Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lolly Winston, Happiness Sold Separately

Lolly Winston's novel, Good Grief has a permanent place in my mental bookshelf. I will not forget how much I enjoyed that book. So it was with great anticipation that I waited for Lolly's next novel. And I am super excited for Lolly since Good Grief may be coming to the big screen!

Happiness Sold Separately is about Elinor, a woman who finds out her husband is cheating on her with his personal trainer at the gym. So what do you do when you discover your husband is doing more than squats with the honey who is being paid to sculpt his muscles? Hmmmm. And what if the pretty young trainer with the firm buttocks and long legs has a son who becomes attached to said husband? This is what goes on in Happiness Sold Separately. And so much more. You really cannot choose one character over another since they are all drawn with sympathy and tenderness.

I always feel so lucky to interview authors I admire. If you haven't read Good Grief, I highly recommend it. And then go out and buy Lolly Winston's latest novel and let me know what you think.

Good Grief dealt with death, Happiness Sold Separately is about infidelity. Do you think you might deal with lighter topics in future books?

Ha. You missed some of the themes. Good Grief is about death, grief and depression. Happiness Sold Separately is about infidelity, and, perhaps more painful for this couple, infertility. I’ve always liked the combination of dark subject matter with humor in a novel—I think that’s where poignancy really comes from. In the future, though, I would like to write about topics that are less personal to me. There were days with both books when I didn’t want to work on such painful subject matter--particularly cancer, which my father died of, and infertility, which I’ve experienced.

You have four characters in the book to think about and root for. I wanted things to work out for the character of young Toby. Did you write with a happy ending in mind for any of the main characters: Ted, Elinor, Gina or Toby? Who did you want the reader to relate to most?

I wanted each of the characters to be sympathetic, and each to be redeemed in their own way in the end. I wanted to write a story without good guys and bad guys, but with lots of gray area.

How much of a novel do you plan out? I know some authors let the characters tell them the story as they write, others plot everything ahead of time. How do you go about tackling a novel?

I suppose the germ of the idea comes first. With Good Grief I wanted to write about a woman who has a depressive breakdown brought on by grief. I wanted to show how CRAZY grief can make us. It’s different from sadness, really.

With Happiness, I wanted to write a story about infidelity in which no one is punished, and the lover is equally sympathetic. I believe this is truer to life than many of the stories out there about infidelity. After this germ of an idea I start with a character or perhaps two characters and a voice and work my way into the first few chapters. I tend to obsessively rewrite the first few chapters until I feel I’ve captured the voice of the novel.

Once I’m about 100 pages in I do sketch out a story arc for them, but not a strict outline, really.
I wanted each of the characters to be sympathetic, and each to be redeemed in their own way in the end. I wanted to write a story without good guys and bad guys, but with lots of gray area.

I heard Julia Roberts was interested in making Good Grief into a major motion picture. What can you tell me about this? Is it certain? Who did you see in the role of Sophie when you wrote the book?

Marc Platt at Universal Studios has optioned the rights to Good Grief. Michael Cunningham was hired to write a script and they’ve said that Julia Roberts is interested, although she hasn’t signed on officially. I never thought about who would play Sophie. I do love Julia Roberts’ work though—ever since Mystic Pizza I’ve been a big fan. Really, Julia Roberts and Michael Cunningham both seem too good to be true! So I try not to get my hopes up. Nothing is certain right now. So I don’t like to get on the roller coaster. I’ll stand a good distance away from it, eating a corndog.

Has anything changed for you since you have become a best selling author? Do you feel differently about yourself? Do you ever get recognized when you are in public?

Nothing has really changed, except that now I get to write fiction as a day job, which is pretty dang lucky. A gentleman who works at my local coffee shop asked me one day after Good Grief was published—“how’s that second novel coming along?” I’d never talked to him about anything other than scones and the weather, so it was like the voice of God asking. (I had a two-book contract and was on deadline and I was behind!) He had read a story in the local newspaper, which had a photo of me. Many afternoons I become a coffee shop troll, reading and doing a bit of hand editing just to get out of my house for a few hours. Now he’s very nice about encouraging me. And the caffeine helps!

When you aren't writing, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing? What would I be surprised to learn about Lolly Winston?

Nothing terribly interesting. I like to swim and hike and go boogie boarding. I’m a gardening geek. My favorite procrastination activity is back-breaking yard work. I have three cats. When I’m supposed to be writing I invent cat toys and songs for my cats. I cut their nails and brush their teeth and one of them insists on sleeping on my head. I was mortified that I’d become a doting cat lady in my forties, until I read an article all about how Ernest Hemingway loved cats. Ernest Hemingway was a cat lady! Surprising? I’m not sure.

