Summer Reading: Mia March

When two of my close girlfriends recommended the novel, The Meryl Streep Movie Club, to me this summer, I knew I had to read it!   After contacting Mia March, I knew you would all find Mia charming and fascinating, too.  Please help me welcome the wonderful Mia March to my Summer Reading blog feature.

Mia, its so good to have you here with us.  I’m going to now hand the blog over to you!


How Meryl Streep, Nora Ephron, and an idea changed my life

Since my novel, The Meryl Streep Movie Club, was published a couple of months ago, I’ve shared the story behind its inspiration: how six years ago, while I was going through a divorce, I rented five Meryl Streep movies and my life ended up changing. Seriously. I’d spent a sad-sack weekend on my living room couch with tissues, popcorn, a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and had a Meryl marathon. I watched the breathtaking Out of Africa, the hilarious, poignant Defending Your Life, the beautiful Kramer Vs. Kramer, the sharp, touching Postcards from the Edge; and Heartburn, a favorite I hadn’t seen in a while. Brilliantly written by Nora Ephron and famously based on her second marriage and divorce, Heartburn made me laugh for the first time in months. Just when I needed to hear it, there was Meryl Streep’s character saying: “And the dream breaks into a million tiny little pieces. The dream dies. Which gives you a choice. You can stick with it, which is unbearable, or you can just go off and dream another dream.”

Dream another dream. Between those words and Carly Simon singing about coming around again, I got off the couch. Put the Ben & Jerry’s down. And went straight to my desk.

I wrote the words Chapter One and began the opening chapter of a novel about a fractured family of women, each going through a life crisis, who reunite at their family matriarch’s inn in Maine and find themselves unexpectedly bonding through “Movie Night” in the parlor—via the surprising and heartfelt discussions raised as they watch Meryl Streep movies together. I wrote and wrote and wrote, reminded of another time, years earlier, when I watched The Bridges of Madison County with my mother and grandmother during a rocky Thanksgiving when no one was getting along, and the discussion afterward, of Meryl Streep’s character’s choice, choices, sparked a conversation that changed our relationship that night. As we each talked about how we felt about the movie, about the lonely Iowa-by-way-of-Italy farmwife’s affair, we opened up, revealed bits of ourselves that led to questions and answers. The night ended in hugs and “I love you’s” instead of what it had been headed toward.

What power movies—jut like books—have! To get us to feel, to think, to care, to experience—and to want to talk about it all afterward. The novel I wrote is a tribute to that, to what movies mean, to how they bring people together, to the magnificent Meryl Streep, who’s been my favorite actress since I was sixteen and saw Sophie’s Choice in the theater, and to Nora Ephron, who also changed my life that sad-sack weekend that started out with tissues and ended with typing.

Silkwood, Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie & Julia are just a few of the great movies Nora Ephron gave us. She also wrote some terrific essay collections in addition to her novel, Heartburn, including I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being a Woman. When I heard that she passed away this past June, I sat down and cried. One of my idols, gone too soon. I didn’t know Nora, but I loved her through her work and for inspiring me, not just in that moment, but many moments before and since. Inspiration is so magical! You’re watching a movie and wham. Something lights inside you. I love that.

Has a movie ever worked its magic on you? Changed your perspective? Inspired you? Let me know—or just share a favorite movie of yours—and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of The Meryl Streep Movie Club.

Thanks for sharing your blog with me today, Jane!

Mia March lives on the coast of Maine, the setting of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, published this past June by Simon & Schuster. The novel is slated to be published in over 18 countries. Kirkus Reviews kindly describes The Meryl Streep Movie Club as “a heartwarming, spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season.” Mia’s next novel, Finding Colin Firth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in the summer of 2013.

For more info, please visit Mia’s website at  You can also friend her on Facebook: and follow her on Twitter:


Thanks, Mia, for visiting with us today!  I loved learning more about you and the inspiration behind the novel.  I so appreciate your time.

Readers and friends, for a chance to win a copy of Mia’s novel, along with a fun beach tote of goodies, including a Ty Gurney Surf School water bottle, and Starbucks card, leave a comment in response to Mia’s question–Has a movie ever worked its magic on you? Changed your perspective? Inspired you?–and if you are new to my blog, please put your comment in the comment section below for the chance to win. Contest runs through Friday night and the winner will be announced on Saturday.

