Introduction by Amy Bromberg
**Giveaway is now closed**
Today we have the pleasure of speaking with, and welcoming Michele Gorman and her just released debut novel, "Single in the City" (available for Kindle and Nook). Just from hearing the title, I automatically think of (as I'm sure all of us do) "Sex And The City," so I know we are all going to love it. Michele grew up in Pittsfield, MA, a small town right in the Berkshires. Due to a budding romance, Michele flew to London and was smitten with the city right from the beginning. In 2006 she became a citizen of the UK. To throw you for a little loop, Michele's background is not in writing, it is in finance. After many years of being an auditor, she realized banking was not her calling, hence she want back to school in Chicago and received her master's degree in Sociology. After graduation, Michele found her self highly qualified and unemployed, which put her at a standstill, as it would for any of us. Low and behold a market analysis company in London hired her, and she has been working for them ever since as a part-time wealth market analyst which aides in funding her writing habit.
Michele is here to answer our questions about herself and her book (Amy even thought up a few questions this time). She also has two e-books of "Single in the City" to share with some lucky readers in the US.
You can find Michele at her website, Facebook and Twitter.
AB: Characters really make the story for me. What three words would best describe your heroine & what about her called out to you to write her story?
MG: Hannah is optimistic, risk-taking, unprepared
Hannah was conceived over too many glasses of wine (I’m sure she’s not the only one). My agent had just rejected the book I’d spent over a year writing, and I was wondering how I was going to find the energy to do it all again. On my way to Italy on holiday I picked up my first chick lit book. It was horrible. It was an international best-seller. I knew I could write something better than the book I’d just read, even though I’d only written literary fiction to that point. Over dinner, and the aforementioned glasses of wine, I thought up Hannah and her adventure. The thing I love most about her is her willingness to make the best of whatever comes her way.
AB: I think authors are the best people to ask this question - What have you read and loved lately? Any newbie authors or books you would recommend?
MG: I usually have two or three books on the go at once, and because I’m lucky enough to be friends with several other writers in the UK I spend a fair amount of time reading their books.
In terms of my favourites, I recently finished "The Help" and loved it. I was so happy to see that this was Kathryn Stockett’s first published book. David Mitchell’s "Cloud Atlas" was excellent, as was "Planet of the Blind" by Stephen Kuusisto. Other favourites are "The Handmaid’s Tale" by Margaret Atwood and John Irving’s "A Prayer for Owen Meany."
In terms of newer writers, I’d recommend Josa Young’s "One Apple Tasted" and Talli Roland’s "The Hating Game." They’re not newbies per se, but may not be as well known as Margaret Atwood yet.
AB: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
MG: I learn loads from each book I write. Single in the City was the first time I’ve written in 1st person present, and that is challenging. On the one hand it’s personal and immediate, because you’re inside her head, but it limits your ability to convey what other characters are thinking. I had to learn a few tricks so that the reader could see the thoughts and motivations of the other characters. For example, Hannah reads facial expressions and body language quite well, and gives the reader background stories to help convey aspects of the other characters.
I also learned how hard it is to write chick lit. Sometimes there’s a misconception that because it’s very easy to read, and is often very close to the lives we readers live, it’s easy to write. It’s not. It takes a lot of work to make the story race along effortlessly.
MP: What do you do when you’re not writing?
MG: Like most writers, I have a day job, so three days a week I’m a market analyst in wealth management. When I’m not writing I spend time with my boyfriend and my friends. Weekends are for relaxation, little cycle rides or walks, big breakfasts, evening DVDs or drinks round the corner at the local pub. I tend to do my Central London socialising during the week, so nights out for dinner, theatre, or wine with friends are the norm.
MP: Which authors have inspired you?
MG: John Irving probably inspired me the most because he’s my favourite writer, and I never tire of rereading his books. The Sophie Kinsella books were inspiring because Madeleine Wickham made them look so easy (see previous answer!).
MA: If "Single in the City" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I’m terrible at knowing actors’ names! Someone like Ellen Page would make a good Hannah because she can be a regular girl next door. I’d like readers to help with this one...who would you cast?
•Hannah is pretty but not beautiful, she’s got light brown hair that never does what she wants, and is medium height. She’s feisty and friendly. She’s unthreatening to girls. Age 26
•Chloe, Hannah’s London friend, is blonde and classically English. Age 27.
•Stacy, Hannah’s best friend from home, is American and unlike Hannah, she’s very polished. She is beautiful, with straight hair that Hannah admires/envies. Age 26.
•Felicity, Hannah’s boss, is Maltese, dark and curvy and exotic. Age late 30s to early 40s
•Sam, Hannah’s colleague, is the boy next door and has curly hair. He’s not classically handsome but he’s impish. Age 27.
MP: If you could take us on a tour of your town, where would we go first?
MG: The great thing about London is that there’s something for everyone here, so my answer would depend on what you’re most interested in. Museums? The Victoria and Albert Museum or the National Portrait Gallery. History? We’d do one of the many walking tours or take the Big Red Bus, hopping off at St Pauls, Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London. Performance art? I’d see what’s on at the South Bank. Shopping? South Ken for luxury or Covent Garden for funky urban wear. Antiques? Notting Hill on a Saturday. Relaxation? One of the many fab spas like Elemis, or for a picnic in Hyde Park or Regents Park.
MA: What is your longest friendship?
MG: I’ve been friends with Amy since we were 6 years old. No matter how long we go between chats or visits, we always pick up exactly where we left off.
MA: What item of clothing have you owned the longest?
MG: I’m a huge cashmere fan and wear it every day, summer and winter. I’ve had some of my jumpers for over 15 years. In terms of my oldest item of clothing, that would be a mink stole, given to my mother by Dad on their wedding day. I love its history if not the fate of the minks.
MA: If you could name your next book character after a city/state/province/country, what would you choose?
MG: I couldn’t do that on principle. The last thing the world needs is a little Yemen or Vanuatu running around, even in fiction.
We are thankful to Michele for entertaining us with her answers and sharing her book with our readers.
How to win "Single in the City":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
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Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Michele is giving you the opportunity here to cast her book. See the descriptions for each character, choose one and tell us who you think should play them.
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US only. Giveaway ends November 8th at midnight EST.