Author Interview: Hilary Grossman

My blogging buddy, who is also a published author, is stopping by today for a chat about her debut memoir, Dangled Carat, and writing. You can find my review of her memoir here. I met Hilary Grossman this summer via the wonderful world of Internet and our friendship blossomed instantaneously. Let’s get started. Hello, Hilary!

Dangled CaratYour memoir, Dangled Carat, reveals personal details about your relationship with your husband before you married. Was it hard to write? What was the biggest challenge?

For the most part, writing my story was pretty easy. I am the type of person who  can meet someone in line at the supermarket and share my entire life story.  However there were two parts that were difficult…. The first was the sex scene.  My first draft didn’t have any S-E-X in it. My editor, Christina Baker Kline, told me that I couldn’t have a dating / relationship memoir without any sex. I knew she was right, but I couldn’t bring myself to write it. I stared at the monitor for about an hour before I typed the first word.. It was so awkward.  The second was when I wrote about my scoliosis brace. Until I wrote the book I never admitted to anyone how difficult wearing the brace was for me, and how badly I was teased.

You also include your family and friends in the memoir. Was everyone supportive of the project?

Yes, everyone has been great!  They all encouraged me to write the story and have been helping me promote the book as well. They are all loving reading about themselves. I always joked that they were a cast of characters but now it is true.

What inspired you to write your memoir?

I always wanted to write a book about my relationship with Marc. I felt like our story was very relatable and something that so many women experience – dating a commitment phobic man.  I wanted others to feel like they weren’t alone. I started blogging about 4 years ago with this book in mind, kind of like practice.  Then two years ago I went to a Blogher conference about turning a blog into a book.  It was an amazing conference and it totally motivated me to stop dreaming and start writing. I started writing Dangled Carat that very weekend!

Are you working on any other projects or do you have an idea for another book? Would you ever consider writing fiction or do you prefer nonfiction?

I am not currently working on anything right now, but I do have another project in mind.  Last year, like so many others, I was a victim of Hurricane Sandy.  I live on the beach and home suffered major, major damages.  In addition, we lost a car, didn’t have electricity for close to a month. By far, the aftermath of the storm was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but also one of my best.  It really affected me, changed my outlook on life, and taught me who and what was really important.  I would like to write about this experience.  Oh, there were plenty of funny moments too!

I would love to try fiction too someday. In fact many years ago my first attempt at writing was a fiction Mafia story. I wrote about 80 pages and then flaked out, never picking it up again.

What, if anything, did you learn about yourself and your relationship while writing Dangled Carat?

I actually learned a lot – writing Dangled Carat was almost like going to therapy.  It really made me think about my dating choices and why I chose to stay with Marc as long as I did. I realized how my dad’s death affected me, especially with relationships.  And also, writing this story forced me to face my insecurities and admit them.  I usually hide behind a tough facade, but sharing my story made me bring my walls down and share my heart and soul.

Before self-publishing you contacted some agents. What did you learn from that process? Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?

I did contact agents. I spent about six month’s querying. It was a nerve wracking experience.  I went into it understanding that it was extremely unlikely that an agent would take on an unknown author, but I knew if I didn’t try I would regret it.  I was fortunate.  I had five agents request either the full or partial manuscript.  This gave me the confidence I needed to actually publish.  Also, one of the agents who requested the full manuscript, actually spent an hour on the phone with me after the rejection. She had very good suggestions of what I should add to the story, which I did.

I chose to self publish because I wanted to share my story….And self publishing gives you the tools that you need to get your book out there.  I also like that you have complete control over your book (from cover design to price to marketing).

Your book has been out for a few weeks. What lessons have you learned? What has been most rewarding? Anything shocking?

I have learned how fortunate I am to have such wonderful family and friends who have been supporting me every step of the way. Also this book allowed me the opportunity to reconnect to people from my past that I lost touch with. It was wonderful to catch up.  As for the shocking, I received a FaceBook message from a girl I went to elementary school with who I was very close when we were very young but as we approached middle and high school we drifted apart.  She apologized for not knowing how difficult my childhood was (between my brace and my dad) and the fact that we drifted apart….

