Thursday, January 12, 2012

Do Looks Matter? With Morgan Mandel

Today I welcome author Morgan Mandel! 

Do looks matter? Even asking such a question seems superficial. Still, in today’s society, though I hate to admit it, looks do play an important role. If you want to look normal, you need to look and dress the part. If you’re going for an interview, you’d wear clothes appropriate to the position to make a good impression, and not what you’d wear shopping at the local grocery store. (Unless you’re more fastidious than I am when you buy food.)

In the everyday world, if you see an unshaven dude with greasy hair and dirty clothes walking down the street, would you steer clear of him, thinking the worse, though you know many criminals look like perfectly groomed citizens?

Would you roll your eyes if you saw a chick with overdone, painted on makeup, scant or skintight clothes? She sure seems an easy mark, doesn’t she?

What if, the guy you’d normally steer clear of on the street turns out to be a decent, hard working man, who works two jobs just to get by and barely has enough time or energy to get from one of them to the other?

What if the chick who looked so easy actually has no idea of the image she projects and is merely copying her favorite rock star’s style, or, perhaps is overcompensating due to an inferiority complex because of some horrible happening or person that shaped her life?

The advantage of books is that authors can sprinkle in clues which peel off the facades of their characters, affording glimpses at what hides beneath. Once readers see past the obvious, the marvelous miracle of character bonding can take place.

In Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, Dorrie, the main character, reverts from 55 to 24, and gets a taste of what it’s like to be admired for her looks. When something happens to threaten them, she’s depressed, realizing her values have changed and not for the better. Another character, which I’ve dubbed the Angel Man because of his flowing blond hair and angelic blue eyes, values his appearance over everything in life, so much so that he feels superior to others less fortunate.

Looks are certainly important to both of them, too much so. To learn more about Dorrie, Roman, and what events led to their views on looks, this book is available at Amazon or Smashwords, also on Nook this week, or next. Can you share an instance where a person’s looks have fooled you? Or, maybe something from a book where the author uses looks to portray a character’s flaws or good points? Or any other instance where looks seem important?

Morgan Mandel

Along with writing mysteries, thrillers, and romances, Morgan Mandel loves to blog and network. You’ll often find her on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites, as well as at various e-groups. Her previous books, still available, are Killer Career, Girl of My Dreams, and Two Wrongs, all on Kindle and Smashwords.
She’s a past president of Chicago-North RWA, past library liaison for Midwest MWA, belongs to Sisters in Crime and EPIC.
Her next project is a sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, called Blessing or Curse: A Forever Young Anthology. This book will describe what happens to other subjects who take the Forever Young pill.

Fresh beginnings turn tragic when Dorrie Donato’s husband, Larry, is killed in a hit and run accident a few months after starting a new job at the Life is for Living Institute. Discouraged and desperate after suffering countless setbacks, Dorie accepts an offer by Larry’s boss, the famous Angel Man, to be the first to test an experimental pill designed to spin its user back to a desired age and hold there, yet still retain all previous memories. The pill seems too good to be true. Maybe it is.

Thank you, Morgan, and good luck with your new book!

Please feel free to leave questions here for Morgan.


Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for the good wishes and for letting me visit your blog today, Diane!

Morgan Mandel

Matthew MacNish said...

Sounds like an interesting concept!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looks certainly do matter, although I've never figured out why beautiful women tend to pair with ugly men. What's up with that?

Morgan Mandel said...

Matthew, I'm glad you like the concept.

Alex, I have a few theories about your question. I think some beautiful women are insecure and actually don't consider themselves beautiful. Then there are other beautiful women who want to be the center of attention and don't want the partner competing in the looks department. Another set of beautiful woman actually look past the exterior and love the guy for what he is.

I'm not sure what the ratios are for their decision.

Morgan Mandel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Delighted to host you today, Morgan!

Stephanie said...

Hi Morgan I love the concept of "Forever Young". It's on my TBR pile.
I think young women don't appreciate how beautiful they are (I can say that now that I'm not-so-young).
Great topic!

Morgan Mandel said...

True. It's easy to feel insecure when you're young and not appreciate what you have when you have it!

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

I have never been a magnet for the fairer sex, nor have I ever had to worry about stealing someone's thunder. I had some anxiety while I worked through this period when I was much younger.

Maturity is the elixir that soothes many silly ills like this. I still don't turn heads, still don't have anyone fawning about me . . . but I truly am okay with that. I have long since learned and now profoundly appreciate the more brilliant beauty that comes from intelligence.

Looks matter only to those for who care for the temporary and superficial—the rest of us enjoy the greater reward.

Morgan Mandel said...

Some people never mature. Therein lies the problem. A few celebrities come to mind, but I won't name them.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

Looks are a funny thing. Amazing how some people take this to the extreme that it forms a serious identity problem. I can see how this will make an excellent premise for a story. Good luck to you Morgan!

Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, some people do carry their feelings for looks to the extreme where it becomes dangerous.

Morgan Mandel

Arlee Bird said...

