I went through various periods of self doubt in the years after college. As I opened up to others about my frustrations I realized that nearly everyone, no matter their circumstance, was dealing with the same thing. That theme visions of what one thinks life SHOULD be versus reality really inspired me, and since I've always wanted to write a book anyway, I channeled that angst into writing "Ten Years Later."
How much of you personally is Carla?
A lot of readers assume Carla and I are the same person because we share a similar background; we're both New Jerseybased sports fans that are of Italian descent. Obviously, I drew on a lot of my life's experience in shaping a relatable fictional character, but Carla has her own set of unique circumstances that represent the plight of driven millennials everywhere trying to claim their stake in the world.
Much of the book takes place in the realm of sports radio, a setting you don't normally see in "chick lit." What made you pick that industry?
In this category of fiction, at least in the books I’ve read, the heroine always seems to have ties to entertainment. She’s a singer, an actress, a model or works alongside Hollywood stars as a member of the media or in a public relations role. I didn’t want to drift too far from that, but I wanted to showcase an industry that really hasn’t been done before. My knowledge of the sports talk world enabled me to create an authentic radio station setting that is totally relatable to those who don’t even like sports...even though many, many females do!
Who is your favorite character?
I'm obviously very sentimental about Carla, since I spent the most time with her and she is the book's driving force. She is such a strong voice for underdogs everywhere, and I really enjoyed her evolution as the story unfolded.
My other favorite characters to write were Nancy-- who is the epitome of Type A moms everywhere!-- and Miguel, the sleazy, narcissistic baseball player. Nancy and Miguel are two huge personalities, and sometimes I wanted to continue writing them even when their scenes were over because they were so much fun to be with, albeit in very different ways.
What is your favorite chapter?
I have so many favorite moments in "Ten Years Later" including the dates with Miguel, the lead up to Jimmy's wedding, Carla getting her dream job and (of course) the reunion, just to name a few.
But my absolute favorite has to be the turning point in the book, when Carla goes to Miguel's New Years Eve party in New York City. It captures the sweet essence of the story perfectly the balance between Manhatten glitz and New Jersey suburbia, the romanticism of the holidays, the clashing of good versus evil and, best of all, Carla finally coming into her own.
You wear many hats. How did you find the time to write Ten Years Later?
I had to close myself off from the world with no distractions very hard to do when you run your own business! So what I did was tell everyone that I was going away for work (which wasn't entirely a lie!) and got a hotel room, like, around the corner from my house. For four or five days at a time, all I would literally do was write. I did this five times over the course of a year and a half until the manuscript was done.
Why did you self-publish your novel?
I did the blindpitch dance to about fifty literary agents...and got rejected by all of them. I have built my career by creating opportunities for myself that no one else would give me, so I figured I would add one more to the list! I enlisted an editor, proofreader and illustrator to craft an ultra professional final product. I published through CreateSpace and they were very helpful in guiding me through the process. It's another "business" to worry about but I wouldn't want it any other way!
Who is the target audience for Ten Years Later?
The book was written for the "quarterlife crisis" crowd; millennial women in their 20's and early 30's who are struggling to find their way. I want Ten Years Later to be their beacon of hope and motivate them to accomplish their heart's desires.
But the beauty in "Ten Years Later" is that anyone can relate to the characters and their situations. High schoolers to middle aged men have read and loved the book because any one of its given themes has resonated with them. To write a book that can touch many different walks of life is very fulfilling.
What is next for Ten Years Later and beyond?
The ultimate goal for "Ten Years Later" is to turn it into a movie. In my humble opinion, I think it would smash at the box office as the next great romantic comedy!
As for the future, I have many ideas for books; some in the same lighthearted vein, some in a much darker voice. Either way, I'll be booking hotel rooms for some uninterrupted writing soon!
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