Ericka Clay, founder of Tipsy Lit | 5 Spot | Salt Lake City Weekly

Ericka Clay, founder of Tipsy Lit 

Pairing up two great hobbies: reading and drinking

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Ericka Clay
  • Ericka Clay

Ericka Clay wears many hats, both in her everyday life and the blogosphere: author, mother, wife and business owner, plus founder and editor of Tipsy Lit is an online book club and blog where every kind of book lover and aspiring writer is invited to knock back a few and discuss literature—all while never leaving the comfort of their home. Clay assigns the books each month and provides writing prompts along the way; she also writes her own witty posts on Tipsy Lit and runs a social-media consulting agency.

What books do you read, and how do you pair them with booze?
Since starting Tipsy Lit, my eyes have been opened to great literature in many different genres. I am a basic fiction writer, so I generally read the characters and genre that correspond to my writing. However, there are all different types of writers and readers contributing to Tipsy Lit, offering me this wakeup call outside of “general fiction”—you know, everything off the basic main table at Barnes & Noble.

We actually have done a series recently called Reading Under the Influence, where you read and review a book and then pair it with the perfect drink. For example, one of our reviewers, Jessica, paired this month’s book, The Night Circus, with a glass of whiskey. It’s always nice to plan to read a book and get a little tipsy in the process.

Your blog says Tipsy Lit began because the idea of leaving your yoga pants at home was distasteful; what’s the real story?
The idea for a book club started through, and soon I wanted a place where I could read a novel and chat about it with fellow readers and writers, all while enjoying a drink or two. As a mom, it was hard to find the time to get out on the weekends, so the idea was to share online, and soon enough it took off. I had a following of a couple hundred on the blog after starting Tipsy Lit’s book club, but it wasn’t really taking off. So we had the idea to then move the actual book club discussions to Facebook, which is slowly starting to grow.

How many people log on to the discussions or join in the writing prompts?
As far as the book club discussions go, I anticipate about 10 to 20 people, but, hell, I would be happy with just one. I post a different writing/discussion prompt every week, and the traffic and energy all depends on the topic. The prompts vary from discussing topics from homosexuality and mental illness to things like growing old and parenting. “One & Done” was a recent discussion I started about being a parent who only wants one kid. Now that prompt was the biggest and strangest audience so far. That is one of the many things I love about the blog. It is important to have a space for these respectful comments and discussions to take place because there are too many outlets online to put each other down.

Where do you see Tipsy Lit as well as yourself in five years?
I do everything with five years ahead in mind. When I decided to start Tipsy Lit, yes it was a fun and different style of book club, but also a huge extension for readers and writers to platform. The goal in mind is to find people who can commit to what they are doing. For me, it’s trying to get my name out there as an author and also pushing my writing. Tipsy Lit, if I have my way, can help them feel like they are contributing to the site with their personal inputs.

Clichéd question: What is your favorite book and drink?
I love, love fiction, and I have a lot that are coming to mind for this question. But The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion are really wonderful books. There is something great to be said about putting a creative spin on your own life like these two do.

I usually drink Cabernet, but sometimes when I am feeling fancy—though not too fancy, I suppose—I like vodka water with a twist of lemon.

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