The top marriage counselor in NYC falls for her biggest rival as well as the patient they’re both helping. A romantic rectangle. BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE in tone.
I was recently approached by Jeffrey Hirschberg about his upcoming novel ‘Completely Incomplete‘. Jeffrey was looking to build up the hype surrounding his debut and asked if I could give the first couple of chapters a read and to then give my opinion on them. I’ll be honest in saying I’m not a massive fan of contemporaries… however I will delve into one from time to time, they especially pull me into them if they have more of a humorous tone. Which.. so far ‘Completely Incomplete‘ most certainly has a strong element of!
The book surrounds 4 main characters, Jessica, Ken, Ryan and Gina. Jessica and Ken are both marriage counselors who have very different approaches to the way they treat their clients… and now two of their clients are Ryan and Gina. The unhappy couple are hanging together by a thread and finally manage to agree on getting a counselor… the only issue is that they can’t decide which one.
So far this book comes across as primarily humorous whilst also having those more deep-seated issues present in a more underlying tone. I can already tell its going to be an emotional roller coaster, a huge battle of wills and I suspect a couple of life changing choices.
Jeffrey was kind enough to answer a couple of questions surrounding his novel and influences;
1) What initially inspired you to write ‘Completely Incomplete’?
Ever since I studied developmental psychology at Cornell University and earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, I’ve been intrigued by human behavior and personality disorders. Some would say my interest in this subject should have motivated me to seek out therapy. Instead, it inspired me to become a writer. Previously, I wrote a full-length screenplay entitled COMPLETELY INCOMPLETE and decided to adapt the script into a novel.
This is the first book in a trilogy starring JESSICA, KEN, RYAN, and GINA.
2) Are any of the characters based off of anybody in your life?
The JESSICA and KEN characters (the two therapists) and the couple they are treating (RYAN and GINA), are loosely based on a mashup of professors I had at Cornell, executives I worked with on Wall Street in New York City, and friends of mine in the entertainment industry.
3) Who is your favourite of the characters introduced (so far)?
4) Who are your greatest writing influences?
My novelist influences include: Helen Fielding (The BRIDGET JONES books), Lauren Weisberger (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) and Jonathan Tropper (THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO).
My writer-director influences include: James L. Brooks (BROADCAST NEWS, AS GOOD AS IT GETS), Nancy Meyers (SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE), Mike Nichols (THE GRADUATE, WORKING GIRL), and Billy Wilder (THE APARTMENT, SOME LIKE IT HOT).
5) What makes ‘Completely Incomplete’ different from other novels?
While the story is essentially a romantic comedy, I think I have created a sense of realism re: the characters and their predicaments. Prior to writing the book, I worked with a successful therapist / marriage counselor in New York City to better understand how she approaches couple’s therapy. She provided me with great insights as to how she approaches working with couples and the challenges they all face.
6) And finally… if you had only one sentence in order to convince someone to read your novel, what would that sentence be?
If you want to read a fast-paced, funny, insightful, and romantic novel following four characters yearning for balance in their lives, take a look at COMPLETELY INCOMPLETE.
Hope you enjoyed this mini Q&A… it’s always interesting to see how author’s differ from one another in terms of their style, influences and writing process. A big thank you to Jeffrey to approaching me on his book and for agreeing to answer my questions. If there’s anything else you guys want me to ask Jeffrey then feel free to comment below.