Marla Miniano is the author of the Every Girl’s Guide series and Table For Two. She don’t have a personal website but she blogs once a week on Candymag.com.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m the Assistant Lifestyle Editor of Candy Magazine—which means I get paid to watch movies, stalk celebrities, listen to my favorite bands, pig out, stalk celebrities, read good books, travel occasionally, and stalk celebrities. I love my job. I grew up in San Jose, a quiet city in Nueva Ecija. I went to Ateneo for college, where I met most of my best friends. I’m 25 but can pass for 17. I love kids and I laugh at my own jokes.
2. How did you get into writing?
I’m not sure if I turned to books as a kid because I completely sucked at sports, or if I ended up completely sucking at sports because my nose was always buried in a book. In any case, most of my childhood was spent reading, or being read to, or doing other stuff and wishing I could read instead. I’ve had a love affair with words for as long as I can remember. In the fourth grade, I wrote a (really bad) poem about rainbows, but my classmates thought it was awesome and our teacher put it up on the wall for everyone to see. In the fifth and sixth grade, I had a wonderful English teacher who encouraged me to write, write, and write. So I did. And I haven’t stopped since.
3. Are you really a chick-lit writer, or is there any other genre you’re good at writing?
Technically speaking, I actually think of myself as more of a teen lit writer. But I’d like to think I’m pretty flexible—I write feature articles for various magazines (some are silly; some are straightforward), and I can also tone down the “girly-ness” of my writing, if necessary.
4. What inspired you to write the Every Girl’s Guide series, and Table For Two?
Every Girl’s Guide was inspired by the work I do for Candy—we write about heartbreak and relationships on a monthly basis, so I figured there should also be local teen fiction to address those issues. Table For Two was inspired by a lot of things: my caffeine addiction, the movie Love Actually, people-watching, The Script’s “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” and the insane amount of time I spend inside coffee shops.
5. Is there a process you undergo before writing? If there is such, what is that?
I used to need a bed, music, junk food, and some strong emotions to get started, but now I’ve learned not to be a picky writer. I can write almost anywhere, anytime. Most of my ideas come rushing at me on road trips and long bus rides—I type them all madly into my phone before I forget.
6. When not writing, what do you usually do?
I catch up on sleep, TV shows (I love Parenthood and Modern Family), and cleaning my apartment. I shop, and then I organize my closet so I can shop some more. I read books, magazines, and fashion blogs. I baby-sit children. I baby-sit grown-ups.
7. How did you feel when you first got in hand your first published book?
Our publisher handed it to me one day in November 2008. I tried to keep my composure. I smiled and calmly said thanks. And then I called my parents, texted my friends, stared at my name on the cover, and started freaking out.
8. Which of your books were the fastest, the easiest, and the hardest to write?
Fastest – Every Girl’s Guide to Flings; easiest – Every Girl’s Guide to Heartache; hardest – Table for Two (not because I couldn’t figure out how to write it, but because the emotions started getting the best of me at some point).
9. What are the pros and cons about being an author?
Pros – people read your work and say nice stuff about how it inspired them/warmed their heart/changed their life; cons – people read your work and judge you and say horrible stuff online and make you fear for your safety.
10. Which of your characters can you say that is closely patterned to you?
Lucas in Table for Two. For someone who writes mostly for girls, my brain is strangely programmed to think like a guy.
11. If given the chance, do you want your book to be adapted into a movie? Who are the actors/actresses you want to play the leads?
Of course, that would be a dream come true! I think Table for Two would work well on the big screen. Since we’re dreaming big here, I really want Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan to play Jack and Jill. Rachel Bilson can be Bettina, Emma Stone can be Mandy. And my ultimate crush James Franco will be absolutely perfect as Lucas!
12. Who is your most and least favorite characters from your books?
Favorite – a tie between Lucas and Mandy (those two are adorable); least favorite – probably Nico from Every Girl’s Guide to Boys (he was quite a jerk, but it was frustrating how attractive he sounded in my head)
13. Who are your favorite authors, and why?
Nick Hornby for his humor, David Levithan for his amazing ability to capture teen emotions, Melissa Bank, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Jennifer Weiner for taking chick lit to new heights. This year, I also fell in love with Amanda Eyre Ward and Terra Elan McVoy.
14. Who are your favorite book characters from what books?
Tucker Crowe from Juliet, Naked, and the narrator in Haruki Murakami’s “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.”
15. What books are you currently reading?
Pam Pastor’s Paper Cuts (which is hilarious), and Clare Morrall’s Natural Flights of the Human Mind (I’m having a hard time getting past all the gloom and doom, but I loved Astonishing Splashes of Colour so I’m not giving up on this one just yet).
16. What book do you wish you had written?
“The Wonder Spot” by Melissa Bank and “The Guy Not Taken” by Jennifer Weiner. I will always have a soft spot for short story collections—I love reading and writing them.
17. Are you working on your next book? Mind a little teaser? 🙂
Yes, but everything’s still a bit nuts at the moment. All I know is that the girl will be named Summer, and she will be obsessed with a guy named Scott, who happens to be an insanely hot and incredibly charming rock star.
18. What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot of books, because that’s how you develop your taste and style. Read something because you like it, not because other people do. Take care of your characters—treat them well and give them the necessary attention, and they will love you back. Try not to take revisions personally. Get your heart broken (I am half-kidding). Fall head over heels in love (I am not kidding). Never ever think that your life isn’t worth writing about.