Monday, October 18, 2010

YA author Erin McCahan visits to talk about I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

What better way to begin the week by having an author stop by on their blog tour (we messed up the dates and apologize for bringing the author later than scheduled). 

Erin McCahan, author of the beloved YA novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (272 pages, published by Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition, June 1, 2010) is here today and she brought along her main character, Bronwen Oliver. Meghan read and loved I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (review here) and decided to ask both Ms. McCahan and Bronwen some questions. Don't forget to enter our contest at the bottom to win your own copy!

Welcome Erin McCahan and Bronwen Oliver!

First up, Bronwen.

1. Why were you so eager to marry Jared while aware of the stresses of college plans? 

I didn’t know how stressful planning for college would be until I was actually well into it. Sure, I thought there’d be some stress, but then I had this terrific, rock-solid boyfriend/fiancĂ© I knew I could count on to help alleviate that stress. And it would be temporary. That’s what I kept telling myself. Everything would be fine after we got married. I’d have this great family AT LAST, and I’d have Jared all to myself, and then I could worry about school and classes and moving and meeting people and a new life LATER. So – uh – in other words, I just tried to ignore my burgeoning concerns about EVERYTHING and hoped they’d go away.

When I think about it, that’s really how I lived most of my life – ignore problems, hope they go away. I’d have done it with a brain tumor or a ticking bomb in the front yard. I grew up believing you can’t really fix problems, so there’s no point in talking about them. Now I know better.

2. Your mother often disapproved of you. Why did you never stand up for yourself and face her? 

Have you met her?! She’s impossible to deal with. And it wasn’t just that she was – and still is – incapable of understanding anything but her own point of view. It’s worse than that. Anything outside her realm of experience is an affront to her. I’m telling you, she is personally offended that I’m a brunette. She’s insulted and then mad at me for insulting her – like I willed my DNA to produce brown hair just to irritate her. I’m telling you, I’m still in trouble for being a brunette. Who can deal with someone like this?

I certainly couldn’t as a child, and by the time I was fifteen or sixteen, I knew she’d explode -- or worse, punish me with silence – if I confronted her about anything, and that was a scene I just not want to live through. She wasn’t all that wild about me to begin with. Imagine how much fun life inside that house would have been if I’d have stood up for myself any sooner than I did.

But I did do it when I was ready, and can I just say that I thank God every night for my therapist. He’s probably happy for us, too. We’re paying him a fortune.

3. If you were so intent on living with the perfect family, then why didn't you accept Whitt into your life earlier on?

Oh, I did. I did from his very first date with Mother when he gave me one of the flowers her brought for her, remember? It was a lily, so lilies became my favorite flower after that. (They still are.) I thought Whitt was perfect. But then we had that horrendous misunderstanding when I was thirteen, courtesy of my mother, and I’m back to being grateful for therapists.

Thank you, Bronwen! Now we pose a few questions for Erin McCahan:

1. Jared appeared to have no character flaws aside from his snoring. Did you ever consider that this could come across as unrealistic to readers? 
I think Jared does have some character flaws, but can I just stop here to say – without any disrespect – that your question is cracking me up. I know exactly what you mean and how you mean it – and we ALL do things like this – but it looks from the question as if snoring is a character flaw. I’m telling you, I’m sitting here giggling.

An elderly couple talking to the local news about the arrest of their neighbor’s son: “Oh, we knew he was no good. Lied, smoked weed, stole our social security checks and snored.”

Okay, so back to Jared who does not lie, smoke weed or steal, but he does snore. Yes, he does have some character flaws, primarily that he doesn’t stop to consider what is best for Bronwen when he gets the job offer in Columbus. He knows it isn’t best for her but tries to convince her that it is. He asks her to change her entire life to fit his plans, which is an immature understanding of a relationship – especially when he knows that Bronwen will do it.

Now, having said this, I did not want to give Jared too many other overt flaws. This way, Bronwen’s choice – marrying him or breaking up with him – is entirely up to Bronwen. If I had made Jared abusive or angry or obviously wrong for her, her choice is easy. Actually, there is no choice. No tension. And we as the readers would just be turning pages wondering why Bronwen was dating him in the first place.

2. Were Bronwen's vegetarian eating habits symbolic of something else in the novel, or did it just help build up her character? 

I thought it was a good contrast between her and her meat-eating mother and also an example of how Bronwen doesn’t speak up – how she subordinates her own beliefs and desires in the name of propriety, because, Heavens, her mother would say, Heavens, think how rude your hostess would find it if you refused to eat her sirloin tips.

Thank you ladies!

The book summary for those who haven't read this wonderful novel: Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother, a kind but distant stepfather, and a brother with a small personality complex.

We have a copy of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else to giveaway. Enter here. Contest ends Nov. 22.


  1. Great interview, this one sounds like fun!

  2. This sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.


  3. I'd love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  4. This sounds like a great read!! GFC follower nhmoose99

  5. I would really like to read this book, it sounds interesting.
    Shaunda.Eppes at gmail dot com

  6. I would love to read this!! Thanks for the chance!

  7. sounds like an interesting afternoon

  8. Id love to win and filled out the form, thanks! :)

  9. This sounds like a great book. I would love to read it.

    samf36 (at )

  10. This sounds like an interesting story.

  11. I love the interview.

  12. Sounds like a nice afternoon read!

  13. Great Interview. I would love the chance to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. I would love to read it,it sounds really good.

  15. Sounds like a fun read.
    I'm a GFC follower.

    Thanks for the chance

  16. This was a good interview and made me want to read the book.

  17. Looks like a good book to read. I like a little mystery with my reading!! Thanks for the Giveaway!!

    I also a GFC Follower!!

  18. Great interview, this one sounds like fun!

  19. Sounds like a good fun read over the break. Thank you


  20. I would love to read : I Now Pronounce You Someone Else!