Cleo (left) provided author Jennifer Niesslein with the inspiration to write Practically Perfect in Every Way, a memoir that tracks the results of following a whole lot of self-help advice. “She was diagnosed with liver disease, and it was my first day-to-day dealing with mortality,” Niesslein recalls. “As the cliché goes, it got me thinking about what sort of person I was, what I was doing with my own life, how I could make things better all around.” In the book, she describes the comfort she took in hearing Cleo’s nails clacking on the floor as she followed her around, “like the heels of a small, adoring secretary.” But, ultimately, “I think I mischaracterized–Cleo was really more of a taskmaster, barking orders.”
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These days, writers aren’t just writers: They’re social-media mavens, seasoned public speakers, and one-person publicity machines. And they still have to find time to write their books! Find out what life is like once you've landed that dream book contract in a free web chat with young-adult authors Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling and Unbreakable) and Brodi Ashton (Everneath and Everbound) — plus special guest Kristin Rens, editor at HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray. Thursday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. ET. on Figment.com.