BE MY GUEST: Author Interview: Meredith Cagen

In her own words, she is “smart, sweet, sexy, sassy and stubborn”, need I say more? Let’s find out what she has to say about her book, Size Eight in a Size Zero World and the craziest thing she has ever done in her life. Want to know more? Then, read my candid conversation with her!

RG = Review Girl
MC=Meredith Cagen

RG: Why did you think of becoming a writer? Did some person or incident in life inspire you or you thought you had the germs to be a writer?

MC: I returned to school to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, years after completing my MBA. It was daunting. The first time I sat down to study for an exam, I had funny ideas racing through my head. I had a difficult time focusing and actively started daydreaming. I couldn’t concentrate, so I went with the flow and wrote down all those funny, random thoughts, fantasies and mis-adventures.

They were based on how I got into my current predicament. I looked back on choices I made: the good, the bad and the fiascos! My friends were sharing personal stories with me telling me that I incorporated into my madness. The writing didn’t stop until Size Eight in a Size Zero World was completed.

RG: Since your book is an “NYC lit” based on the style of “Sex and the City”, why did you choose this setting for your story? 

MC: I write what I know about. I have lived and worked in New York City all my life. My friends and I go on adventures throughout the City. It adds color and a background for the story. The story is universal in nature and can happen anywhere.

RG: The story of “Size Eight in a Size Zero World” resembles similarities with your life. What are those elements (characters/story) in your book, which can be related to your life as well?
MC: Like Lindsay, the main character in my book, I am married with two children and live in a luxury high rise building. One of my dogs is named Digby! Like all working housewives I possess great multi-tasking skills. First time authors tend to write what they are familiar with. My book is fiction, but it contains adaptations of my personal experience and my friends’. An incident might have happened, but not to me, and I adapted it to a specific character. There are strong autobiographical elements in the book. The readers have to guess what is real and what is imagination! Unlike my protagonist, Lindsay, I only fantasize. I couldn’t imagine doing what she does.

RG: If you could be one character from your book, who would you choose to be and why?

MC: “The Man Upstairs”, he leads a charmed life. Everyone wants to be him.

RG: What inspired you to decide on this story and characters for your first book, “Size Eight in a Size Zero World”?

MC: A little madness and lots of poetic license.

RG: Did you face “writer’s block” while completing this book? If yes, what did you do to overcome it?

MC: Once I got started the story seemed to write itself.

RG: Are you planning to write a sequel to this book? Are any other books of yours in process?

MC: No, I never planned on writing this book. I am writing bits and pieces of stories which reflect back to the characters I created in the book. These characters are friends I have difficulty saying goodbye to. Who knows what the future holds for them! 

RG: List 5 suggestions/writing tips for those who want to venture into writing fiction.
MC: My tips would be:

· Enjoy your imagination

· Write down any and all ideas

· Daydreams are a plethora of content

· Follow your gut

· Believe in your story

RG: Do you think that book blogs play a vital role in getting the books across to readers?

MC: Book blogs are an online marketing tool. It’s difficult to get attention for a new book. Book blogs are one way. But the blogger needs to attract dedicated following. It’s all about “capturing eyeballs.”

RG: Printed books vs. E-books. What’s your take on this?
MC: Print books will become like landline telephones. A few people will hold on to them and refuse to get mobile phones. Ebooks are the future.

RG: Since you are a self-published author, tell us why you decided to go for this, instead of traditional publishing?
MC: I became a control freak. 

RG: List some advantages of self-publishing. 

MC: These would be:

· Maintaining creative control.

· Taking total responsibility for the work

· Control of the timetable

RG: List some disadvantages of self-publishing.

MC: Some disadvantages would be:

· PR is more challenging to obtain

· Universally not respected

· Increases the difficulty of getting PR

· Quality of work may not be consistent

RG: How much time did it take for you to complete this book?
MC: It was two years, off and on. 

RG: What was your routine for writing?
MC: My creative process, when an idea hit I wrote it down. It was random and I would get ideas at any time, even in my sleep.

RG: How do you balance your family life and your writing commitments?
MC: It’s easy because they understand when I need to write something down.

RG: Are you inspired by any particular author? Who is your favourite author?

MC: Dan Brown is a genius with “Angels and Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code.” Phillipa Gregory amazes me with her books, my favorite is “The Queen’s Fool.”

I love thrillers when the author mixes actual/historical and fictitious events. The mix enables me to read about mysteries with a compelling storyline. If done correctly, like “Da Vinci Code”, I learn a lot about history.

Since everyone on this planet has read Dan Brown’s books, Philippa Gregory’s books takes a minor or imaginary historical character, who is witnessing great historical events such as the comings and goings of King Henry VIII’s wives, power plays in the Tudor kingdoms.

Lost Horizon by James Hilton, the romance, the idealism, the dream, the sadness of loss and the quest to regain what you lost. The idea of a utopian society, a panacea… appeals to my soul and sense of fairness. “…the meek shall inherit the earth.”
It moves me!

RG: Among other author’s books, any character which you could relate to and you will always remember? What was the character about and how could you relate to it? 

MC: Bridget Jones, I can relate to her weight and men struggles. She is a flawed, non-perfect character. Welcome to me!

RG: I believe that there are only two categories of books: good books and bad books. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a “good book”?
MC: A good book makes me want to turn the page. I force myself not to cheat and read the ending. A good book is a journey. When you reach the ending and resolution the read is over. When I finished the Twilight Books, I went through reading withdrawl.

Time for some fun questions! 

RG: Share with us your favourite childhood memory.
MC: I could eat anything, chocolate, candy, cake, junk food and not gain weight.

RG: Tell us about the craziest thing you ever did in your life. 

MC: Many choices, falling in love with a bad boy, singing karaoke, wearing a swimsuit, dreaming big.

RG: How do you relax when you have free time?
MC: Drinking wine with the girls, shopping therapy, surfing online, watching bad TV.

RG: Who is Meredith Cagen? Describe your personality in 5 words.

MC: Smart, sweet, sexy, sassy, stubborn

RG: Complete these sentences:

· Love is… a four letter word.........and complicated.
· Life is… what you make it.
· Sex… is stimulating.
· Marriage… is a legal institution.

RG: Thank you for such a delightful interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog. Wish you all the best for your book! 

To read my detailed review of her book, click here.

About the Author:

Meredith Cagen is a working wife and mother who dreams of a self cleaning apartment and calorie free food. She yearns for the day when sitting on her derriere will be considered a form of exercise. Meredith is passionate about her book, Size Eight in a Size Zero World and New York City. To know more about her and her book, visit her website: http://www.sizezeroworld.com/

To buy her book, go to these links: 

Visit her on Facebook by clicking on the links below: 


  1. U did good questions to explore the innerself of
    Meridith Cagen.I like ur effort n Meridith's honesty in answering the questions.

  2. @ankhseojhal: Thanks so much for your fast comment!:) I am so glad you liked this interview!:)

  3. Interesting interview! It sounds like a fun read. I'm a fellow She Writes member and wanted to stop by.

  4. @Shannon: Thanks so much for enjoying the interview and follow my blog!:) Just visited your lovely blog and following too!


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