3 Apr 2014

Interview & Excerpt: Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
I actually do my best thinking when I am asleep! I have a very difficult time shutting off my mind. So most times whatever is going on in my life works its way into my dreams. I often wake up in the middle of the night and have to reach for a scrap of paper by my bed because I either figured out a problem I was having at work or had a great idea for a book / blog post. This can be a great thing, but sometimes it backfires. I recently made a new “rule” for myself that I can’t check my office emails before bed.
The last dream that I remember was a couple of nights ago. In it I was making tee-shirts, with this elaborate technology involving photos. But not digital photos, the old fashioned kind (which makes you doubt this elaborate technology). The funny thing is when I was in my early teens I used to paint tee-shirts and sell them door to door. Maybe my mind was telling me to go back to basics?

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
About eighteen years ago I decided I wanted to write a book. The Soprano’s were big at the time and I wrote about 80 pages of a Mafia story but I never finished it. Although I didn’t write again, I still always dreamt of writing a book. Then in February of 2010 I decided to stop dreaming and start acting. I started my blog, Feeling Beachie, as a form of practice. I wanted to see if I had the wherewithal to actually stick to writing, as well as to see if anyone would be interested in what I had to say. I fell in love with blogging and writing. Then in October of 2011 I started writing Dangled Carat. I finished my first draft May of 2012. I worked with an amazing editor, Christina Baker Kline, and completed the book the beginning of 2013. (I lost a bunch of months in the process due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy) Dangled Carat was published September 2013.

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? 
I think that ‘chick lit’ is the perfect escape from reality. The stories are usually light hearted and funny. The main characters are easy to relate to and fall in love with. And fashion usually plays a role. To me, it doesn’t get any better. I actually am a very eclectic reader. I read all types of books including suspense and thrillers.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Dangled Carat, while it reads like chick lit, is actually a true story about my attempt to convert the “ultimate commitment-phobic” man into a doting husband with a lot of help from his family and friends. It is a funny but tender and emotional coming of age story, which will make you laugh, cry and want to alternately punch or hug my commitment-phobic boyfriend.

What inspired you to write it?
While many of the things that happened to me (two faux engagement parties, for example) were very unique being involved in a relationship with a commitment-phobe is a very common situation. I felt that my story was something that so many women could relate to.
But more than that, I wanted to share my story in the hopes that I could help someone else who was in the same situation. It is a very difficult position to be in. Everyone in your life has an opinion and “advice”. You always seem to be second guessing yourself and your actions. My desire to help has been accomplished! I recently received an email from a self described commitment-phobic male reader who shared that after reading the book he realized some of the ways that he has sabotaged his relationships in the past. He completely related to Marc. He also told me how he learned that he has to go at his own pace regardless of what the other person seems to want - it will either work or not. He also learned that he has to communicate his feelings and just relax - enjoy the moment and let nature take it’s course - rather than worry about what tomorrow will bring. This new attitude has kept him in a relationship that he would have already ended in the past!

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere? 

Yes! I work in a company that has about a hundred employees. Many of which bought Dangled Carat, so I have been fortunate to see people reading it on their lunch breaks. It was a major thrill!

Who designs your covers? 
Glendon Haddix of Streetlight Graphics designed my cover, but I was very instrumental in the concept.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?

In my head, I always pictured Sandra Bullock playing me and George Clooney playing Marc.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen? 
Devil Wears Prada... I love that book and I love that movie. Fun fact - right before Hurricane Sandy struck, and completely turned my world around, I was watching this movie at the family member’s house I evacuated to.

What were the last two books you read? 
Out to Lunch by Stacey Ballis and Twisted Sister by Jen Lancaster.

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known. 
Jennifer Coburn - I just discovered her books and I love them!

Where do you write?
I wrote all of Dangled Carat on my laptop at my dining room table.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
I was born the year Young and the Restless first aired. My mom and I watched the show on and off my entire childhood right up until my early twenties. I always dreamt of becoming a soap opera actress. I did once take a weekend acting class. But other than that, no, I didn’t follow my dream. My reality as a CPA/ CFO is about as far removed as one can get...

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Sandra Bullock - she is my all time favorite actress

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
Lychee martini
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic! Although I am sort of in recovery (I have over 50 pairs of jeans). Let’s not discuss shoes, OK?
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Sky high!
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? I haven’t read Jilly Cooper, so I will go with E.L. James
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie! It is funny though, I let myself get crazy with silly stuff, but when there is a real issue I charge right through it..
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Exotic beach - I am a major beach bum!

We meandered to the backyard, which was on the inter-coastal, champagne flutes in our hands. Although I knew it was a joke, I couldn’t help it. I kept admiring the ring on my finger, pretending it was really my engagement ring. I expected Eric or Jaye to fess up and admit to Eric’s family that our engagement was a joke, but they didn’t. They just kept letting Eric’s family think we were really engaged. Lois kept on beaming, tossing out questions about our engagement. She wanted details. Jaye ended up answering almost all of them for me. After all, if not for Jaye, this “engagement” would not be happening.
“So… When did this happen?” Lois asked.
“Tonight, Mom,” Jaye answered quickly. “Would you believe it happened right before we came over?”
“Really? Wow. Were you expecting it, Hilary?”
“No,” I honestly replied. “It came out of left field.”
“Oh, I love a surprise engagement,” Lois beamed.
“Yeah it was a surprise all right. Hilary wasn’t the only one that was caught off guard,” Jaye clarified as I tried to keep a straight face.
“How did Marc propose? Did he get down on one knee? Irvin didn’t, and I was so disappointed.”
“Don’t feel bad, Mom, Marc didn’t get down on one knee either. But I think he did get weak in the knees. But you asked how he proposed. Let’s just say… I don’t think he planned for it.”
Lois smiled and took a delicate sip of her drink. I still had a stupid smile plastered on my face. I was having a blast. Well, I was until I glanced over and saw the pained look in Marc’s eyes, which was growing more noticeable with every additional comment out of Jaye’s mouth.
He was trying so hard to be a good sport. I could see it was getting increasingly difficult for him to let this charade continue. As he got agitated so did I. In an instant, the joke stopped being funny. It was sad and hurtful. No matter how hard I pretended, Jaye’s proposal wasn’t real, nor was it going to magically become so. Instead, it started to become crystal clear to me, while looking at Marc’s troubled face that he had no intention of proposing to me now, and I feared ever. Would I be okay always just being his girlfriend?
It’s amazing how devastating disappointment can be, especially when it’s over something that you didn’t really expect to occur in the first place, if you are truly honest with yourself...

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Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship. She is currently the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.
Connect with Hilary!
Facebook Author page
Facebook blog page
Twitter = @feelingbeachie

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble

Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

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  1. I love being a part of these tours, Samantha! :) x

  2. Thank you so much Suzy for welcoming me to your blog!!!

  3. You're welcome here any time, Hilary! x


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