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    • In this story, 25-year-old Allegra meets yogi Instagram influencer Skylar Smith who tries to help her find that elusive work-life balance. 

      BREATHE IN, CASH OUT is really about the struggle to balance self-care and your passions with your career. What does this look like, taken to extremes (when your job’s in banking, and your dream is yoga)?

    • I loved the push and pull dynamic between Allegra's passion for yoga and her driven determination to succeed in finance - at least, until she can succeed in yoga. I was able to interview another author here on Cake, Elizabeth Greenwood, about her book BECOMING A YOGA INSTRUCTOR.

      In it, she talked about how challenging it is to succeed as a professional yoga instructor and the laborious journey towards transforming a passion into a financially viable career. As someone who's done this firsthand, would you agree with that assessment? How did that inform your novel?

    • It’s hard to make a dream real - but it does happen!

      Yes, Elizabeth’s story resonates with me, and I can speak to turning writing into a career. I always wanted to be a writer, and I was very lucky to get great advice about that early on: think long-term. It takes a long time to write a book (or to become a successful yoga instructor). It
      took me years to write BREATHE IN, CASH OUT while I was working full-time in finance. Even after I got an agent at William Morris Endeavor, it was a year of revisions with her before we sold it to Simon & Schuster last summer. It’s only now coming out this week. So, the process of gaining momentum takes a while.

    • You really captured the highs and lows of Allegra's experience: from her moments of email-sending panic, to those late, LATE nights at the office. How do you think this book will resonate with readers, whether in finance or other driven fields?

    • You’re so right! Investment banking is definitely not the only demanding job. You can work crazy, investment banking hours at a law firm, or as a resident in a hospital, or in other lines of work. So, if you’re really investing in your career—or if your boss is getting at you—then these
      habits will be familiar.

    • On page 21, it was interesting the compare and contrast of Allegra's experience as a Millennial with her dad's as a Baby Boomer - "I'm up against his image of the brand from forty years ago," she says, referring to her father wanting her to stay at her prestigious company, Anderson Shaw. Do you see that changing role of the top-tier investment bank and its analysts as demographically-driven?

    • No, I actually think it has to do with competition from other jobs. When tech got cool, suddenly, more and more top students at target schools started to go to the West Coast. Silicon Valley was this new, disruptive place where  teenagers were billionaires and people wore jeans to work. Hedge funds got cool, too, where investors are able to work less and make multiples of what the top earn in banking. So, people have more options now.

    • Ha, I feel like Allegra’s angst was my own sometimes!

      I don’t do a lot of journal writing, but I find practicing yoga to be very cathartic. To me, there’s almost nothing better for relaxing than a forward fold. Our hamstrings get so abused in office life, where we’re always upright, usually cramped, and sitting with bad posture at a desk. To invert and get un-officed really hits the spot for me. 

    • The interconnection between yoga and Instagram is touched on often in the book. You yourself have a strong following of 31,000 on Instagram.

      How has Instagram been a part of your yoga journey personally, and did you take some inspiration from that for elements in BREATHE IN, CASH OUT?

    • My relationship with yoga started on Instagram. Just through browsing, I discovered this network of yogi Instagram influencers: they all follow each other and post pictures of themselves practicing yoga, pairing these with captions that impart spiritual wisdom. 

      I remember thinking the poses were so beautiful. These yogis were so graceful, feminine, impressive, and calm! They were able to contort their bodies in extremely difficult ways and still look at peace. I wanted to be able to do what they were doing. 

      So, I started to practice yoga on my own. Meanwhile, I was learning all of this yoga philosophy through captions, and I’ve taken so many of these mantras to heart. So, social media has been transformational for my yoga practice, and yes, it definitely inspired some parts of BREATHE IN,
      CASH OUT.

    • In this book, you truly are rooting for Allegra to succeed - so when she undertakes a no-food, no-caffeine fast during one of the most crucial times in her career, you're on the edge of your seat reading along. With the benefit of hindsight and healthy living, how would you suggest someone handle demands as intense as Allegra hypothetically faces in that section?

    • I’d say: You have to release control of the outcome. You can try your best, and you can work really hard, but you have to know that the result is out of your control. All you can control are the process and the inputs. Then, you have to let it be.

    • The book also includes a hearty dose of romantic tension - no spoilers but it's interesting that you set up a few potential leads for Allegra to be involved with. Who would your dream
      casting be in a movie for the role of Mark? What about Tripp?

    • Beyond the protagonists of BREATHE IN, CASH OUT, there are also antagonists, like Allegra's relentless and draconian VP Vivienne. However, we're allowed to get glimpses of Vivienne's humanity from time to time. Was it a deliberate choice to add that dimensionality to these not-always-likeable-but-always-human characters?

    • I think it’s inevitable that the humanity comes out when you work on your characters for as long as I did! Yes, these people are fictional, but they feel very real to me.

    • So much! I’m writing the pilot of BREATHE IN, CASH OUT for TV, and I just sold my second novel to the same team at Simon & Schuster earlier this month. My second book is a love story, and we hope for that to be out next year.

    • It's important to give and receive love if you want to be happy.