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Take Five: Liz Michalski and DARLING GIRL

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TAKE-FIVE-Liz.jpeg?resize=860%2C484&ssl=We are thrilled to bring you an in-depth look at Writer Unboxed contributor Liz Michalski’s second (and very high concept) novel today: DARLING GIRL! In a nutshell? Darling Girl is a modern-day re-casting of Peter Pan. He isn’t who we thought he was. He isn’t charming. He can get older. And the stakes couldn’t be higher for the women in the Darling family.

Just this past week we learned that DARLING GIRL was chosen as one of this month’s picks for the Book of the Month Club!  DARLING GIRL is climbing the charts pre-release. And there is more exciting news that can’t be shared yet (darn it). Just know that this little book that could is one to watch!

“This addictive tale about a mother’s desperation and grief, ethical dilemmas, and the price of agelessness offers the emotional heft of Jodi Picoult’s issue-driven fiction, sprinkled with a dash of pixie dust. Readers will be (dare we say it?) hooked.”

Of course you want to learn more, so let’s get to it!

Q: What is the premise of your new book?

LM: DARLING GIRL is a dark reimagining of Peter Pan, set in modern day, and looks at the original story from the point of view of the Darling family women.

Q: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

LM: Although Peter Pan is the hook, if you will, of the story, it’s also about motherhood and aging and growing up — how hard it is to let go of the people that you love, even when it’s the best thing for them.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenges do you set before them?

LM: A lot of what my characters have to face comes from within — letting go of the way they think things should be, or the way they deserve things to be, and dealing with the reality that’s in front of them. My main character, Holly Darling, has to deal with making really big decisions at a time when none of her choices are good ones, and balancing the needs of multiple people who depend on her, and then living with the consequences of those decisions.

“Michalski’s well-constructed second novel extends the world of Peter Pan into a fascinating contemporary drama which dives deeply into themes of aging, generational trauma, and the things parents are willing to do for—or to—their children…This dark, magical tale is sure to win fans”
—Publishers Weekly

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

LM: The biggest struggle for me was figuring out what I was writing about. I started off with a novel about Peter Pan, and the idea that the story everyone knows about him might not be the true one. It took me a while to realize that I was actually using the book to deal with my feelings about my children growing up and all of us getting older and what that meant.

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

LM: I love writing, and have done it all my life. There’s something magical about creating a story out of nothing and seeing it become real on the page. I’d write — and have written — knowing that no one else would ever see my words. But there’s something really satisfying about having this book picked up for publication, after such a long gap between this and my first book.  There were many times I was ready to give up, and only sheer stubbornness kept me going.

And the flip side to that is, I didn’t do it alone. I had great friends in the Writer Unboxed community who believed in me and told me to keep trying. I have fabulous beta readers and agents who worked with me to make the book better, and an amazing publishing team who pushed to get DARLING GIRL out there. Knowing I have so many people rooting for me is such an incredible feeling, and I’m so grateful.

Learn more about DARLING GIRL on Liz’s beautiful website, and by following her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Preview DARLING GIRL just below, or pre-order.

Congratulations, Liz! 



Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, and join our thriving Facebook community.

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