Happy summer, everyone, and happy reading!!




  1. Jane, thank you for inviting Mia to join us today. Love the title of this book, and will definitely read it. I love Meryl Streep. I have watched many movies that have inspired me, and given me perspective. My favorite one of all time is GI Jane. I am not sure if it was because I was newly minted as a soldier or what, but that movie helped me to believe that being a woman does not limit m potential. If anything it enhances it. I love to etch Tyler Perry plays and movies as well. They also do wonder for my spiritual self. They make me think and reflect on many issues in m life as well as give me some tools to tackle the barriers I have imposed on myself.

    Thanks again for visiting, Mia.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    1. I agree with Paula R., G.I. Jane was a movie that inspired me in many ways. I’m not in the military but that movie inspires me to exercise and push forward in situations where men think they dominate.

      I cannot wait to read The Meryl Streep Movie Club!

  2. I do believe that some movies can have exactly that emotional effect on us. Just as random acts of kindness have been shown to provoke a positive response in others, so to do movies draw that response from us.

    They can change our perspectives, our outlook, out whole reality. They can call on us to question who we are as individuals, the roles we play in life, who our parents are as real people and not just in the role of being our parents, even the interactions we have with others.

    Very powerful things, especially when you take in to account that since it something we share with millions of others, having watched the same movie, having the same questions, it does indeed create a common ground for understanding ourselves and others better.

  3. The movie (and the book before it) that still makes me cry everytime I watch it, and I did many, many times, is The Bridges of Madison County. I remember reading the book first, it was my first year in Canada, as a newly wed Italian married to a Canadian. I usually read before bed and at one point I started bawling, inconsolable, at the saddness of Robert and Francesca story. My husband was freaking out, I was crying so hard I scared the heck out of him.
    And to this day, I remember her explaining the sacrifice a mother makes for her children, “when you chose to marry and have children, your life begins, but in a sense it stops, you build a life of details, you stop so they can can move and when they leave they take your life of details with them”. I thought that this part was so poignant that I have never forgotten it. And when I became a mother I realized that, in part, it is true. You put your life on hold to dedicate yourself to them.
    A really incredible movie with incredible actors.
    I can’t wait to read your book Mia.

  4. Congrats to Mia on the new release. I really loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy and being transported to the magical lands Tolkien created.

  5. thanks for introducing me to a new author, now i really want to read her book! I don’t see many movies but the ones I’ve seen have touched me in a someway or another. I read alot so books have touched me like Home Front and Threads West american saga and Maps of Fate,these 2 books have gotten me interested in our history and where my family has come from-they came over from Italy both sides of my fmily but where and why they settled in the U.s. have me looking into my family tree…Home Front is about a woman who’s in our arm services and comes home wounded and suffering with PSTD..and I have a few friends that have come home with PSTD and 2 of them killed themselves and its so sad…my other 2 friends are finally getting help from the veterans hospital and I got involved helping them out and others…and its so important to send care packages to the soldiers that are fighting so they know we care…can’t wait to read your new book the Good Woman thats out in Sept.4th..thanks for this blog and the goodies!

  6. I so enjoyed, at my advanced age, “It’s Complicated”… and now I’m looking forward to “Hope Springs” as I’ve been married for 30 some years…

  7. Thanks for introducing me to Mia March and the The Meryl Streep Movie Club, Jane. It’s been a very long time since a movie had me thinking about it twice in a way that challenged me to move in a different direction. Many bring some fun laughs and great times with my daughter or my girlfriends though. I especially love Dan in Real Life because it resonates on many levels and is just so funny!

  8. I love the sound of your book Mia. I’m a fan of Meryl Streep movies too and may have to re-visit some of the ones you’ve listed in this post.
    I tend to use movies, like books, for escapism and so quite often enjoy light-hearted movies that can give me a laugh and a warm feeling.
    A movie that inspired me would be Pay It Forward – it really did make me think about how small acts of kindness can help change the world.

