- Photo by Jo Bryan Photography
By Robin Jovanovich
When I finally reached our talented contributor, whose jocular columns are the talk of the town — when we’re not talking politics or over pesky and loud leaf blowers — it was to gently remind her that her column was three days late. You have to handle these celebrated writers with kid gloves, something I’ve learned after nearly a quarter of a century of hand wringing and excruciating conversations. (Think any episode of “The Office”.)
“Deadline? Oh, I’ve got to get those columns back on schedule,” she said in her adroit ‘aw shucks’ way. Unlike everyone else on the planet, Annabel wasn’t blaming Covid for her tardiness or resorting to childish fibs about paper-eating creatures.
“But I did write a book,” she offered.
That will go down in publishing history as one of the greatest excuses a freelance writer has every come up with.
But she’s not any freelance writer, she’s Annabel! And I, like everyone else I know will read whatever she pens — how-to books, teen mysteries with strong female protagonists even when you’re a member of AARP, a telephone book for the modern landline-less age.
The story is better coming from her, trust me, but she entrusted me to share the plot and how it happened that she was able to write a book with all three of her boys unexpectedly home for over a year.
“Yes, everyone was home, but they were sleeping late, so I got up early. You can get a lot accomplished if you do.
“I was in a holding pattern but the idea of a single mom, a 38-year-old romance writer who is supporting two kids, tickled me.”
All I could muster was a blank stare until she added, “I put her in a big, epic romance with the sexiest man alive.”
I could see she was on to something with that twist.
Her forthcoming novel, “Nora Goes Off Script”, was not only fun to write “but was sold in a day,” she reported casually. “It takes place in an imaginary town an hour north of here, a physically beautiful place. Nora falls for the actor who plays her husband in the movie being made that was adapted from her latest romance novel.”
Annabel Monaghan acknowledges that she is the lucky person who loves to write and talk about it. No post-publishing blues, no dark bars, no waking up and tripping over a complete stranger who is also hung over. She may not have a movie deal inked just yet, but I’ll write to every Hollywood producer until it is and sell my Apple stock, my collection of Mr. Men books to invest in it.
She’s not anyone who really needs help, because she’s grounded and genuinely happy and knows where she’s going, and it’s not in circles or in reverse.
“I don’t really have any advice for writers other than if you’re writing and it’s not working, try something fun. Your interest is the most valuable thing.”
She added, “My new editor, who is great and smart, recently said to me, ‘Please talk to me about your next book before you write it.’ That’s pretty good advice as it will probably save a lot of time.”
Annabel actually paid her three boys to read the novel once it was finished but not yet edited. “They were all mortified by ‘The Kiss’, but they gave me some good pointers. Knowing they would never read it again, I later added a tasteful sex scene,” she said with a devilish grin.
I think I speak for the community when I say we all look forward to reading Annabel’s first very much adult work of fiction, as well as a few of her signature “Along for the Rye’d” columns before she starts writing that next book.