I like music played very, very loud. I like really dark humor. I thought the movie “Bad Santa,” was a classic, for example. I love Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Monty Python, Woody Allen—anyone who makes me laugh.

I read that you were a writer for Automotive News which sounds pretty darn exciting. Tell me about your employment experiences?

I was a freelance writer for a number of years, first on the side while I was a corporate copy writer. I went from corporate copy writing to become a public relations manager, which I failed at miserably. (Some of this is in Good Grief.)

After that I started freelancing full time. (Not very lucrative.) One of my first gigs was as a stringer for Automotive News. I also did a lot of work for the San Jose Mercury News. And women’s mag stories. Basically, I’ve always just pieced together whatever English major jobs I could. I don’t consider myself a proper journalist.

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

Reading. Reading, reading, reading. And eating toast. There’s nothing I’d rather do than read.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bridget Harrison, Tabloid Love

author Bridget Harrison

When I was growing up I never dreamed of living in the suburbs as a wife and mother, are you kidding? My dream was to live in a brownstone in Greenwich Village. On a a tree- lined, cobblestone street where I would have a modest apartment and a fabulous job. I would wear miniskirts and stilettos and have a handsome, artsy boyfriends. My job would be at an advertising agency where I would either sketch storyboards or come up with taglines or both. I would earn a lot of money and ride the subway and shop at vintage boutiques and spend weekends lounging in Central Park.

My life didn't exactly play out how I envisioned it. But Bridget Harrrison's life comes pretty darn close. She details her experiences working in New York City and dating and exploring what a single girl does in a big city, far from home in her new memoir, Tabloid Love.

Everything I've read paints you as a cross between Carrie Bradshaw and Bridget Jones. Who do you think you resemble and why?

Alas I certainly have don't have Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe or all those fabulous shoes. But I have had a similar experience to her in New York in that you really do end up on dates with nutty guys, and having good girl friends to rely on who become like family is a very familiar part of life for most single women who live in New York.

It's a huge compliment to be compared to either in that both characters so brilliantly touch on so many of the issues single people reaching their thirties face - from endless dreaming about finding the one, to worrying about shrivelling ovaries and juggling a career. Both characters became popular because they were so well observed and people could relate to them so well - and the characters were lovable enough to enable people to laugh at their own situations. If my book could achieve even a 10th of that I'd be thrilled.

If you could create a soundtrack to Tabloid Love, what kind of music would be on it, and what would be your theme song?

Even though my book has some sad patches its message is supposed about hope and the importance of having enthusiasm for life, and that even if you've had your heart broken you can get up, get out there and fall in love again. So I think I'd have a sequence of heartfelt but mainly uplifting tracks. The kind that when they come up on your i-pod you get a spring in your step and you hold your head up high and think "hey, life, it has its ups and downs but bring it on!" I think my theme tune would have to be You Can't Hurry Love by Diana Ross.

During the entire memoir, I kept thinking you would find true love at the very end. Since the book has been printed, have you found your soul mate?

Well in a way I am actually true to my theme tune because I've started dating a lovely guy in London who I actually knew (and had a huge crush on) when I was at college. We're taking it very slowly and if there's one lesson I've learned it's to enjoy the now in a relationship and not ruin it by constantly angsting about the future.

How did you go about writing the book: did you take it from a diary you kept, notes you made or did you just go back into your memory bank?

It came from a combination of a rather patchy diary, columns and news stories I wrote for the Post - but mainly memory. I went back and revisited places I'd covered in stories to make sure I had the descriptions and details right, but I found that as my book contained the most significant moments in my life in New York, I remembered them pretty vividly anyway. On a few occasions I asked the people involved if they could remember details that I couldn't.

The parties, celebrity sightings, cool designer cast-offs from Paula Froelich, vodka tonics-- all of it was very glamorous. However, there were parts of the book that were unglam. Looking back at your time working at The Post, what stands out as being great and what would you do over if given the chance?

Even though I'm known best for my column and associations with Page Six and the Hamptons Diary, without doubt it was my job as a news reporter at the Post which was most important to me and the most challenging. Having the opportunity and privilage to be there in people's lives at their most extreme and momentous occasions is a huge responsibility and also a great privilage. It also enabled me to experience a different side of New York away from the cliches and glamour and meet the real people who make the city such a vibrant and exciting place. It sounds mad but simply I'd like to do all the reporting all over again, but better. Being a newsreporter, you always wonder if you did a good enough job.

