Sunday, January 24, 2021

Melissa Croce Interview - Single and Forced to Mingle

Photo Content from Melissa Croce 

Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Melissa Croce currently resides in New York, where she works in publishing, marketing books to librarians.

When she’s not working, she can be found reading tarot cards, watching hockey games, and spending way too much time on the internet, which is how Single and Forced to Mingle came to be.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
Honestly, learning how to communicate with people. I’m really fascinated by different types of communication and how what people say can be misconstrued so easily, or conversely how people communicate to persuade others. In college I took a class called “Communication in War” that was really interesting, and super applicable today in regards to how different types of political communication is deployed.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
As a kid I was always writing stories, or verbally making up stories out loud to tell to anyone (mostly enraptured grandparents) who would listen. As I got older and Real Life intruded I didn’t know if writing was something I would be able to, or want to, pursue seriously, but I never stopped making up stories or writing, even if it was just in a journal.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

I was interviewed by Publishers Weekly and my interviewer told me how much she liked the book and how it was helping her through a recent breakup! That was really nice to hear.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m doing NaNoWriMo right now, working on something that’s actually fiction! We’ll see if anything comes from it, but now I’m more committed to practicing writing more often in general, and it feels good.

If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. Ideally, whoever I work for I would want to be a dedicated mentor and a conscientious boss who respects and does well by me. That’s not asking for too much, right?

In your newest book, SINGLE AND FORCED TO MINGLE; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
Sure! SINGLE is a non-fiction humor book where I basically tell you why it’s great being single, because although I think in some ways American society and culture are getting better about accepting people’s personal romantic choices, there are a lot of people who directly or indirectly make people feel bad about being single, and that’s their loss because it’s honestly great! I try to convince people this via lists, games, quizzes, and general advice. I also want to say that I think of this book as being pro-single versus being anti-relationship. If you’re single and want to be in a relationship, that’s fine! But, you know, stop and smell the single-roses every once in a while.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from SINGLE AND FORCED TO MINGLE
One of my favorite sections of the book is a quiz called “Put Together Your Ideal Benefits Package and We’ll Give You a Fake Significant Other to Discuss at Your Next Event”. I wrote this quiz really early on in the writing process and it was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time on trying to make sure I got all of the correct terminology! And, of course, it was fun to come up with three fake partners Spoiler: Options include a Gentle Hipster-Type, A Generic Himbo (is there a gender-neutral word for “himbo”?) or a Driven Workaholic.

I’m also really happy with how the section called “How to Survive Seeing Your Ex” turned out. I basically tried to take all of the potential anxieties about running into an ex and offer simple solutions for getting through the encounter as unscathed as possible. I personally hope I’ll never have to put them to use, but who knows what else 2020 will throw my way!

  • This book came about because I created a brochure about my life, tweeted about it, and it became viral.
  • I include a “fill-in-the-blank” brochure for readers to write themselves at the end of the book!
  • I wrote the majority of this book in ten days while I was home for the holidays. I do not recommend this method.
  • Because I live in the same city as where my publisher is, I was able to go into their offices one day and hash out the order of the book with my editor. Imagine us taking over a room with stacks of papers everywhere!
  • One of the most fun parts of this entire process was brainstorming with my agent and editor about how the cover would look-- the elements on the cover are all very intentional.
  • Such as… one element on the cover is an orange cat, and he’s inspired by one of my agent’s cats, August, who is a large, friendly, orange floof of a cat.
  • For all the dog lovers out there, we didn’t forget about you: somewhere inside the book there is a little fluffy white dog, who is inspired by my dog, Ellie.
  • Sometimes titles are really hard to come up with; this book had a title basically for as long as it existed, for which I’m grateful!
  • My aunt once asked me if the aunt-figure in this book was based on her, but she’s not. (The aunt in this book is named Aunt Carol, and I do not have an Aunt Carol!)
  • A lot of this book was written while having The Great British Bake-Off on in the background!
Meet the Characters
I don’t really have any main characters, since it’s non-fiction. I guess that I function as the reader’s “guide” but ultimately it’s their life so the main character is you!

Oh, I will say there is a recurring character named Aunt Carol, who is just meant to represent any well-meaning but nosy relative/friend/neighbor, etc. She loves to get up in your business and try and set you up with people, no matter how many excuses you have.

