Meet Belinda Carson, Wing Girl.
She’s a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners investigative reporter fighting for truth, justice and higher ratings. But while her fame draws in the hotties, it’s unfortunate that you can’t buy a new personality at Bloomingdales!
Because up close and personal these unsuspecting suitors get fried by a snarky attitude that’s sharp enough to slice a stale bagel…
which leaves her grateful friends to swoop in for the delectable leftovers!
Only enough is enough – isn’t it time for Belinda to stop taking one for the team and land her own Mr Right?
And while it may be odd for a guy like me to read something like this. I find it more odd that a guy would write it. So I just had to pick the author’s brain. And it gives me yet another excuse to not write. Please welcome to the blog, Nic Tatano.
I’ve gotta admit, it’s a little intimidating interviewing another journalist. So, I guess the first question is an easy one. Say and spell your name so I make sure I get it right.
This reminds me of a time I asked that question of a teenager and got Y-O-U-R-N-A-M-E.
Anyway, Nic Tatano. Nic is short for my middle name, Nicholas. I’ve got too much journalism stuff published under my first name, Randy, so I needed something else. My late father was named Nick, and I can hear him saying, “You’re using my name? To write chick lit?”
You have to admit, a guy writing chick-lit is a bit of a novelty. Where’d that idea come from?
I went to a two week writer’s boot camp and we were assigned to read twelve books of different genres. One of the books was The Princess Diaries. I dreaded reading it but discovered it was hysterical and the author had a snarky voice I could relate to. I figured I had been around enough sarcastic women over the years and heard enough sex talk in newsrooms that I could pull it off.
Flipping the dating world on its ear makes this story a whole lot of fun. Watching Belinda (Wing Girl) Carson shoot down prospective one-night stands is a breath of fresh air in a romance novel. I’m sure someone as debonaire as yourself was never spurned, so where did those scenes come from?
First, I didn’t go out on a date till I was nineteen. When you’re a Star Trek fanboy with no money in Connecticut and drive your mother’s station wagon, you’re not exactly a chick magnet. (By the way, I never owned a pair of Spock ears, but have been to several conventions.)
As for those great lines to shoot down guys, I’ve heard a lot of them in newsrooms on Mondays when women were recapping their weekends. (Most of this was before political correctness, when the world was actually fun.)
Your main character, Belinda Carson is a newsroom hot-shot. I’m sure some of her inspiration came from your years working in news. Ever meet anyone as tenacious, yet socially unaware as she seems to be?
I’ve met a lot of people like that, though most of them were guys. It seems like a lot of people in the news business think they’re bulletproof because they’re on camera, then find out it doesn’t mean much in the real world when it comes to relationships.
In my mind, the characters are what really stand out in this story. (My favorite was Roxy. The mouth on that woman.) How many bars did you have to hang around to find them, and how many drinks did you have to buy before they let you into their secret cougar meetings?
I’ve never hung out in bars. But if you dropped by any of our Italian family gatherings, you’d meet a bunch of Roxannes. You should hear my cousins from Jersey. They’re all loud, spunky, talk with their hands, take no prisoners, have no tolerance for men who misbehave and have no qualms about kicking their asses if they do.
As for the “secret cougar meetings” I was once invited by a women’s fiction author to dinner with her writer’s group, of which all the members were women. Once the wine started flowing I think they forgot I was there and the sex talk was off the charts. It was like a living version of Letters to Penthouse.
How much trouble did this get you into with your wife, and how expensive was the make-up gift? Kobe Bryant proportions?
Here’s the deal: when you’re married to a spunky redhead with green eyes and freckles, you write your main character as a spunky redhead with green eyes and freckles. Then you refer to her as “hot” during the entire book. Problem solved.
Also, if you look at the book cover, you’ll notice the silhouette is of a woman with red hair. Originally it was all dark, but I asked the cover artist to add the red. Now my wife points at the cover and says, “That’s me!”
Seriously, she had no problem with it and thought the book was a lot of fun.
When you distill this story down to its essence, it’s about relationships and preconceptions. What literary preconceptions did you have to smash as a man writing romantic comedy for women?
It was really important that my critique partner for this book was a woman. In fact, I’ve always had a female critique partner. No matter what kind of book you write, you’re going to have characters of the opposite sex, so it helps to have someone of that sex review your work.
But when I sent the book out to editors and agents, I was careful not to say anything that would lead them to believe I was a guy.
I could easily see this story on the silver screen. Have you give any thought to who would play any of the characters? (Please say Marissa Tome as Roxy. I’ve got a thing for her.)
Yeah, Marisa Tomei’s voice from My Cousin Vinny was in my head when I was writing Roxanne’s lines. A lot of actors try to fake a New York accent, but hers is perfect. (And a lot of guys have a thing for her.)
As for the Belinda, Amy Adams or Sarah Rafferty (Donna on Suits) would be perfect. I think Hilarie Burton (Sara on White Collar) would be great as Ariel while Serena could be played by Rachel Nichols (Kiera on Continuum.)
Any final words for men trying to land a Belinda . . . or in my case, Roxy?
If you’re going after an independent woman from the New York area, accept her independence, but don’t forget to open doors for her. She wants to be able to take care of herself, but appreciates old fashioned chivalry.
But if you forget her birthday, you’re a dead man.
Are you the least bit worried, that now that you have laid bare women’s secrets that, there may be a squad of nimble but deadly ninjettes in black yoga pants trying to take you out before you can tell the stories of Belinda’s wing girls?
I think women still have plenty of secrets we’ll never figure out. As for the ninjettes in yoga pants, sounds like a superhero movie that would probably break records at the box office.