Meredith Cagen – Size Eight in a Size Zero World

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Size Eight in a Size Zero World

My main character, Lindsay is one of them (us). She is a typical woman for this new millennium, working a job, taking care of her family, running her household, overworked, unappreciated, no time for herself, a super multi-tasker, while her husband watches TV and plays on the internet.

She struggles to keep a sense of herself. And then one day she meets someone who causes her to re-evaluate how she lives her life, turning her world upside down. Suddenly there she is at only 32, doing all the rights things but she realizes that she has forsaken her needs. She lost her way and her dreams and voluntarily put herself into the proverbial box.

Lindsay decides it is time that she took some risks. She is a good girl trying to do the right thing and the wrong thing simultaneously, while remaining true to herself, whoever that is. The story is her adventure into New York City society and relationships.

Read the book, and share your thoughts with me,

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a working wife and mother living in New York City. I work as a freelance writer and Registered Nurse. My family has awarded me the “Queen of the Multi-taskers” title.

I love my family, travel and milk chocolate. I hate working out and phony people. I eat too much, and you can bribe me with food. I am addicted to my laptop and the internet.

What inspired you to write this book?

I returned to school to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, years after completing my MBA. It was daunting. The first time I sat down to study for an exam, I had funny ideas racing through my head. I had a difficult time focusing and actively started daydreaming. I couldn’t concentrate, so I went with the flow and wrote down all those funny, random thoughts. And the writing didn’t stop until Size Eight in a Size Zero World was completed.

I’m not sure if that qualifies as inspiration, but that is my story.

How did you choose the title?

The main male character is referred to as The Man Upstairs. That was the original title for my book, ‘The Man Upstairs,’ but people thought it was a book about religion.

My protagonist acts irrationally when she rebels against her status quo. Maybe she wasn’t thinking properly? There are theories that postulate love affects (and obviously impairs) your cognitive thought processes. Can she blame “being in love” for her lack of judgment. Next title was ‘What Was I Thinking?’ but people thought that was a self-help book.

My protagonist, Lindsay has a healthy curvy body. She is surrounded by stick thin women at her children’s schools, and compared to models by her male paramour. She is an outsider at times trying to fit in, a fish out of water, a Size Eight in a Size Zero World!

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

My decision to self-publish was empowering. I maintained control over the integrity of my manuscript and destiny.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I didn’t chose the career of being a writer, it chose me. These ideas, stories, plots and characters flow out of me, I am only the vessel.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write exclusively in bed! Living in a New York City apartment, space is at a premium. My home office is my side of the bed, affectionately referred to as my Queendom. All my executive decisions are made from my throne.

FYI: My bed is Queensize and I share it with my 6 foot husband and 2 Havanese dogs. It gets more crowded every year!

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

It is easy for me to imagine the characters as my friends. I marry a friend to the character and take it from there.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I learned many things about myself. I am very goal oriented and I have a published book to prove it. Many people dream of writing a book, and I did. Don’t mess with my book.

Your novel is multi-layered, which is surprising for Chick-Lit or NYC-Lit.

My story initially appears to be the superficial story of a modern wife and mother. But there is a serious message imbedded in the story. You need to take responsibility for yourself. No one else will.

You need flexibility to change and transform the decisions you have made. Self re-invention is tool successful people use to roll with life’s changes.

I present my story with realism and humor.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would listen to my inner voice sooner. Since I never thought of myself as a writer, I was asking everybody to critique and review my work. I took their suggestions to heart.

At some point I realized that critiques are subjective and come from my friend’s POV, point of view. My single friends thought I spent too much time on the interactions of Lindsay and her children. Male friends wanted more of the Man Upstairs character, and so on.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I love thrillers and mysteries. I’ve read all the Twilight books and The Sookie Stackhouse books. Anything by Karen Quinn is a must! I wish someone could top The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. A brilliant nonfiction book is Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll, I think everyone should read it.

What is the best advice you could give other writers starting out?

“Just Do It!” Don’t worry about the rules, you’ll figure them out along the way.

Listen to your gut! If you ask 5 friends for their opinion about your writing, you will get 10 different opinions. Listen to your gut, follow your heart.

If you write it down, it’s there…………until you hit the delete key and start all over.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Females over the age of 24. Surprisingly, men love my male lead character, The Man Upstairs, who is the ultimate rascal and player!

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Size Eight in a Size Zero World