12: Interview with Annabel Monaghan
Annabel Monaghan's debut adult novel, Nora Goes Off Script, was released on June 7, 2022. In her words, "Writing it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had" (and she did it during quarantine, so there's that!)
Before Nora, she wrote YA fiction and the popular column, "Does this Volvo Make My Butt Look Big?" about motherhood and womanhood.
In this episode of Write the Damn Book Already, Annabel and I talked about her journey to Nora and some of the key moments of her writing career, many of which will likely (delightfully) surprise you, as they did me.
[7:22] How Annabel got a "late" start as an author (at 37) co-writing a book for teens that she had zero intention of writing
[11:30] The impetus for writing a novel for women and the inspiration for the plot of Nora Goes Off Script (it involves the Hallmark channel)
[13:49] Annabel's process for fleshing out the plot (hint: it’s not what she recommends that others do or what she told her students when she taught novel writing at the The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College).
[14:05] Her rationale for writing fiction versus non-fiction—in other words, her belief on what you have to do in non-fiction versus fiction. This deeply affected the way I think about why I like writing fiction.
[15:34] The ONE thing she knows about writing, related to how long she has to be able to commit to writing before sitting down to write)
[19:20] The length of the first draft of Nora (this will SHOCK you!)
[20:22] Annabel's perspective on beta readers/early readers and her secret for choosing early readers who WON’T kill her confidence
[22:20] The value of writers networks for support and encouragement, and how Annabel formed her group of writing friends
[23:53] The agent pitch/proposal process for the book (she almost gave up entirely)
[32:40] Why Annabel feels such pressure to write the "hook" or "elevator pitch" for her books (this one's gonna resonate!)
[35:22] How Annabel handles selling (as someone who doesn’t love selling), pushes through resistance to asking for reviews, and hit the nail on the head in terms of why creative people oftentimes struggle with sales.
[41:10] Annabel's philosophy on reading her book reviews