In conversation with Melina Morry
IN CONVERSATION WITH
It's early Friday evening when I connect with author Melina Morry over email. After a manic week of research, interviews, book reviews, and never ending deadlines, I'm ready to crawl into bed for forty-eight hours. I've finally reached inbox zero when I see her name pop up. Curiousity, as it always does, gets the better of me.
"The Manhattan Mishap Novel," states the subject line. Well, anything about New York City is usually enough to get my attention. So, I feed the pets, warm up a coffee in the microwave, and sit down to read about Melina and her debut.
While reading about the author, something sparks within me. I'm reminded of myself, my drive, ambition, and passion. I email her back, "Melina, this is going to sound crazy, but reading your bio, I feel like you're me—but in female form!"
I felt a sudden closeness to Morry — a desire to call her up and discuss the latest issue of Vogue, see what she thinks about Edward Enninful's forthcoming memoir or SJP's publishing imprint. I’m also inspired by her accomplishments. Not only is she a published author, but she's contributed to many leading publications over the years. Melina's also working on not one other book —but four!
With so much to talk about, I decided the best place to do so would be here on AD, where I host so many wonderful women in publishing. Melina and I talked about her debut, what inspires her most, her thoughts on the recent Condé Union, and five things she can't live without.
We're both writers, we love fashion and rom-coms, and we're obsessed with New York City. It seems we both have this inner drive and ambition we can't tame. Who or what inspires you to do what you do?
I love that! Isn’t it the best when you find like-minded people? Especially those with drive and ambition. As for who inspires me… I’d have to say my future self. Is that conceited? My motto is always “do things your future self will thank you for.”
To me, looking back at how far I’ve come is the most inspiring way to reach my goals. The me of five years ago was only dreaming of where I’d be now. And I’m proud of my accomplishments. That’s what keeps me doing what I do.
You published your debut novel, The Manhattan Mishap, at the end of last year. How does it feel to see your book in the wild?
It’s surreal. Sometimes I still can’t believe that people other than my close friends and family are going to read it. After working on it for years, it feels incredible — like diving into the ocean on a scorching day or savouring a bite of your favourite dessert — to see my work in physical form and not just on a Google doc on my phone!
The book follows Margot Moss, a confident woman who isn't afraid to go after what she wants. Was she based on anyone in particular?
Well, they say “write what you know” and who do I know better than myself? Margot isn’t me, but she definitely takes some cues from my life. When I was creating her, I would often think about how I’d react in certain situations and go from there. Although I will admit… some of her more embarrassing moments have happened to me in real life!
On the subject of fashion and writing, what do you think of the recent Condé Nast Union movement?
I think it’s a good thing! I’ve seen a lot of Vogue employees on Twitter posting positively about it. Better pay and rights is always a bonus. And when it’s at a company you love, it’s even more fabulous. I was never employed by a print magazine full-time — although it was always a dream of mine — but I know from freelancing that the conditions aren’t always the best. You have to really love what you do.
You have one book out, and at least four more on the way. How do you manage it all? Do you have any recommendations for writers in terms of software and tips for managing multiple projects at once?
This massive surge of ambition really hit me when the pandemic started. I was laid off from my job, had a lot of free time on my hands, and felt the urge to get as much writing done as possible.
I’d been working on The Manhattan Mishap for many years prior, but the other books I started writing all came about more recently. Even when I started working at my full-time job again, I was writing in the mornings, evenings, and on the weekends. (And on my lunch break, on the subway, everywhere.)
I started using Milanote to map out the stories and found it super helpful to see all the plot points and dramatic situations laid out in front of me. Otherwise, Google Docs is where it’s at. I do all my writing there so that no matter what device I’m using I can quickly jot down a saucy idea.
Something else I do is have a separate document going for deleted text. That way I can remove things from the story without feeling any type of way about it because it’s always there if I want to revisit it.
What are five things you can't live without?
My gallon water bottle, my phone, a good R&B playlist, Glossier Boy Brow, and sushi.
Lastly, tell me your favourite character from a rom-com and why they resonated with you.
If we’re talking about movie rom-coms, then I love Elle Woods. She is fierce and iconic. What resonates with me the most is that she went and did something that no one thought she could, and she killed it. For me, when someone tells me that I can’t do something it makes me want to work even harder to prove them wrong!
But if we are talking about book rom-coms, I adore Emma Corrigan from Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella. She’s so funny, and I love how she spills all of her most embarrassing secrets to a complete stranger on a plane — and then ends up running into him again! What are the odds? Something similar happened to me on my way home from California one time… I ended up running into the woman I sat beside when out for a hike in Victoria! Small world.