Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cara Lockwood, Dixieland Sushi

Rachel Kramer Bussel recommended Dixieland Sushi to me over the summer. I emailed Cara to ask for a copy of the book and she sent me an entire media kit which included a sushi pen, a wind-up sushi toy and a bunch of cool sushi stickers. I made a note to myself to create an equally fun media kit when my novel is published. (But will that day ever come? This remains to be seen!)

I heard about Cara years ago, when a friend was raving about Pink Slip Party. Then I caught the movie, I Do, But I Don't on Lifetime television. Shortly thereafter I read Dixieland Sushi on a plane ride from California to New Jersey. I enjoyed the book so much and the author's easy- going and fun style of writing. Its a quick read peppered with quotes from Mr. Miyagi, the wise old man from the Karate Kid movies. The prmise of the book is what happens when far east meets down south.

I highly recommend Cara's novels, her website and blog, it's worth your time to check it out.

And now for our interview...

Pat Morita, the voice of Mr. Miyagi, the wise karate guru of The Karate Kid died recently. You featured his quotes throughout Dixieland Sushi. How did you learn the news of his death?

I actually learned the news online that Friday after Thanksgiving. I was out shopping with my mom, and while I was taking a break waiting in line to get coffee, I checked some news online through my phone and found out about Pat Morita’s passing. It was a sad moment. He’s an actor who broke a lot of barriers and entertained us throughout his life. He’ll be missed.

What was it like to have your novel, I Do But I Don’t, turned into a movie? Were you able to visit the set or have lunch with Denise Richards? How much input do authors have when their books are turned into movies?

It was a surreal but wonderful experience. The movie was filmed in Montreal, and I did have an opportunity to visit the set. I spent two days on set while they shot various scenes, including the groom rescue scene and the bridal shop scene. I met Denise Richards and Dean Cain while on set, as well as the director, producer and lots of other set members. Denise and Dean couldn’t have been nicer. It’s funny because on set, they sat in chairs with their characters names on them, like “Lauren Crandell.” It was so surreal, because these were character names I had made up, and now they were suddenly real people in real life.

As for the second half of your question, authors don’t typically have a lot of input into how movies are made about their books, and I was no exception. I basically signed over the rights to the story, and the screenwriters adapted the book for the small screen. They did a fantastic job, so I didn’t have much to worry about. But when I was visiting the set, I was just a guest. I had no input at all into the screenplay or how scenes were done. It’s a little like Nicholas Cage’s character in “Adaptation” when he wanders around the set and no one knows who he is. That’s a little what it felt like. But it makes sense, if you think about it. I’m a writer, but I know very little about making movies.

What was the last movie you watched in the theater? I saw Rent two weeks ago. Are you a dvd renter or a movie goer? I love the big popcorn bucket loaded with butter and a gigantic soda. I like to sugar -and- carb overload at once, and you?

The last movie I saw was Harry Potter – the newest over Thanksgiving with my family. The movie before that I saw was “Good Night and Good Luck.” I love movies. I am such a movie fan. I’ll see movies on DVD or in the theatre, but I think I’m partial to going to the theatre. I love the snacks and the stadium seating and the big screen. I’ll see anything in the theatre, but I especially like quirky films, like Wes Anderson films (The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore). But I like all kinds of movies. I think it runs in my family. My Dad is an avid moviegoer, and I will seriously see anything in the theatre. I once saw Weird Al Yankovic in UHF in the theatre, if that tells you something.

And sugar and carb loading? Everything is good about that. Add some caffeine, and that’s my idea of heaven.

Nick and Jessica- what went wrong? If you were writing the book about these two stars, how would you end the tale?

I think they were probably a little naïve about marriage, but then we all are, to some degree. Marriage is hard, no matter who’s in it, but you add celebrity and constant public scrutiny, and I think that just complicates matters even further. I think a lot of us feel like the wedding is the end of things, but it’s really just the beginning of a long journey. Both people have to be willing to work on it, if it’s going to succeed.

If I were to write an ending for them, I’d probably have them meeting other people and finding new love.

A perfect day would consist of doing what?

A perfect day would start with a gingerbread latte from Starbucks and end with a sale at Nordstrom. (amen to that, sister!)

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a multi-book contract?

It takes me anywhere from four months to eight months to write a novel. Honestly, it depends on my deadlines. I think I could work on a novel for years, if I didn’t have to turn it in. I do work under multi-book contracts. Typically, my contracts are divided into two-book deals.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

This is such a hard question, because writing is so much a part of who I am. I think I would always find a way to write, even if it wasn’t fiction. Before I published my first novel, I worked as a newspaper journalist, and then as a marketing writer. I think I’d always find a way to write. But if I couldn’t write, if it wasn’t allowed, then I’d probably be drawn to graphic design. I’m definitely a creative person. I can’t keep it in!

Where do you see yourself within the next two years?

I hope to be doing what I’m doing now, which is writing stories that interest me (and hopefully) other people.


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