Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome Erin McCahan!

Last winter, when we were talking about books we were excited to read, I mentioned putting I Now Pronounce You Someone Else on your summer reading list!

I’m happy to say the book is now out, and getting great reviews, and I got Erin to sit down with us for a little chat!

Hello, Erin! Could you tell us a bit about your writing background and how you made your first sale.

My writing background includes Don Johnson, a movie option and a con artist who spent time in jail for a scam many people refer to as one of the biggest literary scams ever. This would be my first “agent,” who was bilking us naïve writers out of millions of dollars – a few hundred at a time. I was 21 when I gave her $300, but I got a ton of embarrassment in the exchange, so...that was fun. Her crimes are detailed in the book Ten Percent of Nothing: The Case of the Literary Agent From Hell by former FBI agent Jim Fisher.

Fast forward eight or nine years. I wrote a mainstream women’s fiction novel, found a legitimate agent I’m still in touch with – hi, Eric – and had many small successes with that manuscript that never got published. A movie producer got behind it, optioned it and sent it to a bunch of other production companies. Don Johnson’s was one of them, and I’ll never forget this.

The producer called me one day to report that there were no takers. He said, “Don Johnson said, ‘I’m on page 181 and nothing has happened yet.’” So Don Johnson hated my novel. I still love him as Sonny Crockett, though.

And my first sale was huge in every way but remuneration. I sold an article to a local magazine that was more ads than text and was overwhelmed that I was getting paid to write. Oh, the article was Fun Summer Activities For Children. I didn’t have kids, still don’t, but that wasn’t the point. I got paid to write. It was fabulous.

I think it's cool Don Johnson even considered your work! Now, please tell us about your novel, I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE, and what we can expect from your characters.

Quick synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has long hoped she was switched at birth, which is the only way to explain her utter lack of connection with her family, who aren’t unkind – just wholly different from her. When she starts dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she falls in love with him and his family, thinking she has found that sense of belonging she’s always wanted. But things move too quickly, and suddenly she finds herself engaged and wondering what has happened to her life. If she gives up Jared, she loses the family she always wanted. But if she stays with Jared, she might lose herself.

Here is a line from one of my favorite reviews: McCahan’s characters are so real they’re ready to jump off the page. (RT Book Reviews, June, 2010) I started shaking when I read that. It was just so incredible to me. So, yes, my characters are believable. No one’s wholly good or wholly bad. They’re a mix of emotions and motives like people are. They’re quirky, funny, sarcastic, irritating (that’s the word lots of reviewers use to describe the mom, which is good, because she’s supposed to be). They’re up. They’re down. They’re confused. They make mistakes, and they correct them. Some of them, that is. Not every problem gets resolved, because, again, that’s what happens in families very often

What’s up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Yes, I’m actually waiting to hear back from my editor about the latest submission, which has no title at the moment. We’re just calling it JOSIE. Sixteen-year-old Josie Sheridan falls in love with a guy who falls in love with her older sister who is engaged to a man Josie hates. Now, Josie must decide between doing what feels right for herself and doing what feels right for her sister, while coming to terms with the fact that feelings, no matter how real and strong they are, very often lead people down the wrong path.

Sounds great! Care to close with a writing tip?

Yes! If Don Johnson doesn’t like your manuscript, don’t despair. It does not mean you’ll never have anything published.

LOL. That may be one of my favorite writing tips here--ever. Thanks, Erin!

7 fresh comments:

Bee said...

Erin is so rad.
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE sounds like such a cool book, I so wanna read it!
Also, I love the premise of JOSIE.

And, also, that's the best writing tip. Ever. Lol

Janie Emaus said...

This sounds like a great book. And, BTW, I loved Don Johnson, too!

Erika Lynn said...

this is now added to me to-read list!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Wow, what a road to publication, Erin!! Thanks for joining us!!

And many thanks and hugs to Tina for running the blog alone this past couple of weeks while I moved. Whew, don't know what I'd do without you!

TinaFerraro said...

Oh, Kelly, you're welcome!

For those of you don't know, Kelly and her family moved, and in addition to all the packing, unpacking and paperwork, she was without internet! GAH! No internet was the worst!

Glad you're settled in and reconnected now, Kelly!

TinaFerraro said...

Bee, Janie and Erika Lynn, you'll love this book! Thanks for commenting!

Jody Sparks said...

I can't believe I missed this interview! WONDERFUL. What's the status on Josie?