Q&A with Denise Williams
Tell us about HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING!
How to Fail at Flirting
is about a professor who decides to push herself out of her rut. After an
abusive relationship, she closed herself off and focused on work. Now, years
later, she decides a to-do list is the way to stay accountable to her plans to
try new things. When she meets a handsome stranger in town on business, he’s
the perfect fling. The only problem is that despite numerous flirting fails, Jake
turns out to be the person who makes her want to keep trying and she ends up
flirting with falling in love. Oh, did I mention he has a few secrets including
that he might be a threat to her career? It’s a story about love and healing
and finding that person who makes you realize you’re capable of anything.
What inspired you to write this novel?
When I first sat down to write,
my son was an infant and I felt buried in momming and work—I needed a creative
outlet. I ran into an ex on Facebook and it got me thinking about how past
relationships shape us. The book evolved a lot since those first fledgling
sentences, but the core ideas about how past relationships shape us and that
happily ever after can be on the horizon after a broken heart is what you’ll
read in the finished version.
Do you relate to the heroine, Naya, in any way?
Yes! I am a list-maker
and a planner. I think I mastered drawing squares as a child so I could make
check boxes! Naya’s sense of humor is very in-line with mine, too and, I’ll
admit, I share her fear of butterflies. On a more serious note, Naya is an
adult woman who hadn’t spent a lot of time prioritizing her own sexual
pleasure. Like so many, I found myself in that place at one point. There are a
stack of other ways in which I relate to Naya but the biggest is her inner
voice. Throughout the book, she questions herself and hypes herself up and
ultimately learns to trust herself. I’m not sure I’ll never not relate to that!
What was your favorite part of writing the book? What was your
I geek out over writing love scenes. I’ll admit, there are several deleted love scenes sitting in my DropBox. Whether it’s a physically intimate scene or a scene to build sexual tension, those are the scenes I walk away from whistling a tune.
biggest challenge for me is editing. I love these characters so much and I want
you to know them as well as I do, so I tend to overwrite. In the end, it helps
me know the story better, but along with those deleted love scenes is lots of
Jake and Naya Trivia!
What do you hope readers will take away from reading HOW TO FAIL
I hope readers will take away three main things. First, “That
Denise Williams writes good books!” Just kidding… or not! More seriously, I
hope readers walk away from HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING knowing heartbreak and
trauma don’t preclude you from enjoying humor, affection, good sex, and
love…that someone working to heal can still get their happily ever after.
About How to Fail at Flirting...
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.
When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.
Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.
Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she's finally living again.
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Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD in education, going on to work in higher education. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.