  9. I watched The Pursuit of Happyness and cried my eyes out. It could have been a fictional tale and still had an effect on me but the fact that it was someone’s actual story just made it that more amazing. So now, I’m experiencing some low times BUT I do know that at rock bottom, the only option is up. This movie helped me realize that 1, things could always be worse and 2, every situation can be overcome and changed.

  10. A movie that had a huge impact on me was … The Blind Side. I’m a foster parent and watching this just hit really close to home. I loved it. I cried from beginning to end.

  11. I loved Nora Ephron and cried, too, when she died. Her movies are some of my favorites. Sleepless in Seattle still touches me. When Harry Met Sally was once the story of my life. Notting Hill is another that I watch over and over – the friendship amongst the group of Brits and the lesson to not read a book by its cover, always rings true, and who doesn’t love a happy ending?

  12. I haven’t watched a movie for years. If I can I read the book instead. That way I feel closer to the intent of the book as it plays in my head. Movies change books – not yours, Jane – into a different voice.

  13. I’m not a big movie watcher and when I do, I tend to watch action/adventure movies. Having said that, I do love the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Something about singing when you are sad is always uplifting to me.

    Mia, thank you for sharing you story with us. I think this a book I may need to pick up.

  14. I don’t watch a lot of movies these days, but the older ones inspired me. I loved watching (and watching and watching) The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock; it was like the romances I read, in that against all odds, they still found their HEA. Romances inspire me, even after 31 years of marriage. There can never be too much love in the world.

  15. What a fun post! And I love Meryl Streep (both her and the movies). I think she is awesome. Movies that have inspired me include Erin Brokovich, Julia & Julie, Eat Pray Love, & My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I guess they are all about women getting out of their comfort zone and making new lives for themselves and creating a life they want. Very inspirational.

  16. I am sitting here trying to think of a movie that inspired me and I can’t come up with one – I am thinking too hard about it. Many will pop into my head later. I can think of many I have enjoyed or connected with: The Family Stone, The Notebook, Erin Brokovich, Steel Magnolias, and Somewhere in Time. It has been awhile since I’ve been to the movies to see a really good movie – I think The Help was the last one. I want someone to make more great movies!

  17. I haven’t been to the movies in quite sometime myself. I can tell you my favorite movie of all times would have to be Dirty Dancing. Loved that movie. It really makes you want to learn to dance.

  18. Sounds like a great book, adding to my list now!

    My current favorite movie is Across the Universe with Jim Sturgess an Evan Rachel Wood. It’s the music of the Beatles with a love story all in one.

    Of course there a lot of great Meryl Streep movies that I enjoy watching over and over as well!

    Thanks for the guest blog Mia, looking forward to reading your book!

  19. I love Meryl too! Her movies always seem to stay with me, somehow. One of my most favorite movies, however is French Kiss with Meg Ryan. Bet you thought I was going to say French Lieutenants Woman! haha Anyway, French Kiss takes me away to a place I’ve always dreamed of going…but I love how Kate (Meg) steps out of her comfort zone to get what she wants and then finds herself along the way and it is just so empowering. I just ordered my copy of “The Meryl Streep Movie Club” and can’t wait to see what happens. 😀

  20. I love it when a movie uplifts me. I know that’s not the same as inspiring, but I don’t know that I have ever been truly inspired by a movie. Certainly not to the extent of changing my way of thinking.

  21. Thank you for all these wonderful responses! I love reading about the movies that have meant so much to others.

    Also: to enter to win copy of the novel, you can just comment about a movie you loved–it doesn’t have to be one that changed your life!

  22. I loved “Julie & Julia”. That is probably my favorite Meryl Streep movie. She was in soooo many good movies. I loved “Prine” and “The Devil Wears Prada”. However, I did not like “Spohie’s Choice” at all. I prefer’s more of Meryl Streep’s later movies than her earlier movies although I thought “Out of Africa” was one of the best movies of all times. Merly Streep is definitely one of my favorite actresses of all time. I’m glad a book like this has come out and if I don’t win I will definitely pick it up. Tommorrow I plan to see “Hope Springs” for my birthday with a dear friend.

