Friday, September 22, 2006

Caprice Crane, Stupid and Contagious

This is the kind of book I love. Stupid and Contagious is witty and sarcastic and funny, which always resonates with me.

The book is written from the point of view of the two main characters, Heaven and Brady. The author does an incredible job of making each voice original and true. Both characters are so engaging that I wanted to be friends with them. The story moves quickly and when it's over, you mourn a little. Okay, I mourned a lot and was not above asking Caprice for the manuscript of her next book so I would be guaranteed a great read again. There are many pop culture references and you get the feeling that Caprice totally has her manicured fingers planted firmly on the pulse of society today.

Caprice Crane is amazingly accomplished. She has written screenplays and books, worked at MTV, founded a record label and did some jewelry making. All that accomplishment might make me a teeny bit jealous (and she is gorgeous too!) but Caprice is so nice that I cannot help but be happy for her successes and wish her years and years of great storytelling and prosperity and good luck and happiness and all of that.

And look what was written on E! online:

Courtney Love, singin' Nirvana to a bunch of chic salesgals at La Diavolina. Stupid and Contagious, a book by Caprice Crane, was on display at the boutique, and Court snatched it up. "You guys do realize what this says, right?" she asked, before singing the entire chorus of Smells Like Teen Spirit and pointing to the title when she reached the line, "stupid and contagious." Evidently, the reference to her late hub Kurt Cobain was enough to make her walk right out with the book (which the delighted store honeys gifted to Ms. L.). For the bitchy record, Court wasn't. Seems she's also thin (and sassy) again, thank gawd.

It might have been nice if Courtney actually paid for the book! These celebs and their freebies...but that's a whole other topic for another blog.

I suppose we should mention that you are the daughter of Tina Louise who played my favorite character on Gilligan's Island, the gorgeous, glamorous Ginger. Did having a famous mom give you the edge on getting jobs?

I'm not typically introduced to producers or publishers as the "daughter of" and even if they know--people don't want to pay you just for being related to someone. Most people don't want to pay you period. It's an interesting sidenote for some people, I suppose, but I can't say it has helped me. Perhaps the opposite--especially in people's assumption that it's somehow helped me. But if I'm going to be totally honest...that waitressing gig I got...? I heard she called in a favor.

Wikipedia describes you as a Writer/ Novelist/ Music Supervisor /Screenwriter/ TV Crewperson / TV Producer. That's a lot of hats to have worn at such a young age. How would you describe what you do right now? Coffee drinker...napper?

Unfortunately, it's much more of the former and none of the latter. The double-edged sword of sustaining the novelist/screenwriter career is that there's always *something* to be written. It's a lot of juggling of voices, characters, plots and settings in your head. Let's just hope characters from the movie don't start introducing themselves to characters in the book and vice versa. All I need is someone to accidentally get pregnant by a character who's not even in that project.

You are also a jewelry maker. Tell me how you got into that. And if you could create a piece of jewelry for any person, dead or alive, who would you design for and what would you make?

That was just a phase - a past life. It was really just me making stuff for myself and then whenever I'd wear a piece, people would ask where I got it and say they wanted one. So I tried my hand at it for about 5 minutes. Since I'm not a factory and writing was my real passion (and a demanding task-master), I decided to focus on just that.

But, per your question...if I *was* going to design something for someone dead or alive, I would design a wedding ring for my mother (who is very much alive) and a handsome prince to place it on her finger.

I could never be a waitress because I'd be exactly like Heaven. Was Heaven's experience based on you?

Um...see the answer to the first question. Yes, I did some time in the food service trade, and while a few of Heaven's antics are loosely based on that time, she's a true original. I'm not sure I'd want her as a waitress, but I think she'd be a riot to have as a friend. You know--the kind who gives you the vicarious thrills by doing all of the dangerous and unruly things that you love to hear about, but would never have the bad taste to do yourself?

I love the premise of Forget About It. What was your reaction when you found out that Scarlett Johansson is attached to the movie version of your book? And will you have any input to the screenplay?

One never knows what will actually get made and who will eventually star in it. When I heard that Scarlett loved the idea and wanted to attach herself I was thrilled. But I've learned to be cautiously optimistic in his business in order to stay sane. As far as the screenplay goes, I wrote the original screenplay before I even wrote the book, so they optioned both. Right now, there are a couple of writers adapting it. But it's a long and circuitous trip from initial manuscript to finished movie. I'm as excited as anyone to see what comes of it.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I can't pigeonhole myself on that one. I love all types of books. Most of all I'd like the free time to actually read--because right now I have none. Some perennial favorites are David Gates, Chuck Palahniuk and Peter Farrelly (of the Farrelly Brothers) who wrote a book a few years ago called The Comedy Writer that I absolutely adored.

What is your writing schedule like? I read that you are jacked up on coffee while you write. What's the hot beverage of choice- plain old coffee or something more fancy like a non fat, low sugar, mocha sans whipped cream?

I write until my tendonitis acts up so bad that I'm curled up in the fetal position. That's not true. Not entirely true, at least. My writing schedule is pretty much this: I write whenever I feel moved. And nothing moves me like a deadline or an eager editor or producer. These days those seem to be in abundance. On the beverage, I'm flexible. The more caffeine the merrier.

Tell me the difference between writing for television and writing a novel?

I think I combine the two. I'm a novelist with an obvious love of the screen so I'm inspired to write books that are as engaging and as vivid as movies. The main difference for me is economy of words. I try to show characters through action and fun dialogue, rather than spend too much time on their inner monologue. I guess my dream would be to invent the book whose characters immediately jump to life at the push of a button. That would be fun. And I'm going out to patent it right now.

Music is really important to you, we can tell that from all the musicians you mention in the book. The book title even comes from a song. If you were going to quote a song for different book, what would you choose?

For a title? Or just to quote a song? Not knowing what you mean, or having a particular book in mind, that's hard to say. One of my favorite lyrics is "The ashtray says you've been up all night," by Wilco. That line--that's an excellent example of the whole "show don't tell" thing. And there's such rich story potential behind it. But I'm not sure whose story. Certainly not my life story. I don't smoke. Anymore.

With all the praise of Stupid and Contagious and the success of Forget About It before it's even published, will you continue to crank out books or focus on other projects?

I'm so grateful for any praise I've received thus far and I would love to keep writing in whatever medium people will have me. My first love is screenwriting. That's what I went to school for and that's my background, but now that I've started gallivanting a little in the book world, I love that too. I'm fickle I guess. I've got a ton of ideas for new projects. We'll just have to see whether they make more sense as novels or films. You can always check my website to keep up with coming attractions.


Anonymous alicia said...
I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't like either of the main characters, so after 100 or so pages I gave up. However, I would happily try something else by this author because I liked her writing style a lot. @ 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I loved "Stupid and Contagious"- I thought it was excellent- hilarious, insightful, hip, super witty... I related to both Brady and Heaven, and enjoyed the alternating points of view. I can't wait for another book. - Kim @ 9:33 AM  
Blogger BlushingGirl said...
I really need to find the time to read these books. They seem fabulous! Great interview! I love the question and response about what jewelry she would design and for who. Totally brought a smile to my face. Well done! @ 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Arts and Crafts said...
I have always wanted to be a writer..

My wife is a writer and I am just amazed at what she does..

Dennsi @ 2:22 PM  
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