So, we're still stuck in February and all looking for an escape. Fear not, here's another one for you: Megan Crane's Everyone Else's Girl.
Meredith does things for other people. She irons clothes for her boyfriend, she attends her ex-best friend's horrendous hen party for her brother (who's about to marry the girl) and she moves back to her parents' house to look after her dad when his leg is broken. She's a good girl and that matters. But when she gets back home, all is not as Meredith remembered. Especially Scott, that geeky teenager from her old class at school. He's definitely different now. And so, it seems, is she. One by one, her family and old friends start to tell her some home truths and Meredith begins to realise she's not so perfect after all. Maybe it is time she stopped being everyone else's girl and started living for herself...
It's been called "Amusing, heartfelt and emotionally sophisticated chick-lit" by Kirkus and none other than Meg Cabot says, "Megan Crane rules! Cancel your evening plans: You won't want to stop reading until you've devoured every delicious word."
Now here's Megan in her own words:
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?
This was the second book I wrote. I had finished the first, sold it, and was living in my parents' attic for a few months while I finished up my dissertation. So I could see that there were all kinds of people I grew up with who were still in my hometown, and I was intrigued as to why. Some were settling there. Some, like me, were passing through between other parts of their life. Others were lost. I wanted to write about that feeling--about not knowing who you are, and how coming back home to your parents as an adult can muddy the water but can also help you see the truth. It was an interesting process!
I am much more driven by character than plot. I try to dig inside characters and figure them out, because I'm fascinated by identity--by the things we all cling to as markers of who we are. I try to do this in social situations, too, with less success--at least in books I can force the characters to make sense!
2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
I've always had a strange relationship with this book. I felt that the characters never really did what I wanted them to, and that I never really got a handle on Meredith the way I should have. But when I got my hands on this version of the book, about five years now since the book first came out, I re-read it and realized that I actually really like this book. I like how messy the characters are--especially Meredith. She's in a rough place here. She has to fall face-first into the muck, and she's really only just figured out how to climb out of it by the end... but I like her for it. I hope readers will, too.
3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I'm pretty fierce about my daily word quotas, which are really the only way I can write as much as I do. (I wrote five books last year and will write at least four this year.) I usually write 2,000 words a day--although at a certain point last fall I had to write 3000 a day to hit a particular deadline, and I found that dizzyingly difficult. The internet is my greatest time-waster. I'm starting to use Mac Freedom to turn it off for stretches here and there, because I can't be trusted--and I will often look up to see that hours have passed and there I am reading Jezebel and hitting refresh on Twitter... Not good.
I have written all my books (I'm on number 15!) on the same desk, which I'm a little superstitious about these days. It's currently located in the office I share with my husband, overlooking a pretty sweep of trees and mountains and the Hollywood sign here in Los Angeles. It's filled with books and pictures, and somehow, helps the words come.
4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
When the story just flows from my head to the page, and it feels like magic.
5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
Just do it. Just write. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.