Your Journey to Publication

Okay, as I alluded to in the “Ten Random Facts” section, my journey to publication might definitely be categorized as “non-traditional” compared to how it’s normally done. Basically, it started when I was going home one weekend for my cousin’s wedding. I hadn’t seen a lot of people in a while and was joking with my coworkers about some of the questions I knew would be asked-- out of good intentions, but I was dreading the questions of “are you single?” or “when is it going to be your turn?”. So I joked about making a little brochure of FAQs to hand out to people while I made a quick getaway to the bar, and because I am a little obsessed with the website Canva, I went home and actually made one. Then I posted it online, and it went modestly viral on the internet, which led to an interview with Buzzfeed and mentions in various online publications, which led to a producer from Good Morning America calling me up, asking if I wanted to come on the Strahan and Sara show! As someone who works in publishing, I already had some connections and they reached out to me and were like, “We saw the brochure and we think it could be a book.” I was truly content with my two seconds of fame, but they encouraged me to consider and ultimately pursue it, and I’m very glad I did! Everyone has been so supportive; my work-mentor and friend came with me to the taping of Good Morning America and has been a huge cheerleader. My family is delighted by this wild chain of events that started with a Tweet and somehow ended up with a book. It’s been a really fun, overwhelming process!

Writing Behind the Scenes
I watched a lot of The Great British Bake-Off while I wrote this book. I like to have something on in the background, and I know that when each episode is over, if I’ve been diligently writing for the majority of it, I can take a little break! Sometimes I’ll listen to music but it really depends on what it is-- no bangers or bops, because then I’ll get distracted. I can write with other people around, especially if we’re both writing, but mostly I just write by myself!

What is the first job you have had?
I worked in the food area at an IKEA throughout most of high school and all of college. I’ll tell you this: I ate those swedish meatballs for years and shockingly I never got tired of them.

Best date you've ever had?

Either going to go to a museum or the zoo. I just like walking around and looking at things and sharing that experience with others!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Can I afford to hit the snooze button? Or I start thinking about everything I have to get done that day.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I’m going to be cliche and say the summer I studied abroad in Italy. It was an intensive poetry course and I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

What's your most missed memory?
Honestly, just hanging out with a bunch of friends at the park for a day. We’re all spread out now and I miss us.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Oh, mannn, this is hard. The cynic in me wants to say the second one, but I think I’ll have to pick the first! Not to be corny, but every relationship-- platonic, romantic, etc.-- brings lessons and teaches you something about yourself and how you relate to others.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Crap, I forgot to blow-dry my hair last night, now it looks all weird.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
I love my bed, so usually I’m so happy about how cozy I am. Or if I went to bed too late, I’m like, why did you do this to yourself? Will you never learn???

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I’ve torn my ACL twice and I would love to go back in time and make sure that that doesn’t happen!! Another experience I do not recommend.

A laugh-out-loud, tongue-in-cheek guidebook filled with hilarious and helpful advice—from how to dodge family members’ unwanted questions about babies to successfully creating a fake partner during wedding season—for anyone trying to survive and thrive in the midst of singledom. Perfect for fans of Hey Ladies! and Single State of Mind.

So, you’re single. Whether existing sans partner is a new state of being or you’ve been on this solo journey for a while, the fact of the matter is this: being single is actually awesome.

You can do whatever you want, travel wherever you want, and be your truest, most free self. But there are a lot of people out there—your mom, your married best friend, the wedding industry, society—who see things differently. To them, singledom is something to avoid at all cost, no matter how many times you tell them you love your life the way it is. The limit does not exist when it comes to telling Aunt Carol you still don’t want to be set up with her neighbor’s ex-stepson.

Now, Melissa Croce gives you the tips, tricks, and sage advice you need to graciously endure all of the cringe-worthy scenarios your single self may dread, from awkward small talk with an ex to navigating well-meaning but insensitive relatives. And it helps you truly flourish in your singledom, offering activities like quizzes aimed at helping you find a new hobby and tarot spreads for that cozy Saturday night in. Part real-world guide, part commiseration, and part celebration, Single and Forced to Mingle will steer you through the ups and downs of being single, reminding you just how good it feels to be free.

You can purchase Single and Forced to Mingle at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MELISSA CROCE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Single and Forced to Mingle by Melissa Croce.