Monday, November 23, 2009
MC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
MS: They came together—but The Secret of Joy isn’t the original title. My main character, Rebecca, discovers she has a half-sister she never knew existed, a separated mother who conducts weekend singles tours of Maine in her little orange mini-bus. The quirky members of the Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasset, who make up her female clients, dub the mini-bus the “love bus.” It fit the book on so many levels, but when it came to designing the cover, it got scrapped. The Secret of Joy is perfect for the novel on many levels also, but I’ll always think of this novel as “The Love Bus.”
What other art form inspires you as much as writing?
Music. I’ve written entire novels to a particular song. I wrote my first book to Sarah McLachlan’s “Hold On.” I wrote my last book to Gillian Welch’s “Miss Ohio.” Songs often make me stop dead in my tracks, make me pull over to the side of the road so that I can really listen, make me smile, make me cry, make me remember, make me feel. My favorite song is Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits.
Which comes easier for you - beginnings or endings?
Endings, definitely. I write to endings, to a last line already in my head, so by the time I get there, I know what I’m doing. The beginning takes forever. It can take me months to write the first page.
How many drafts until the final draft?
I revise and polish as a I go, a slooooow process, so I usually only have three drafts: the first gets a solid revision, the second an edit, the third a polish. Then it’s off to my agent and editor.
What are you reading right now?
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. I’m always so amazed at how she manages to write so honestly and elegantly at the same time. She’ll call someone a shit in the loveliest way.
What's next for you?
My second novel for teens, The Mosts, will be published by Random House in June 2010. And my next women’s fiction novel, The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, which I’m staring down the deadline on right this minute, will come out November 2010. It’s about five people taking an Italian cooking course with recipes containing a few magical ingredients.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1GCC member Jessica Brody has a novel out today and by the looks of her early reviews, it's sure to be a winner.
"With a complicated, sympathetic protagonist, worthy stakes and a clever twist on the standard chick lit narrative, Brody will pull readers in from the first page."
– Publisher’s Weekly
Below is my interview with Jessica:
WWhich came first, the title or the novel?
For this book it was definitely the novel. We had the hardest time titling this book. At first it was, “The Untitled Fidelity Files Sequel” (not so catchy) then I tried to start calling it, “High Infidelity” which I thought was kind of fun, but my publisher nixed it. And then it was just “The Hawthorne Agency” for a while which is the name of the fidelity inspection agency that my main character runs but that was thrown out very fast. And finally we settled on LOVE UNDER COVER which I think is perfect!
2) What other art form inspires you as much as writing?
I love dance. I can’t dance to save my life. But I love watching it. I’m a big fan of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. Not the reality TV aspect of it but just watching all those people work so hard to fulfill their dreams. It’s inspiring. I once heard someone say, “Dancers dance because they have to.” I really loved that and I think it’s the same for writers. I definitely have to write. Like I have to breathe. If I don’t, I get very stir crazy. All of that energy has to come out somehow and for me, it comes out in words. Lots and lots of words. Some of them are actually worth publishing.
3) Which comes easier for you - beginnings or endings?
Beginnings. Definitely. The first 50 pages are my absolute favorite. They fly by. They’re brilliant and fresh and exciting and full of promise. I feel like I could do anything. I feel like I write an entire novel in two weeks. My least favorite part is everything that comes after that.
4) How many drafts until the final draft?
This book had many. Or rather, it had many first chapters. Probably around 20 if I actually counted. I’m dead serious. I could just NOT nail down the tone of this book. I started it so many times. From different character’s perspectives, different tenses, different starting points in the story. It was extremely frustrating and there were many tears. But ultimately I love the result so clearly all those versions had to come out first. I always say, “sometimes you have to write the crap to get to the good stuff.”
5) What are you reading right now?
The short answer to that is many. I usually have a partially read book in every room of the house. And now that I have a Kindle, I have even MORE partially read books on hand at all times. I’m definitely a multi-tasking reader. Here’s the current selection: Harry Potter Book 5 (Yes, I realize how behind I am), New Moon (for the second time…in preparation for the movie release!), and Deepak Chopra’s Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.
6) What's next for you?
Although I strive to live in the moment, I can’t help but be excited about the future! I’ve got three young adult books scheduled to come out in the next three years from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. The first, THE KARMA CLUB , releases on April 27 and I simply can’t wait! It’s about three teen girls who are tired of waiting for Karma to get off its butt and do its job, so they decide to give Karma a helping hand by getting revenge on their evil ex-boyfriends. But they soon discover that when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. It’s a story I wanted to tell for years and I’m so glad it’s finally going to be put out to the world. The teen voice feels very natural to me (not sure what that says about my inherent maturity level, but whatever!) and the YA novels are such a blast to write. I think the teenage years resonate with everyone in some way. For me, my teen years were very painful so it’s somewhat therapeutic to be able to “go back” and relive them with all the knowledge and wisdom that I have now!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Move over Sinatra, there's a new Frank in town. (Frank Webster belting out the standards at Friday night karaoke)
John and Daryl's amazingly adorable blue house in the country.
Lisa and Jim's Halloween party at their fabulous country house. Jim had many costume changes during the night. Here he is some sort of swamp thing in a track suit sipping beer from a straw.