Today my guest is Jillian Medoff, author of the new book This Could Hurt. In this episode we chat about her history as a writer, having dual careers and how that has freed her to write what she wanted, the story behind This Could Hurt, and much more.
A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives—a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.
Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.
While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company’s bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his “work wife,” Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something—a romance, a promotion—to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places—that is, if his high-powered wife has her way.
Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant—Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning.
Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.
About Jillian Medoff:
THIS COULD HURT, a razor-sharp dissection of corporate culture, will be available in 2018. Set in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, Jillian Medoff’s fourth novel offers an insider’s look at the relationships among five HR colleagues facing professional and personal challenges.
Along with writing novels, Jillian has had a long career in management consulting. She’s worked for a wide range of employers, including Deloitte, Aon, Marsh & McLennan, Revlon, Max Factor and Medco, and is currently a Senior Consultant with a professional services firm, where she advises clients on how to communicate with employees during periods of organizational change.
The eldest daughter of a traveling salesman, Jillian moved 17 times by age 17, ending up in Atlanta. She has a BA from Barnard and an MFA from NYU, where she studied with such luminary writers as Mona Simpson, Jonathan Dee, Robert Coover and Alice Walker. She also attended Master Classes with Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and Grace Paley. A former fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Jillian has taught fiction writing at NYU and the University of Georgia. At present, she’s working on her next novel, a 21st century BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES.
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