  23. What a wonderful and emotionally beautiful post. I can hardly wait to read this exceptional book. A movie that I loved and was heartbreaking but beautiful was Cinema Paradiso. Changed my outlook and perspective on life and love.

  24. I’m visually oriented and have had my Oscar acceptance speech (now shifted to RITA acceptance speech ;-)) written since I was 14, so movies have always had a metric ton of influence on me and my life. They have been friends, confidant, inspiration, comfort, laugh generator, and above all a huge motivator to continue pushing for your dreams no matter what. From a very early age, I wanted to be brave and honorable and smart and resourceful and get the smart-assed, slightly reformed, ridiculously hot bad boy hero. Ya know what? I still want that. 😉

    I was on a bike tour in Italy, joking around with the tour guide. and realized as he met my tit with his tat, how many of my quips were movie-line influenced. For a moment, I thought perhaps I had a problem, but in the next moment realized, “nah.”

    Congratulations on your novel, Mia! As a long-time fan of Colin Firth – “Nice boys don’t kiss like that.” “Oh yes they effin do.” – I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  25. I just added this to my TBR list. Thanks Jane for introducing yet another wonderful writer to us. I know that the title would have intrigued me enough to pick it up and look at, but knowing the back story makes it a must read. Mia thanks for sharing.

    Although I can’t pinpoint a specific movie changing my life, I do try to always take away something from every movie and book to make my life better, even if it is just learning of something I know that I never want to try or do. lol

    One of my favorite movies is “A Walk in the Clouds.” I can watch it over and over again.

    Have a great week everyone!

  26. Meryl Streep is just awesome! While I haven’t seen some of her older films, I love Mama Mia and It’s Complicated. A movie that inspires me or my go to movie- Pride and Prejudice w/ Keira Knightly.

  27. My favorite movie is “Under the Tuscan Sun”. I so want to escape to Italy.
    Mia’s book is the next book to read from my reading pile. I just picked it up last week.
    Can’t wait to start it. It really looks good.

  28. Hi Jane,

    I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. It reminds me that focusing too much on what we don’t have distracts us from focusing on what we do have. And how can we ever live life fully if we aren’t even living for what we have. Of course, the scenery in the movie is gorgeous too!

    Have a great week,

  29. Anything with Julie Andrews. I think my children can quote Mary Poppins. 2 hours and 20 minutes of pure viewing satisfaction.

  30. I have heard about this book, prior to this blog…I am excited to read it.

    I also love Meryl Streep and Nora Ephron. I saw Heartburn when I was very young, I need to rent that again. I read the book a few years ago, it was wonderful.

    So many movies inspire me!!!! It’s hard to pick one. So, I just randomly grabbed a DVD from my collection and got…Sixteen Candles.

    I can remember that as a teenager, this movie inspired me to never give up the dream of Jake Ryan. Now, I didn’t meet my Jake Ryan till my late 20’s, but I also avoided so many losers in high school. This gave me the added benefit of not having my young heart carelessly broken, like so many of my friends. I always insisted on being treated with respect.

  31. Aside from “Julie and Julia” inspiring me to start a book blog several months later….I’m not sure what else has really had so much impact.
    My all time favorite movie is “Where the Heart is,” based off the book by Billie Letts. Every time I see it, I fall in love with it all over again.

  32. Meryl Streep is such an amazing actress. When I think of her in The Devil Wears Prada and then Doubt it is hard to believe it is the same woman. I remember watching Beaches and loving the portrayal of family and friends.

  33. Meryl Streep is an amazing actress and I make sure I seee anything she is in, just saw Hope Springs and also enjoyed that. I love her in It’s complicated, it was inspriring I loved the scene where all the girlfriends were together drinking wine and she tells them she is the other women…priceless! I also loved Nora Ephron…my fav was You’ve Got Mail…I have seen it a million times and then had to buy it. I am will be adding this book to my”gotta read list” love chick flicks and chick books!

  34. I am looking forward to reading this book now that I have read your interview with Mia March.

    I only chose to watch movies that inspire me. I would have to agree that there is nothing like a hanky weekend with a bunch of uplifting movies! I always enjoy going back to watch the movie A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  35. Thank you for sharing your story, behind the story, Mia! It sounds like a fabulous book. I love all of Meryl Streep’s movies, she is brilliant, as was Nora. One movie that has always inspired me is Shawshank Redemption. A true story of perseverance and determination…I always cry when Andy comes out of the tunnel into freedom.

