When I heard the concept of Dangled Carat, “one girl’s attempt to convert the ultimate commitment-phobic man into a doting husband”, I knew this was going to be a fascinating read. I’ve never seen anyone write about this, yet I know that it is a regular occurrence in our society. Many of my friends, perhaps even myself to some degree, have experienced the commitment-phobic partner.
It was only after I’d signed up for the blog tour and received the digital copy of the book that I realized it was a memoir and not fiction. I was even more impressed that Hilary Grossman had the confidence to share her honest story with the world. Kudos to her and Marc.
The memoir starts mid-action in a pivotal scene, my favourite way to start a book. The combination of flashbacks in Hilary and Marc’s relationship, as well as to Hilary’s childhood, kept the memoir moving at a good pace.
What’s fascinating about this memoir is that you can’t hate Marc for his inability to commit. For all intents and purposes, he’s the perfect guy. Caring, sensitive, generous both with his time and possessions, and so on and so on. Were it a work of fiction, I’d say that Marc was a complicated character that toys with the reader’s opinions. He made me reconsider my preconceptions of a situation like theirs.
One element that I struggled with was the sharing of intimate sexual experiences. I can read this in fiction no problem, but knowing that it’s a memoir, I found I was pulled out of reading more than once. It’s just different when it’s fiction versus non-fiction. I don’t think the novel would have been hurt at all, had it been a little less graphic in this way.
I also feel that the editing could have been stronger. A good critique group and multiple edits should catch this before the book is sold to the public. It was not enough to detract from the story, however, and I’ve since learned that a further edited version is being made available for readers.
Grossman is proving readers with a completely different perspective. While she cherishes the support of her friends and family, just as many of them question why she waits for commitment. Grossman shows that you have to be true to yourself, your relationship, no matter what outside voices say. She was incredibly brave and should be immensely proud of herself for sharing the story that so many are afraid to tell.
Interview with the author, Hilary Grossman.
Hilary, thanks for taking part in my blog today.
This is a story that many women can relate to. What made you decide to write Dangled Carat as a memoir rather than as fiction?
It is so funny that you ask, because deciding if I wanted to fictionalize my story or publish as a memoir was so difficult for me. I really struggled with this. I discussed my book with several agents and they were encouraging me to fictionalize it because they thought it would be easier to market. I truly considered it, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it. I really felt that it was important to share my real story in the hopes that I could help someone who was in the same situation. It is a very difficult position to be in. Everyone in your life has an opinion and “advice”. You are always seem to be second guessing yourself and your actions. Based upon an email from a reader, my desire to help has been accomplished!
What made you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?
There are a lot of reasons why I am glad that I self-published my book. I love that I had full control over it from content to cover. That said, I have to be honest… I would have loved to have been traditionally published. Doing everything your own is very difficult, especially trying to get your book “out there.” I explored traditional publishing. I was very encouraged because I had five agents request my manuscript. But in the end none of them accepted it. Part of me wanted to continue to query but truth be told, I ran out of patience. I just wanted to get Dangled Carat out there….and since there are now so many options available for self-published authors I took advantage of them.
You share some very personal details in Dangled Carat. What was your process in deciding what experiences would or wouldn’t make it into the book?
Writing Dangled Carat was like going to therapy. There were some experiences I shared in the book that I never discussed with anyone in real life. For example, how difficult it really was for me to wear my back brace all those years thanks to the taunts of my classmates. But as I wrote, I tried to figure out what life experience’s really defined me, which one’s made me who I really was, and which one’s contributed to my choices with respect to my relationship with Marc. It was those that I decided to share, regardless of how difficult it was to do. There were many times when I wrote that I was unable to see the words on my screen through my tears.
Are you planning to continue writing? If so, anything you can share with us?
I sure am! In fact a couple of weeks ago I had to fly to Chicago for a business trip and I started another book on the plane. This time I am going to try my hand in fiction. I am working on a story about a mother and daughter who do not get along (due to a serious reason). But that may soon change when the mother announces that she is getting married and wants her daughter to help her plan the wedding….
Also, last year my home and my life was slammed by Hurricane Sandy. I keep toying with the idea of writing a memoir about that experience. If only a day had 48 hours in it!
You appear to have a job with a lot of responsibility. When did you find the time to write? What was your writing process like?
I really do. I am the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and distributor. I manage all the finances for the company as well directly supervise a team of twenty professionals. It is a very stressful and high pressure position, and I work long hours. When I get home from work the last thing I want to do is look at a computer.
It took me six months to write my first draft of Dangled Carat and I wrote only on the weekends. But for those six months, writing was all I did. By 10:00in the AM I would sit down at my dining room table and basically not leave my laptop until 6:00 PM except maybe to refill my water bottle. I was beyond driven….
What advice would you give to women who are dating commitment-phobic men?
Follow your heart, and trust your own judgement. Don’t worry about what everyone else is telling you to do or what they think of your relationship. They aren’t in it. You are. Friends and family mean well, but their constant “advice” it can be overwhelming. Try not to let it get to you. But most important you have to be honest with yourself. Know what you want out of the relationship, and what matters most to you. Figuring this out will bring you one step closer to finding happiness. And remember there is no magic timetable…
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just write. Don’t worry about anything besides telling your story. The next steps – looking for an agent, publication, cover design, sales, etc – they will all work out… There are so many options available to authors now! Also, I would advise to develop a thick skin and don’t take rejection personally. If possible, gear yourself up for rejection, almost expect it. The vast majority of first time authors will not be able to secure an agent. Don’t let it discourage you…. Instead embrace the small victories along the way…..and enjoy the moments and remember, you are doing something that most people only dream of….