Waiting for Tom Hanks releases tomorrow, June 11th, but today I have something fun for you. Author Kerry Winfrey has answered some of my burning questions (hint: there’s PIE!) and I have a sneak peek of the book for you. So, get to know Kerry at little bit better, read the cute preview, and then be sure to grab your own copy of Waiting for Tom Hanks!
Kerry is the author of LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES and THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT. She’s written for many websites, including HelloGiggles. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely baking yet another batch of cookies or watching far, far too many romantic comedies. She lives with her husband, baby, and dog in the middle of Ohio.
Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.
Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.
Q1. What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m a stay at home mom to an almost-three-year-old, and my days totally revolve around him! I try to write before he wakes up, while he naps, and after he goes to bed, but all of that is subject to change because the thing about small children is that they don’t care AT ALL whether their moms write rom-coms. While he’s awake, we get to read books and have fun and play all day, which is almost always easier than writing, so I have no complaints.
Q2. What does your writing process look like? Any unique or strange techniques or rituals involved?
Honestly, my “process,” if I can even call it that, just boils down to “do whatever I can whenever I can.” I’ve accepted that I don’t have a ton of work time during this phase of my life, and I usually write in extremely short bursts. I work off of a pretty loose outline and just try to keep plugging along every day without looking back, because my biggest hurdle is always my own critical brain. Then once I have a bad first draft I can go back and fix it, and usually at least some of it isn’t as bad as I thought! That’s the ideal situation, anyway.
Q3. If you had to give your life a movie title what would it be?
Probably “Pie Quest,” because I’m always baking a pie.
Q4. Which Tom Hanks is your favorite Tom Hanks?
What a cruel question. Who can choose??? As much as I love Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, I think he’s so good in Sleepless in Seattle as a sad single dad. But real life Tom Hanks is pretty great too. I mean, do you follow him on Twitter? He primarily tweets about lost gloves he finds. What a gem!
Q5. Tell us about your ‘pie quest’. What’s it all about and how is it going?
I love baking, but I was always a little scared of pie dough. I know the concept of being scared of dough might not make sense to everyone, but I’m an anxious person and there are just so many things that can go wrong! When I turned 32, it kind of hit me that I wasn’t going to magically get better at all the things I want to do; like, I’m not going to wake up one day and be great at making pie dough. I had to practice! So I decided my goal for the year was to learn to make a really good pie, and let me tell you…if you have the chance to make goals that result in desserts, go for it. Since then I’ve made 30-something pies. Most of them are good and it’s been a lot of fun! I have no plans to stop anytime soon, and I even wrote a pie quest into my next book, Not Like the Movies.
And to end this interview, please name 5 of your ‘guilty pleasures’ you can’t live without.
At first I was going to answer this with things like, “Fried pickles!”…but then I realized that I don’t feel all that guilty about how often I eat fried pickles or how much pop music I listen to. So here are some things I love that ACTUALLY make me feel guilty.
1. Diet soda. I know it’s terrible for me, but I like it!
2. Bad movies. I love the classics, but sometimes a poorly made, badly acted movie just hits the spot. This is especially true of rom-coms; I love the great ones, but honestly, I love the awful ones, too.
3. Coffee. I’m always trying to quit caffeine because I know it’s genuinely terrible for my anxiety, but also I need energy and I LOVE coffee. I compromise by drinking half-caff, but then I drink so much half-caff that it kind of defeats the point.
4. Checking out, like, 15 new books from the library when I already have shelves of unread books at home and I know I won’t have time to read them.
5. Listening to one song on repeat until everyone around me hates it (currently I’m into Carly Rae Jepsen’s Everything He Needs and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon).
I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.
In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.
“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.
“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”
“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”
“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.
“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.
Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”
“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.
“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”
I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”
“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”
Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.
“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”
Everyone stares at her blankly.
“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.
“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.
Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”
“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.
I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”
“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.
Nick rolls his eyes.
“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”
“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”
“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.
“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.
“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”
“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”
I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”
Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”
As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.
I hope you enjoyed this little preview of Waiting for Tom Hanks and thank you to Kerry for being so gracious with her time and answering my questions!