Welcome M.J.! Thanks for this opportunity to find out more about you and your book. How did you start your writing career?
I’ve been writing professionally for a long time as part of what I do. For years I dabbled sold a few freelance articles and did some writing on the side; writing effectively was part of my day jobs in marketing and fundraising, too. But I decided to make this my career when I wrote The Marriage Pact. It was the first novel I completed, and I discovered that I love it as much as I always hoped I would.
Tell us about The Marriage Pact.
It’s a love story – love triangle, actually – but it’s also about the nature of friendship, romance and even marriage in different forms. It’s about Marci Thompson, who is turning 30 and realizing (as many of us do sometimes) that she’s made a huge mess of her life. She’s in a relationship with a married man, if you can call it that, and has been stuck in a temp job for nine months. But we soon learn that back in college she promised her friend Jake that she’d marry him at 30 if she wasn’t committed elsewhere.
Now that 30 is here, Jake says he’s up for it. But is that the right answer or just an easy way out? We’ll see, of course. And along the way we learn more about how family, friends and others influence our ideas of relationships, and what real commitment means. Oh, and it’s funny!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I have learned a TON about writing, the craft, and the industry. Most of what has surprised me, however, has been about me. It turns out I can get up at 4 a.m. to write if that’s what it takes, and that I can balance life, work, and writing. Somehow. People refer to this as ‘juggling’ but I think it’s more like wrangling rabid zoo animals in a tornado. Naked.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m a little of both. When I sit down to write, I need a clear picture of the main characters and a basic idea of where the story will start and end. But when it comes to how we get there, I try to let my characters drive that process. Sometimes they are scary drivers!
What was the scariest moment of your life?
You know, I’ve lost both my parents, been in car accidents and even been held at gunpoint. Far and away the scariest minutes of my life were when I dropped in to check on a babysitter and found that she had disappeared with my youngest son, who was six months old at the time. It was 40 minutes from the time I called the police until she came back with him. There is no fear like what you feel on behalf of your child. He was fine, and I am so grateful for that. I know many parents aren’t so lucky. For me, that was a lesson in trusting my instincts, and taking nothing for granted.
Do you have a new release coming out soon?
I do! The Marriage Pact is the first book in a series of three, centering around the same group of friends as they try to navigate life and love. Regrets Only is the sequel to TMP, released in 2012 and focused on Marci’s best friend Suzanne. In November 2013, I will be releasing the third book in the series, called Baggage Check. The main character of Baggage Check will be Rebecca, who’s sort of the villain-friend in TMP. I think it will be fun for readers to get to root for her a little bit, and see how the tension between her and Marci plays out. It’s been fun to write!
Date Published: July 2011
Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A large but cozy suburban home shared with a charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side.
Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.
Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.
When she’s not chasing two little boys or trying to wipe something sticky off the floor, M.J. (Manda) Pullen is the bestselling author of two contemporary women’s fiction novels: The Marriage Pact (2011) and Regrets Only (2012). She is working on several new projects as well, including more women’s fiction and a YA paranormal adventure series.
M.J. grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Writing has always been a big part of her life, both professionally and personally. She studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking a sabbatical to spend more time writing and raising her brood. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.
M.J. loves creating true-to-life characters who are flawed, relatable, and most importantly redeemable. She tries to explore all aspects of relationships, from romantic entanglements to battles between mortal enemies, and everything in between. She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.
After years traveling and living in places like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, M.J. has now returned to her home city of Atlanta (actually Roswell, for hard-core Roosevelt fans and connoisseurs of suburban culture), where she lives with her husband and two young sons. She loves to hear from readers and other writers – so drop her a line!
Follow the Tour!
Virtual Book Tour - August 24 - September 4
Follow the Tour!
Virtual Book Tour - August 24 - September 4