On Making a Dream Come True

by Belinda Munoz on June 14, 2010


Today, I’m mixing things up a bit.  Instead of offering you my words, I’d like to share with you the wonderful words of a bright and talented woman whom I *met* early in my blogging life.

She had a dream.  A big and beautiful dream.  And you know something?  She made her dream come true.

The dream?

To write and publish a novel (and a very good one that I heartily recommend).

The novel?

Life After Yes (HarperCollins/Avon May 18, 2010) is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O’Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream— featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn’t so clear. Quinn’s world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.

The novelist?

Aidan Donnelley Rowley.  Aidan started a blog after securing a book deal.  I stumbled on her blog in the early days when I furiously clicked on every link to connect with other bloggers.  Her prose had a singular style with an artistic flair that I enjoyed immediately.  In the coming months, the relevant topics that she examines and her engaging voice drew me in more and more until finally I was hooked.  She uses words like virtureal, pathetiquette and digital detox to enlighten and entertain while encouraging her readers to ponder the tough questions and to acknowledge those multi-layered emotions that too often go undiscussed.

A terrific writer and a super nice gal to boot, I’m delighted that Aidan took the time in her hectic schedule to share with us her thoughts on fact, fiction, the art of writing and work/life balance.

THP: Aidan, I’ve been following your blog for a while now.  I know that you are a Manhattan native with an Ivy League education (Yale and Columbia) who once practiced law and is currently a blogger, a wife, a mother to two little girls, and now a published novelist.  How do you define yourself?

ADR:  This question of self-definition continues to baffle me and fuel my writing. Even though I have now actually published a book, I have a hard time uttering the simple sentence, “I am a writer.” I have always chalked this inability up to insecurity, but now I am beginning to see my own confusion and my reluctance to streamline my identity as positive. I see myself as many things – a mother, a wife, a writer, a blogger, a lawyer, a philosopher – and I think this is okay. I think this is good. I think it is unfortunate that society urges us to focus our frame of self-reference so narrowly.

THP: What is writing to you?  How did you come to be a writer?

ADR: Writing is everything to me. Well, not everything. Family is that for me. But writing serves such a spectrum of purposes in my life. It helps me navigate my days, it helps me excavate my neurosis, it helps me tell my stories real and imagined. A day on which I write is always better than a day on which I don’t. I think I have always been a writer at heart, but I came to truly believe I am a writer on May 18, 2010, the day on which Life After Yes was published. Until I got that objective stamp from a publisher, until I saw my book on the shelves of a national bookstore, I did not dare consider myself a writer. I hate this. Intellectually I believe, and know, that all of us who write are writers, but owning this is a different matter entirely, isn’t it?

THP: With regard to the process of writing, how do you decide when your work is finished?  When do you hit “publish” or turn in your manuscript?

ADR: Great question. For me, nothing is ever finished. There is always more work to do. Thankfully, there is a bit of pragmatism lurking inside me and I am able to force my finger on that publish button and meet submission deadlines. Even though Life After Yes is technically “finished” and in final form, for me, the story is still alive and evolving in my head.

THP: On your blog, you talk about your love of metaphors.  In your book Life After Yes, you discuss clichés.  How do you view metaphors and clichés in relation to fiction writing, blogging and real life?

ADR: I think metaphors and clichés play important, if elusive, roles in writing, blogging, and real life. A good metaphor says so much and if we are lucky, we stumble upon one in our thoughts and in our words and in our lives. And clichés? As writers and people, we are advised to avoid them, but I am more forgiving, if not embracing, of platitudes. Not everything in life can be original and enlightening. Some stories, some blog posts, some days, will be riddled with clichés and that is okay in my estimation. That is life.

THP: As a playground philosopher (according to your twitter bio) and writer, tell us your thoughts on fact and fiction. What’s the deal?  Can we humans always tell one from the other?

ADR: Another wonderful question. I think that in life and in literature, fact and fiction will forever commingle. Life After Yes is a work of fiction, the arc of its story is the product of my imagination, but there are facts in there. Facts from my experience and my existence. This is unavoidable. I think we humans are unable to separate fact from fiction and I feel that this is what makes writing and life layered and interesting. All of this comes down to one simple question that is far from simple: What is truth? Anyone who thinks this question is answerable is missing something.

THP: Tell us your thoughts on work/life balance.  How do you juggle it all?

ADR: I’m not sure I believe in work/life balance and yet it is something I strive for on a daily basis. I know that when I throw myself into my writing and feel productive, I also feel as if I am neglecting my girls and my family. And vice versa. The resultant guilt is something I am trying to learn to live with. I do happen to like the juggling analogy though because isn’t this something we all do? We all try to keep those various existential balls in the air. But I am realizing that balls will drop and constantly and that, again, this is life.

