Behind the Book: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Behind the Book is an exclusive feature at Muggle-Born that gives readers an inside look into the editorial process of some of our favorite books. Plot changes, lost characters, and many more interesting topics are tackled in an interview with the author.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

I am absolutely, positively 100% THRILLED to be sharing this interview with you guys. I read Sloppy Firsts way back when (was I even in high school yet?) and it remains to this day one of my favorite series. I can’t even express how excited I was when I found out I was one of the lucky bloggers who get to celebrate SLOPPY FIRSTS’s 10-year anniversary. Wow. A decade of Marcus and Jessica goodness.

If you are reading this interview and you have not yet read this series, I’m telling you now: YOU BETTER START!

Did You Know?

  • Titles were a deal-breaker for Megan McCafferty and some publishers. SLOPPY FIRSTS did not go through any title changes!
  • SLOPPY FIRSTS took 6 months to write but was 10 years in the making. (How appropriate for the 10th anniversary of the book!)
  • Read on to find out more Behind the Book info about SLOPPY FIRSTS!

How many months did it take for you to write the original draft of SLOPPY FIRSTS?
It took six months…and ten years.

SLOPPY FIRSTS evolved out of material from my journals and creative writing classes. It took about six months to turn ten years of essays, short stories and diary entries—with a whole lot of writing and rewriting—into my first novel.

Did SLOPPY FIRSTS go through any title changes?
No, though it was definitely a deal-breaker for some publishers!

Ten years later, was there anything about the editorial process behind SLOPPY FIRSTS that stuck with you to this day?
I am a believer in what Anne Lamott called “the shitty first draft.” My books become recognizable as books in revisions.

How was the editorial process behind SLOPPY FIRSTS different from BUMPED?
SLOPPY FIRSTS was totally character driven. BUMPED was plot driven. So I struggled to find the story in SLOPPY FIRSTS and the personalities in BUMPED.

Is there anything that you wish you can take back or change in SLOPPY FIRSTS?
If I could have a do over, I’d make sure none of the names in the book could be erroneously traced back to real life. I went to school with a boy with the last name Parlapanides. That name served as the inspiration for Paul Parlipiano’s name, but my classmate was not the inspiration for the character in any other way. Parlapanides is now the Superintendent of the district we graduated from. I don’t want people to think I ever puked on his shoes (or make any other assumptions about him based on what they know about Paul Parlipiano).

Other than that, the books are all what I wanted them to be.


Thank you so much to Megan McCafferty for stopping by at Muggle-Born. It was truly an honor!

And don’t forget to stop by Megan’s blog for her SLOPPY FIRSTS: The Epic Giving Away of Rare and One-Of-A-Kind Stuff. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this truly epic contest. I’m already trying to come up with something fabulous to submit.


  1. This post was awesome because I started reading the series last month, I think. I’ve only read the first book but I loved it! I have the other two, and need to get the rest but I can tell I’m really going to enjoy them. It was cool to read about how it all came together.

  2. Ohh this series looks so great, I just need more time to get around to all these books I want to read! Love the interview, especially for this book that seems to have been around for much longer than… most YA books? if that makes sense?

    1. Hm, even if Jessica Darling starts out in high school, I think this one is actually tagged as adult. Weird, right?

      BUT SRIOUSLY: read it. I know you love contemp!!!!!!

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