Terry McMillan has done a lot of living since she last visited Book Expo—which, she notes, was called “the ABA” at the time. McMillan last visited the annual gathering of booksellers and publishers in 1992, when it was held at the convention center in Anaheim, Calif. Waiting to Exhale had just been released, and McMillan was one of the ABA’s Adult Author’s Breakfast speakers.
The entire publishing industry has done a lot of living since those days. So it somehow seems more than appropriate, given how booksellers, as well as publishers, have reconfigured themselves in the past quarter-century, that McMillan is back promoting her latest novel, I Almost Forgot About You (Crown, June). It’s the story of Dr. Georgia Young, a successful optometrist and mother who hits midlife and realizes that she’s bored with her life. She thus decides to do some self-reinventing, both professionally and personally, and that includes looking up some of the men from her past.
“It’s a love story, it’s a story about courage, and it’s a story about taking a risk in middle age,” McMillan says, noting that by the time many high-achieving women hit their 50s, they’re “bored” with their profession. Some want to try something new, while others are “afraid to admit” their boredom. Those are the women she is hoping to reach with this novel: she wants to inspire such women to switch things up.
Another inspiration for I Almost Forgot About You came to her when she was in her car at a crossing, waiting for the train to pass by. Van Morrison’s “Moondance” came on the radio, and McMillan started singing along. That led to her wondering who she’d been in love with in the late ’70s, after the song had been released as a single and was on every station’s daily set list. This, in turn, inspired her to conceptualize a story about a middle-aged woman who decides to look up past lovers, and to “make amends if it had turned out badly.” McMillan admits that she actually did this once herself. It did not end well; her ex stood her up. “I think he looked me up on Google and was a little intimidated,” she says with a laugh.
McMillan—who reports that she recorded the entire 355 pages of I Almost Forgot About You in 34 hours for PRH Audio, which meant five days of reading 70+ pages each—will appear this afternoon at the APA Author Tea, at 3:30 p.m.
This article appeared in the May 13, 2016 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.