By Erika Mionis
In today’s fast-paced world, more and more people rely on technology. Fortunately (or unfortunately), relationships are also caught up in cyberspace. Cavanaugh Lee’s Save as Draft tackles loves latest hurdle – the Internet. Protagonist Izabell Chin is an actress-turned-lawyer struggling to find true love. She soon finds two love interests: Peter, from her law firm, and Marty, from eHarmony. As her relationships with each guy take their course, the reader is privy to an in-depth look at the e-mails and text messages that were never sent. Too honest to reveal, those messages were saved as a draft. As Izabell’s relationships slowly fall apart, the reader is able to understand that though e-mail, texting and online ventures are nearly inescapable during these modern times, it is important to remain honest and always say what needs to be said.
We had a chance to talk to Lee about her past technology-related experiences and her motivation for writing the novel. Here’s what the author had to say:
What inspired you to write Save as Draft?
I wrote SAVE AS DRAFT (“SAD”) in the aftermath of a breakup. Actually, it was a little bit more than just a “breakup” – it was an engagement to be married. Rough, I know. Anyway, while I was mourning the loss of my relationship, I went back and read through all of my old emails to and from my ex. I noticed that there were tons of emails in my Inbox, dating back two years, proving that we had conducted our entire relationship online (even though we actually lived together for a good portion of that time!). I also noticed there were a ton of unsent emails in my Draft folder. At that point, I polled my friends about their own Draft folders. Turns out, we all seem to have a hard time sending the “honest’ emails, and save them as draft instead (or delete them altogether). That was when I started writing the book…
Throughout the novel, you included a lot of input from Izabell’s friends. How important are friends when deciding on a love interest?
Very (even if we won’t admit it). By nature, we long for approval from our friends. If they don’t like someone we’re dating, we subconsciously start to wonder why… I mean, our close friends know us better than anyone (save for our parents) so if they disapprove, then they must have a valid reason for it. A best friend’s disapproval can be the end-game for a budding new relationship. Of course, friends often don’t tell us they don’t like our beau until it is O.V.E.R.
Do you feel that new technology (e-mail, Facebook, eHarmony, etc.) has harmed or helped people in their efforts to find love?
A little of both. All of the new technology has made it easier to communicate, but it has also made it easier for us to say absolutely nothing if we chose to. Explanation: we can spend all day “communicating on-line,” but our emails may lack substance and honesty upon closer examination. Email has given us the ability to edit and fabricate ourselves upon the stroke of a key. That is not going to benefit any attempts to find love. However, if we use email to express ourselves fully, then we’re on the right electronic track and it’ll be a lot easier to discover a genuine connection (as opposed to just a wireless one).
Why do you feel that saving messages as drafts is so common?
Because we are scared to send an honest email, especially when said email may deal with “feelings.” Think about it. How difficult is it to email: “I love you.” Or, “I’m scared.” Or, “I don’t want to date you anymore.” Or, “I think we should go slow.” Or… the hardest one of all, “Do you like me?” We’re scared of the response we may get. We immediately hit “pause, rewind, reevaluate,” and then “save as draft.” We think to ourselves, “It’s much easier to simply be witty and disingenuous” – we send that email instead.
What’s the most valuable advice you have learned from your past relationships?
When it comes to in-person and online, say what you mean, and mean what you say. Don’t edit. Just hit send instead.
How much of your own past experience went into the creation of the novel?
SAD is loosely based on real life events. I was engaged. Then I was unengaged. I started dating someone else almost immediately. That didn’t work out either. That is the basic plot line of the book. Interspersed in between everything, I had to imagine how the men felt, what they went through. That is obviously fiction as I don’t live inside their minds. What I experienced from my end, however, is the “loosely based on real life events” part.
What do you hope people take away from your novel?
I hope people can learn from my mistakes. I hope I’ve provided some tidbits on this thing called “love.” Most of all, though, I hope the readers enjoy the book and that I’ve provided a fun heartfelt read for a few moments out of their otherwise crazy, high-tech lives!
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