Margo doesn’t know this but many years ago, her editor was the very first to send me a manuscript asking for a blurb. It was pretty cool because not only did I get a free book, but like Angelina and other concerned celebrities, I got to lend my dubious claim to fame to another writer. Did it help? I’d like to think so when considering that Margo’s last book, More Than This (I got an ARC and couldn’t put the damn thing down until I finished it at 2 in the morning!) was a Target Book Pick and her latest, Good-bye To All That has received raved reviews from Booklist, Los Angeles Times Magazine, etc.
Because we’re pals and veterans of many “chica lit” panels, I
strong armed got Margo to sit awhile and for an in-depth interview about what she wears to work and how she feels about letting her go of her work.
Hey and if you’re interested, I’m giving away a signed copy of Good-bye To All That to the person who correctly answers the following question: What is the name of Danielle’s cousin in “2:45 Out of Santa Ana“? I’ll draw a name out of hat no later than Friday, July 16, 2010 at 5 p.m. California time. Email your entry to email@example.com.
Chica Lit: In Goodbye to All That, appearance is part of the job description in Raquel’s line of work. So what do you wear to work?
Margo Candela: Most days of the week I start my day in workout clothes. I’d wear them all day if I could, but I make an effort to actually work out in them so I have no choice but change into real clothes. My daily uniform is a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and ballet flats. Nothing special, but easy enough to put together so I can leave the house without looking like I’d rather be in workout clothes.
Chica Lit: Public appearances are requisite for authors. How do you get yourself up for answering personal questions and possibly having to read your work outloud?
Margo: During college I had a series of mall jobs where I had to approach people (or get fired) and it was good training for author appearances. Really! You have to be social, polite and engaging and know when to step back and shut up. As of yet, I haven’t had to answer anything too personal aside from the money question. It doesn’t bother me because people do want to know how much money is to be made in this whole book thing. They’re usually disappointed when they find out the truth. Reading my work out loud is a whole other issue for me. I can’t do it! It makes me really self-conscious and I avoid it as much as I can. When I listen to a great read by an author, it makes me realize how much I suck at it. I would say I’m working on it, but that would be a lie. I’ll just continue to structure my life around not doing it or doing it as little as possible.
Chica Lit: Raquel is put in a position where she can’t say no to anyone. What do you wish you were better at saying “no” to?
Margo: This is a good question because my first reaction is to say I have absolutely no problem saying no to just about anyone. On the other hand, I find myself doing favors on a pretty regular basis. At the same time, I have the hardest time asking others for help. As in, I’ll break out in hives when I have to ask for a favor. It’s all about balance, saying no and yes in close to equal amounts. I’m not there yet, but maybe someday.
Chica Lit: What is the worst criticism you’ve endured as a writer?
Margo: I once had someone tell me I wasn’t trying hard enough. It stung because it was true. Eventually I got around to really focusing on the manuscript in question, but at the time I wasn’t as committed as I should have been. It did help to hear her call me out on it because I realized that trying harder was only going to make me a better writer.
Chica Lit: Are you sentimental about your characters once you set them free? Or are you done when it’s out the door?
Margo: Once I’m done with a book, I can’t get away from it fast enough. There’s always a period of time where I don’t want to think about a manuscript I’ve turned in. Around the time I get back notes from my editor, I’m ready to reacquaint myself with my characters and have fun with them. So I guess, I’m a move on type of person but I’m always willing to go back for a visit.