California girl Brooke Aarons, from Michelle Manning’s Siding With Plato, tackles her first interview.

What was it like having a book written about your freshman year at the University of Texas?

Oh man. Looking back, I have to admit it was every bit embarrassing as it was entertaining. I was so ready to break free and start my new life at UT, but no one tells you how unprepared you’ll feel once you leave home. Stella, Kate, Darci and I bonded so quickly because we were suddenly in this chaotic, fun, stressful environment, and turned to each other like a family. The decisions I was making were all my own suddenly, but sometimes it was hard to think like an adult when I still felt like such a kid. Starting a relationship when you have no idea what you want or need yet is even harder, but it was almost as if my favorite psychology class was mirroring what I was going through. It was an interesting year to say the least!


Speaking of relationships, you had quite the romantic roller-coaster with James Cartwright. What was your first reaction when you met him?

That he was a tool. Haha, it’s true, I did, but it was based on what I saw when I looked at him and had nothing to do with who he actually was. Granted, there were a few times after I got to know him I still thought that, but I can be a little bit of a hot head sometimes. Both parties have to bend a bit to make a relationship work, but no one should ever need to compromise what they want. Don’t be afraid to ask for it and see where the chips fall.

What was your favourite scene?

I hated it at the time, but I have to admit the morning after I drank too much really made me love my friends – even if they tried a phycology experiment on me. If you ever need an example of how love is like a mental disease, it’s when I took shots and left my friends with my own agenda. But I lived, I learned, and I will never EVER do what I did… 

What exactly are you “siding with Plato” about?

Love. Plato once said, “Love is a serious mental disease.” In the thick of my mess with James I couldn’t have agreed more. I acted like a nut job and I think anyone who has ever been in love for the for the first time would agree with him too. It’s crazy, yes… but it sure is fun!

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When California girl Brooke Aarons leaves her small town for the University of Texas, she  finds herself entangled in storylines that she had only thought existed in zany romantic comedies. Quickly bonding with four other freshmen — boy-crazy Stella, wholesome Kate and free-spirited Darci – Brooke’s first year of college proves to be a challenging, hilariously funny and romantic adventure, filled with friendship, love and life-changing lessons.

After agreeing to go on a double date in exchange for help when she shows up to class unprepared, Brooke is set up with a classmate who, on the surface, might seem like a complete tool, but she finds herself falling for the smooth-talking James. Brooke has always been headstrong and secure, so what is it about James that makes her start doubting herself?

When Brooke learns concerning information about James, she quickly runs in the opposite direction — but something keeps bringing her back to him. Suddenly, Brooke is in a downward spiral, lying to the people who love her the most. With the help of her friends, Brooke must regain her confidence and learn to stand on her own two feet. Studying to become a psychologist, she’ll find out for herself that the most important lessons in human behaviour and relationships cannot be learned in a classroom.

Michelle Manning was born and raised in Valencia, California. After majoring in journalism at Arizona State University, she worked in public relations and marketing, as well as for a red carpet entertainment news reporter for PopSugar. She lives in New York City, where she is currently working on the next installment, which will follow the girls of University of Texas in their further chronicles.

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