoebe Fox, Bedside Manners
Can you tell us, the readers of Traveling With T, a little about BEDSIDE MANNERS?
The series is based around Brook Ogden, an always-in-control therapist who loses her practice and reinvents herself as “the Breakup Doctor”—on call to help you shape up after a breakup. In book one she goes through an unexpected breakup of her own and has what my Alabama friend calls “a total come-apart.” She winds up spectacularly breaking every one of her own rules, and pretty much hitting humiliating rock bottom before she realizes that sometimes you have to let yourself fall apart before you can get it back together. In this latest one, Bedside Manners (book two of the series), Brook is getting things back on track with a great new beau, and her practice has become a real success: a weekly column, radio shows, and now breakup support groups. Enter chaos, in the form of former patient Chip Santana, a very, very bad boy who presents some pretty formidable temptation. Brook is forced into a decision she isn’t ready to make, and has to decide what kind of casualties she’s willing to accept.
BEDSIDE MANNERS is the second book in The Breakup Doctor series. How many are you planning to write?
Right now three, but a little worm of an idea for a fourth book has been burrowing through my subconscious lately, so that’s a possibility. It’s hard to let go of these characters when I have gotten so intimate with them.
Lots of writers have quirky habits. Care to share some of yours with the readers of Traveling With T?
Until a handful of years ago I could only write longhand—it was like my creative brain disconnected as soon as a keyboard came between me and the page. I had to literally train myself to be able to write on a computer. Now I don’t know how I did it longhand—typing lets me keep up with my thoughts so much better. Of course, when I’m stuck, that damn flashing cursor is a nasty little taunt.
Do you have a particular type of character that fascinates you? Or do all characters fascinate you?
I seem to frequently write about people who are very tightly held on the outside, in perfect control, and who wind up losing that control, or finding out they never had it. I’m sure this is in no way related to any personal tendencies I might have, despite what you may have heard from my therapist.
I also love complications—gray area in why we do what we do. We humans are so gorgeously complex, and I love writing about people operating way outside their comfort zones in ways they never imagined.
Let’s chit-chat about that cover. It’s fab! How much input did you have in the cover selection?
I adore the covers—thank you! That’s my editor, Kendel Lynn, who is also a phenomenal designer. Here’s a great story that illustrates why I feel blessed to be with Henery Press. Our initial cover was quite good—Kendel designed it, and it fit the story, was close to what I had in mind, and we were moving forward with it. Then shortly before we went to press for book one I got a last-minute e-mail from
Kendel—she said the cover didn’t do justice to the story, and she wanted to try again. Even my agent was flabbergasted—“No publishers do that!” she marveled. Kendel sent us four totally different images to pick from, saying one was her clear favorite but she didn’t want to influence us. It was what became the cover for Breakup Doctor—what I call “Sassy Girl,” with the medical bag—a knockout of a cover, and the clear winner. For book two, she came up with a brilliant twist on the “brand,” changing Sassy Girl’s bag to fit this story. We are now going with that idea for the series—various Sassy Girls with different bags. I love it so much! I tell Kendel all the time, the cover is my single best marketing tool.
Do you have a writing process or a writing place?
I have two giant dogs, and every morning I walk them first thing and then take a shower—that’s when I plot out that day’s writing; then I sit to write. But I can’t plan things out too carefully, or I lose all desire to write about them: I need an idea, a germ, and then I sit and tell myself the story.
What is the best advice that Brook (aka the Breakup Doctor) would give to people seeking relationship advice?
Trust your gut. Usually we know the right path to take—even if we work really hard to try not to know it. Our subconscious knows what’s best for us, even when our hearts may want to ignore it.
Any advice for debut authors?
Put out a hand. I’ve been blessed with wonderful fellow authors—Sarah Bird, Sherry Thomas, the other talented authors at Henery—who have been unstintingly generous with me in “showing me the ropes,” answering questions, offering me the benefit of their experience. I have had “big-name” authors like Liz Tuccillo and Jenny Lawson graciously reach a hand back to help me, a virtual stranger. No one succeeds in a vacuum—when your time comes, reach out and offer a hand to someone else coming up behind you.
Will you be going on a book signing tour? (If you are, I highly suggest Mississippi. We know good authors and have good food!)
You have said the magic word—“food.” Tell me more. I can be bought.
What’s next, Phoebe? Can you share?
I’m currently working on Breakup Doctor #3—Heart Conditions. That one releases this coming winter. I’m also working on a new series—another chick lit with relationships at the heart, since that seems to be my area: this one based around a very unconventional matchmaker.
Want to know more about BEDSIDE MANNERS? It’s in stores March 24th!
Summary from Goodreads:
Brook Ogden has never encountered a broken heart she couldn’t patch together. Her counseling practice as the Breakup Doctor—on call to help you shape up after a breakup—is so busy she’s expanded to offer group sessions. (Turns out there are far more than fifty ways to leave your lover.) Her radio show and advice column have made her a local celebrity, and even her personal life, after some gruesome breakups of her own, is in recovery: Ben Garrett started out as a revenge date against an ex, but has turned into so much more.
But when sizzling-hot Chip Santana, an old client she once shared a rather unprofessional midnight roll in the sand with, comes back into her life asking for her help, Brook can’t say no. Yet while she’s busy stitching up his relationship troubles, Chip reveals much more than a therapeutic interest in her.
In the standoff between her heart and her hormones, Brook’s cool, collected Wise Therapist persona begins to crack like thrown wedding china. She’s yelling at recalcitrant cheating husbands. Offering crazy advice to radio callers. She’s even hugging her clients.
When the situation goes critical, Brook’s forced into a decision she isn’t ready to make—and the Breakup Doctor has to decide what kind of casualties she’s willing to accept.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T