Here's a little teaser from A State of Jane's back cover:
"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 in her father's law firm. There's just one problem: All of the guys in New York City 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 on those who scorned her? As Jane attempts to juggle her own responsibilities and put up with the problems of everyone around her, she starts to realize the dating life isn't as easy as she originally thought."
LM: I hear that! Welcome to my blog, Meredith. I hear you work as a paralegal. Did you interview a lot of lawyers about the LSAT and the quest for partnership?
MS: Actually, no. I’ve been a paralegal for 15 years and in that time, I’ve met and worked with so many lawyers and aspiring lawyers that it really wasn’t necessary to do extra research.
LM: The cover of A State of Jane is fabulously eye catching. Could you tell us a little about what it represents?
MS: I am so glad you like the cover! The spinning globe and falling objects from the book shelf represent a lack of control which is exactly what happens to my main character, Jane Frank, when her life plan veers way off track. When a Type A loses control, it isn’t pretty!
LM: I'll bet! Now, that bit in your blurb about “turning the game back on those who scorned her” is certainly intriguing! Any hints as to what that might entail?
MS: I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that after one too many guys flake on Jane without any warning, after initially showing so much interest, she becomes quite keen on turning the tables.
LM: That's fabulous. Tell me, how is A State of Jane different from Just Friends With Benefits? How are the two novels similar?
MS: Well, both books are similar in that they are light, fun, humorous reads. They are also similar in that the characters are realistic and the problems they face are relatable to women everywhere. The main difference, I think, is that while both books are chick lit, Just Friends With Benefits contains a strong romantic element and A State of Jane does not.
LM: How long ago did you start writing?
MS: I took my first writing course in 2002 or 2003 focusing on short stories and then I spent a couple of years blogging, but I did not start writing my first novel, Just Friends With Benefits, until 2008.
LM: Did you always want to be an author or did you get there by a roundabout way?
MS: I definitely did not always want to be an author. In fact, one of my older sisters used to write some of my assignments back in school! My love of the craft first started in my role as a trademark paralegal. I enjoyed writing to my clients and loved receiving comments that I had exceptional writing skills. That is when I began writing creatively. I had no idea at the time that I would someday be a published author. I count my blessings almost every day for discovering my passion for writing as it brings me more happiness than almost anything else I do.
LM: Aww, that's so wonderful to hear. Tell me: Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?
MS: I’m not sure this qualifies as a “quirk” but I do a lot of writing on my phone and my iPod touch. It is less intimidating to fill a small screen with words as it is a large screen. And it’s very convenient for writing on the go!
LM: Who are some of your favorite authors?
MS: Emily Giffin, although I have not read her most recent yet, is one of my favorites. I also really enjoy Sophie Kinsella, Julie Buxbaum and Adena Halpern. Although these are the more well-known authors in my genre, I’ve recently been made aware of some great new authors including but definitely not limited to Tracie Banister, Natalie Aaron, Denise Grover Swank and Samantha Stroh Bailey. I’m excited to read your book too!
LM: Thanks! I hope you like it. What's your all-time favorite opening line?
MS: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” - J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
LM: Nice one. What’s your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?
MS: I would really just like to make enough money writing that I could do it full time. I would love to have a nice-sized loyal readership. And, of course, I always cast who would play my characters in a movie or television show, you know, just in case :-)
LM: I hear that! What's your next project? Can you give us a little teaser of what’s to come?
MS: I am working on revisions of my 3rd novel, also chick lit. I don’t want to give much away, but the main character is actually a part time popular chick lit book reviewer/blogger who finds herself being asked to review the book of her high school nemesis. There is also a romance.
LM: I love the sound of that. So much built in conflict! Okay, now let's move on to a little something I call "pick one". First question: Plotter or Pantser?
SM: I am primarily a panster. I have a general idea of how the novel will end but how it happens is mostly a mystery. I think it’s more fun that way.
LM: Character first or Plot first?
MS: Hmm, I’ve never actually thought about it. I would say I come up with the general plot first and then tweak it depending on the characters I create.
LM: Mac or PC?
LM: Edit as you go or Power Through and Edit Later?
MS: Both! I edit while I write and then I edit again when I am finished.
LM: Morning person or Night owl?
MS: During the week I am a morning person – I get up early to go to the gym and like to go to bed by 11. On the weekends, I am more of a night owl. I stay out later at night and love to sleep in. I try to revolve my Saturday afternoon schedule around sleeping late!
LM: Coffee or Tea?
LM: Coke or Pepsi?
MS: Neither, not a fan of soft drinks.
LM: Sandals or Stilettos?
MS: Both depending on the occasion. I save Stilettos for special occasions and when I want to look super sexy. Otherwise, sandals are much more comfortable!
LM: Diamonds or Pearls?
LM: Snow-capped mountain or Sandy beach?
MS: Sandy beach
LM: Cowboys or CEOs?
MS: I don’t really have a “type” so it’s difficult to say. If Bradley Cooper showed up at my door, I would let him in whether he was wearing a cowboy hat/ boots and nicely fitted jeans or a designer suit. I do like intelligent guys, but I wouldn’t make assumptions that CEOs are any smarter than cowboys.
LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?
MS: Mary Ann. I feel like Ginger tried too hard whereas Mary Ann was sexy without being so in your face.
LM: Superman or Batman?
MS: Superman – I loved Christopher Reeve!
LM: Alpha heroes or Beta heroes?
MS: May I have a little bit of both, please? Is there such a thing as a “Balpha”? I like a hero who is supportive and expressive yet also strong and protective. Sexy for sure and he has to be funny. I also appreciate a man who can be aggressive and take-charge but easy going and laid back is also a nice quality. *sigh*
LM: Austen or the Brontes?
MS: To be honest, I am not a fan of either. I am ducking for cover in case you want to throw things at me. It’s not that I dislike either of these authors, but I haven’t read any of their work.
MS: I would have to go with Rhett Butler. Mostly because I did not read Pride & Prejudice and loved Gone With The Wind. That being said, I do love Colin Firth and am aware that he played Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaption so I might need to reconsider my answer…
LM: Well there you have it, folks. I hope all of you are as excited about reading A State of Jane as I am. Meredith, thanks so much for stopping by!
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