Michele Gorman talks to Curious Book Fans

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Michele GormanRecently reviewed book Single in the City prompted us to ask few questions about the book and meaning of life in general the author Michele Gorman. She is originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Michele now lives in London and her experiences provoked her to write about what happens when you take one 26 year old American, add to one 2,000 year old city with a big dose of culture clash and stir…

CBF: Is Single in the City in any sense autobiographical since you are also an American living in London?

Michele Gorman: I’ve heard many times that a writer should “Write what you know”, and certainly Single in the City was a natural book for me to write. A few of the scenes are definitely autobiographical (For the record, Mom and Dad, all sex scenes are pure fiction). I can point to the shop in which the sandwich guy humiliated me daily, making me repeat my words to the sniggers of the other patrons. I won’t point to it, but I could *Glares at shop off Cheapside*

Having lots of friends from other parts of the world, I know that we all experience similar things upon landing on England’s sunny shores. Much of this generalized experience of expats is written into the book and I’ve had many nice readers email me to say that though they are (fill in the nationality), they recognized themselves in Hannah. It makes me feel good to know that a) I did the experiences justice and b) I wasn’t alone. After all, misery does like some company.

CBF: Did you find the language and cultural differences as extreme as Hannah?

Michele Gorman: Definitely. Hannah only scratched the surface of those differences (to add them all in would read like a travelogue rather than a novel). I was confronted daily with differences, and occasionally still am. I had an experience a few months ago in which my boyfriend and I were going cycling in the New Forest (this was a case of life imitating art rather than the other way around). I asked for directions and the English guy gave them. I looked at my boyfriend and said ‘Did you understand that?’ This ‘over the road’ and ‘carry on’ stuff is still alien to me; I work in left/right, blocks and feet. He was shocked, and said he forgot sometimes that I’m not actually fluent in English, despite having lived here for so long.

CBF: Hannah is a great character. Would you like her as your friend?

Michele Gorman: Absolutely, though I’d teach her a thing or two before letting her out on her own. She really isn’t fit to live in the real world sometimes.

CBF: Some of the characters are quite stereotypical. Are they based on people you have met or purely figments of the imagination?

Michele Gorman: Aside from Hannah, who is closest to me in my 20s, everyone is completely imagined. That’s true of Hannah’s mother too, though my mom insists she sees herself in Mrs Cumming.

CBF: At the end of the book, Hannah has made some major decisions about the direction her life is taking. Is there likely to be a sequel?

Michele Gorman: I hope there’s a sequel, because I’d love to spend some more time with Hannah and company. I always find it sad to finish writing a book, because, after spending a year (or years) with these characters, every day, at the end they sort of die. Because they can’t have any new experiences, they can only exist as memories. I’m in the process of submitting the sequel to publishers, so cross your fingers and toes!

Thanks to Michele and kingfisher for making this interview for curious book fans.
You can read full book review here.
You can follow Michele on Twitter (@expatdiaries) or contact her through www.michelegorman.co.uk


Buy book online
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Single in the City
by Michele Gorman

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Written by kingfisher