Writer releases 'Waiting at Hayden's'
For The Review, Tidings
Lake Oswego native Riley Costello says she has wanted to be a novelist since she was eight years old. She recalls running through her house shrieking with excitement upon learning her entry "How the Rainbow Lost Its Colors" was named a winner in the Crayola Storybook Maker's Contest.
She also says she is a firm believer in following your gut, especially when it tells you to pursue something others might think is crazy. So it was no surprise to family and friends that after her freshman year in college she moved to Charleston, South Carolina, the setting of many of novelist Nicholas Sparks' novels, to spend a year writing.
"I've never had a stronger gut feeling that I needed to do something than when I made that decision," she said. Now, 10 years later, she has completed "Waiting at Hayden's," a novel that deals with the complicated nature of timing in modern-day relationships. But the novel is presented in a striking new patent-pending reading experience: shopfiction. "Waiting at Hayden's" is the first book that allows readers to shop the characters' outfits.
Building on a format that has proven successful for fashion bloggers, "Waiting at Hayden's" provides links (in the digital version) and web addresses (in print) to take readers to photos of the characters wearing the clothing they are described wearing in the text and also to video highlights where they can watch key scenes unfold and buy the characters' clothes.
"It's a way to bring others into the story," said Costello. "I remember watching 'Sex and the City' and thinking how cool it would be to buy Sarah Jessica Parker's clothes right then. Imagine if after watching episodes of last year's mega-hit 'Big Little Lies' adapted from the popular novel, viewers could have clicked on shopping links to Reese Witherspoon's Bayberry coat, Nicole Kidman's Zimmerman dress or Laura Dern's Stella McCartney jumpsuit. I think that's the way of the future and I'm bringing it to the printed page."
With Costello's new platform authors not only connect with their audiences but profit from their work through affiliate links.
"Readers can click on links or type in web addresses that will take them to a photo of my characters wearing the looks featured in my book," she said. If
they follow shopping links to retail websites where they can purchase the clothes in some cases Costello earns a small commission.
Costello has primarily featured brands started by other female entrepreneurs such as Winston White and Van De Vort, while pairing two things many women love: reading women's fiction and fashion.
To heighten the entertainment value of "Waiting at Hayden's" Costello has included filmed scenes from the book at the end of seven different chapters which readers can enjoy by linking to her website. These video highlights provide another way for her readers to get to know her characters and in many cases, relive a scene they just read.
"I spent a long time vetting the actors," she said. "I did several test runs with viewers to make sure the actors looked like they imagined them to be."
Costello said she enjoyed directing the videos and
creating the shopfiction model.
"I was inspired by Reese Witherspoon who started her own production company when she ran into so much resistance by the film industry to let women tell women's stories," she said. "I write love stories and I want to get them out. Rather than wait for someone to 'let me,' I decided to use technology to reach and engage an audience in a way that just reading a book does not."
Costello says she is excited to help revive romantic comedy as a genre.
"The romantic comedy is dying," she said. "And I'm excited to help revive it with my novels that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel good as you take journeys with characters I hope you won't forget."
To order "Waiting at Hayden's" visit amazon.com/author/rileycostello. To view the trailer scenes from the book or read Costello's blog visit sincerelyriley.com.
Costello now lives in Newport Beach, Calif.
Reporter Barb Randall
contributed to this story.