As you know from my review of Thank You For Flying Air Zoe, I am a big fan of the book.  But as I was reading it, I was intrigued by the author and what made him choose first to write something  chick lit, and second to make some of the choices he did in the story.

What follows is a transcript of our email Q and A:

I’d love to know what inspired you to write this story?


This may sound odd, seeing as how I’m a guy who wrote a chick lit novel, but I was mostly inspired to write Thank You For Flying Air Zoe because I felt attached to the story’s core source material. I knew early on that I wanted to write a novel about staying connected to one’s youth, and my unabashed fondness for nostalgia and music served as a totally fun backdrop for such a story.


And I think your next question is the perfect playground for me to elaborate on this…


You took chick lit in a couple of different directions, too, that I love.  One, your Zoe and her friends are over 40- what drew you to writing that age?  I’m grateful you did. I’m not quite to that age yet, but I am getting a little tired of the almost-thirty-woe-is-me chick lit books, so an older protagonist was exciting to me.  What about that age appeals to you? Is it just a natural extension of not being in your twenties?


But before I elaborate, please allow me to weave, duck and dodge this question for a moment as I ponder what revealing a big secret might mean to my youthful career…


Okay, done. Thanks.


I was drawn to writing 40+ because Zoe and I are the same age. We’re both proud high school Class of ’87 grads. And get this – my life did NOT end on the day I turned 40!


I know. I’m as shocked as anyone.


Here’s the thing… We’ve all heard the clichés when it comes to aging.


40 is the new 30.


50 is the new 40.


Heh. I suppose that by the Transitive Property of Equality, 50 is the new 30.


But anyway…


I think that people often subject themselves to intense self-analysis whenever they enter into a new decade. At 20, I believed I was mighty and wise and knew everything under the sun – as well as a few things actually above the sun – that’s how wise I truly was. Then at 30, I examined my life and felt like I’d been an idiot when in my 20s. A fun, adventurous, and carefree idiot, but nonetheless, an idiot who probably needed to grow up. Then at 40, I pretty much thought the exact same thing I thought when I hit 30. So at that point, I think I took a look back at my two alleged grown-up decades and thought, “Wow, growing up is way overrated. Life is pretty damn awesome – maybe I should stop trying to self-analyze it and just keep on livin’ it.”


Here’s what I think… I think that youth is a muscle kept strong by constant exercise. The message I aspired to promote in Air Zoe is that youth doesn’t actually end at 40. It may get winded a lot sooner. It may need a few more painkillers, multivitamins and naps. But it’s definitely far from over if the spirit is willing.


Second, THANK YOU for making the Zoe-Silas story secondary to the Zoe finding herself story. I had just asked the other day on the Book Fetish FB page if people would read a chick lit book where a quest for Mr. Right wasn’t the backbone of the plot. Was it hard to deviate from the standard chick lit formula, or did you always know Zoe needed to find herself first and foremost?


Haha… You’re totally welcome! I think this is also a prime example of my writing being a reflection of my own beliefs. Yes, I planned on having Zoe’s personal crusade at the forefront of the novel from the outset. Yet I also believed that there was room for a little bit of romance at the periphery of her main mission. I believe that in and of itself, love is a wild and weird and amazing adventure that in all ways is a worthy pursuit. However, so too do I believe that love shouldn’t necessarily be an individual’s singular pursuit.


So yeah, John Lennon was a brilliant lyricist, but he was wrong on this one. Love is not all you need. It’s a terrific color to add to the canvas, but it needs many more colors to complement it.