  36. I love Meryl Streep and her movies! My Dad even likes her, too! I loved “The Bridges of Madison county “:cried throughout that one. My Dad even got teary eyed. The movie “crash” was a real eye opener and is a movie I think everyone should see …

  37. Hi Mia,
    I was on the phone with my mother when I told her I was reading Jane’s blog and you had written TMSMC. She was very interested in your book as Meryl is her favorite actress of all time.
    I loved Mamma Mia it is such a fun movie (I know all the words)
    Some of my favorite movies are Gone With the Wind (Scarlett never gives up) Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth as Darcy),The Devil Wears Prada. My daughter says her new job is her Devil Wears Prada moment.
    I really like movies that push the heroine or hero down and they persevere and win the day.
    I can’t wait to read the book.
    Maybe the book should be made in to a movie like The Jane Austin Book Club (I have that one too):)

  38. During the dark years, I watched You’ve Got Mail, to hear the beautifully and soft spoken, “I lead a small life. Small but useful. And I wonder if it’s because I like it or because I havent been brave?” Each time I watched it, I became more brave. Then I’d also watch Under the Tuscan Sun to hear the Empty Shell Person speech. I prayed many many times that I would not become an empty shell person. God was faithful. The dark years ended, I became a potter, and am living a brave life.

  39. I loved the movie ” Everybody’s Fine” with Robert De Niro from 2009. It was a diferent movie from what I usually watch, but it had a big impact on me. Just loved it.

  40. I just went and saw “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep. I enjoyed it, as I really enjoy most all of the movies she is in. Just hearing the title of the book, “The Meryl Streep Movie Club” makes me want to have friends over to watch some Meryl Streep movies.

  41. The Notebook is one of my favourite movies. It is a wonderful story of finding your soul mate despite many obstacles.

    The performances were great and the movie is such a tear jerker.

  42. Some movies that i love to watch over and over again ;
    The Sound of Music (Julie Andrews), Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis) 🙂

    Congrats on the release Mia, and looking forward to have the chance to read your book 😀

  43. Hmmmm … Sleepless in Seattle because it gave me hope in the unlikely. Groundhog Day because it is magical but ordinary too.

    Can’t wait to read the book!!

  44. A long time ago I saw a movie Sunshine…in 1973. It was about a woman who is dying. She starts recording for her child. It made me cry and after having children it also affected how I felt about leaving memories for my children. Haunting and sad.

  45. Great story! Congrats! I like the movie, Dead Poets
    Society for its timeless theme, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. I love that line from Heartburn too. And Nora Ephron also said, “Be the heroine of your own life, not the victim .”

  46. I love these lists. This one is particularly great now that I’m recovering from surgery and looking for new movies to check out. My list of favorites would be:
    When Harry Met Sally (All time favorite, nothing else comes close)
    Freedom Writers
    The Help
    Sister Act (cause really who doesn’t feel better watching that movie?)
    Moulin Rouge
    Mamma Mia

    I like each one for different reasons and watch them when I’m in different moods, but I love them all.

  47. Patch Adams always got me…could be since I am in the medical field. But it always hits that spot for me.
    The Notebook does the same as well. Nothing like real love and finding it. Those two are the movies I feel I can relate to the most.

  48. I love Legends of the Fall. Something about that movie just drags me in and doesn’t let me go. I have probably seen it well over 100 times, I can’t help but watch it every time it is on. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. I love Meryl Streep and this book sounds like such a great read!

  49. I went to see Meryl Streep’s newest movie, Hope Springs Friday evening and it was very touching and well done. She made the character believable, and sympathetic.
    Love her movies!

  50. Hi all,
    Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!! It was a gorgeous day here. 🙂
    Our winner for is #12 – Deanna!!
    Shoot me an email with your info, Deanna and I’ll get the prize in the mail soon!
    Jane xxoo

  51. Thank you for the good writeup. It if truth be told was once a amusement account it. Look complicated to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we keep in touch?

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