Today we welcome Elise K. Ackers as she interviews Cora Pedersen, the female protagonist from her book, The Man Plan. But first, here’s a little about the book:
Cora is ‘over’ being alone. She has no family, all her friends are couples, and she can’t stand the thought of spending Christmas by herself. Determined to change her life, Cora hatches a plan to find The One.
Just as she decides her strategy, she meets Matt, her downstairs neighbor. They become unlikely friends, with Matt an amused bystander as Cora tries various methods to change her life.
Then something unexpected happens. Matt, who spends his life avoiding commitment, begins to feel jealous of the men Cora is dating and his resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. Meanwhile, Cora is finding herself increasingly attracted to Matt. It’s shame he has the emotional capacity of a teaspoon, because in every other way he’s perfect for her.
If only the boy next door… No, that’s a dangerous thought.
Elise: Cora, tell me about this ‘Man Plan’, and how the whole idea came about.
Cora: The ‘Man Plan’ is my neighbor Matt’s rather facetious name for how I’m planning to change my life. I recently lost my father. He was all the family I had and we were friends, too, so we spent a lot of time together. I guess you could say I relied on him for a lot of things, and now that he’s gone, I feel… lonely. It was my birthday the other week and the day was nothing special. Or more to the point, I’m not someone special to anyone anymore, so the day passed without ceremony. My dad and I always celebrated birthdays – and milestones and Christmases. But now it’s just me.
I was pretty crushed – it was a crap day. But then I kind of shook myself off and thought, ‘I refuse to feel like this anymore’. I have the power and the will to change my life, so that’s what I’m doing.
I’m putting myself out there, I’m taking risks and I’m going to find myself a man. Then I’m going to build myself a family – because we as people aren’t meant to be alone. We’re social creatures. I have all this love inside of me and all these needs, and I’m a good person. I want to be someone’s priority. I want to matter to someone. I want my phone to ring!
My ‘Man Plan’ is really just about creatable situations. I see them in movies all the time, and I read a lot of romance books: boy meets girl on a train, boy meets girl at the pub or at friend’s barbeque. The only problem is: none of that’s working for me! So rather than waiting for fate to get its act together and come to my rescue, I’m bringing the opportunities to me.
I’m using tried and tested methods of meeting and connecting with men, and with a little bit of luck, I’ll find The One.
Elise: Do you need a man to complete you?
Cora: I’ve been asked that a couple of times and the short answer is no. I’m not waiting for my knight in shining armor to make everything better; I’m taking control of my life and taking the necessary steps towards a different future – a far less lonely one.
I’m a traditional kind of woman, I want to meet a guy, fall in love, get married and have kids together. Then I’ll have a family. A fantastic little unit of love and support that’s all mine.
It sounds like I’m on a man hunt because Matt coined the phrase ‘Man Plan’, but it’s more like a plan to belong to something bigger than myself. I’m an orphan and I don’t have brothers or sisters, so if I want a family I’m going to have to make myself one.
I don’t need a man to complete me so much as I need one to be by my side, ready to start something wonderful with me.
Elise: What are some of the creatable situations that you’ve tried, and how successful were they?
Cora: If you think about some of your favorite romance movies or books, and you think about how the two lovers met, there are a lot of ‘meet cutes’ that could happen in real life. There’s the odd runaway stage coach and undercover detective scenario, or any number of other extraordinary circumstances which are unlikely to happen to the everyday woman, but there are some situations which are far more accessible to people like you and me.
There’s the damsel in distress bit. I’ve given the flat tire thing a go and you’d be happy to know how many good Samaritans there are out there. I’ve also tried to meet someone at a set of traffic lights, but that’s a long story! Matt was not impressed, it’s quite funny now, looking back.
I got a lot of advice from friends and co-workers and listened to their stories about how they met their partners. I’ve certainly done my research. I figure if it worked for them, maybe it’ll work for me.
But I think it comes down to exposure. At the moment I’m going out a lot and trying new place. I’m giving myself every opportunity to be seen and approached, and so far I’ve had a lot of nice conversations with all kinds of men.
In regards to success… well, I’m still single. But ask me again just before Christmas and hopefully I’ll have a different answer!
Elise: You’ve mentioned your neighbor Matt a few times. Is he single and is he in your sights?
Cora: Matt is single, but he doesn’t really fit the criteria. He’s got a lot of things going for him – he has a good job, I’m attracted to him and he’s got a sense of humor that keeps me on my toes, but he’s a little bit broken. Matt said it himself – he doesn’t know how to fall for a woman past a certain point. I look at him and I imagine a small crowd of devastated women in his wake – he’s got real heart breaker potential. But he’s not in my sights because I need so much more than a limited relationship.
Matt’s becoming a good friend, though. Having him live so close has its benefits, and whilst he may not understand what I’m doing with my time right now, he sympathizes with the cause. He rolls his eyes a lot, but I don’t mind. He’s adding levity to an otherwise lonely part of my life.
Elise: What’s next for you, Cora?
Cora: Golf. I drove past a course the other day and there wasn’t a woman my age in sight. I’m sure there’s got to be a least half a dozen single guys in their thirties who’ll help a lady hit out of a bunker. If golf fails, then I’ll try something else on my growing list of creatable situations. Something’s bound to work eventually!
Elise: Good luck on your search Cora, we hope you find The One.
Cora: Thanks, I’m keeping my eyes open!
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Elise K. Ackers writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels, and is published with Destiny Romance and Escape Publishing. She grew up on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef and in the shadows of the Blue Mountains, is a magnet for unusual accidents and has been writing since she was young. She lives in Melbourne, loves to travel and has a fascination with fairy lights.
What’s next for Elise? Following my December 2012 release of The Man Plan, my first Escape Publishing title was released in January 2013. It’s called Unforgettable and it’s a contemporary romance set on the construction site of a Melbourne cultural icon.
At the moment I’m writing the third in a novella series scheduled to be released this year. The first title, Ask Me To Stay, is being published by Destiny Romance in April 2013. It has a strong focus on family and second chances, it’s set in country New South Wales, Australia, and focuses on a tortured, secretive man with an undeserved reputation.