Thursday, December 1, 2011

Maria Murnane Q&A

Maria Murnane
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Books by Maria Murnane
· Perfect On Paper [Buy]
· It's A Waverly Life [Buy] [Review]

1. Was writing something that you knew you always wanted to pursue, or did you have a different idea for an occupation when you were younger?
Back in high school I liked writing, but I never considered trying to make a career out of it. I ended up majoring in English and working in PR, which included a lot of writing, but certainly not the type of FUN writing I’m doing now. But once email was everywhere, I realized I had a knack for making people laugh through the written word. I remember once my friend Mary told me how much she looked forward the weekly emails I sent to our Sunday co-ed soccer team, in which I’d joke about what we needed to do to win, who was going to show up hung-over, etc. She said the emails always made her laugh out loud, and I remember thinking Wouldn’t it be cool to get paid to make people laugh through my writing? It took a while to make that happen, but it was worth the wait!

2. You started out self-publishing before signing with Amazon. After pretty much giving up with publishing houses to self-publish, how did it feel to finally be recognized and offered a contract?
Signing with Amazon felt great for two reasons. The first was that Perfect on Paper had finally been recognized as being worthy of a publishing contract, and the second was that it was my hard work that made it happen. After I self-published I spent more than a year doing a ton of grassroots marketing to get the book noticed, so it was a wonderful feeling to know that my efforts had paid off. There were many times along the way that I was tempted to give up, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. I have my mom and dad to thank for that—they both loved the book and wouldn’t let me throw in the towel!

3. Waverly is an amazing character. Was her character inspired by a real person?
My friends all say that reading my books is like listening to me talk, so that should answer the question! Personality-wise Waverly and I are very similar, and most of the awful dates she suffers through were ripped from the headlines of my own dating life. (While I have friends who have come close, I have yet to encounter anyone who can beat me in head-to-head comparison of insanely bad dating experiences.) But in other ways she and I are very different. My family situation is a good example of that—my parents have been happily married for nearly 45 years and are extremely supportive of me, and I have two sisters and a brother who are awesome, as are their spouses and kids. Waverly sort of missed out on that, but I felt it made the books more interesting to have her as an only child.

4. When you started writing Perfect on Paper, did you always know there would be a second and third book about Waverly to follow?
Definitely not. When I was writing Perfect on Paper, I never imagined that I would one day write a sequel. It wasn’t after until I got the publishing contract with Amazon that my thinking started to change. I kept getting emails from readers telling me how much they loved the book and asking when I was going to write another one. Nearly every email would mention something about how the reader connected to Waverly, or related to Waverly, or just wanted to hang out with Waverly. People really wanted to know what happened to her next, so despite my fear of a sophomore slump (I dreaded seeing a review with a headline like “She should have stopped at one!” haha), I decided to continue her story. In a way I was curious as well to find out where life would take her!

5. Do you prefer to write series over stand-alone books?
Given that I’ve only written a series, I guess the answer is yes! Ha.

6. What are your pet peeves when it comes to grammar?
Oh gosh, don’t me started! I blog about this all the time. I think my biggest pet peeve right now is the use of an apostrophe to denote a plural. I see that everywhere, and it drives me nuts! There is a huge sign for banana’s in my local grocery story. Every time I go in there I want to take it down. I mean seriously, what IS that? I even took a photo with my phone. Check this out:

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you have a book inside of you, just write it! No matter what happens after you’re finished, the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with typing the words THE END is unlike any I’d experienced before. I remember telling my mom when I was writing Perfect on Paper that if just ONE person I wasn’t related enjoyed the book, I would be thrilled, and I was completely serious! I still love getting emails from readers—for me that is the best part of being an author!

8. Are there any upcoming projects that we can look forward to?
My agent is currently reading the first draft of the third Waverly book, so if all goes well, it will come out next summer. I’m not sure what my next project after that will be, but I will definitely be writing another book, so stay tuned! You can sign up for my newsletter for updates at


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