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Tour Stop & Interview | Maria Murnane, author of Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)adventures of Waverly Bryson

December 21, 2008

Yesterday I had the pleasure of reviewing Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)adventures of Waverly Bryson by Maria Murnane.

I’d like to welcome Ms. Murnane to The Printed Page. Recently she took time from her writing and tour schedule to answer a few questions. Thank you Ms. Murnane.


TPP: When and why did you begin writing?
MM: (I think the best answer to this is also the answer to 3)

TPP: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
MM: Probably when I lived in Spain in college and used to write in a journal literally every day for an entire year—I also wrote my parents a five-page letter every Monday, and I used to make myself laugh as I wrote them. My mom said she kept them all because they made her laugh so hard.

(Q3) TPP: What inspired you to write your first book?
MM: I’ve always loved to write (I was an English major in college, and see above answer), but I guess you could say about eight years of working and being single in San Francisco was what really motivated me to write this story. It just got to the point where I had so many funny stories running around in my head that I needed to do something with them. But I was working full-time and never really had the time, and I didn’t know exactly what the plot would be. Then one day I quit my job and ended up in Argentina to play soccer for a year, and I realized that if I was ever going to write a book, that was that time. So I just started writing and writing and writing, and eventually I had the first draft of what would eventually become “Perfect on Paper.”

TPP: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
MM: I think the hardest part was after I’d written a few chapters and didn’t know if it was any good— so I emailed it to my good friend Lindsay and made her promise to tell me the truth. It took two weeks for her to get back to me, so of course during that time I thought she hated it and just didn’t know how to tell me. But when she did get back to me, the subject line of her email was “your book is awesome,” and she went on to say how impressed she was and that she truly wanted to read more to find out what was going to happen in the story. I still have that email—in fact I forwarded it to her the other day just to thank her again for that early encouragement. After that first hump, writing the book actually wasn’t all the hard—figuring out what to write was harder. But once I knew what I wanted a particular chapter or scene to encompass, the writing part was pretty easy. Occasionally I would write something that just didn’t fit, and I’d force myself to delete it (never easy), but for the most part the story just sort of took on a life of its own.

TPP: What do you see as the influences on your writing?
MM: I’ve always loved to write letters to friends, but I honestly think the emergence of email had a lot to do with the creation of this book. I realized how much I loved making my friends laugh through words—and how they were actually laughing at what I was writing. People don’t write you back 10 seconds later to tell you how funny you are if you write them a funny letter, or at least one you hope is funny.

TPP: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
MM: I think my favorite writers are probably Ayn Rand (“Atlas Shrugged,” “The Fountainhead”) and Pat Conroy (“Beach Music,” “Prince of Tides”). They are just fabulous storytellers– you forget you are reading, you know?

TPP: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
MM: Unfortunately. my current work right now is a business paper about the green benefits of outsourcing Microsoft Exchange. Anyone out there want to buy a few thousand copies so I can write a sequel to “Perfect on Paper”…?

TPP: What book(s) are you reading now?
MM: Right now I’m reading two: “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David S. Landes. The latter is like a billion pages long, so I hope to finish it by 2019.

TPP: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
MM: I went to Ireland earlier this year, and when I got back I read a book by a guy named Pete McCarthy called “McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland.” It made me laugh out loud so many times that I would love to meet him. Whenever people me they laughed out loud reading “Perfect on Paper,” I am so happy because I think it’s the best compliment I could get.

TPP: Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?
MM: Just thank you so much for reading my book- it is such a thrill to think that people other than my immediate family are actually reading it. I’d also like to say that I would love to hear from any readers of this interview who have more questions —my Web site is Maria Murnane and I can be reached that way. And if you like the book, please please tell your friends about it!

  1. December 21, 2008 7:51 am

    Great interview! I’ve been hearing good things about Perfect on Paper.

  2. December 21, 2008 7:08 pm

    I’ve seen this book around the blogs and it sounds like a good read. Thanks for posting her interview. I love writers who start young.

  3. December 21, 2008 7:09 pm

    Thanks for posting this interview. I love when writers talk about how they start young. She was younger than most. I’ve seen reviews of this book around the web. Looks good.

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