Last week I reviewed author Michele Gorman’s Perfect Girl, a romantic comedy about a woman named Carol who tries to be everything to everyone in her life. Michele kindly offered to virtually sit down with Girl Tries Life for a little interview from one aspiring author to a USA Today Best-selling author.
GTL: I feel a lot of women will resonate with themes in Perfect Girl. Expectations are higher on women today than ever. Was this something you consciously started out with, or did it develop as you wrote?
MG: It was definitely something I set out to do from the start. If I don’t have a big theme in mind when I begin a book I have a hard time controlling my characters. I can’t just let them loose to see what narratives they develop. If I do they get unruly and go off on tangents. So I keep a close eye on them.
Perfect Girl was a story I’ve wanted to tell for a while. It seems like more and more women are barely keeping their heads above water, between the demands of family, children, spouses, friends, colleagues and practically everybody else. Yet for some reason when another demand piles up, we say “Sure, I can handle that”. And ironically, when our loved ones complain about the demands they face, we’re the first ones to tell them to refuse them!
GTL: You’ve been writing for a number of years now. How do you feel your writing has changed over time? Your writing routine?
MG: I actually began writing literary fiction (which is just a name for books that can’t be categorised into a genre), so my debut, Single in the City, was the first evolution in my writing. That series (there are three books) was very fast-paced and funny, with a lot of observational humour. But as I’ve become more experienced I’ve been able to write more nuanced characters and explore big themes (still with humour though!). So Bella Summer Takes a Chance, for example, is about the compromises we make when it comes to what we want in life, and The Curvy Girls Club is about belonging and learning to love yourself.
My writing routine hasn’t really changed over the years. I set a word count of 2,000 words a day, which can take from one to four hours depending on how well it’s going. I always make time for a nice lunch, a walk or jog in the park and a nap J and never write in the evenings.
GTL: If you could have known one thing that you know now when you started out as a writer, what do you wish it would have been?
MG: I wish I’d known that that crisis of confidence around the 30,000 word mark is something nearly every author goes through… with every book. I always have to dig deep to keep going and when I get to the end and read back through the manuscript, luckily I’ve always found that I like it!
GTL: What is it about Carol that you connect with? Do you share any traits?
MG: Well I loved her from the very start, and in fact, she came to life in another book (Christmas Carol). She’s so smart and funny and feisty (if only in her head at first) that I didn’t want to say good-bye when Christmas Carol ended. Originally I had another main character for Perfect Girl but she just wasn’t right for the part. I tried rewriting her a few times but nothing worked. Then Carol appeared and I knew she’d be, well, perfect.
I was probably more like Carol in my twenties than I am today (though I was never even close to perfect!). Now that I’m older I’m not generally afraid to say no when requests come my way so, luckily, I don’t often feel the pressure that Carol does.
GTL: What have you learned about yourself through writing?
MG: I’ve learned that I like routine. And coffee. I like coffee very much.
Michele and Girl Tries Life share a love of coffee. Thanks for the interview Michele.