Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship—why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready—and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point. In this relatable, lighthearted, and playful memoir, Hilary reminisces about her life before Marc—from the insecure and awkward teenage years she spent in a back brace and dealing with the loss of her father, to her early relationships and, finally, to the day she met Marc and realized that she really wanted to see him again. Through their first date—even though Hilary was technically seeing someone else at the time—and the ease of their early time together until Marc first decided that they were moving too quickly, up until that fateful New Year’s Eve, Hilary shares the details of their relationship and how Marc’s inability to commit led her to find an inner strength and confidence she didn’t know she possessed. For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.
I really enjoyed reading Hilary's story. The flashbacks give you a very clear idea of who Hilary was and has become, and how her relationship with Marc has evolved. All these anecdotes are so easy to relate to and you can't keep from respecting Hilary for her endless patience and trust. At times I got really upset with Marc and I almost felt like screaming at him for being so inconsiderate and stupid. But the beautiful thing about this story, is that Hilary really does do all she can to tell his side of things. You can feel her love for him in every page she's written about their story. Wonderful!
Hilary was kind enough to answer some questions
about Dangled Carat, herself and future projects!
Thanks for stopping by, Hilary!
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
I always dreamt of being a writer. But I never thought I would actually be a writer...
I started my first book about 17 years ago. The Sopranos were big at the time and I wrote 80 pages of a Mafia story. I was on a roll. But then I fizzled out and stopped writing all together. The dream of writing remained, but I didn’t act on it.
Then, about four years ago, I read Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. I was introduced to blogs and memoirs. It was the kick that I needed to start working on making my dream become reality. I started my blog, Feeling Beachie, within a month after finishing that book as a form of writing practice. After two years, I began writing Dangled Carat.
Are you still working at that same company or are you now a full time writer?
I wish I could be a full time writer, but lets just say it is easier to write the book than to sell the book :) Which is why I am so thankful you are helping me spread the word about my book!!!
Yes, I am still at the same company. In September I will be there fifteen years! I sometimes really can’t believe that I have been there for so long. In a way it is a lifetime, but in a good way. So much has changed and I have been instrumental in shaping the company. My career is defiantly a character in my life!
Making the decision the share your own, very personal story probably wasn't easy. How did you decide?
You are right. It wasn’t. I knew I wanted to share my story, but I debated if I should write it as a memoir or fictionalize it. It was a very hard decision to make. In fact, several agents that read the manuscript encouraged me to fictionalize the story because they felt it would be more marketable. However I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted to keep my story as a memoir because I wanted to help other women (and men) who are going through the same situation - involved in a relationship with a commitment-phobe.
It is a very difficult position to be in. Everyone in your life has an opinion and “advice”. You always seem to be second guessing yourself and your actions.
My desire to help has been accomplished! I recently received an email from a self described commitment-phobic male reader who shared that after reading the book he realized some of the ways that he has sabotaged his relationships in the past. He completely related to Marc. He also told me how he learned that he has to go at his own pace regardless of what the other person seems to want - it will either work or not. He also learned that he has to communicate his feelings and just relax - enjoy the moment and let nature take it’s course - rather than worry about what tomorrow will bring. This new attitude has kept him in a relationship that he would have already ended in the past!
How do your friends and family mentioned in the book feel about your (and their) story being published?
Everyone in my life, especially my “characters” have been so incredibly supportive during the entire process. One of my “characters” complained that he had to read to the middle of the book before he found his name :) My mom has been my best salesperson introducing the book to the women in her Florida community. She beams when someone tells her they read the book and that they could totally picture her saying the things that I wrote.. And Jaye, the wonderful lady responsible for the first faux engagement party has been active helping me spread the word. She was interviewed for my local paper where she said, “The best thing about the book is that it’s true; Hilary and Marc are the real deal and this is a true story about true love.”
[SPOILER ALERT] Does your story feel even more like a happily ever after now it's 'in print'?
Now that it is in print, yes. But while I was in the midst of writing it I felt like I was abandoning Hilary of the present for Hilary of the past....
But speaking of happily ever after, I really found it when I was almost finished with my edits. My home and life were slammed by a major Hurricane, Sandy. Life as I knew it stopped. Parts of my home were destroyed. Most of our belongings were lost. And we didn’t have electricity for almost a month. This experience really impacted me and made me realize just how fortunate I really am... And the things that really matter in life are not things. They are the people that you love and who love you....
Can you reveal something about future projects?
I am actually planning on taking a stab at fiction... A few weeks ago I had to fly from NY to Chicago for work and started my next book on the plane. It is going to be a fun story about a woman and her mom who have a rocky relationship. But that my soon change as the mother enlists her daughters help in planning a wedding.... Unfortunately I haven’t written anymore since that plane trip... I need more hours in the day. Also, one day I really want to write a memoir about my Hurricane experience.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Hilary!
I'm really glad you stayed true to your instincts: the story is brilliant and wonderful like it is now!
I'm very sorry to hear about hurricane Sandy though... But I admire you even more for turning something bad into something good - and if it ever makes its way into a memoir, I'll be sure to read it!
Can't wait for your next book(s) Hilary, I really hope you can find the time: you now have fans waiting for your next book, you know ;-)
Oh, and that's a gorgeous picture of you - I love how it matches the blog-colors! :D