People travel for different reasons. But as for Erin Crawford, she has a list and a deadline to meet. Today marks the launch of my wife’s debut novel, 30 First Dates. The book is a romantic comedy that includes a lot of travel-related scenes and adventures. Some of the scenes are pulled from our previous travel experiences: an apartment in the Latin Quarter in Paris, a B&B in Sonoma, treks up the Eiffel Tower and across the Brooklyn Bridge.
These experiences are real ones that will live in our memories forever. But they’re also scenes that come to life on the page when Erin Crawford decides to step out of her comfort zone, take control of her life and see what this big, wide world has to offer.
Here’s an excerpt from the pages of 30 First Dates:
“Thanks for doing all this work to make our trip so awesome,” Erin said. “I don’t know how I’d have done this without you.”
Sherri smiled, and there was a smudge of chocolate on her lower lip; she’d dipped into the greasy brown bag left over from their trip to the patisserie that afternoon and was nibbling at the remains of a pastry.
She held the arm with the pastry out to one side and returned Erin’s hug.
“Girl, thank YOU,” she said. “I didn’t even know how badly I needed this, but I needed it bad. I don’t want to wake up in fifteen years and realize all I’ve done with my life is work as an accountant in a cube farm.”
She shuddered, and Erin smiled again. It seemed like Sherri was coming around to her way of thinking.
Erin sighed. How would she ever go back to a normal life after this?
The book’s demographic is mainly women and a book worth considering for your next beach trip. I’ve read it, and yes, I’m probably obligated since Stacey is my wife. But in all honesty, I found the book impossible to put down. It is a fun read and I’m excited to read it in print for the first time. The book comes out today (Jan. 12) and I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A with Stacey as she sits next to me on our living room couch.
What does travel mean to Erin Crawford?
Erin’s on a quest to change her life. She’s never been far from her home in Texas, so when she creates a bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30, travel is a big part of her list. She’s had a lifelong desire to see Paris, so that’s the first trip she takes when she starts working through the list.
What are some of her travel highlights?
She goes skiing for the first time and falls in love with it. It’s an awesome rush. She tours California wine country and experiences one of the wildest moments of her life … after hours of wine tastings that help her shed all those pesky little inhibitions. She also has a super memorable moment at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Do you want to elaborate on that?
Let’s just say she figures out why kissing was named after the French.
A lot of travelers have bucket lists of places they want to see. Why does Erin create a list?
It all starts from a random Saturday night with friends in Erin’s apartment. Her roommate mentions an article she’d just read about bucket lists, and then she grabs a notebook and starts writing one. Soon Erin and the others join in. The last item on her list is “start a blog,” and the blog is what spurs her to actually complete her list. Along with completing the items on her list, she throws in a dating challenge … hence the blog’s (and book’s) title, 30 First Dates.
And what about you? What are your bucket list destinations?
My No. 1 destination right now is Santorini, Greece. I’m also itching to go to Iceland, Japan, Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast. This list is subject to change and grow at all times.
Why is travel a central theme to this romantic comedy?
The book’s major themes are finding your path in life and stepping outside your comfort zone, and there’s really no better way to do both of those (in my opinion) than through travel. Plus, because I’ve traveled so much myself in recent years, I think it was inevitable that I’d find a way to sneak some of those travel experiences into the book.
How does Erin change through this journey?
She learns what it means to be a grown-up, for one. Up to this point she’s floated through life, dancing in and out of relationships and plunging ahead in her career without giving much thought to her ultimate goals. She also learns a lot about love, which is really what life’s about.
About 30 First Dates:
30 dates, 30 wild ideas, total media frenzy… but only one Mr. Right.
Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After having horrible luck in her own relationships, she decides to start a blog called “30 First Dates.” Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday. It’s her quest to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes just sad dates, she also begins to cross off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—killing two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinnydips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her usual comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl?
About Stacey Wiedower:
Stacey Wiedower started her career as a reporter at a daily newspaper before following her passion to interior design school. She spent three years at a firm with bizarre similarities to “Designing Women,” and now she funnels all of those experiences into her work as a full-time writer. Along with magazine articles, website copy and a weekly feature called My New Home, she writes romantic comedy, and the zany characters she’s met poke their heads into her stories from time to time. Stacey lives in Tennessee with her husband, also a writer, and a son who’s inherited their overactive imaginations.