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Author Guest Post
First, I want to say thank you to Marisa for letting me write a guest post on her blog! I would love to tell you all a little bit about the movies I love and how they tie into my novel, Next Year I'll be Perfect.
First, let me say that I am a huge fan of all movie genres and love to curl up with dramas, comedies and even horror movies. It is very difficult for me to narrow down the list of my favorite movies because they change according to my mood. Of course, when I consider the type of movie that most closely matches the genre of my book, the easy answer is clearly the romantic comedy.
And in my opinion, the granddaddy of all romantic comedies (and my own personal favorite) is When Harry Met Sally starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.
Witty and charming, what has always struck me most about this movie is (of course) the fact that Harry and Sally were friends first. Admit it: What woman hasn’t had a friendship that she wanted to blossom into something more? This movie lent hope to that possibility and also gave us the most grown-up, realistic look at adults finding love that I’ve seen on the big screen.
I must be a big Rob Reiner fan, because the second movie I love and want to highlight is another one of his: The Princess Bride
Where When Harry Met Sally was grounded in reality, The Princess Bride is the ultimate fantasy of love at first sight and finding a Prince to sweep you off your feet. Better than that, though, this is easily the most quotable movie of all time. It is incredibly well written and dances through the worlds of romance, action, humor and intrigue without missing a beat. I can only hope my novel is a fraction as well written as the screenplay for this movie that was so spectacularly executed by an amazing cast and director.
Of course, my character, Sarah Bennett is no Princess Buttercup. I’ve always thought of her as much closer to Loretta Castorini – the heroine played by Cher in the movie Moonstruck.
I love Loretta because she is a solid, dependable professional woman who makes all the right choices and meets all the expectations set upon her by her family. Until… The day she meets Ronny Cammareri played by Nicholas Cage and loses her mind. All of the rules she’s established for her life and all of the smart decisions Loretta’s made up to that point go flying out the window when the right man with the right chemistry walks into her life.
Moving away from romantic comedies for a moment, another favorite movie of mine shares Moonstruck’s theme of the importance of family. This is also a very important theme in my novel, and if you haven’t yet seen Avalon – a movie written and directed by Barry Levinson – you should rush out and rent it now!
I really can’t give justice to this movie in a brief synopsis, so I’ll simply say it is the story of a family. The Krichinsky family is strong, loving and loyal while also being incredibly stubborn and reluctant to allow individuals within the family to grow and reach for their own dreams. This movie is bittersweet and doesn’t lend itself to easy solutions.
If you are looking for easy solutions, and a feel-good ending, though, you probably know my next movie pretty well:
The combination of a great soundtrack, young love and Patrick Swayze’s back muscles make Dirty Dancing a favorite among most of the women I know. In fact, I can picture even my fictional Sarah Bennett sitting on her couch with a bowl of popcorn and a Diet Coke, eyes riveted to the screen from the opening credits through the last dance sequence.
I could probably go on forever listing the movies I love and how they relate to my novel, but I’m going to leave you with one final image: Andie, Duckie and Blane from Pretty in Pink.
While I love most John Hughes movies, Pretty in Pink holds a special place in my heart due to its significant role in my novel and - really - all of pop culture. Everyone remembers Duckie as the friend who is in love with the sweet, quirky girl who doesn’t know her own worth. Every girl has felt like Andie at least once in her life – an oddball, ugly duckling who both wants to fit in and (at the same time) hates how much she wants to fit in.
Watching movies has always been an important part of my life and the movies listed here are just a small selection of those that helped me create Sarah Bennett and the rest of her crazy world.
Sarah always thought her life was on track, that is until her 29th birthday party. The discovery of a list her younger self put together outlining what she wanted to achieve by the age of 30 turns Sarah’s world upside down. Suddenly her seemingly happy life and career look lackluster and Sarah sets off on a journey to transform her life. On her quest to achieve perfection one month at a time – a happy marriage, partnership in a law firm and being able to fit in a size six purple suede miniskirt – Sarah learns to challenge society’s ideals of achievement. Filled with harsh reality, humor, and romance, Next Year I’ll Be Perfect explores what true happiness and success is all about.
Read This Book Excerpt
“I think tonight is that big charity event David’s attending at the Metropolitan Opera House,” Eddie piped in, already moving toward the kitchen.
I nodded, remembering David mentioning his plans before I’d launched into the conversation about the building appraisal. “I think you’re right. Do you know who he’s bringing? Barbie or Midge?”
Eddie burst out laughing at my comment, drawing his father’s narrow gaze and low growl. I was lucky to sidestep any admonishment as I went to heat up our supper in the kitchen. I might have felt bad if my characterization of David’s girlfriends was in any way wrong.
A very intelligent and sensitive man in most areas of his life, David Thornton’s criteria for choosing women hadn’t changed much from the time he was thirteen years old. Namely, the flashier, blonder and better endowed a woman was, the more David was attracted. I was never quite sure where he found these women, but after one or two dates he always ended up sorely disappointed and highly surprised that dinner conversation was limited to stories covered in US Weekly. In fact, knowing David’s type of woman was one of the main arguments I used against Livvie’s theory that my friend was attracted to me.
I hated to label him as shallow, because David always ended his relationship with the bimbette of the week when he discovered they couldn’t make a deep connection. The tragedy was that he never quite figured out that a woman with a lifelong dream of being shaved by Howard Stern might not be able to hold up her end of a conversation about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
About The Author
Next Year I’ll be Perfect is Laura Kilmartin’s first novel. She previously published four essays in Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays. All author royalties from that collection have been donated to breast cancer charities.
Laura is an attorney who lives and works in her native Southern Maine. A pop culture savant, she loves to read, write, travel and collect DVDs of cancelled TV shows in her spare time. Please visit Laura’s blog at http://laurakilmartin.com or follow her (@LauraCKilmartin) on Twitter.
Buy the Book!
I really enjoyed read this Chick-Lit Romantic Comedy Novel: Next Year I'll Be Perfect. I think the story, in ways, seemed realistic. The concept of making a list, things to do before a certain age, seems like a real life situation, and how Sarah goes about it, just seemed believable. I think just that feeling, of rereading that list, when your close to that age that you said you would have all your goals completed by, can be a scary feeling, because then you realize, crap, I really have not done anything I wanted that I was determined to do, a few years back, but in this story, I think in the beginning of Sarah's year-long adventure, she realizes that some of the goals are not so realistic, can seem harder by actually trying to complete them, or she completes that goal another way than she originally planned. This novel has that type of feeling, and it was really great following Sarah's journey of possibly being a partner in a law firm, getting into a relationship, and there's more....
I think that Morgan, the guy that Sarah "might" end up with seems like a good one, and at first when they met, they did not get along, and Sarah was somehow convinced that Morgan was out to get her job or something, but misunderstandings are said and settled later on, and they actually go on a date, and it's interesting to see how their friendship/relationship proceeds. There's also other situations, other than relationships that pop up in Sarah's life, and you just gotta wait to read them, as there are just funny moments here and there.
Lastly, I think the writing was pretty good, and there was a flow, that kept me reading, chapter and chapter, so that was nice, as I was just so interested to see what Sarah would do, in terms of keeping/changing her goals, and I think the ending was just right :)
My Rating: 4.4/5