Monday, April 5, 2010
An Interview with Meredith Cagen, author of Size Eight in a Size Zero World
What prompted you to write this book?
I went back to school years after completing my MBA. It was daunting. The first time I sat down to study for an exam, I had these funny ideas racing through my head. I couldn’t concentrate until I wrote down all those random thoughts.
Random thoughts, you didn’t intend to write this book?
I live in NYC. Half the population state they are going to write a book someday or are currently working on a book. 45% of the population state they have at least one book in them and someday they will write it. 4.9% don’t care about writing a book or a reading a book I fall into the 0.1% who wrote a book without meaning to.
How long did it take you?
If the book wasn’t published, I would still be working on it. I tweaked it all the time.
Is the book about you?
The basic structure of the novel a working wife and mother with two children, husband and dog living in a Manhattan hi-rise apartment building is my life. But everything else is a figment of my imagination or poetic license. I wish I had devoted friends and a fairy tale godmother/aunt like Pamela.
Lindsay is an every woman. Chances are you see some of yourself in her. She is not perfect, but tries hard. Eventually her desire to please takes a toll on her.
Are the school mothers as superficial and cut throat as you wrote them?
I was kind to the group. But like with every social situation with women there are good ones and not so good ones. To some people in New York City, social standing is everything, which means being at the top. I have a ringside seat, a unique almost insider’s look at the competitive and cutthroat silly nature of Manhattan society. From 5th Avenue to South of the Highway, the one ups-womanship never stops amazing me. There is a even a pecking order for the nannies.
Who is “The Man Upstairs?”
He is a product of my imagination, 70% is based on one bachelor in New York City. The other 30% is based on horrific boyfriend stories I heard. There are men of a certain age who value their autonomy and do not want to be tied down. Dating is like dining at a smorgasbord. Men have no biological clock and can chose to get married and start a family according to their timetable. I think these men are looking for perfection in a woman, when they find a flaw they move on. Perfection only exists in online dating profiles.
Have you heard from any of your ex-boyfriends?
Three or four exs (Yes, that many!) called to congratulate me on the novel and ask if they are in the book. Two insist that they are the character of the Man Upstairs. They are flattered to think that they had a profound influence on my life and I wrote a book about them. Talk about egos!
Who is the 70% bachelor?
He is a fixture in the New York City social scene. I doubt he would remember meeting me as I was insignificant to him.
What else are you asked?
People want to know what is next for Lindsay. I tell them, I’m thinking about it.