For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. Now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house, cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing an ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-zine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Darius was very sweet and charming, just eighteen, but he couldn’t pay his own way, and Manny wasn’t about to support him for six months. He’d shrugged and accepted her decision with an adorable smile and she offered to call Daisy’s boss, Max, to see if he had any work that Darius could do. Darius had thanked her and even paid for their lattes, and they’d chatted for a good forty-five minutes before he’d finally gone on his way. Yes, he would have been a good choice–and she might change her mind if she didn’t find anyone before she left in two weeks.
You can always go by yourself.
I know. But it would be more fun with someone else.
You’ll have me.
Manny glanced at Harvey sitting in the chair across from her. He was dressed casually in jeans and a button down shirt open at the throat to show the strong lines of his neck and chest.
You’re not real.
Harvey winked at her. Just checking.
She shook her head and Harvey blinked out of existence as the door opened and a darkly handsome man walked in. He paused in the doorway and removed his sunglasses as he glanced around the small room. Securely hidden in her corner, Manny considered him.
Tall; over six feet. Dark. Handsome, with large, dark eyes and full pouty lips. His black, tousled hair and dark stubble on his face gave him a sexy, scruffy appearance. He was slim, with broad shoulders, narrow hips and long legs encased in jeans.
I’ll bet he has a great ass.
I’ll bet you’re right.
He’s like a younger version of me.
Manny blinked at the man standing in the doorway and realized Harvey was right. Oh, they didn’t exactly look alike, but they had similar colouring, and a similar underlying confidence and arrogance in their stance. Probably something natural when you’re that naturally gorgeous, Manny thought ruefully, or, in Harvey’s case, that unnaturally perfect.
I’d almost be jealous...if I was real.
But you’re not–and he’s quite something. I wonder who he’s here to me...eeet.
1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?
It was pure wish fulfillment fantasy. When I started the novel, I was 45 and I wanted to do exactly what Manny did: quit my job and run off with a good looking guy. I did eventually quit my job, but unfortunately, no road trip – and no good looking guy, either. :(
2. Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
It’s something I’ve whined – erm, said – many times to friends. And no, I never changed the title; it just seemed to fit Manny’s journey.
3. Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
Genres tend to pick me – LOL. For this story, the basic premise was based in the real world, there are romantic overtones, and there’s some humor to it as well. “Chick lit” was really the only way the story wanted to go. What I like about the genre is the ability to combine humor and drama.
4. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Getting good reviews on Amazon from total strangers – I was giddy for days!
5. What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I just finished Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.
6. What is your writing process?
I don’t write sequentially and I don’t outline; I just write whatever comes into my head at that particular moment. I also just get the words out and worry about editing later. During the writing process, I will re-read what I’ve written and start to slot scenes in order, or cut them, or rewrite them, but the intensive editing is saved for when the bulk of the story is written.
7. At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I haven’t had a book signing yet – hopefully if or when I do have a book signing, I’ll figure something out – LOL.
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That there’s absolutely nothing surprising about me??
9. How do you react to a bad review?
Hmmm. I pout for a while, then I pull up my big girl undies and read the review again to determine if there’s something I need to address in either this book or in a future book. I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) in that I’ve not yet received a completely bad review; I’ve mostly received thoughtful, constructive criticisms which help inform and improve my work.
10. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I squee’d a little bit and wondered if I knew the person who bought it – LOL.
Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. She began with fanfiction about a (now-cancelled) TV show called Jericho and particularly about the characters of Heather Lisinski and Edward Beck. From there, she expanded into writing original fic and she hasn’t stopped since.
Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.
She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.
Victoria can be contacted through Love of Words Publishing Inc. () or through her brand new blog at http://victoriabernadine.wordpress.com/.
A Life Less Ordinary is available for sale on Amazon in both Kindle and hard copy formats at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMJBOSQ.