Cupid spoke with journalist, professor, and author Susan Shapiro about her latest work, OVEREXPOSED.
By Krissy Dolor
Rachel Solomon is a young Manhattan photographer who wanted out from her Jewish Midwestern roots. Enter Elizabeth Mann: WASP friend, career mentor, and future sister-in-law, who’s about to marry Rachel’s brother, and fully integrate herself into the Solomon family – complete with four babies all named after Rachel’s dead Yiddish-speaking relatives.
What’s a girl to do when she realizes that the domesticated life she has shunned is suddenly the one she wants to live?
In Susan Shapiro’s latest foray into fiction, you’ll see how Rachel deals with Elizabeth being the daughter her mother always wanted, and now, envying the life she has tried to escape from. Based on a true story, the Speed Shrinker author and Five Guys Who Broke My Heart memoirist, Shapiro’s dramedy, Overexposed, shows the bonds of female friendship, and confirms the idea of finding love when you least expect it.
Cupid spoke with Shapiro via email last week. Take a look at what the author had to say:
You’re known for your memoirs, but this book is listed under fiction. What was hard (or easy) about this transition?
When I first tried to sell OVEREXPOSED in the 90′s, a critic told me, “You have an imagination, stop trying fiction.” So I switched to memoirs, had a breakthrough with FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, and sold four more books in a row. When SPEED SHRINKING, the last book I tried as nonfiction didn’t sell, I turned it into fiction, got a two-book deal, and 15 years later I’m an overnight success.
You’ve done lot about love and relationships. What about this topic draws you to continue writing about it?
Sex sells! And that same critic told me, “You write best about people you love.” And I always tell my students to write about their obsessions, so I’m taking my own advice. Though my husband hates being written about.
OVEREXPOSED is based on a true story. How much of the book mimics real life?
I still don’t have a great imagination. It’s based on a true story about me and my sister-in-law switching lives. It’s about 80 percent true now; instead of two writers, the main heroines are now two photographers, instead of Michigan (where I grew up) it’s Chicago, and I switched the time frame. I joke that it took me until age 48 to write a happy successful 26-year-old character that my 26-year-old editor liked.
Also, it took a long time for OVEREXPOSED to come to fruition. What about the story kept you pushing for it?
My sister-in-law has been such a headache for so long – I thought I deserved to make some money, and get a book deal out of it.
What’s the one thing you’d like readers to take away after reading your book?
The heroine Rachel is single and finally stops chasing men. She obsesses over her photography career instead. Of course, the minute she gives up chasing guys, they all come back. That happened to me in real life. Here’s great advice from my shrink that I quoted in my first relationship memoir, FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART: “Love doesn’t make you happy, make yourself happy.” (Then you get love).
Cupid thanks Shapiro for her time! In addition to promoting Overexposed, which hits the shelves on August 3, she is busy working on the screenplay for Five Men Who Broke My Heart, her memoir on sex and relationships. For more information about the author, visit her website. Can’t wait to read the book? Pre-order it from Amazon!