Megan Crane, Everyone Else's Girl
Megan Crane's novel, Everyone Else's Girl is a quickly moving novel about a girl who is needed back at home when her mother goes on a trip to Europe and her father gets in a car accident. Meredith McKay has gone to great lengths to put her childhood behind her and move away from her troublesome family. The book poses the question, can you really go home again?
I know what it's like to grow up in a small town. I spent long hours staring out my bedroom window, wondering which big city I would end up in because I certainly wasn't going to live in Bergen County forever. This novel resonated with me in a big way and it will with you too if you have ever longed to shed your childhood and move on to bigger and better things.
Megan, where in New Jersey did you grow up? Im from Bergen County. As I read the book, I could imagine the very small town I grew up in.
I grew up in Ridgewood, which I guess doesn't qualify as a small town, but it felt pretty small to me. I remember thinking my high school class was tiny, when in fact there were about 300 or so people in it. (Megan, we were literally neighbors, I grew up one town over!)
Did you move away from home? Do you run into old classmates when you go back?
I went away to college and only lived at home for brief periods after that. In my earlier twenties, I saw a lot of old classmates, but these days there aren't too many who are still in the area. Or maybe I don't go looking for them anymore!
Ever been to a high-school reunion and if so what was it like to run into old friends or boys you had crushes on?
I went to exactly one high school reunion and it was awful. I made a complete fool of myself, confessed longtime crushes, and generally behaved like an idiot. I've never been to another. I think a key point to remember about high school is that it is one of the last periods in your life when you have nothing to do with choosing your environment. Your parents moved to that town, or chose that school. Everything after high school, you choose. You might not like your college classmates or your co-workers, but you helped put yourself there and I think it makes a difference. But no more reunions for me!
How long did it take you to write the book?
I think, all told, it took about three or four months. There was a lot of rewriting! In fact at one point I decided everything should be in third person, so I went in and changed it all. Then I decided that no, it belonged in first person, so I went in again and changed everything back. I really don't recommend doing this. Talk about unnecessary work!
Are you like the "good girl" Meredith?
I think everyone has a Meredith in there somewhere. Everyone's the star of her own story. Everyone thinks she's the good one. Meredith tries so hard to do what she thinks is right, and pretty much falls flat on her face in a big muddy pool of her least attractive character traits. I haven't made the same mistakes that Meredith does, and I had entirely different lessons to learn, but believe me, I've been down in that mud just the same.
How do you write- with music? Lots of coffee? Alone? At a coffee house?
I wish I could write in a coffee house, because that sounds so fabulous to me. Very writerly. But I like quiet. Total silence is best, although I'm weaning myself off that, because it's a bit difficult to achieve. I can only listen to wordless music while writing, or I get distracted. And, of course, an endless stream of caffeine.
If you could hold any job in the world, what would it be?
I really like this one! Although, if pressed, I would graciously allow, say, Steven Spielberg to discover me and feature me in his films.
Do you do pilates or yoga? Like to dance? Ever take ballet or jazz as a kid?
I've never done pilates. I like yoga, and have a Bryan Kest DVD I'm a big fan of, although I don't do it as often as I should. I love to dance. I took ballet AND jazz AND tap as a kid, for years and years. I wanted to be those girls in the Noel Streatfield books!
What would you like to see happen in 2006 in your life?
I feel enormously lucky. I have a job I love, friends who are like family, family who are ever more supportive, and a life I enjoy. In 2006, I'd like to make sure I don't allow any of these gifts to go to waste. (And if Mr. Spielberg is reading, I answer all my email...)