about wendy

How did your family and friends react to your scathingly honest memoir?

My sisters were a little nervous about how my dad might feel, but I think the book ultimately helped open up new lines of communication in my family. Overall the people in my life that love me are proud and supportive, and some of the guys that I had good relationships with are even a little miffed that I didn’t write about them. (Interesting to note that even good romantic relationships sometimes have to end.)

Why did you write this book?

I had always felt like a fictional character in my own life until I was able to examine some of my more painful experiences on the page, and the end result for me was one of becoming real—to myself. Writing this book was about connecting with myself—past and present—by being as honest as possible, and finding meaning and purpose in that.

Was it difficult or frightening to take such a hard look at yourself and expose all your personal demons to the world?

People often say that writing a book is like giving birth, and in this case it was like having Rosemary’s baby…I had to get it out of me! It was a very personal exorcism, played out in a public forum. The process was emotionally difficult because I was living and re-living what I was writing about, and I encountered a lot of fear and resistance every day when I sat down to write, but I just kept going. I’ve been susceptible to so many social and emotional diseases like perfectionism, anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism, and codependency and I know that many women who struggle with these same issues suffer in silence because of the shame associated with these conditions. My hope in exposing myself in such a public manner is that my experience and recovery in these areas can benefit others.  Be forewarned, I often use humor to deflect my feelings, so must love puns!

When your book hits the stands, are you prepared for any calls you’ll get from your ex-boyfriends who may think they recognize themselves in your book?

I can’t wait! I have an apology to make to one of them, and another one owes me $100,000.

Has the experience of writing this book finally closed the doors to “Wendy’s catch and release program” of serial mating?

Yes, I’m officially letting myself off the hook.

How do people react to the title of your book?

I can tell a lot about someone by their reaction, like whether they have a sense of humor or how linear they are. Women always get that it’s a play on words that says losing yourself in a relationship and the danger involved in that. Men often look at me blankly before relaying a news story about someone somewhere who wasn’t paying attention and literally fell into a manhole and was injured.

So you see women as the primary audience for your book?

Yes. I highly discourage men from reading this. It could be dangerous, like taking your girlfriend’s birth control pills. There’s no telling what might happen.

Now that you’ve been through the catharsis of writing FALLING INTO MANHOLES, can you describe the kind of man you hope to find?

A brave one! But to crib from Gloria Steinem, and as cliché as this may sound, I’m more focused on becoming the man I always wanted to marry. Ultimately I want to be loved for who I am, not for what I can do for somebody, and that means I have to truly be who I am. Right now that means practicing radical self-acceptance and living my life already. Although, after not dating at all for a year, I’ve recently made myself available for on-line dating, and went on a month long date-a-thon, sort of like a pop-quiz with myself to check in with what kind of relationship I’m looking for now. So far the data is incomplete.

Do you think that someone reading this book will know the real Wendy?

Certainly they will become familiar with one aspect of my life, but this book by no means tells the whole story of me.

Do you think of yourself as the voice of “everywoman?”

Maybe every-other-woman. I think there is a good girl/bad girl paradox in every woman, and that being at odds with oneself is very human, so in that respect, yes.

What’s next for Wendy Merrill?

I have an idea brewing for my next book, and rest assured, it’s not Falling into Manholes 2!