Chick Lit Author Who Wrote “Wedding Issues” Under Pen Name Has Day Job: M.D.

Diane von Furstenberg’s store in the Meatpacking District was an unusual setting for a most a unusual author. The attractive blonde who writes under the pen name Elle Evans is actually a medical doctor who is pushing her medical career to the next level and is two years into an anesthesiology residency. She’s also the newly published chick lit author behind “Wedding Issues.”

| 23 Apr 2024 | 03:59

I think of myself as somewhat of a Jack of all trades but Elle Evans has me trumped by most counts.

This ambitious Boston native began her college experience at Tufts with an economics major, but changed trajectory before long to pre-med. While at the elite university she also completed an impressive double major in Economics and Biopsychology. Simultaneously, she was writing plays on the side that were good enough that at one point, a professor tried to convince her to switch to an English major. She recalled it all in a recent appearance at an unusual showcase for a first time author: Diane von Furstenberg’s high end retail outlet in the Meatpacking District to celebrate the release of her novel, “Wedding Issues.”

She stuck with the medical focus, earing her M.D. and is now half way through a four-year anesthesiology residency. Amazingly, all that vigilant study and attention to medical detail never snuffed out her creative literary talent.

In fact, she had always written, she told the audience, even as a child. The precocious nine-year-old would write stories that her parents would have printed up at Kinko’s, and dole out to friends and family to read (most kids have trouble just finishing their homework).

Fast forward to adulthood where she is two years into her anesthesiology residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a relatively new marriage of her own.

“Wedding Stories,” is the debut novel of Elle Evans (a not-too-secret pseudonym), a contemporary beach-read about a rogue maid-of-honor’s responsibilities in her friends’ wedding. In real life, Evans said she has been often the brides maid, but also the bride, so her personal experiences provided ripe fodder to inspire the book. But given her current obligations as a fairly newlywed (he’s also a doctor) halfway through her residency, she described her writing style as “extremely chaotic and messy,” scribbling random paragraphs or thoughts into notes on her iPhone whenever she could: during any downtime in the O.R., or when an attending physician took a bathroom break. Snuggling with her blanket on a couch and concentrating on the writing wasn’t an option.

She’s a fast writer, though, and even while juggling a fifty to seventy hour work week, it took but eight months to conjure up a serviceable draft to send to her agent, then editors, and ultimately landed with Zibby Books, a relatively new boutique publisher started by Zibby Owens, a podcaster who has been described as “New York’s Most Powerful Book-fluencer” by New York magazine. She said the publisher which selectively publishes only one book a month, graced her with a “comfortable advance” and fantastic support team.

So what’s this book all about? Set in Nashville, where Evans has spent much time, an ambitious protagonist, not unlike the author herself, has ties to two bride-to-be contenders for the cover of a bridal magazine. The subject matter, along with Evans breezy prose, fall easily into the beach-ride/chick-lit rom-com category, but that should serve as an attractant not a deterrent. She focuses much more on the comedy side of things, perhaps balancing the much more serious nature of her primary occupation with a bit of lighthearted frivolity.

Plus, states Evans in a recent discussion at the Diane von Fürstenberg store in the Meatpacking District here in New York City with Lauren Puckett-Pope, a culture writer at Elle Magazine, “romantic love has been done,” so she opted to focus on the other iterations of love: friends, family, work, and the things that truly bring you joy.

Keeping things fresh and relevant, Evans created one of the couples as an LGBTQ pair, bringing the inherent conflict of progressiveness and traditionalism that she found so prominent in Nashville. It also removed the risk of falling into oft used tropes of heterosexual relationships, although since one of the couples is that, she has her bases covered. One of the characters is also a social media influencer,

Having recently been through the wedding planning process herself, Evans had a lot of real life experience to bring to the table. She said that in modern day weddings, it is “so easy for things to go wrong, even when you have a militant wedding planner,” so she was rife with anecdotes. In fact, as an author, she likes to say she’s the lazy type, building stories around subject matter that she is already well familiar with, and doesn’t require a ton of research.

Consequently, her next book that she is already working on (which compounds the fact that she is categorically anything but lazy) is about a plastic surgery physician, territory a little closer to home than the influencer character in “Wedding Issues.” Although for that character, she got a lot of inspiration from a friend of hers who actually is an influencer, albeit of wilderness hiking. Again, Evans prefers to write what she knows, giving a more authentic voice to her writing and lessening her workload to a small degree.

“Wedding Issues” is out now, and the timing couldn’t be better as we launch into peak wedding season. She’s keeping her book launch succinct, with celebratory meet-and-greets in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City, Nashville, her hometown, Boston and where she currently resides, in Philadelphia, all locales where she has personal and poignant connections. But the book is available at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, and is already garnering positive reviews. Could a movie be viable in the future? Evans would be all for it, and this book has all the makings of a Hollywood hit.

“Wedding Issues” by Elle Evans