Q&A With KJ Micciche
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Q&A With KJ Micciche
This afternoon’s Q&A is with KJ Micciche. KJ is the author of The Book Proposal. On top of being an author, KJ Micciche has a blog for aspiring authors entitled Ruminations of a Rom-Com Writer on her website (kjmicciche.net). On top of blogging and writing she runs a non-profit organization that teaches children with dyslexia how to read.
Q: I have to say, I think you are a special person running this non-profit for children with dyslexia and teaching them to read. Would you please tell us more about your non-profit and how you came up with it? Why did you want to teach children with dyslexia to read?
A: Sure! To be fair, I didn’t come up with the non-profit itself. Literacy Nassau (www.literacynassau.org) has been around since 1968, and the mission was always teaching adults how to read, write, and speak English. My mom has dyslexia, and when I joined the organization as the Executive Director back in 2010, she became a student with us. It was only through the process of watching her work with a tutor that I realized I had so much I needed to learn about the challenges faced by people with dyslexia and the supports needed to really help them. I began studying the Orton-Gillingham method and learned that our brains are highly neuroplastic as children, which means that remediation of dyslexia is more effective the younger you are. I altered the mission of Literacy Nassau shortly after learning this, in an attempt to eradicate illiteracy in my hometown of Long Island for our current generation and future generations beyond them. It’s very personal to me, since both of my daughters have dyslexia as well. Reading opens doors, and I want to make sure no child (or adult!) in my community doesn’t have access to the help they need in order to develop the skill set for reading – not to mention a love for it.
Q: Would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I a bit about your book The Book Proposal and how you came up with the concept of it?
A: The Book Proposal was the fourth manuscript I wrote during my MFA program. I’d completed and queried 3 women’s fiction manuscripts first, and when those went nowhere, I decided to try my hand at comedy. I had also spent the prior 18 months immersing myself in studying the publishing industry, so I had all of this knowledge and didn’t know what to do with it. They say, “write what you know,” and I felt like I could write about the industry with fidelity but also with sarcasm and humor. I came up with the character of Gracie, a down on her luck romance author who was struggling with writer’s block on account of the untimely loss of her own happily-ever-after. She goes out to the club with her girlfriends, gets embarrassingly drunk, goes home and emails her unrequited high school crush. He (surprisingly) writes back, and hilarity ensues. The novel is very firmly set in the publishing world, and it was kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy, since this was the book that got me an agent and a publishing deal.
Q: You also have a blog entitled Ruminations of a Rom-Com Writer on your website at www.kjmicciche.net. Would you like to tell us a little bit about the blog? What advice do you have for those of us who are bloggers (present company included)?
A: I’m not sure what advice I can offer, to be honest. I began writing my blog to try and help create some transparency for people like me, struggling writers who wanted to learn how to break into the industry. I promised myself I’d post new content about once a month, so I try very hard to stay true to that schedule. I always try to post information that is relevant to the writing community, and to share my experiences honestly so that folks get a good sense of some of the obstacles I’m facing or the unexpected things that have happened. These are things no one ever told me about in my MFA program and that can be hard to learn about in books or even online. There’s a lot about publishing that feels surprising (once you’re living in this world), and I think there’s tremendous value in offering these moments up for consumption by those who are interested.
Q: If you are writing another book right now, is it a sequel to The Book Proposal or a standalone novel?
A: I’ve written a sequel to The Book Proposal already (although I’m not sure when it will be published). I have also written my next book, called A Storybook Wedding, which will release on May 14, 2024. When I signed with my publisher for the 3-book deal, I thought we were going to be putting out a trilogy, but my editor changed course and decided we should put out three books all “loosely connected” but not necessarily a trilogy. Only, by the time she decided that, I’d already written a sequel. I would really like to see that book in print because the biggest criticism I’ve heard about The Book Proposal is that people want an epilogue, but I intentionally wrote it without one because I expected to publish a sequel! So, stay tuned. I’m hoping to get that book out there!
Q: If you were to write in another genre other than romantic comedy, which genre would it be and why?
A: Women’s fiction, for sure. I really enjoy writing drama. Like I said, my first 3 manuscripts were all dramatic – mostly family stories. Every family has stories and secrets and I think those are things that all readers relate to in some way. But, for now, the world really needs comedy, so I’m happy to bring something light and funny to the table.
Q: If you deal with writer’s block, what are ways you deal with it that may help someone else?
A: So, thankfully, I’ve never really had writer’s block. There are times where I’m not sure where a story is going or what should happen next, but I’m grateful to have a husband who is interested in my work and who is willing to help me. We like to go for walks, during which we’ll discuss plot points or concerns I have with characters, and he’ll offer suggestions. It’s like playing a giant game of, “What if?” and it’s a lot of fun, to be honest. He also alpha-reads for me, which means I’ll write a chapter and then give it to him to read and comment on before writing the next chapter. This is hugely helpful because it cuts down on my editing later, by being able to fix storylines in the moment with his help. So, my advice would be to find a writing buddy or a confidante who is invested in your work enough to alpha-read and brainstorm with you.
Q: Do you have a favorite spot where you write your books and type your blog posts?
A: Yes. I do my best work in my office. I write best in the mornings, immediately following a workout. Endorphins are super powerful!
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to The Book Proposal? The entertainment industry needs more creativity instead of remakes, reboots and sequels and prequels that should have been made (or not) decades ago.
A: Not yet! My film agent is working with me to find a home for The Book Proposal. It is currently on an exclusive submission with a production studio, but with the writer’s strike happening currently, everything is on pause at the moment. However, I’ve heard from several people in the literary community that they think it would make a great movie. So, we’ll see – fingers crossed!