Author Interview: Maria Murnane, author of Cassidy Lane

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Bestselling author Cassidy Lane walks into her twentieth high school reunion with several novels under her belt, but no date on her arm, and deep down she still feels like the smart girl no one asked to the prom. Then handsome Brandon Forrester confesses his teenage crush, and soon Cassidy finds herself swept up in a modern-day fairytale romance not unlike the tales she spins for a living. While their relationship blossoms, however, the new book she's writing isn't going as well, and for the first time in her career she considers crafting an ending that doesn't end with a proverbial walk into the sunset. Contemplating the simultaneous reversal of her own romantic fortune and that of her protagonist's is daunting, but maybe it's time for both her writing and her personal life to take a new path. Or is it? Filled with Murnane's trademark wit and optimism, a charming cast of secondary characters, and loads of heart, Cassidy Lane will have you cheering for its heroine down to the very last delightful word.

Interview: Cassidy Lane, your main character, is an author who lives in New York, like yourself.  She’s also confronted with the challenge of keeping her personal life off of the page. How much did you find yourself drawing on your own experiences while writing this book?

I draw on my own experiences for every book, but this book hit especially close to home because of Cassidy’s profession. I frequently get asked what the process of writing a novel is like, so I thought it would be fun to essentially share my own experience through Cassidy’s. I actually learned a lot about myself by watching Cassidy craft her stories—that may sound strange, but it’s true! On another note, people are often surprised when I tell them how stressed I tend to be throughout the entire process of writing a novel—I call it “low-grade anxiety.” I hope this book will provide some insight into why that is. As for keeping my personal life off the page, I use a mixture of reality and my imagination in all my books, and Cassidy Lane is no exception. I like to keep my readers guessing what is taken from my own life and what I made up from scratch.

High school reunions can be daunting. Have you been to yours? Was it as eventful as Cassidy’s?

More so! I think the reunion scene in Cassidy Lane was actually quite tame. I’ll leave it at that so as to protect the guilty. Ha. :-)

Cassidy has a very strong advocate and support group in her friend Patti. From where did you draw inspiration when writing their friendship?

Patti is a combination of my friends Tami and Peggy from high school. They both listen when I need to talk, tell it to me straight when I need to hear it, and always always always make me laugh. I dedicated Cassidy Lane to them so the whole world will know how awesome they are.

In the novel Cassidy plays what she calls The Character Game, identifying a perfect stranger’s most intimate details, preferences, motivations. Where do you think would be the best place in the world for an hour of people watching?  

I went to college at UC Berkeley, and I used to love sitting on the steps of Sproul Hall, which is in the center of campus, just watching people stroll by. That would probably still top my list because it’s so beautiful there. Number two would be Vegas. Vegas is always overflowing with weird people who make you wonder what in the world they’re thinking-- it’s amazing. Third would be any airport bar in the world. I’ve had some book-worthy experiences/observations at airport bars.

Cassidy and Brandon’s relationship develops while they each live in different cities and, much of their interaction takes place over text.  Do you think texting has improved or does it detract from modern-day relationships?

For better or for worse, texting IS the core of modern-day relationships. Pretty much the only person I actually speak to on the phone these days is my mom, who for the record also texts me more than all my friends combined. (She does the same to my sisters- we adore her but she is nuts!) I think the problem with texting so much in a romantic relationship, at least in the beginning, is that you can get a false sense of emotional intimacy…and then when you’re face-to-face with that person you realize you don’t know each other that well at all. But on the flip side, if people are able to share things via text that they would never share in person, it can enhance a relationship that might otherwise fizzle due to a lack of emotional intimacy. I think the key is to reach a healthy balance.

Author Bio: A former PR executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life, Maria Murnane is the bestselling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. Cassidy Lane, released in March 2014, is Maria’s latest novel.

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