Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with Margo Candela

I am so delighted to have the fantastic writer Margo Candela as our guest today! She is the author of The Brenda Diaries (SugarMissile, Oct. '11) Good-bye To All That (Touchstone, July '10), More Than This (Touchstone, Aug '08), Life Over Easy (Kensington, Oct '07), Underneath It All (Kensington, Jan '07) and the short story and essay collection, Life Observed (June '11). More Than This was a Target stores Breakout Book and an American Association of Publishers national book club selection at Borders Books. Good-bye To All That was the only novel picked by Los Angeles Magazine for its 2010 Best of L.A. list.

I have been an avid Twitter follower of Margo for quite a while now -- she is always full of great advice and inspiration! If you are on Twitter, I would definitely recommend following Margo @MargoCandela and @BrendaDiaries.  Read on for Margo's insights about filling the idea well, venturing into e-book publishing, and the merits of creating an outline for your book.

What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction?

I write novels that feature funny, smart, decent but flawed characters because I find those kinds of people interesting. I usually write with the radio or a movie playing in the background because I grew up in a big, noisy family and it helps me focus rather than distracts me. When I’m stuck on a plot point or not feeling inspired, I do something that is as far away from writing as possible like vacuuming.

Tell us about The Brenda Diaries. What was your inspiration/motivation behind this book?

I have a real fascination with work and how people identify with what they do for a living. When I was writing The Brenda Diaries I wanted to explore a character whose genuinely enjoys working, but isn’t ready to settle into a career.

What has it been like to venture into e-book publishing? Any advice for other authors?

It’s essential that the final product to be as professional looking as possible. I work with cover designer, ask for feedback on the last draft and, most importantly, hire a copy editor because I know I can’t and shouldn’t copy edit my own work. It’s a lot of work, but there’s also a lot of freedom that comes with e-book publishing.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but never imagined writing would be something I’d do professionally. As a teen, I’d write short stories just for fun, but it wasn’t until I joined the staff of community college newspaper that I saw that writing as a career was a real option for me to pursue.

What is your writing process like? 

Once I have an idea that I believe has real potential, I commit to writing a chapter-by-chapter outline. It makes the process of actually writing the novel much more manageable.  Plus, it forces me to see if there’s enough to idea to turn it into a story that has a beginning, middle and end.

I always write on a computer, my penmanship is atrocious, and write my first draft knowing there will be at least three others before I get to a final polish. I set word count goals and deadlines to keep myself on track.

How do you get ideas for what you write?

I get most of my ideas when I’m not forcing myself to come up with them. I read tons of magazines and am always keeping an ear and eye out for quirky things. The rest is just having a good imagination and the willingness to do the work to turn that idea into a novel.

What are some of your favorite books?

My all-time favorite book is Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. I read it at least once a year just for fun. Anne Tyler has written more than a few books that I love including Celestial Navigations.

What is your biggest advice for young people reaching for their dreams?

There’s no way of getting out of doing the actual hard work to achieve a goal. It takes time, discipline and perseverance to achieve anything in life.

Visit Margo's website at

Follow Margo on Twitter @MargoCandela and @BrendaDiaries

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