"Q&A With Riley Costello"

"Q&A With Riley Costello"

Book: Waiting At Hayden's

Photos Courtesy of Riley Costello

Author: Riley Costello

Author Bio:

"Riley Costello, an Oregon native, graduated with a degree in psychology from Santa Clara University. But like most things in her life, Costello didn't do it like everyone else. After her freshman year, she took a year off to move to Charleston, South Carolina, in the hopes that the setting of many of Nicholas Sparks' books would inspire her to write a love story of her own, Waiting at Hayden's.

Working on the book post-graduation was rewarding, but Costello found it a solitary effort so began collaborating with other creatives to produce her blog, Sincerely, Riley. Photos feature fashions that readers can shop and blog posts address many of the frustrations her generation faces in today's dating world. It only seemed natural for Costello to then apply that same strategy to publishing her book." (Source: amazon.com)


Fan Question #1:  I’d love to know how you came up with the shopfiction concept? I think it’s such an awesome idea and very unique concept.

Thank you! Every time I read a women’s fiction book growing up I immediately wanted to go see the movie. And when I watched the movie, I wanted to shop the characters’ looks.

So I thought, what if I gave my readers the chance to do what I couldn’t? Since I write women’s fiction this was a natural tie-in. And I am passionate about keeping readers engaged in stories so loved the idea of making my novel more interactive and playing off the formula that has been successful for fashion bloggers.

2. Fan Question #2:  Is it (ShopFiction) something you are hoping to spread amongst other authors?

The process of turning my novel into a shoppable book was extremely involved because I didn’t want any part of it to feel like an ad. I only wanted it to enhance the story.

There are seven videos in the book that I wrote and directed and any time an outfit appears in the digital version of the book the reader can click to see the character appear in the exact setting described wearing the exact outfit! I spent months collaborating with brands, styling my characters and putting together the sets.

That being said, I’m working towards creating a platform to make it easy for
authors to do something similar because readers are loving the shopfiction™ experience. It’s in the works!

3.  What are some tricks you have used to market your new reading experience?

While writing is a very solitary experience, publishing a book is all about collaboration. When I was in the process of styling my characters in outfits for the book, I reached out to several clothing brands I loved to see if they wanted to be featured in the story.

Many of those brands shared about the story on their social media networks once the book was published.

I also pitched the idea for shopfiction™ to lots of news stations so was on TV around the country. I’ve met with bookstores all over and I’m constantly connecting with bloggers—both in the fashion world and in the book world.

4.  Please talk about your publishing process, what were some headaches you experience and how did you overcome them?

Let's just say I added several steps to the publishing process from styling and filming the looks to deciding how to display links within the text so readers could interact with the story.

The learning curve was daunting at times but I knew I was going to do whatever it took to share Waiting at Hayden’s and to help the book find its audience. It also took ten years for the book to be good enough for publication. My love for the story and desire to share it with the world got me through this.

5.  What do you hope people get from your book Waiting at Hayden’s?

A reader recently told me the book made her laugh, made her cry, and changed the way she thought about love. That’s what I hope for all my readers.

While shopfiction™ is the platform I used to tell my story, the book is about love and deals with the complicated nature of timing in modern-day relationships. It's a topic that's close to my heart as I'm a twentysomething navigating today's dating world. I believe I bring a fresh and relatable voice to the discussion.

6.  Please talk about your blog sincerelyriley.com, what made you start blogging and how do you come up with new blog post ideas?

I used to be an opinion columnist at The Oregonian, and my favorite topics to write about were love and relationships, so I knew those were subjects I wanted to blog about as well. I also happen to love fashion and fashion blogging is a way to monetize your writing so you can afford to keep doing it!

I typically post photos of myself wearing outfits readers can shop but relate the clothes to a subject I’m interested in. Most recently I did a post titled: Can an Ex Change His or Her Stripes and in the post I shared my favorite striped looks for fall.

I come up with ideas for my blog posts the same way I come up with ideas for my novels—from my own dating experiences and from constantly talking about love and relationships with those around me.

7.  What was your writing process like for this book?

The book took me ten years from when I started writing it to when it was finally published. Though I live in Newport Beach, California the first draft was actually written in Charleston, South Carolina during a gap year in college.

I was disheartened with the college dating scene so I bought a one-way ticket to the romantic setting of Nicholas Sparks’ novels (my favorite love story writer) to begin writing a love story of my own.

I’ve always worked 5-6 side jobs at a time to support my writing but made sure to write several hours a day either late at night or early in the morning.

8.  What is the best advice you have ever received on happiness?

Enjoy the journey! I LOVED writing each and every draft of Waiting at Hayden’s. Publication (of Waiting at Hayden's) hasn’t been any more or less exciting than the days spent creating the story. 

9.  What is your best advice for overcoming writer’s block?

I wrote a blog post about unconventional tips for career success. You can check it out here: In it, I speak about how my writing career changed the second I managed to convince myself I was a successful, published author and stopped identifying as an aspiring author.

10.  What's the best book you have read in 2018?

My favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks, Emily Giffin, and Liane Moriarty. They all had books come out this year and I enjoyed each one!

11.  Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

Yes! While waiting for Waiting at Hayden’s to be published, I wrote another book, Map of Us. It’s a cross-country road trip love story that I’m in the process of revising and turning into the second shopfiction™ story to be released in 2019.


Places to Find More From This Author:

Instagram: @rileycostello

Website: sincerelyriley.com


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