Bachelor Degree | Seducing Harry
Interview: Bachelor Degree
Q: Now that you’ve embarked on your second novel, is Bachelor Degree similar to your first book, Seducing Harry?
A: The genre (women’s lit) is similar, but in no way does this novel mirror the other. The characters are all colorful and fun, and get embroiled in naughty and scintillating adventures, but the entire premise is different. The main protagonist in BD is Blake Hamilton, artist hottie from London, who comes to New York and seduces everyone he meets both through his art and his wildly engaging and sexy persona.
Q: I’m already intrigued. Once again, I must ask: are any of the characters based on people you know?
A: Certainly. We’re all influenced by the people in our lives and it’s no different with the characters, who run among my pages. There are snippets of vague resemblances to those I know, but they are not fully-formed ‘real” people-mostly figments of my imagination run amok.
Q: Will this book appeal to both sexes?
A: Absolutely. As with “Harry,” men read and enjoyed that book, and I am certain they will feel the same about Bachelor Degree. I write about real issues and situations that affect the lives of both men and women, and in that way, it has wide, generic appeal.
Interestingly, I always thought that Seducing Harry was geared more toward women. After the book came out, I received lots of mail and accolades from men who loved it. I predict that Bachelor Degree will reach that same target audience, comprised of both sexes.
Q: Can you provide a brief synopsis of Bachelor Degree?
A: The novel is set in Manhattan’s posh art world where Samantha Krasner and her uproariously, well-intentioned, misguided and meddlesome 62-year old mother, Madeleine Krasner-Wolfe- create a mother/daughter duo you won’t soon forget. Samantha, a partner at Madison Avenue’s prestigious Cole Gallery, signs Artist du Jour, Blake Hamilton, who becomes the toast of Gotham. But, as New York’s most eligible bachelor begins to fall for Samantha, she starts to suspect something is awry. And with mother popping up uninvited at every juncture, Samantha is at her wit’s end.
Stir into this volatile Manhattan cocktail a bevy of attractive, eligible bachelors, father –son doctors and the hi-jinks have just begun. In the Big Apple, where ambition, money and love become hopelessly confused, it may sometimes seem impossible for even the most deserving of women to earn a Bachelor Degree.
Q: Wow! Sounds delicious.
A: “Delicious” is the perfect word. The book is filled with jaunts to well-known Manhattan dining spots that many will recognize. It’s a very foodie novel.
Q: How long did it take you to write Bachelor Degree?
A: Surprisingly, a much shorter time than Seducing Harry. I stopped teaching to write full time. I am still writing my weekly humor Westport news column, but with more time to just write, the pages flew faster.
Q: Or, perhaps, you are becoming a pro at the writing game with two novels under your belt.
A: It’s not that it gets easier, just more familiar, and familiarity breeds productivity. It’s also fun to wake up every day and greet your characters and have them take you on this glorious ride.
Q: So, it’s they who drive you?
A: Yes, I have a loose plot outline, but my characters can change a book's direction. I always take their lead and I’m not so plot driven that my original ideas are written in stone. I make many changes as I go along.
Q: I’m sure that deadlines help.
A: I find that deadlines are a writer’s greatest tool. That, and a good agent and editor, both of which I have. They have amazing instincts and know how to bring out the best in an author. We are all an excellent fit.
Q: Are you still writing at “V” restaurant in Westport?
A: Yes, and loving it. I wrote both books there and hope to continue on that path. I am presently working on a third novel.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about a typical writing day?
A: The day begins with going over the previous day’s work and making changes. Then, I go to “V” and write long-hand for several hours. Later, I go home, and transpose what I’ve written on to my computer, do some editing and it all begins again. I also have a first reader who sees pages before I send them out to my editor. In between my writing, I exercise, do errands, see my children/grandchildren and have a life. But, my writing life is one of the greatest perks.
Q: You mentioned a third book. Can you elaborate?
A: Too soon to talk about that, but I will say, it’s different in some ways from Seducing Harry and Bachelor Degree and deals with some sensitive subjects. But, it’s also humorous, foodie and fun.
Q: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
A: In a word: WRITE! You can take courses which are helpful in that being in a writer’s group can be motivating and force you to keep writing on a regular schedule. But in the end, it comes down to one thing: pants-to-chair and don’t get up until you’ve reached your designated goal that you set for yourself each day.
Q: I’m not being flip here, but do you think writers suffer?
A: I’ve touched on this before, but allow me to reiterate. All creative people suffer to some extent. The act of prying loose thoughts from your mind, and getting them down on paper and putting yourself out there is a daunting experience. It’s like suffering an exquisite agony. All those words. As I like to tell my writing classes: I think if someone were to cut my head open, words would be scattered everywhere. But, I love my craft and wouldn’t give it up or change it for anything.
Q: Can you talk about the writing process?
A: The writing process is fascinating. By that I mean, the novels I write control me rather than I controlling them, unlike my column. When I write my weekly column, I provide breezy dialogue and get in and out quickly. The novel format is completely different and at first, it was daunting. Suddenly, I was faced with endless amounts of pages to fill and I had to learn to adjust to that change. In that way, I am merely the vehicle for the characters who bring me along on the journey and I merely follow their lead. When I start out each day, I am never sure where I will end up and therein lies the fun – the thrill of it all. Creating characters and living vicariously through them in my imagination is the grandest excursion of all.
Q: Can you leave us with a few words of wisdom?
A: Stick with it. Even when you get rejected or feel you’re failing, never give up. Stay true to your work and above all, keep writing.