Deborah Michel

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Deborah Michel

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Deborah Michel Why she's fit to wear the Lit IT Girl crown: Her writing is sharp, witty and genuine.

Her debut: Prosper in Love

The dealio on it: From the start, Lynn and Jamie Prosper were one of those couples that seem meant to be--so content with each other that they barely notice the rest of the world nodding approvingly at their wedded bliss.

True, Jamie has been working so hard and traveling so much as a young lawyer that he hardly has enough energy to show his devotion. Not that Lynn, a junior museum curator, has any reason to question it. But when Lynn's old college friend turns up at a cocktail party, chinks in their marriage's previously unassailable armor start to show.

Teaser: Read an excerpt of Prosper in Love

Our thoughts: She more than nailed this novel about and the complexities of marriage. She's definitely an author to put not only on your radar but on your bookshelf.

Fun fact: Deborah says Prosper in Love was inspired in part by her own marriage.

Giveaway: 5 copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, May 7 after 6pm EST.

How to find Deborah: Her website and Facebook.


1. How many agents did you query before you found “the one”? I have two different answers to this question. The first is probably forty from start to finish. I have a card catalog with all their names and info, but it’s too painful, even now, to count them up. My other answer, though, is just a few, and I can maybe even say one. I sent out my novel out to lots of agents over YEARS in a series of drafts. I had some very nice nibbles and even a long, drawn out bite. But no cigar. I thought long and hard about what I’d written and ultimately decided that everything I wanted to be in the book wasn’t quite there, so I buckled down to one last draft. Once I was done, I felt that I’d finally nailed the story, that even if it didn’t sell this time, I could finally put it away knowing I’d written the best possible version of it I could. I sent it out to three new agents—and they all responded enthusiastically. My (wonderful!) agent today happens to be the first one who—almost immediately—got back to me.

2. What’s a line from your “favorite” rejection letter? This wasn’t exactly from a rejection letter, but one editor told my agent she simply couldn’t find the marital mishaps of a young couple compelling—that they’d only been married two and a half years, so who cared?.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Definitely forcing myself through all those drafts. The trying, the waiting, the trying again, the waiting. I’d heard writers talk about the dozens of drafts they’d go through, but I never quite understood what that meant, or believed it. Of course, now I know to go through those drafts before I sent out the book!

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best, and really only advice, was not to give up. Again and again I heard published authors say that they’d be in writing groups and the best writer in the group wasn’t always the one who made it, it was the one who persevered. The other best advice was to read everything (or as much as you can manage) out loud. That’s priceless. Bad advice? None really, although my father-in-law did once comment that he thought a person should be able to knock out a book in 4 months or so.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Quite a bit jumping around my kitchen, squealing. And I was taken out for a great dinner by my family. We’re not counting new shoes, are we?

6. Who is your writer crush? Living or dead? I am a diehard Anthony Trollope fan. You’ll see what I mean if you read PROSPER IN LOVE. Living, I’d say Helen Simonson. When I read MAJOR PETTIGREW’S STAND I felt so happy and envious. That’s the company I’d love to be in. But I know that in a minute or two I’m going to think of twenty other crushes.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? This is going to sound so pretentious, but Proust’s IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME. Can I count all the volumes as one book? But it’s not all high-minded seriousness—that man could write a party scenes!

8. What’s on your iPod right now? This is another question I’m embarrassed to answer. I don’t listen to much music, never when I’m writing. But I’ve been thinking about a novel set in the 80s—I was a nightlife columnist in New York back then—so I just downloaded a lot of Chaka Khan, Rick James, Roxy Music. It’s that and Mahler. I’m a nerd.

9. What’s your #1 stress reliever?  Pilates. I tell people (my husband!) it’s to counterbalance all that slumping over a computer. But the real reason is that my instructor often ends the session with a 10 minute foot massage.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Alan Cummings on THE GOOD WIFE. Or wait, can he share the bullseye with Chris Noth?

Thanks, Deborah!