Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guest Blogger, Claire Cook

Please join me in welcoming bestselling author Claire Cook as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress today as she tours blogdom promoting her latest release.

Claire is the author of SEVEN YEAR SWITCH. She's here today to talk about her new novel and what’s next.

SEVEN YEAR SWITCH is the story of a single mom whose husband ran off to join the Peace Corps. Seven years later, he’s ba-ack – proving he can’t even run away reliably!

If there’s an overarching theme in my seven novels, it’s that each of my main characters is trying to reinvent herself. I think that’s something most of us face at one point or another in our lives. I wrote my first novel in my minivan when I was 45, and at 50 I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie of my second novel, MUST LOVE DOGS, so I know it can be done! Here are some tips to help you find what’s next for you.

Seven Simple Steps for Finding YOUR Next Chapter

Self. You can’t have self-awareness, self-confidence, or any of those other good self words until you decide to like yourSELF, and who you really are.
Soul Searching. Sometimes it’s just getting quiet enough to figure out what you really want; often it’s digging up that buried dream you had before life got in the way.
Serendipity. When you stay open to surprises, they often turn out to be even better than the things you planned.  Throw your routine out the window and let spontaneity change your life.
Synchronicity. It’s like that saying about luck being the place

where preparation meets opportunity. Open your eyes and ears – then catch the next wave that’s meant for you!
Strength. Life is tough. Decide to be tougher. If Plan A doesn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters (204 if you’re in Japan!)
Sisterhood. Connect, network, smile. Build a structure of support, step by step. Do something nice for someone – remember, karma is a boomerang!
Satisfaction. Of course you can get some (no matter what the Rolling Stones said.) Call it satisfaction, fulfillment, gratification, but there’s nothing like the feeling of setting a goal and achieving it. So make yours a good one!

Claire, thanks for stopping by today and sharing these seven steps. These can be very helpful in finding the next chapter in our lives.

A little background on Claire. She is the author of seven novels, including Must Love Dogs, which was adapted into a Warner Bros. movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, The Wildwater Walking Club, Life’s a Beach, and her latest, Seven Year Switch. Her reinvention workshops have been featured on The Today Show, and she has been a judge for the Thurber Humor Prize and the Family Circle fiction contest. Claire’s books have been featured on Good Morning America and in People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and more. She has two kids, seven brothers and sisters, and one husband. She lives in Scituate, MA.

For more information about Claire and her writing, visit her website and find reinvention and writing tips at Friend her on Facebook at Follow her on Twitter at


  1. You get some great author interviews on your blog. Claire's website looks great too.

  2. I just finished Seven Year Switch and loved it!

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Claire.

    Claire - Thanks for this terrific advice, and best wishes on your new reliease.

  4. Sounds like a fun book. I'll look for it. Those seven things could be things an author should keep in mind if she's writing a book where the protagonist needs to re-invent or find herself.

    Straight From Hel

  5. What a great and inspirational list of “S” words. Seven Year Switch sounds like my kind of book, so there it is - freshly added to my want-to-read list.

  6. Claire, thanks for guest blogging here today. The seven steps sound very helpful.

    Charmaine, thank you for the kind words. I've been fortunate so many wonderful authors have said yes when I ask.

    Esme, thanks for stopping by.

    Ingrid, it sounds like an intriguing book. I can't wait to read it.

    Alex, Margot, Helen and Jane - thanks for stopping by.

  7. What an inspirational post. I love the idea that if Plan A doesn't work, there are 25 more alphabet letters. The message ... Never give up on your dream! Thanks Claire and Mason.

  8. Great interview - very inspirational! Thanks :)

  9. Great post. I couldn't agree more about the first step being learning to like yourself. Thanks, Mason, for hosting.

  10. Mason--Thanks for hosting Claire today! I'm a minivan writer myself. :) And thanks so much for sharing your seven steps--those are good words to live by!

  11. Love the seven steps! And reinventing ourselves - how many times do we do that? But I really love the title of your book! Very clever.

    Thanks, Mason for hosting Claire!
    Claire, it's truly a pleasure *meeting* you!

  12. Thank you for sharing Claire with us, Mason. It was an interesting interview. I cannot believe she is 50 though!

  13. Wow, what a brilliant story! Thanks so much for sharing, Claire - such an inspiration.

    Thank for Mason for another brilliant guest post!

  14. That's a great line, "Seven years later, he’s ba-ack – proving he can’t even run away reliably!" Ouch.

    Stephen Tremp

  15. Wow - Claire made some journey - from minivan writer to Hollywood! Love her advice.

  16. Thanks so much for hosting me, Mason - such an honor -- and thanks for your kind comments, everybody!
    (So glad you enjoyed Seven Year Switch, Ingrid!)(I'm 55 now, Glynis!)
    I hope you'll all check out my website for more writing and reinvention advice and to find out more about my novels!

    Shine on!

    Go to to enter to win a beach bag filled with all seven of Claire's novels, plus a beach bag!

  17. What a great guest post. I have enjoyed every Claire Cook book that I have read and I love knowing that there is that consistency in her story-telling.

  18. Thanks so much for your kind words, holdenj!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.