Meredith Goldstein writes the Love Letters advice column for The Boston Globe. Her first novel is The Singles.
Q: Why did you decide to write a novel featuring single guests at a wedding?
A: I had been to dozens of weddings by myself and began to notice that there were a few archetypes among the single guests. There was always a distraught bridesmaid (sometimes me), an estranged relative (the “creepy uncle”), a guest who didn’t know anybody, and the irresponsible friend who sometimes didn’t even bother to show up. I wanted to write a book for these guests, who are often the life of the party, for better and worse.
Q: One of the main characters in your novel is a casting agent, and your novel has been optioned for film by Lime Orchard Productions. Do you have various actors in mind to play your characters, and if so, who?
A: My sister is a casting director, so that inspired my character’s job. Not surprisingly, my sister has plenty of opinions about who should play my Singles. I have my own thoughts, but I change my mind based on my crushes of the week. This week, I like Anna Kendrick for Hannah and Ben Affleck for Joe. Why not go A-list, right?
Q: Of the five "singles" in the novel, did you have a favorite character, or were you fond of all of them in different ways?
A: Hannah is loosely based on me, but my favorite character is Phil, the guy who doesn’t know anybody. He’s a security guard for the Orioles, and he’s a crazy creature of habit. He’s a slave to his routine, and even though he’s almost 40, he just can’t allow himself to become an adult. I sort of fell for him while writing him. And it was kind of a nice challenge to write about a guy who lives for sports. I had to learn a lot about gambling. It was surprisingly fun.
Q: Was writing an advice column something you always wanted to do, and how do you come up with your answers to readers' questions?
A: I really never thought I’d be writing an advice column, but it makes sense. Even as a kid I was the friend who helped people with their boy problems. I can process emotions all day. I love to paraphrase and analyze. I have no idea why.
Q: Are you writing another novel?
A: Yes. It’s about love. And Boston. And chemistry. Stay tuned.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I’ve been visiting book clubs with The Singles, and I always get asked: “Are any of your characters based on exes?” I tell them that yes, there are three exes in this book. And yes, they know they’re in there (and are still speaking to me, thank goodness).
--Interview with Deborah Kalb