Thursday, August 24, 2017

Author Interview: Melissa Pimentel, Author of The One That Got Away

Melissa Pimentel grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable TV and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on public television. At twenty-two, she made the move to London and has lived there happily for thirteen years, though she has sadly never come across the Ministry of Funny Walks. She spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington with her husband (everyone thinks they're weird but they don't care) and being awoken in the night by her two squabbling cats, Roger and BoJack. She works in publishing.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a great little town in Massachusetts called Hudson. Our main claim to fame is that Nuno Bettencourt from the band Extreme comes from there. It was a great place to grow up – small and safe but with room enough to explore. I’ve lived in London for fourteen years now but still consider Hudson “home.”

When did you begin writing?

I used to write all the time when I was a kid – lots of tortured teenaged poetry in particular – but I sort of stumbled into novel writing by accident. When I was in my late twenties, fresh from a divorce, I started a blog about my dating exploits, which led to an editor getting in touch and asking if I could try to novelize it. I had absolutely no idea if I could do it – I had many, many doubts – but I managed to write the first half of it and the publisher bought it… which meant I definitely had to finish it! Now that I’ve been writing steadily for several years, I can’t imagine my life without it.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I work full time so I have to squeeze it in when I can, though I find my most productive writing time is straight after work. I even stay in my office – I just switch off my work email, open up whatever I’m working on and go. (Okay, I usually spend about 20 minutes looking at random stuff on the internet before I actually start writing. But I get there in the end!)

What is this book about?

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION. In it, we follow Ruby Atlas, a successful advertising executive living in New York City whose very ordered world is suddenly turned upside-down when she’s reunited with the long-lost love of her life at her sister’s wedding.

It’s essentially a story about the choices we make when we’re younger, the ideals and goals we hold for ourselves and how they change as we get older. And second chances!

What inspired you to write it?

PERSUASION is my favorite book by my favorite author. I think it’s completely perfect – gentle and subtle and funny and sweet. I love the slow-burn that builds between Anne and Captain Wentworth and how we watch both of them overcome their hurt pride and preconceptions. I thought it would be fun to try to bring it into the modern world – and it was!

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I love all of them, but Ruby’s father, Alec, is probably my favorite.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

I’m going to use one of my favorite phrases here: “At all good bookstores!”

What is up next for you?

My third novel, JENNY SPARROW KNOWS THE FUTURE, has just come out in the UK so that’s been taking up most of my head space, but now that it’s out in the world I have a few ideas that I’m kicking around… I’m sure I’ll get started on one of them soon as I get restless otherwise!