Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Margarita Montimore is ahead of her time

Photo by David Swanson
We're pleased to have Margarita Montimore at CLC, as we celebrate the publication of Oona Out of Order. Melissa A loved this novel and can't stop thinking about it. Check out her review

After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Margarita Montimore worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She's blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and XOJane.com. When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog.

Margarita writes upmarket fiction that tends to be left of center and flirt with multiple genres. She loves all things dark, strange, and surreal, but is also optimistic—verging on quixotic—and a pop culture geek, so her work tends to incorporate all those elements to varying degrees.

In 2018, she self-published Asleep from Day. Her proper debut, Oona Out of Order, will be published in the UK/Commonwealth on March 5th as The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart. (Bio adapted from Margarita's website.)

Visit Margarita online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?

Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest challenges and rewards with writing Oona Out of Order?
The biggest challenges came as I revised the manuscript. Given the time travel, changing one small aspect of the story could involve rewriting larger sections of the book. And changing major parts of the story created these tough plot puzzles for me that sometimes took weeks or months to figure out. I ended up rewriting a good third of the novel over the course of at least a dozen revisions. Those revisions brought numerous rewards along the way, like discovering how seemingly small things (a ring, a watch, etc.) could have an unexpected and meaningful impact in the story. Ultimately, the most rewarding thing was having the book improve with each iteration until the pieces coalesced, and seeing the positive early responses to the story.

How are you similar to or different from Oona?
We’re similar in that we both have stubborn streak and tendency toward sarcasm. Music was a key part of both our lives in our teens and early 20’s. We’re different in that Oona has stronger innate sense of self-confidence, which is what allows her to handle the time travel with more boldness than I ever would. At the same time, she’s also more impulsive, and some of her reckless moments are more extreme than anything I’d ever do.

If Oona Out of Order were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack? 
Music factors heavily into Oona’s character and certain aspects of the story (plus, each section is named after a song), so that’s something I thought about a lot. I often wrote scenes envisioning how they’d play out on the screen, mentally developing a soundtrack as I went along. So it made sense to create an Oona Out of Order Spotify playlist. It includes songs by Kate Bush, Roxy Music, Radiohead, Bowie, Depeche Mode, and others.

If you could write a letter now to give to yourself 10 years ago, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself from the future?
The things that stress you out the most will work themselves out, so don’t spend so much time worrying. Focus that emotional energy in more positive and creative ways. (Also, to be totally honest, like Oona, I’d want to give myself stock tips, but at the very least I’d advise myself to contribute the maximum amount to my 401K).

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
Marriage Story. I’m a huge fan of Noah Baumbach, and Kicking and Screaming will forever be one of my favorite movies, but his latest is his masterpiece. I haven’t been so deeply emotionally affected by a film in over a year (since I saw Call Me By Your Name, which had a similar effect on me).

What is your favorite way to escape?
Going on an overnight trip to Atlantic City with my husband. At the casino, I’ll navigate us to a three-card poker table, order champagne, and hope the night brings good cards and interesting characters playing alongside us.

Thanks to Margarita for visiting with us and to Flatiron Books for coordinating the interview.

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