Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sarah Mlynowski, See Jane Write, Me Vs. Me...and more

Imagine if you could live your life in two different places simultaneously. What would you do? I would have one foot in my southern California life and the other Jimmy Choo boot planted in Manhattan, living in a Greenwich Village brownstone with lots of shoes and an impressive art collection. And lots of closet space.

For Gabby Wolf in Me Vs. Me, she lands her dream job and must decide between leaving her steady, true love in Arizona or persuing her fabulous new career in New York City. But wait- what if she didn't have to choose, what if she could have both at the same time? That is the premise of this book, one of the many that Sarah Mlynowski has coming out this summer. And look for the much anticipated See Jane Write available on August 15th.

Here is the obvious question- what two lives would you want to live?

Well, I’m pretty happy with the one I’m living right now. I’m healthy, happily married, living in NYC, and getting paid to write. But if I could have one other life, I would live on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific and manage an adorable boutique hotel. It would have a kick-ass library. My husband (I’d keep the one I have, if that’s allowed) would run the restaurant and scuba shop.

Alice was the nightmare mother in law to be. She was obnoxious. Annoying. Who was she based on and why didnt Gabby ever stand up to her?

She was not, not, NOT based on my mother-in-law. Really. Though Alice was inspired by someone’s mother-in-law, but if I squeal, I will be in mega-trouble.Gabby could not stand up to Alice, because she was a wimp in her Arizona life. When she gave up her dream career to be with Cam, her personality got weaker and weaker until she became a spineless shadow of her self. New York Gabby would have stood up to Alice, no problem.

You have had big success with your novels, I still hear people talking about Milkrun. Is your writing career going as planned? And how did you find the time to come out with FIVE books this summer?

I’m so happy to hear that Milkrun is still being read! So far I’m pleased with the way my career is going. I never expected to start publishing when I did, in my twenties. I thought that maybe, if I was lucky, I would write a novel at some point way off in the future…but then I discovered chick lit, where twenty-something voices were valued as authentic, and decided to make a go of it. And I’m thrilled that I’m now writing YA.

Ever since I first read Judy Blume, I knew that I wanted to write about teens. As for my “FIVE” books, when you put it in caps, it does sound like a lot. But honestly, in this case it’s mostly about publishing schedules. It takes me about 4 to 6 months to write a solid first draft. I finished Frogs & French Kisses (book 1) in January ’04, See Jane Write (book 2) in August ’05, and Me Vs Me (book 3) in February ’06, and all I did was contribute one story and co-edit Girls’ Night Out (book 4). Bras & Broomsticks (book 5) is a re-release, so I did nothing at all except admire the new cover. I’m not saying I don’t work hard—I do. I keep a strict work schedule, 9 to 7 every weekday, and I work weekends when I’m under deadline. But it’s not like I wrote five books simultaneously. Now that would be impressive.

Where did the idea stem from for See Jane Write? Do you think writing chick-lit is harder than people think?

Readers were always asking me how to write chick lit—and I wished I had a book to refer them to. One day (while under deadline and procrastinating) it occurred to me that I should write one.

I asked Farrin Jacobs, my then editor at Red Dress Ink, if she would be interested in collaborating on the project. I knew we worked well together, and I thought that aspiring writers would appreciate both the author and editor perspectives.Anyone who thinks writing a chick lit novel is easy has never attempted to write one. Or has never completed one, anyway. Finishing any book is a killer. And in today’s crowded chick lit marketplace, an aspiring author has to work extra hard to overcome tired plots and cliched characters. You can’t just throw in a gay best friend and call it a day.

What are the perks of being a published writer? Now you are well established, your name carries weight and you probably dont have to search for an agent and send query letters.

One of the best perks of being published is that I don’t have to complete a novel to sell it. I write out an outline and three chapters and hope that someone trusts me enough to buy it. Another perk is that I get to work at home. My commute is eleven seconds. And I can work in my pajamas. Not that I do. But I could. (Okay, sometimes I do.)

I’m pretty sure that wearing pajamas on a regular basis would encourage me to take mid-day naps, which would result in me getting a lot of rest but never finishing a novel. Slippery slope, I tell ya.

Do you like to read? What are the last few books you've read?

I live for reading. I’m never not reading. I carry a mini-library around wherever I go. The last two books I’ve read are Bad Kitty (so funny) and What Was She Thinking: Notes on a Scandal (so creepy and well done). I read a lot of YA, a lot of chick lit, a lot of literary fiction, a lot of thrillers…a lot of everything.

Take me back to when your first novel was published, what was that experience like and has your life changed since then?

The most exciting day for me wasn’t the day of publication, but the day I sold Milkrun. The editor called me at work and I was pretty much in shock. But my life didn’t feel that different…the biggest changes for me came when RDI offered me my first multi-book contract. That enabled me to quit my full-time job, move from Toronto to New York (where my then-boyfriend now husband was), and write full time.

What is your writing space like? Do you have any rituals or a muse or listen to certain music while you work?

I have an office, where I do most of my work: editing, e-mailing, contract stuff. But I do have a weird first-draft ritual. I park myself on my living room couch, put my laptop on my legs, and type while Law & Order reruns play in the background. I Tivo a million of them before I start a new project. Something about the Da! Da! frees up the creative side of my brain. Told you it was weird.


Blogger Marty said...
Great site here!
Published authors are very, very blessed! @ 2:32 PM  
Blogger Swishy said...
Law & Order in the background? That's CLASSIC! @ 4:21 PM  
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