Looks can be deceptive. On a side note, sometimes book covers and titles can deceive as well. What is pictured on the cover and the title can make you think a book is going to be about something else and disappoint the reader later or vice versa.

You can't necessarily judge a book by it's cover or a person by the way they look.

Have you heard about the A to Z Video Challenge?
Blogging from A to Z

Morgan Mandel said...

Very true. You can't always judge a book by its cover. Some are very misleading.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

BREAKING NEWS - Forever Young: Blessing or Curse has finally made it to Nook!

It took a while, probably because the holidays slowed it down.

Morgan Mandel

Unknown said...

Morgan--good topic for thought. Yes, I have been fooled--a new friend, my age, but looks way better than I do--she dresses high style, make-up and hair always impeccable and very up-to-date with nary a gray hair showing. She's on boards, and runs a construction company, and now is involved with a local woman running for congress.
But she meets with our little writing group--she's dsylexic, she's insecure, she's a very warm person, a dedicated Christian who actually studies the Bible,very generous....she wouldn't be my friend if I didn't like her.

Barbara Weitz said...

I think initially looks do matter. They are what attract us to each other. However, now that I'm um "older", I believe I'd give someone much more of a chance based on their personality.

I've read most of your book and you've certainly got your heroine in a pickle. I'll be very interested to see how she handles all you've thrown at her along with her young body. I've really enjoyed that aspect of the story.

Good luck with your book.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I'm often surprised by the looks of successful cinemotographers and screen writers. In interviews they are usually in khaki pants, t-shirts with logos, and baseball caps. Although I am all for dress for success, I do like it when one is comfortable enough in own skin to wear what feels best. The book looks very interesting!

Morgan Mandel said...

I must admit I'm guilty of believing in first impressions. It's not always the person's looks, but certain vibrations that clue me in. I try not to let that influence me, but often I discover later on my first impressions were correct.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm glad you're enjoying Forever Young: Blessing or Curse so far, Barbara. I hope the rest lives up to your expectations.

About what famous people wear these days - Society does seem more lax about clothes boundaries than before. For example, jeans are acceptable at most any place, although there are exceptions.

Morgan Mandel

Southpaw said...

That's is the best thing about books. We get go deep into the psyche of different characters.

Southpaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morgan Mandel said...

Very true. I love becoming my character!

Morgan Mandel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you everyone who has stopped by to chat with Morgan.

Karen Lange said...

Diane, thanks for the introduction to Morgan! Her book sounds interesting.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Morgan,

I've been fooled by people before, but not too often. My first impression of people is often apt. Appearance is important to me personally in as much as I'd rather blend with the crowd. I don't want to make a grooming mistake and be the object of ridicule. Other than that, I've got friends, pretty and not-quite-cover girl material, and I like them the same.

Superficial people rub don't hold my interest. I'll listen or interact as required, but then I move on to doing something that is more than skin deep.

But I'm intrigued by your treatment of the topic in Forever Young, and I wish you well!


Mona Risk said...

Yes appearances count. Symptoms of depression include a neglected appearance. Depressed people don't feel like bathing or dressing. I grew up with a mother who insisted we should look our best out of respect to others.

Morgan Mandel said...

I used to wear makeup to work each day, but since I don't have a day job anymore, I don't bother with makeup at home, and my husband would think it strange if I did!

When I go out in public, I usually don't wear the same clothes I wear at home, but don't really dress up too much or put on makeup, unless when visiting friends or going out to dinner with them, or other such occasions.

Some women used to wear curlers shopping. I never did.

Morgan Mandel

Nicole Zoltack said...

People do make assumptions based on appearance, for good or for ill.

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like an intrguing book! THanks for the tip :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Appearance is so important in our impressions of people and it can be a great tool in books.
As a teacher I've learned not to judge by appearance though sometimes first impressions are correct.

Johanna Garth said...

sounds like an interesting book! Good luck Morgan!

Morgan Mandel said...

It appears many of us do fall prey to assumptions about first impressions. That's why in books it's so great that authors can delve deeper and explain why characters look the way they do.

Morgan Mandel

cd sutton said...

Hi Morgan. Congratulations. Although I hate to admit it at times, but you are right that looks do matter. Image plays a very important part in how others evaluate your competence. May you have much success with this book!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Mona, that is a great attitude.

Penelope Marzec said...

It is unfortunate that people make snap judgments about others based on their appearance--but they do and what a great idea for a story! Good luck with it. May you have many sales. :^)

LD Masterson said...

There is a disadvantage in life for the very attractive. They often place too much importance in something they can't help but lose someday.

Morgan Mandel said...

LD has a good point. No matter how your try, you can only do so much about it when time and gravity happen!

Thanks to those who are sending good wishes for book sales. I appreciate your encouragement.

Morgan Mandel

anthony stemke said...

I enjoyed reading this interesting post, thanks.

Talli Roland said...

Welcome to Morgan! I think looks do matter - or, at least, they influence us to think a certain way about someone.

Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, Looks do seem to matter, sometimes more than they should. What's inside is what counts, but sometimes it's easy to overlook that fact if the outside isn't what conforms to what we expect.

Morgan Mandel