Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Deidre E. Berry is the author of the hilarious romantic comedy THE NEXT BEST THING, as well as the Screenwriters Marketing and Resource Directory.

She currently has a two-book deal with Kensington Books, and is also a much sought-after freelance writer who provides web content for major corporations such as Reed Eisner and Time Warner.

In addition to writing novels, Deidre is also a screenwriter with several feature film scripts under her belt, one of which was optioned in 2006.


The Next Best Thing is a romantic comedy that asks: What do you do when the life you planned, is no longer part of the plan?

Tori Carter is an event planner, who is considered to be the absolute best in the business.

She has built a reputation on throwing lavish, over-the-top events, and for the past year, she has been planning her own wedding to her fiancée, Roland.

On the day of the wedding, the stage is set for this huge fairy-tale, Princess Diana-type wedding extravaganza, when Roland figures that now is a good time to let Tori know that he's in love with a woman he had previously claimed was just a good, platonic friend.

Tori spirals into a depression, which causes one of her close friends to give her a journal which she uses to help her process her emotions and everything that she goes through as she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life also learning to accept that no amount of planning can prevent the curve balls that Life sometimes throws your way.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

That you can make all the plans you want, but God is ultimately in control. Stop trying to hold on so tight to something that God wants you to let go of, because 10 times out of 10, He has something much better in store for you somewhere down the road.

Why did you choose to write this book?

Because I wanted to write the type of book that I like to read, and I like books that make me laugh as well as feel like the characters are real people who this could have quite possibly happened in real-life.

As a matter of fact, The Next Best Thing from a real-life experience. Years ago, I was newly engaged to a guy who shall remain nameless, (but he knows who he is!) when I discovered that he was cheating on me with a mutual acquaintance of ours. Talk about drama!

Of course we broke up, and I was devastated but in the long run it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me, because years later, I met the greatest guy in the world, and we've been married for almost fifteen years, now.

I do have to say though, that The Next Best Thing is not autobiographical. The only thing that happened in real-life versus the book is that I had to call off a wedding before it actually took place, everything else is pure fiction.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That the cliche "You're going to be laughing about this years from now" is true. Time really does heal all wounds.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

All of them! LOL... isn't that what everybody says? But if I have to pick just one, I would say the scene in the beauty salon, when Tori is getting all this conflicting advice on how she should carry herself on her first date in years. Then the blind date goes horribly wrong, and she realizes that "Wow, I'm really back out here, and this is going to be an uphill battle."

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

When the non-writer leaves their workplace, their job is done for the day, but a writer's work is never done. We're always writing, even in our sleep.

Also, The greatest gift that you can give the writer in your life is to respect the time that they have set aside to write. If you know that your relative, friend, or spouse, writes everyday from 5-9 pm every day, then respect that enough not to call tempting them with offers to hangout and go do something else.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

I read somewhere that Maya Angelou said "it takes courage and honesty to write a book. You have to just put it all out there. Don't worry about who may be angry or hurt by what you've written. Keep it real, and don’t hold anything back. That is the reason why you went through what you went through, so that you can process it, get over it, and then help somebody else get over it."

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

I had been working on a project for about a year, and then suddenly realized one day that I had over 300 pages worth of nothing.

Some of it was good, most of it was bad, and none of it fit the particular story I wanted to tell.

It was very humbling to have to scrap all those pages and go back to the drawing board.

That was a point where I almost gave up writing altogether, but then I realized that
everything you write serves a purpose. It may not get published, but the good news is that you got some good practice in. And it takes a certain amount of practice to be good at anything.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I'm an amateur pastry chef. I'm not quite Sylvia Weinstock, but I am good enough to the point where people come and ask me all the time to bake something for them for holidays, and church, or work functions. I bake everything from pies and cookies, to cinnamon rolls and 7-layer cakes. It's very cathartic for me, especially when I am going through a period of writer's block.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1) That writing a book is doable. For years, I had always wanted to write a novel, but stuck with writing screenplays because with a script it's 105 pages, and you're done. Easy! Writing a book seemed so daunting and challenging to me at the time, but I discovered that a book is written one sentence, one paragraph, and one page at a time... It is doable. You just have to give yourself time and permission to do it.

2) Respect your craft enough to set a schedule and stick to it. People with office jobs can't just show up to work whenever they feel like. If you saying you're writing for three hours that day, then write for three hours. Don't show up late, and don't leave early

3) Rewriting is NOT is an option.

How do you reach new readers?

The Internet has been valuable in helping me to reach readers in every corner of the world. I have also been doing a lot of radio lately, talking to DJs at the top 100 radio stations in the country, as well as going to literary conferences and talking to book clubs.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

I would invite Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Gloria Naylor all for the same reason, and that is to pick their brains on the craft and find out what their process is for writing a book; from toying around with the idea, all the way up to the final manuscript.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do you, and don't chase trends. Meaning, just because a particular genre is hot at the moment, don't put aside that mystery or romance novel that you really want to write, in order to go jump on the Erotica bandwagon, or the Christian fiction bandwagon, or whatever happens to be the flavor of the month.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)




Our theme for this month is AGENT HUNTING. Do you have any advice on finding a good agent?

Actually, I can't add much to that conversation, because I don't have an agent at the moment, which is totally by choice.

Alot of people think that you need a literary agent in order to get your foot in the door, but that's not entirely true. I'm very proud to say that I sold The Next Best Thing to my publisher without the help of an agent. I think that if I had sat around waiting for an agent to say "yes" to me, I probably wouldn't have a two-book publishing deal right now.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

ALL ABOUT EVA which will be published in April of 2010, and is about a New York socialite who is also the pampered girlfriend of a wealthy Wall Street executive. She's living the good life, but it all comes crashing down when her sugar daddy boyfriend is busted for shady business practices, and faces a long prison sentence.

So, now that the gravy train has stopped for her, Eva is forced to reinvent herself in the midst of being destitute, and shunned by all her high-society friends. As she struggles to put her life back together, Eva crosses paths with a bunch of endearing characters who in one way or another, help her learn the lesson that unconditional love and genuine friendships will always be worth more than money.


LaShaunda said...


Thanks so much for the interview. You gave some great advice on writing. Can you tell us what it means to have your script optioned?

This comment has been removed by the author.

Hi, LaShaunda!

In movie terms "Optioned" means a production company has bought the rights to your script for a certain amount of time, during which they try to secure funding for the project. If the option expires before the Production company decides to go ahead and pay full price for the script, then the rights revert back to the screenwriter who then gets to keep the original option money.

Rhonda McKnight said...

Great interview. Especially the advice for aspiring authors about not chasing trends and being honest in your work. I'm really looking forward to reading both these books.

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