How did you celebrate when you finally saw your name in print?

The first time I saw my name in print was when the sample books arrived for me to proof/use as a give away. I cried.  Then I hit publish on the retail sites a few days before I wanted the book to go live. They warn you it could take two days. It went live instantly.  So that time I sort of freaked out because I wasn’t ready and was already late for work….

As for the real celebration, we cracked open a very special bottle of wine from Napa and drank it on the beach and toasted the book… I also bought myself some dangling jewelry!

Thanks Hilary for stopping by for a chat. You are always welcome here!

If you would like to find Hilary, stop by her blog. Here you can see her book trailer and enter a giveaway to win an autographed copy of Dangled Carat, a sterling Silver 1.3 CT Round Cubic Zirconia Solitaire Promise ring . Hurry, the contest ends in three days!

If you would like to purchase her book, it’s available on Amazon.

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About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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31 Responses to Author Interview: Hilary Grossman

  1. bulldog says:

    interesting the self publishing question…

  2. Pingback: Interview by TB Markinson « Dangled Carat

  3. Pingback: My Memoir, DANGLED CARAT, is published!!!! « Dangled Carat

  4. Pingback: A Book, A Give-Away, A Blog Tour and a Dream Come True – DANGLED CARAT! » Feeling Beachie

  5. hilary says:

    Bulldog – I agree with TB – I hope you got a friendly nudge to chase your dream… it is an amazing feeling to know that your dream became a reality!

    TB – thanks so much for opening your blog to me! I am so honored to be interviewed by you!

  6. Beth Ann says:

    What a great interview! I am SO BEHIND on reading blogs and answering emails. Take a week to travel and see what happens to me?? As soon as I saw this in my overfilled mailbox I clicked. So happy that both of you are doing so well, that your dreams are coming true and that you are living the dream!!! Some day I hope to join you! 🙂 Hugs to you both!

    • TBM says:

      Yes, come over to our side! I want to read, review, and promote the heck out of your book. Hope you had fun on your travels. No worries about catching up–it takes too much work. Have a wonderful day if you aren’t busy doing laundry and all the other tedious tasks after returning from a trip.

  7. Beth Ann – I am with TB! I want to read your book! Laundry can always wait (I love the timer function so that you can plan the wash to go on about an hour before you wake up). So cool about the local blogger!

  8. bocafrau says:

    Great interview!!! So happy that Hilary’s dream has come to fruition. And that the two of you are so close now. It’s true what they say about blogging and bloggers – it’s one big, happy family!!! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Its no fun to celebrate alone… » Feeling Beachie

  10. Pingback: Hilary Grossman interviews me and news about my upcoming novel | Making My Mark

  11. The Hook says:

    I sincerely hope Hilary – and for that matter, you, T.B. – has better luck self-publishing than I did….
    You’re both brilliant writers so the odds are in your favour.
    Good luck to both of you!

    • TBM says:

      Are you kidding me? I wish I could write like you. I love your blog and it makes me laugh each time. And you have the best stories!

      • The Hook says:

        Your words have touched my soul, my friend, more than you know, in fact. But the truth is, talent isn’t enough.
        I need to focus my efforts to produce a book that flows smoothly into a reader’s consciousness and is edited and designed expertly.

        I have my work cut out for me, but I’m excited nonetheless. Still, as I’ve said, I have miles to go.

        As for your novel, I envy your ability to create a fictional tale that resonates with your readers and that is “real”. (I know it sounds strange to use that word to describe a fictional tale, but I hope you know what I mean.) Honesty is vital when infusing life into characters and you have that gift.
        Be well, my friend.

      • TBM says:

        Oh yes, the editing process. I’ve been swamped with that lately with book 2. It’s hell. Pure hell, but a necessary evil. Glad to hear you are excited. You have to be in order to get it done. And readers can tell you enjoy the work.

        And thanks for your kind words. It means a lot. I wish you luck with everything.

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