OLD BRIDGE — Authors seeking advice on how to get their novels published can get it from a recently published author with local roots.
Caren Lissner, a former Old Bridge resident and graduate of Cedar Ridge High School, recently wrote what critics are calling "the anti-chick-lit novel." She will offer her tips on how to successfully get published during an appearance at 7:30 p.m. July 10 at Barnes and Noble, routes 9 and 33 in Freehold Township.
The book, Carrie Pilby, which is Lissner’s first, is about a 19-year-old prodigy who just graduated from Harvard University but has acquired no social skills throughout the course of her life. She believes the world is populated with "immoral, sex-obsessed hypocrites," and she struggles with the help of a therapist to leave her apartment and interact with people.
The book was published by Red Dress Ink, a company dedicated to publishing women’s fiction, with an initial press run of 55,000 copies. Lissner said early reviews have been positive and the novel is selling well.
"Mine was a different turn for [Red Dress Ink]," Lissner said.
Although Carrie does go out on dates, her grapples with morality, religion and trying to find her niche drive the course of the novel more so than her social interactions with men. Lissner said Carrie is more introspective than some female characters in novels, but she does not see her book as the opposite of other novels that fall into the "chick lit" genre.
"I don’t want people to think it’s the same as everything that came before," she said. "I think that people are picking it up and finding out."
Lissner is now the managing editor of Hudson Reporter Associates, a chain of eight weekly newspapers based in Hoboken.
She said she wants to share her writing and publishing experiences with other aspiring writers because she understands how difficult it can be to break into the business with no prior experience.
"I think it’s hard for writers to get published, and that can discourage writers if they don’t feel good," she said. "The most important thing is to feel happy with what they’re writing so that when they finish, even if they don’t get published, at least they won’t regret the time they’ve spent."
Lissner said the character of Carrie is not based on herself, but she did glean some aspects of her life and personality for use in the book.
She said her book addresses ideas that can resonate with most readers, such as the confusion 19-year-olds often face, and the struggle to relate to different kinds of people.
"It’s really about the compromises you make to fit in," Lissner said.