James Altucher is a big deal. He's a self-made millionaire, a bestselling author, a LinkedIn influencer, and a stunningly popular podcaster with many devoted listeners every week (one of whom is me). He's currently getting a lot of attention for selling everything he owns and living out of AirBnBs. James is a big believer in questioning everything, which is what drew me to his writing over six years ago. I admire his ability to live on his own terms, and to spread the message of choosing yourself to create an amazing life.
I connected with James on Twitter (@jaltucher) in 2011 and and participated in his Thursday afternoon Q&A sessions. He replied to me several times to say his daughter was enjoying The Teashop Girls. She emailed me her list of questions about the book and I was happy to respond. Here is an excerpt of our exchange. This is a repost from an earlier blog of mine.
Do you like tea? and is that one of things that inspired you to write The Teashop Girls?
I do like tea very much. I drink it just about every day. I like teas with a lot of flavor, such as Jasmine green tea, Vanilla rooibos (this is a kind of herbal tea), and chamomile with mint in the evening. I think it's a good idea to try lots of different kinds, because all the varieties of tea taste different and sometimes people say, "I don't like tea," after they've only had one or two kinds. I also think it's a good idea to add just a tiny bit of sugar to your cup. :)
Would you every like to work at a tea shop yourself like Annie wanted too?
I think working in a tea shop would be lovely, but I mostly just want to write books now. I did work in a local restaurant for many years, which was part of my inspiration for writing The Teashop Girls. Tea shops, cafes, and restaurants are very good settings for books because there are always so many interesting characters coming and going in them!
What was your favorite character from the book? and which character do you think was most like you?
I really enjoyed writing Zach, because sometimes the pest can be funny. But I think my favorite is Annie because she's the most like me.
I liked the ending when all the little girls in town became Teashop Girls. How did you think of that?
Thank you. Well, I wanted Annie to use all of her energy to think like an entrepreneur so she could help Louisa save The Steeping Leaf. I thought that if all the little girls in town wanted to come to Louisa's shop, it would always have customers. People like going to places where they see genuine friends, so it just made sense to make The Teashop Girls club bigger and welcoming to all girls.
Did you and your friends make up any little clubs when you were little like Annie and her friends did?
When I was about Annie's age, I loved these books called The Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin. My friends and I tried to make a club like that of our own, but we were never quite as organized as the girls in those books were. That's why I think tea is a wonderful way to have a club--it's not work, it's just fun and peaceful.
Will the Steeping Leaf face any other challenges in your other Teashop Girl books?
You'll have to read THE SECRET INGREDIENT to find out. ;-) I think you will like it.
Did you ever wish you could own a small business like the Steeping Leaf?
Yes. I love small businesses. Even though I don't own a tea shop like The Steeping Leaf, I think of my books as a business. I do most of that work at the computer, which isn't quite as fun as meeting customers at a tea shop. But the neat part is, sometimes I get to meet readers in person when I do events at bookstores and libraries or give talks at schools.
Pick up a copy of The Teashop Girls, or pre-order my next book, LITTLER WOMEN: A MODERN RETELLING.