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“My career is where it is because of the lessons I’ve learned. I failed English and that inspired me to become a writer. I failed a relationship and that inspired me to write about love, dating, timing and sex,” said author Jillian Conley as we sat at Rise Sushi, sipping on pinot grigio, shaking off the fall chill.
And write about those things she did. In her latest book, Loving Mr. Wright, Conley wraps up the novella series of Audrey Buchanan, a spunky woman who’s on the search for love.
Failing high school freshman English was a true turning point in Conley’s life. When she returned sophomore year, Conley had determination that turned into passion. “We had to read The Great Gatsby, and I decided I was going to actually read it–not just use the Cliffs Notes,” Conley said. She wore her signature black beanie cap over her long, chestnut hair. Her eyes smiled as she talked. “I absolutely fell in love with the book. There’s something about Fitzgerald’s writing and that twisted love story. And that’s when I thought, ‘I want to write something like that.'”
Conley’s Love, Sex, & Timing series could be described as twisted, but it’s more the journey of Audrey Buchanan–and her racey details–that have created such a loyal fan base.
“Audrey represents a lot of me. And so I didn’t want the series to end, which made me a hot mess finishing the book,” she says, laughing. “But I’m very confident in the ending I chose. Some fans weren’t thrilled with it. But I wanted to really let go. And give a happy ending…with a twist.”
Such a literary decision makes sense, as it reflects Conley’s own journey–one of twists and turns but ultimately leading to a life she’s carved out on her own. After working at a nine-to-five job right from college, Conley chose to make a go as a writer and published her first book, Maid of Honor. Shortly thereafter, she got into a serious relationship, which took away from her focus on writing, as she put all of her energy into building her boyfriend’s company.
“I realized I was getting depressed because all I was doing was living his dream,” she said. “Our relationship ended, and I wrote Dating Chase Walker in just over a month.”
She paused, clearly deep in memories from a lifetime ago. “I allowed myself to get lost in his world. And I think women do that a lot and they don’t realize it’s going to be the demise of the relationship.”
It’s lessons like these that Conley credits to her success. In addition to her success as an author, Conley is also the co-host of Social Chicago, a show that features the restaurants, fashion and culture of Chicago. After a solid run this past year, the show was picked up by the FAD Channel, with a scheduled December debut and national launch in early 2015.
“Our goal is to show those true Midwestern values and really bring that sweet home Chicago feel to the show,” Conley said. Between Conley and co-host Jeff Conway, the show is certain to capture that. The two have a reputation for being some of the nicest people in Chicago media.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t working with Jeff. He’s so incredible. Such a professional and the most patient man you’ll ever meet,” Conley said.
But Conley’s endeavors don’t stop there. In November, she and fellow writer Ana Fernatt launched HerMonthly, a radio show dedicated to talking about “all things women.” Conley makes it very clear that the atmosphere is casual and the topics are random. “We want it to be a girl sitting at home in her bathtub, having a glass of wine and laughing with us.”
So what’s next for the multi-talented Jillian Conley?
“Everything I do is because of writing. It all comes back to that,” Conley said. She took a deep breath, “So that’s what will lead me.”
For a chance to win an autographed Jillian Conley series, click on the following link: Autographed Set of Sex, Love & Timing by Jillian Conely
Loving Mr. Wright can be purchased at Amazon.com.
Be sure to check out HerMonthly radio show, which airs every third Monday of the month from 8:00-10:00 P.M.
POSTED IN: Ana Fernatt, chicago, chloe cline, chloecline, dating, Dating Chase Walker, FAD channel, fake boyfriends, Her Monthly, Jillian Conley, Love & Timing, Sex
|If You Add Camo To Anything
It Instantly Becomes Cool
Like most “holidays” that involve a lot of hype–i.e. New Years, Halloween, Flag Day–I generally don’t enjoy going out real big for them. But this was a special occasion, a Friendversary with some my girls I’ve grown to love, drink, and be merry with for the past year. Lexi thrust me onto them a year ago Black Wednesday when, my boyfriend at the time, bowed out of our plans at the courteous hour of 7 p.m.* So I wanted to go out to celebrate this year (and obvi subsequent lifelong) friendship. Of course, no one remembered this monumental birth of friendship except me, so I guilted them into going karaoking at Louie’s.
As you can imagine, only the best and brightest come out for Black Wednesday, a night solely dedicated to getting so plastered that the next day we can barely eat a meal we’ve waited all year to have. And naturally, we only met the finest of Chicago men that night.
Highlights of the Gentlemen Out Enjoying a Cup of Cheer This Black Wednesday:**
- Duck Dynasty Meets The Monopoly Man
Mock turtleneck. Camo hat. Insurance salesman. From the suburbs. I can’t make this shit up. He did bring a helmet to the bar, which I personally thought was useful given my two, previous alcohol-related concussions. If you wondering, it is possible to drink beer from a helmet. It will mess up your hair a bit, but it’s totally worth it.