THP: How do you like being a published author?  Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

ADR: Obviously, I like being a published author because this is a dream I’ve harbored for some time. But. (Yes, there’s always a but.) There are aspects of this identity and reality that are hard for me. Having a book out there in the world – for people to love or hate, embrace or ignore – is a very wonderful, but scary thing and depending on the moment, I feel quite victorious or quite vulnerable. I am very thankful to have a blog where I can talk through some of my anxiety and doubts and confusion. But, yes, it bears repeating: I am thrilled to be here and wouldn’t trade it for the world!

THP: Any advice to other writers?  To moms (and dads and everyone else) who want to have it all?

ADR: I am not a fan of dispensing wisdom, but if I had to say something, it would be small and simple and big and bold. And it would be the same for writers and mothers and all of us. My advice? Dream. Allow yourself to dream. As Carl Sandburg said, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”

THP: Thank you, Aidan!  I for one am looking forward to more books from you.


To learn more about Aidan, visit her blog at Ivy League Insecurities.

To order Life After Yes,visit Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Click over to Motherese for a book club discussion and a peek at what others are saying about Life After Yes.


Image courtesy of Aidan Donnelley Rowley.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Life After Yes, Chapters 23-33 « Motherese
June 14, 2010 at 4:28 am
Life After Yes Is a TARGET Breakout Book! | ivy league insecurities
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine LaRocque June 14, 2010 at 4:11 am

So fun to read this here! Finished Life After Yes last week and loved it. Full of fun and wisdom just like Aidan!

I love this: Not everything in life can be original and enlightening. Wise words for those of us who choose writing (whatever kind) as an outlet.


2 Aging Mommy June 14, 2010 at 6:49 am

Oh how wonderful to have written a book and to have it published. What a dream come true for any writer! Great questions and wise words for those who also want to follow this path.


3 Katie June 14, 2010 at 7:39 am

Wonderful interview Belinda and Aidan. I love how Aidan talks about juggling the work/life balance, living with the guilt and “realizing that balls will drop and constantly and that, again, this is life.” It’s a feeling so many of us can relate to as we try to carve out time to write. Great advice for writers, bloggers and for life. Thank you.


4 rob white June 14, 2010 at 9:14 am

This was great Belinda & Aidan. I love that Aidan is not content to be labeled a “writer” or labeled anything for that matter. What a great attitude. When you are free from labels you are free to continually create yourself anew. The Authentic You, which is unlimited cannot be labeled or defined. I am sure more breakthroughs are in store. Congratulations on the publishing success and thanks for sharing this interview.


5 Eva @ EvaEvolving June 14, 2010 at 9:40 am

So glad to see Aidan’s interview here! And I love the insights into her, her writing process, her life now as a published author. There are so many common themes between The Halfway Point and Ivy League Insecurities – you two are always on my daily menu for reflection and meaning.
My favorite comment from Aidan is about work/life balance. How it’s something she isn’t sure she believes in, but strives for every day. Very similar to your recent post, Belinda. And oh so true! We seek this elusive thing, that we might not even recognize if we caught it.


6 Jack June 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

I enjoyed this. Thank you.


7 Rudri June 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

Thanks Belinda. I love reading to Aidan’s answers to your insightful questions. I like how she labels herself not only as a writer, but a lawyer, blogger, mother, etc. The space she occupies is multi-faceted, much like all of us. Great interview. Loved it.


8 Kristen @ Motherese June 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

What a wonderful set of questions, Belinda. You are a natural interviewer! Thanks to both you and Aidan for enriching my perspective on her, Ivy League Insecurities, and Life After Yes!


9 Lauren June 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

How lovely. I’ve seen the book in bookstores.

I love the complexity of the author that comes through in the interview, and of course, the message to DREAM. A great reminder that nothing manifests in the physical realm until we first nurture and cultivate it in our minds and hearts.

Especially poignant were her words about not defining herself narrowly. We are so many things and in flux as we are in process of becoming always.

I really enjoyed your interview, Belinda, and hearing Aidan’s process and experiences.

Warm regards,


10 Wilma Ham June 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I can see why you like Aidan. She is a great mixture of being down to earth and dreaming big. I am not surprised she made her dream come true.
xox Wilma


11 nothingprofound June 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

A combination of wonderful questions and answers. Aidan sounds like she has her feet firmly planted on the ground as her head “trails a wake through the galaxy” of her imagination.


12 Baker June 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Hey Belinda,
This is a wonderful Q and A session. The overall theme and message to continue to dream those big dreams is a wonderful dose of inspiriation!


13 Tony Single June 16, 2010 at 5:45 am

Fantastic and informative interview, Belinda. You’ve made me want to read Aidan’s book now. No mean feat! :)


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