Rebecca Agiewich, The Break Up Babe
One day I'm going to be a famous writer and every boy who's ever wronged me is going to regret it. There I'll be on the back of my book, gazing out at the world with soft yet cynical brown eyes, my long hair just the slightest bit windblown, looking unbearably brilliant, beautiful, and rich. --- Breakup Babe, 08/12/02
A while ago I received an email from a friend giving me a heads-up that she knew of a blogger who got a book deal. Bloggers signing with agents was the happening thing, you see. As common and trendy as a teacup poodle in your Burberry handbag, it was very "in" to blog and then get a contract with a major publishing house. Rebecca Agiewich was the blogger who got the deal and The Break Up Babe is the humorous, fictionalized account of her blog.
The novel includes chapters taken from her blog after dating a variety of ill suited guys in an attempt to get over her ex-boyfriend. I enjoyed the setting of the book which is the fantastic city of Seattle. (I wanted to move there after seeing this movie a few times) Rebecca has an easy, flowing writing style and the book is a very quick read. You might relive your own dating history as you read about her dates with various guys. This is why online dating is so hot right now but that's a whole other blog.
Have you found your Mr. Right since the book has been published?
I have not yet found Mr. Right! (If there is such a thing). So I'm taking applications. But I have had a lot of fun hanging out with various Mr. Right Nows. I'll probably die old and alone in the nursing home but at least I'll have a lot of good memories - even though I won't have any grandchildren to come visit me.
How long ago did you write the book, how long did it take to publish and what did you do in between writing and having it published?
I finished writing the book last summer, then went through the editing process into the fall and winter with my publishing house. From the time we wrapped that up, it took another 7 months to get published. They always knew they wanted it to be a "summer" book; I'm sure it could have gone to press sooner had they wanted it to.
I actually first conceived of the book in the winter of 2002, so from that moment until the moment it got published was actually four years! So it was a long process. The bulk of the writing took place between November '04 and August '05; November was when Random House bought the book and the August was my deadline for finishing it. When they bought it, it was only partially done, and I had to go back and rewrite what I'd already written and then finish it. I liked having that deadline hanging over my head. If I hadn't had it, I'd probably still be writing!
The book was based on your life. Was it hard to turn something real into something fiction?
Fictionalizing my life was not that hard once I got into the swing of it. I originally sold my book as a memoir, then we turned it into a novel early in the process. After I got used to the idea that I was writing a novel and could make whatever I want happen, I felt much freer, and enjoyed having my heroine do all sorts of stupid things I would never do and get into trouble I never got into.
I like the idea of extreme sports while you seem to enjoy actually doing them. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Let's see...just this past year, I went to Patagonia for a month and went trekking in the mountains there. That wasn't "extreme," per se, because I was just hiking, but it did feel very adventurous to me to go so far away. I also went with a travel partner who I met on the Internet and didn't really know if we'd get along. Luckily we did! Recently I climbed Washington State's second largest volcano, Mt. Adams, and tried to ski down it. That's not very "extreme" by northwest standards - there are lots of outdoor freaks around here -but it was a challenge for me, especially the ski part. Then we got lost and almost died but let's not get into that.
Where are you working now?
I am now working as a Books editor at Amazon.com, which is really interesting to me as an author. I get to see the bookselling business from the inside out.
Why do you think blogs are so addictive? Which ones are daily reads for you?
I think good blogs can be addictive just the way any good writing is - it brings you into another world completely and helps you feel better about your own life because you live vicariously through someone else's. I think my blog, when I was writing a lot about dating, cheered people up because they could laugh my dating mishaps and therefore feel better about their own. Or they could look at me and say, "God she's so messed up; at least I'm better off than her!"
Here is something a reader just said to me about my book and I think it is a great comment about how good writing, in general, can be therapeutic for us: "Having recently lived through a quite similar Great Unpleasantness (my live-in boyfriend cheated and lied about, even to this day), your book has given me strength to carry on. I dealt my revenge metaphorically through your actions. The lonliness and boredom were transported as I held your book in my hands...thank you for giving me hope."
There is one dating blog I particularly like to read by a talented NYC blogger who calls herself "Girl Gone Mad." That's probably the blog I've been reading the most consistently for a while, although my friend writes one from his cat's point of view that is hilarious as well called "Diary of a Dark Cat."
Who would play you in the Lifetime TV's movie of the week version of The Break Up Babe?
Hmm, that's a tough one. I think Wynona Ryder needs the work after her whole shoplifting incident so I'd like to give her the chance to revive her career.