- Orange Is The New Black
In her attempts to get Camo away from me, Lexi pulled over a guy who refused to tell us what he did for a living, but was really excited to “be out” for the first time in two years. Using the magical powers of context clues, I asked, “So you just got out of prison?” I, of course, believed his indignant refusal, but Tyler later pointed out the clean bottle of urine in his pocket. (Tyler is better at context clues than I am.)
- Our Hero
At one point, Jailbird got in quite a heated argument with his “cousin.” Every family is different–I get it–but this definitely resembled more of a lovers’ quarrel. Think Samantha and Maria. Good thing there were no plates around. Lexi and I were backed up against the wall, clutching each other, while eating the complimentary Louie’s popcorn. Lorenzo, the ever-faithful bouncer, came over, broke it up, and kicked him out. Urine and all. Reason 578 I love Louie’s. Lorenzo. Is. The. Best.
No, that didn’t happen. But it would’ve made the night complete.
*There is nothing wrong with guys’ or girls’ nights in a relationship. In fact, I think they’re rather crucial. But when someone starts ditching you last minute for these–get out. I think that Emeli Sande has something with that “Next To Me” song. A little apocalyptic, sure. But she still has a point.
**Can you tell I just got into Downton Abbey? And I haven’t finished Season 3, so please don’t give anything away. Ahem, @caravanofstyle.
POSTED IN: black out wednesday, Bullet Point Tuesday, bulletpointtuesday, chloe cline, chloecline, crazy dating stories, dating, no i will not go out with you, where not to meet guys, where to meet guys
It had been over a month since my first date with Tinder, and we had only gone out a handful of times. Two of those times included hanging out with my friends (re: I date like a 7th grader). The scarcity of our dates made sense. I was out of town. He was out of town. We’re both in beach volleyball leagues on different nights. He was out of town again. I went to Lollapalooza, which was like being out of town.
And during the intermediary periods of seeing each other, we texted or gchatted every day, all day. This was really what kept the spark going–the witty banter back and forth. It’s also my favorite part of the initial stages of dating. I guess it’s more like a test. Can a guy prevail through my biting sarcasm and often times illogical sense of humor? One time Tinder texted me something sweet. And I, of course, told him to stop it.
Other people began to question our sporadic dating with disconcerting eyes, which made me take notice. Oh yeah, I guess it is kinda weird we haven’t actually seen each other in ten days. But, seriously, you should see him karaoke.
Then I noticed that making plans with him started becoming a chore for both of us. Our schedules were so conflicting, that the process just got annoying. In retrospect, the most telltale sign that neither of us were into it was that we weren’t willing to cancel our previous engagements in order to hang out with one another.
But I finally came out of denial and realized there was a problem when Tinder told me he couldn’t go out the next night because of a work event, and, waiting for the green light, I scheduled a first date with another guy.
So it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise when one morning I received a text from Tinder detailing his plans for the weekend, which explained why he couldn’t hang out. He followed up with the, “I think you’re [insert three complimentary adjectives], but [insert reason]. And I think we should just be friends.”
I knew I felt the same way, but for some reason the words still stung. Kinda like when Ricky Martin came out and crushed my dreams of us ever having beautiful Latino children together.
We both knew that down the road this text would come from one of us. But that fact was hard to reconcile with the great time we both had together. I haven’t laughed like that on a date since being single. And he is the only guy I’ve ever dated that called restaurants ahead of time to make sure I was in the clear for my food allergies. He’s a really good guy, and we had good chemistry.
It’s true that it’s incredibly frustrating to go out with guys who are rude or cheap or are Packers fans. But I think it might even be more aggravating to go out with a great guy, who I have a great time with, but…there’s just something missing. And we both felt it. And Tinder just decided to put the kabash on pretending we didn’t. And for that, I’m grateful.*
I suppose I should look at this as a learning experience (my therapist would be so proud right now); I did realize how much I enjoyed some of the simple parts of dating someone. Just when I thought my heart was forever frozen over, it’s starting to melt a bit like those glaciers with global warming. And, maybe, in glacial time, I too will be open to a real relationship. But for now, I think I’ll just stick to Tindering.
*I’m fully aware that Tinder could’ve been full of it (i.e. seeing someone else the entire time, made fictional plans, performing a social experiment) and my dumb ass self just believed him. I’m switching things up and going optimistic. Just for a sec.
POSTED IN: Bullet Point Tuesday, chicago dating, chloecline, city dating, dating again, dating stories, no spark, tinder fizzles
Shop, sip, and get pampered with me at the Drake!
The first 25 peeps to that RSVP to me will get a free ticket! ($40 value)
- exclusive shopping
- free spa services
- free cocktails
POSTED IN: chloecline, dating, drakehotel, freecocktails, girlsdayout, sassycitychicks, singles