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I am very excited to interview the adorable Erin McCahan, today! We have been pen pals for about a year now, and if you don’t have a few of those, I highly recommend it! I got to know Erin before I got to know her writing; and they are equally delightful. Her wit, and empathy, and eye for the quirks that make people so beautifully flawed come out all over her emails to me, as well as in her debut book, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, a division of Scholastic, and edited by Cheryl Klein.

Now, most of my author interviews have focused on books about the military, so you might think that’s all I’m digging these days, but that’s false. You know what else I love? Romance! I heart it very much. So when you add some romance to all those aforementioned qualities Erin brings to the table, you get a hilarious, tug-at-your-heart, butterflies-in-your-belly book. But it’s not just about falling in love. It’s about Bronwen finding out who she is and where (and to whom) she belongs. This book is definitely my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve read sixteen books if anyone is counting.

Now. On with the interview. And these questions are in no order, have little to do with the actual book in fact; but I still think you’ll love getting to know Erin.

Jody:  What is the last book you read?

Erin: THE GHOST BELONGED TO ME to Me by Richard Peck.  I’ve been invited to the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association’s Trade Show in Dearborn, MI, this October, so I’m reading books by attending authors.   And THE GHOST BELONGED TO ME is wonderful, by the way!

Jody: Why are manhole covers round? (This is an actual job interview question! I’ve been on a few of those recently. Feel my pain.)

Erin: I think the original penis shape offended too many old ladies who swerved to avoid driving over them and caused countless accidents all across the country.

Jody: What’s the most important part of a sandwich?

Erin: The person you’re sharing it with.

This is an interview question from Subway. I didn’t interview there, but in case any of my readers are, the answer they’re looking for is “the smile.” I like Erin’s answer better. And someday I’m going to share a sandwich with her.

Jody: What’s the best or most interesting thing someone has said about your book? (You can’t choose my review, btw.)

Erin (the cheater): It actually is from your review.  “Yes, but other parts were so hilarious I laughed out loud and other parts were so heart-breaking I cried out loud.”  Can I borrow this for another novel someday if I promise to give you a writing credit?  I just love how you wrote that.

oh, alright, if you insist…(giggles in delight).

Second is this from Books and Literature for Teens:  “If I only had one word to describe I Now Pronounce You Someone Else I would say personality. Most books don’t have a personality all to their own, this one does.”

Jody: What was your favorite part of the publishing process?

Erin: I like the whole process, from discussing ideas with my husband before I ever write a word to the fourth-pass notes (editing) before the thing is published, but if I had to pick one part, I think the editing is really interesting.

Jody: What’s/Who’s the most memorable book character you’ve ever met?

Erin: Bessie Glass from FRANNY & ZOOEY  I remember every single thing about this woman, probably because it’s always been so disturbing to me that she’s in the bathroom while her grown son is in the tub.

Jody: Yikes! What’s weird is that now I want to read that. Anyway, how would you describe your teenage self?

Erin: Oh, geez.  Shy, nervous, overlooked, frumpy and desperate to be something more than shy, nervous, overlooked and frumpy.  In other words, miserable within the bounds of normal teenage misery.  I was not the girl who had it all together, but if I were, I wouldn’t be a writer.

Jody: Hm, sounds like a guest post on Self-Deprecating Sunday is possibly in order. Just think about it. Now, as you know, I think your book is hilarious. So, when you’re writing, do you ever laugh at your writing? Then do you laugh at yourself because it seems weird to be laughing alone? I do this, so please say yes.

Erin: Yes, I do laugh, and, yes, it does feel weird, and if I think about it too much, I start to embarrass myself, sitting there, all alone at my desk.

See. She gets me.

Jody: Have you ever seen a stranger reading your book? If yes, what was your reaction?

Erin: No, I haven’t had this happen, but I did have my first fan experience a few weeks ago.  A 13-year-old girl I met at coffee hour after church hugged me when she found out I wrote I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE.  I believe the hug lasted two or three minutes.  She was adorable!

Jody: I obviously loved the romance in this book! Did you have a big romance in high school? Details please.

Erin: I had zero romance in high school.  A handful of dates.  Really sweet ones, too.  But no big romance, which can come as no surprise now to anyone who read the answer to question #7.

Jody: Thank you so much for answering my questions. You were a wonderful guest. And congratulations on a lovely debut novel.

Erin: These were so much fun.  Thank you for doing this.

Make sure to visit Erin’s blog for more news on her book and see what she’s up to now and then.