The idea for Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates came about as a result of Elly using chocolate as a metaphor to describe men, dates and relationships. A trained advertising copywriter with experience working in some of Australia's best agencies, she always wanted to write something entertaining and of value that people would enjoy (a book) rather than, in many cases, have to endure (an ad). 'Copywriting is a great foundation for writing gift books', says Elly, now a full-time author. 'Both communication styles require you to be quick, effective and charming, and it was nice to be able to channel my copywriting expertise into something I'm passionate about, such as love and relationships.'
Published by The Messenger Group, a renowned non-traditional publisher that allows authors to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to their book projects, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates is arguably one of the funniest, freshest and most unique takes on men and relationships since Sex and the City.
Made up of an introduction plus 34 chocolate-related male characters, almost every kind of man, or romantic relationship a woman can have with a man, is covered - from the drunken larrikin Rum Ball man to the holiday fling Easter Egg man - providing some welcome comic relief from the often draining task of searching for 'Mr Right'.
Written from a place of authenticity, it is insightful, relatable and laugh-out-loud funny. There's even some sound advice weaved through it. 'Let's just say I've learnt from my mistakes', says Elly.
Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates
The Messenger Group
Author: Elly Klein
Question: What inspired you to write a book referencing men to different types chocolate?
Elly Klein: It started out as something my sister and I used to joke about. We both love chocolate and would come home from dates and say something like, 'Oh, he's like a caramel chew - such hard work!' Being an advertising copywriter by trade, and someone who loves gift books, I knew there was a great book idea in it. I also knew it would give me a chance to pass on some hard-won relationship lessons in a humorous way.
Question: Does your type of man, match your favourite type of chocolate?
Elly Klein: No... I like all chocolate!
Question: Do men have anything to worry about, if they see their partner reading Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates?
Elly Klein: Absolutely not. In fact, their partner will probably love them just as much (if not more) than chocolate after reading the book - it does make men sound rather delicious!
Question: Can you talk about the chocolate photoshoot for the book?
Elly Klein: It was one of those days that just magically came together. Marc Gafen, a professional photographer and editor of Capture magazine, is a good friend of mine. He shot the entire thing in one day (14hrs) in my kitchen. I sourced all the chocolates and props and styled all the plates myself - with the help of my mum in some instances. (To me, it wasn't worth hiring a professional food stylist, as I knew exactly how I wanted my book to look.) Dad was there for moral support - and to make all the espressos to keep us awake! There was a lot of love (and chocolate!) in the room. At the end of the day, we were exhausted but thrilled with the results.
Question: Can you talk about the Big Sister mentor program, you are involved in?
Elly Klein: It started with a one-year mentoring program for underprivileged teenage girls called Sister2sister and one mentee, Renee, but I knew it'd take more than a year to have an impact. Once the program ended, I kept mentoring and also picked up two of Renee's siblings, Alyson and Chelsey, along the way, because it didn't feel right taking Renee to dinner/movies/the beach without asking the other girls if they'd like to come along. It's been three years now and I have a great relationship with all three girls. And as long as they want to have a relationship with me, I will always be in their lives - and, hopefully, setting a good example and guiding them in the right direction.
Question: What do you have planned for your next project?
Elly Klein: As much as I would love to dive head-first into the next creative project, my plan for 2012 is to get Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates into as many non-bookstores as possible - both in Australia and overseas. (I am responsible for all non-bookstore sales.) As it's a non-fiction humour gift book (not a novel), it is already starting to find its way into gift stores, chocolates stores and women's fashion stores.
Interview by Brooke Hunter