I first interviewed Meredith back in June when she’d finished writing her latest novel and had handed it off to her publisher. Something pretty big changed since then… Planet of the Flakes was renamed A State of Jane, and was released THIS WEEK! So now not only do you have a chance to get reacquainted with Meredith, you also get a LIVE LINK to discover her new treasure. I loved Just Friends With Benefits and I know I’m going to adore A State of Jane. So now…
5 Questions with Meredith Schorr!
I was inspired to interview Meredith because years ago, a mutual friend had connected us–Meredith was looking for advice about how to publish her book; at the time I was in stalemate mode with Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and proved to be completely useless. She pressed ahead and published her first novel before me. I was really thrilled and excited for her–and inspired to finally get my act together!
Having a busy work schedule and small kids means limited spare time, and I hadn’t read a book for fun for years when I ordered Just Friends With Benefits. Because of the chaos, I was worried it would take me forever to read, but it sucked me right in and kept me reading. In fact, I devoured it over a weekend! Meredith has no formal training in writing, but she really holds her own on the page and then some. I’m looking forward to more from Meredith–and I hope you’ll check her out too because she’s great, and really into what she does! (I’ll even give this part of the interview away because it blows my mind: She wrote her second book on her freaking BlackBerry, during her own “Stolen Moments“. How’s that for finding time to do what you’re passionate about!?)
Here’s a good way to follow what she’s up to: www.meredithschorr.com.
1. When you were growing up, did you dream of becoming a writer, or is this something that snuck up on you later in life? And either way, how did Writing let you know you this is what you were going to be doing?
I never dreamed of being a writer when I was growing up. I had no idea I was skilled in that way until after I graduated from college and others commented that I was a natural writer. The compliments were the initial driving force but then it became an addiction. Writing, specifically fiction, is when I feel the most at peace. I live a pretty hectic life in the big city and I find the escape I get from writing to be essential to my sanity. And it’s so darn fun to create imaginary worlds!
2. I loved Just Friends With Benefits. The characters were so real and the story unfolded so naturally. It was like I was living it! And, admittedly, I probably have lived it–or at least a version of it. How about you?
Thank you so much for saying that. I am glad you feel that way. Although I tried to deny it at first, my friends wouldn’t let me off the hook that easily. Yes, I did live a “version” of it. A very skewed version of it but much of the inspiration, at least for the characters, was taken from real life.
3. Your new book, Planet of the Flakes (now A State of Jane), is about a no-nonsense kind of gal, ready to settle down, who manages only to find a bunch of flakes out there–and then decides then to turn the tables. And that’s when the fun begins! Where did you come up with this idea, and how was the process of writing it different than JFWB?
I came up with the idea for Planet of the Flakes (now A State of Jane) when I was single, dating, and one after another, guys who seemed to be completely taken with me would just *poof* disappear without a word leaving me wondering what the heck I did / said wrong. Some of my friends were experiencing the same thing. It was beyond frustrating and disappointing and I often wished I could make these guys understand how they made me feel when they disappeared without an explanation. It wasn’t until after I was finished writing the book that I realized I hadn’t done anything wrong; that sometimes it has nothing to do with me and it just wasn’t meant to be. Now I thank these men for letting me dodge a bullet and giving me an idea for a book!
The writing process was different with the second book as I wrote almost all of Planet of the Flakes (now A State of Jane) on my BlackBerry. I would write little snippets while waiting on line at a doctor’s appointment, at the grocery store, et cetera, and then email them to myself and paste into my word document. I think the experience of having written and published Just Friend With Benefits also enabled me to trust my instincts more with my second book.
4. Aside from the books, you also maintain a pretty active blog, do guest blogs, work full time, and even manage to read and review other people’s books–on top of everything else (like staying on top of the Yankees and having a LIFE). How do you find the time?
I ask myself that all the time. I’m exhausted!! I carve out time to write whenever I can, including a few lunch hours a week, a standing writer’s group every Wednesday night, whenever I am home and there is nothing good on the television, when I’m commuting on the train. Though I’m not a big fan of writing in my own apartment because there are too many distractions. I usually write on my small, super lightweight netbook, which makes it easy to write on the road. I’m so inspired by my latest work-in-progress now, and I know I will soon need to set it aside to finalize Planet of the Flakes (now A State of Jane). I’m already worried about finding the time, I know I will make it happen.
5. What advice can you give others with a story to tell?
This might seem like strange advice but I urge writers to maintain objectivity. I tend to use my writing sometimes to get closure on events in my own life and so even though my novels are fiction, they touch on something personal to me. Sometimes, the closer I get to it, the less objective I can be about how it comes across to readers who don’t know me and are unaware of my experiences. It is those scenes where I find my beta readers are the most critical. It’s happened a few times over the course of three novels and I’ve needed to re-do things without putting so much of myself in them. Just because you are in on the joke doesn’t mean your readers will “get it” and so I urge writers to be honest with themselves about what they are writing and why.
BONUS QUESTION! Do you have a special ritual or thing you need to get you writing–and keep you writing. For me, it’s music (usually show tunes). What brings the words out of you?
Sometimes I am extremely prolific, creating 5+ pages in a single one hour sitting and other times, I’m lucky if I finish a paragraph in that same amount of time. I have yet to solve the mystery of why my creative juices flow better on some days than on others.
A huge THANK YOU to Meredith for visiting the Shed, and a big THANKS to you for joining us. Please still around and browse through some of the other offerings here. And PLEASE leave a comment for Meredith. She will see it! Thanks again! Don’t forget where to find her:
And here’s some more information about her books!
Jane Frank is ready to fall in love. It’s been a year since her long term relationship ended and far too long since the last time she was kissed. With the LSAT coming up she needs to find a long term boyfriend (or husband) before acing law school and becoming a partner at her father’s law firm. There’s just one problem: All the guys in New York are flakes. They seemingly drop off the face of the earth with no warning and no explanation. Should she join her best friend Marissa in singlehood, making cupcakes and watching True Blood? Or should she follow her co-worker Andrew’s advice and turn the game back on those who’ve scorned her? As Jane attempts to juggle her own responsibilities and put up with the problems of everyone around her, she starts to realize that the dating life isn’t as easy as she originally thought.
When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened 13 years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice. Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters.