Interview: Author Maria Murnane
The first book I read in 2009 was Perfect on Paper, a story about a twenty-something woman, recently left by her fiance and attempting to navigate the not-so-smooth dating waters of San Francisco. Waverly Bryson, the story’s heroine, is relate-able, sarcastic and ironic, and her dating mishaps and misfires keep you wondering if she’ll ever figure out that finding Mr. Perfect is less important than finding herself.
Maria Murnane, the author of Perfect on Paper, is currently an independent business writer and works mostly with technology and financial services companies, but like the main character in her book, she did spend a few years in sports PR. One day she quit her job and ended up in Argentina for a year, where she played semi-pro soccer and also wrote the first draft of what would eventually become Perfect on Paper. She has dedicated the book to any woman who has ever been on a really bad date or realized halfway through the workday that her skirt is on backwards. Maria has been gracious enough to answer a few questions about Perfect on Paper and her writing process for us here at Write Out Loud.
How long did it take you to write Perfect on Paper?
I wrote the first draft in four-five months and spent about another 10 full months after that rewriting. Wow, looking back I didn’t realize it, but that is a LOT of time!
It seems from your bio that the idea for Perfect on Paper originated in your own life. Would you say that’s true? If so, what prompted you to write this story with these characters?
Yep, the idea definitely came from my own life. Not so much the plot, but the backdrop and a lot of funny things that happen along the way, plus the people that come in and out of the main character’s life. I guess you could say about eight years of working and being single in San Francisco was what really motivated me to write this story. It just got to the point where I had so many funny stories running around in my head that I needed to do something with them!
Are you working on any new fiction projects?
Unfortunately, not right now. I would love to write a sequel for Waverly, but for now I’m spending most of my free time getting the word out about the book. But my goal is to get a contract to write another one, so fingers crossed!
What does your writing routine look like? Do you schedule your writing or do you write when inspiration strikes?
The process for writing “Perfect on Paper” was pretty regular. I would write for a couple hours every morning, and then a couple hours ever y evening. And in between I would jot down a lot of notes to myself on post-its, etc. Many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for something I wanted to include in the book, so I’d keep a notepad by my bed. And as for the writing itself, when I wasn’t exactly sure where to go next with the story, I would go back and edit/rewrite what I’d already written. It worked well that way because the regular reviewing/ editing forced me to stay on track and kept me from looking back and suddenly realizing I really need to delete the last 100 pages because they just weren’t going anywhere. Now that would have been a bummer.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I wrote most of the book at a cute café called Café Martinez in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires in Argentina, where I was living at the time. It was the only place I could find with WiFi, so I went in there nearly every weekday morning. I bet the people who worked in there were wondering what in the world I was doing because I was usually the only one in there with a laptop. Unlike here, most people in Argentina go to a cafe to drink coffee! =)
Some writers drink vodka into the wee hours of the night, drink coffee at all hours of the day, or smoke up a storm. What would you say is your biggest writers’ vice?
Ha ha that would be chocolate!! Dark chocolate….mmm…can never get enough.
Thank you so much for sharing your writing and your process with us. I know I always enjoy hearing about the lives of other writers, and I think my readers do as well. Best wishes to you for continued writing success!
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