About the author, Michele Gorman: Michele Gorman is the best-selling author of Single in the City, Misfortune Cookie and The Twelve Days to Christmas. She also writes upmarket commercial fiction (historical, young adult) under the pen name Jamie Scott.
Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 15 years.
Describe yourself in five words: Happy, clumsy, determined, curious, forgetful
Salty or sweet? Sweet (though salted caramel is an inspired combination)
Why do you write in the Chick Lit genre? It started with a dare. I read my first chick lit book, a New York Times Bestseller, and absolutely hated it – terrible story, terrible writing. My old agent had just rejected the book I’d spent a year finishing (I wrote literary fiction at that time) and I was on a rant. My then-boyfriend challenged me to write chick lit if I thought I could do better. So I outlined what became Single in the City, my debut with Penguin. I realized that I loved writing in the genre and have never looked back (though I do still also write upmarket commercial fiction under the pen name Jamie Scott).
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? A year ago I would have said paperbacks all the way! But I bought a kindle so that I could see the layout of my books before publishing them, and I’ve grown fond of it. I still prefer paperbacks but eReaders are very convenient, and appeal to my impulse buying habit
Who or what inspires you? Nearly everything inspires me. I see small wonders every day, and they all get filed away in my imagination. For example, the other day I got off the Tube at St Pauls, and just ahead of me was a man carrying a fruit picker (one of those long poles with the little basket on the end). In Central London! I’m still imagining a peach orchard tucked away behind the City’s buildings. It may become a short story one day.
Take us through what a day/night is like for you? I’m an early riser (something my boyfriend has had to adapt to – when we met, he liked to sleep in. Now, he says, he sleeps like a farmer). I get up and check emails, etc with a sweet cup of coffee till 8.30 or so. Then I’ll either go for a jog (we live at the edge of one of the Royal parks) or get straight into writing. I write till lunchtime and then usually do marketing/admin in the afternoon. This involves answering interviews, talking to bloggers, reviewers and other writers, brainstorming cover designs, preparing for paperback printing, organizing future marketing campaigns, paying my bills, cleaning my flat, calling my parents, family, friends, etc. I generally publish 2 or 3 books a year, so my days are always split between writing in the mornings and everything else in the afternoons.
You have a pseudonym. How is writing under the name Jamie Scott different? Jamie Scott writes upmarket commercial fiction. As I mentioned, I began as a literary fiction writer, so it’s my original writing style. That style tends to be a bit more gentle and atmospheric than my chick lit style, which is fast and funny.
For example, the most recent Jamie Scott book, Little Sacrifices is about a Northern family who moves to Savannah, Georgia in the late 1940s, hoping against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Yankees and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early. The story is narrated by the daughter, May, as she looks back on her life. So it’s an easygoing voice, evoking storytelling by a wise old woman while rocking on a wide veranda with a sweating glass of lemonade.
What is your favorite word? Tickle, though I am partial to all onomatopoeic words.
If you could meet other author, who would it be and why? John Irving, because I think he writes some of the best fiction out there. Plus, his stories are always a bit weird and I’d like to know if the man is weird too.
What has been your greatest achievement this far in your career? Gosh, I don’t know if I can choose one thing, because everything that happens is the result of the events that came before. The biggest thrill I had was when my agent called to tell me that Penguin had bid on my debut. I was at work and literally squealed in our large, open-plan office.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? That there’s no harm in trying. My parents never said “You can’t”. They always said “Why can’t you?”
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? Sure! Bella Summer Takes a Chance publishes on 12th February and I’m very excited (and nervous) about that. It’s about 5 women all taking chances in their lives, and it’s my first book after the Single in the City series (hence the nerves). I can’t wait to find out if readers like it!
I’ve also just started writing The Reinvention of Lucy Winters, which is my most ambitious book to date. It’s a Cinderella story about Lucy who, through hypnosis, awakens a new woman, no longer a pushover. Unfortunately she’s stuck in her old life, and it’s one that no longer fits. Her newfound spirit puts her on a collision course with everyone she knows, challenging the very identity that she’s so carefully built. It’s set in the world of investment banking (which was my background before writing), so it will be extra-challenging to put readers comfortably in that complex and terrible world.
Thanks so much Isabella, for having me on your blog!
**Be sure to check back on the 18th to read my interview of “Bella Summer Takes a Chance!”