One of my guiltiest pleasures in life is reading romance novels and watching so-called chick flicks. I’m a complete sucker for a love story.
If the heroine is a strong, independent woman, and her love interest is a successful, commitment-phobic older man, I know I’ll be hooked. Add a beautiful setting, such as a beach house on Long Island with an amazing closet, and you can be pretty sure my kids are going to be eating pizza for dinner that night.
And that is just what they ate the day I read my friend Hilary Grossman’s new memoir, Dangled Carat.
Unlike most of the amazing people that I have met through blogging, I actually met Hilary in person before I found her blog, Feeling Beachie.
We met two years ago when we both attended a BlogHer writers’ conference in New York. Hilary and I were in the same small group workshop for writers interested in writing non-fiction. Our mentor was a publisher from Penguin who had us each give a brief pitch about our blogs or ideas for a book.
Hilary spoke about her idea of writing a book about dating and eventually marrying a man that was commitment-phobic. I remember her saying that what made her story a little different was that it was her husband’s friends that were pushing him toward the altar much more than it was her. She had us all laughing about her experience, and we all agreed that it sounded like it would be a fun read.
And it is.
But I was surprised to find out that it’s more than just a fun story.
As Hilary takes us on the journey of the highs and lows of her relationship with Marc, she also shares parts of her own past and how those experiences colored her romantic choices.
One of the most heartbreaking parts in the book was when Hilary recounted how she lost her father when she was only 14. She also speaks about the loneliness she endured as a teen suffering from scoliosis. I found myself crying or nodding along as I became more and more invested in her story.
As I finished the book, I realized that my friend created more than just a fun romance novel. She created a very human story that was engaging and moving as well as entertaining.
One of the best things about being friends with the author of a book I loved was that I got a chance to ask her a few questions that came to mind while I enjoyed her story. So, without further ado, I give you Hilary:
First congratulations on your book. I’m so excited to share you and your book with my readers.
Thanks so much Kathy! I am so excited, too. Especially since in a way, you contributed to making my dream a reality. For many years I fantasized about writing this story, but it wasn’t until the day that I met you, at the BlogHer Writer’s Conference, that I had the motivation to actually start.
Dangled Carat is all about my courtship with my husband and his resistance to commitment.
One thing I especially loved about Dangled Carat was how open and honest you were about your feelings about Marc and the evolution of your relationship. Did you have any reservations about sharing such a personal time in your life?
Not really. I’m the type of person who could tell my life story to the person behind me on the supermarket checkout line. So, sharing my thoughts and feelings wasn’t that difficult. However, while writing, I opened up a lot of old wounds. There were many times where I would be typing and tears would be running down my face… But you know what was difficult? The sex scene!
In my first draft, I didn’t include any s-e-x. My editor, Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train, told me I couldn’t have a relationship/dating memoir of such a personal nature and not include sex. I knew she was right, but I just couldn’t write it. It took me hours to work up the nerve to write that section.
Though the book is centered around the story of you and Marc, I found some of the funniest and most memorable scenes revolve around Marc’s friends, family, and your mom. Did anyone have an issue about you writing about them?
No. Seriously, everyone in my life truly is a character. They were completely on board with it, and encouraged me. It is funny, one of my “characters” Jeffrey, downloaded the book on Friday night. As he read, he e-mailed me…
First e-mail: “Hey, I just finished two chapters, and all you keep talking about is this Marc guy. When are you going to get to the main character?”
Second e-mail: “F-I-V-E chapters and no Jeffrey! Really?”
Marc’s beach house, which is now your home together, is almost a third character in your book. I know it sustained a lot of damage during Superstorm Sandy. How has the rebuilding process gone? Did the storm ever threaten the book’s completion?
Hurricane Sandy definitely slammed my house and my community. One thing I learned is you don’t do renovations and have a hurricane at the same time… You have to have one or the other.
We were in the process of renovating our kitchen, dining room, and bathroom when Sandy struck. In fact, the day of the storm, the contractors were planning on installing our new appliances, which of course we had stored in our den. The ocean came into our den! And when it did, it destroyed it, as well as our deck.
The basement completely flooded causing a lot of structural damage… It took many, many months, but our house is completely repaired, as is the development where I live. We were extremely fortunate. So many people, almost a year later, are still not in their homes.
Sandy definitely delayed the completion of the book. When the storm struck, I was just beginning to revise the manuscript. We didn’t have electricity for over three weeks following the hurricane. And after our utilities returned, there was still so much cleaning up and repairing to do that I couldn’t even think of my manuscript. I didn’t return to Dangled Carat until December.
What’s the one thing you’d like people to take away from your story?
I would like the take-away to be follow your heart… My story broke a lot of conventional dating rules and relationship advice. So many of my friends and family told me that I was crazy to continue to see Marc. But in my heart I knew they were wrong. Instead of listening to all the well meant advice, I followed my heart and trusted my own instincts, and in the process found love an happiness.
To help celebrate the publication of her memoir, Hilary is giving away one autographed signed copy, one $25 Victoria’s Secret gift card, and one CD by her dear friend, Sandi Rose, “When You Believe.” To enter this fun giveaway, click Here.
If you would like to get reading right away, click on to Amazon where you will find the hardcover and the Kindle versions.
*Authors note: Hillary provided a promotional copy of Dangled Carat for me to review. She has also very sweetly included following the Dishwasher’s Facebook page as one way to enter her giveaway. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed here today are completely my own!!