February 2012


Carol Snow is the author of novels including Been There, Done That; Just Like Me, Only Better; and What Came First. She also writes young adult books, has a degree in psychology and lives in southern California with her husband and two children. (Interview by Annmarie Ottman)

Return to interview list

  1. 1. What inspired you to write What Came First?

    A few years ago, I read about sperm donor half-siblings who found each other via online registries. The basic premise intrigued me but I didn’t have any specific plot ideas. Still, the idea stayed in the back of my brain until I came up with something that would move the narrative forward: a single mother decides to track down her son’s sperm donor so she can give her child a full sibling. I thought about how her search would touch other people’s lives, and the story took off from there.

  2. 2. What Came First has two mothers, Wendy and Laura, with very different parenting styles. As a mother, do you see yourself more in either character?

    Wendy is me on a bad-mommy day; Laura is me on a good-mommy day. Wendy was a lot easier – and more fun – to write. Not sure what that says about my parenting skills!

  3. 3. Which of your books is your personal favourite?

    Probably Here Today, Gone to Maui, if only because it required a fact-checking trip to Hawaii. Yes, a luau can be tax-deductible.

  4. 4. Just Like Me, Only Better is about a single mom who because of her resemblance to a young Hollywood star is offered a job as the starlet’s double. If you could be a double to anyone, who would it be?

    Forget all those pop stars and movie stars. I’d pick Kate Middleton. She gets to travel all over the world with an endless array of gorgeous clothes, everybody loves her, and she almost never has to talk.

  5. 5. In Been There, Done That, the main character has a opportunity to go back to school and do it all over again. What would you look forward to the most and what would you dread the most?

    I’d enjoy the freedom from any real responsibility but the lack of privacy would drive me nuts.

  6. 6. Have you ever considered writing a sequel to any of your novels?

    Readers often ask me to write sequels to my books, and while I’m flattered that they want to keep reading, most of my stories feel done to me: the character’s main conflict has been resolved and she’s ready to move on; anything additional would feel tacked-on and anti-climactic. The one exception is Switch, my young adult novel about a body switcher. Different bodies mean endless plot possibilities.

  7. 7. How did you get your first break as a writer?

    Ten years after amassing a filing cabinet full of short story rejections and one abandoned novel, I started writing what became Been There, Done That. Five years after that, I finished the book, and the first agent who read the manuscript agreed to represent me and ultimately sold it in a two-book deal to Berkley/Penguin. I’m not sure that counts as a break. “A break” sounds quick and easy, and it wasn’t.

  8. 8. What are you reading right now?

    I just started Dream School, my friend Blake Nelson’s sequel to his classic coming-of-age novel, Girl. I don’t know how a straight adult man can write so convincingly in a teen girl’s voice, but Blake really pulls it off.

  9. 9. Who are your favourite chick lit authors?

    These don’t exactly count as chick lit, but they are smart and topical and funny, so let’s count them in: Sue Grafton, Susan Isaacs, and Elinor Lipman.

  10. 10. Tell us about your next novel.

    Right now I’m finishing up a young adult manuscript. Bubbleworld is about a popular, pretty, and pampered girl named Freesia whose life seems too good to be true – because it is.

  11. 11. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

    Live your life! That’s where all the best material comes from – plus, it’s not healthy to stay in your head all the time.

  12. 12. Did you make a New Year’s resolution?

    I resolved to cook dinner from scratch more often and to stop snacking so much when I work. Um . . . I’ve still got eleven months to work on it, right?

Back to top