Do you feel like you have been touted as a poster child for single, professional New York women looking for love? You could have your own television show....starring...Sarah Jessica Parker but with freckles and a British accent.

I think Sex and the City was so wonderful it would be very hard to beat a series like that - and it was certainly never my intention. I think a more fun program would be one based in a newspaper office - maybe a bit more like Ally McBeal.

Where do you shop for your clothes? Do you own Jimmy Choos and Manolo's and Christian Louboutins? Are you a girly girl who loves clothes and shoes and lipstick and perfume?

Truly I am crap at shopping as I'm indecisive and don't have a very good eye for style, but I enjoy a good trawl around the shops about once a month, but I love more getting cast offs from friends. For the first time in my life I do own a pair of silver Jimmy Choos which I bought in Saks Fifth Avenue and they were $500!! They were so dainty and comfortable that when I put them on I felt Cinderella finding her lost slipper.

I nearly had a disaster soon after though. I wore them for 20 minutes at wedding in the UK the following week but took them off because it was raining. When I got realized I had left them at the venue and thought I would never see them again. Luckily the photographer rescued them so I was reunited with them a week later! I also have a ton of Hollywould shoes as they are extremely comfortable and I love dancing at parties. When it comes to dresses I love Diane von Furstenberg because they are so simple to wear and really womanly. Often her clothes will look a bit mad on the hangers but the moment you put them on you feel totally transformed into a gorgeous French film star.

I wear Jo Malone perfume - the Lime Bazil and Mandarine - but I'm planning on switching to the Pomegranate Noir for a change.

What cosmetics do you wear?

Mac Mascara on eyes, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm on skin, and Lancome Star Bronzer Glossy Lip Nectar on lips.

What is the last book you read?

The last book was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and now I've just started the Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which is dead romantic.

Where are you working now? Where do you want to be in two years from this very minute?

I'm currently in Chicago at the end of a mini book tour where I've been doing radio, appeared on the Fox news morning show this morning and will be signing in Borders opposite the Woodfield shopping mall at 2 pm tomorrow. (this interview took place last week so don't show up there tomorrow!)

Then its back to New York before flying to London on Monday where I'm working on a new project for News Corp. In two years time this very minute I'd like to be wearing an expensive, floaty white cotton dress, sitting on the porch of an enormous house by the ocean with a husband and two young children (like those perfect families who are always photographed in American Vogue and Hamptons Magazine). But then hey, you've got to have some ridiculous fantasies, right!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cesar's Way

This is Lola, my Great Dane pup. She is in need of the gentle touch of Cesar. Lola enjoys eating waffles off the kitchen counter, shredding flip-flops of any size and color and jumping on my freshly washed Egyptian cotton sheets!

I absolutely want to read this book, Cesar's Way. I first heard of Cesar when I adopted my dog, Lola. She was a very out of control pup who refused to pee outside and liked to bite hands and toes. I received emails from a variety of dog lovers and many of them mentioned Cesar's show on the Discovery channel.

Cesar says that he "rehabilitates dogs and trains people". He believes these are the basic tenents for our canine buddies: exercise, discipline, and affection. The book promises to help us create a stronger bond with our pets and help us to see the world through the eyes of our dogs.

I look forward to reading Cesar's Way and learning how to teach and talk to Lola, as well as my other dog Leo who is strangely attracted to corduroy-clad legs.

Nothing breaks my heart more than a dog who is put outside and left there with a dog dish and a bowl of water and very little human interaction and love. I hope many people learn about what gifts our animals are. It's our responsibility to give the dogs what they need, Cesar shows us how.

In the book, you will learn:

• What your dog really needs may not be what you’re giving him

• Why a dog’s natural pack instincts are the key to your happy relationship

• How to relate to your dog on a canine level

• There are no “problem breeds,” just problem owners

• Why every dog needs a job

• How to choose a dog who’s right for you and your family

• The difference between discipline and punishment


Sunday, June 11, 2006


Summer is the time of the year when I like to read nonstop. I love laying in bed with a good book and a fluffy pillow while the breeze blows my white gauzy curtains away from the windows. All is quiet except the sound of a few croaking frogs and the distant yet annoying theme song from Sportscenter downstairs where my husband is glued to the television screen.

Over the past week or so, I read Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes. Prior to that I read Finishing Touches by Deanna Kizis and about a month ago, I finished up Ayelet Waldman's novel, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. What do those three books have in common? Death. I'm over the topic now. Seriously. A dead husband, dead baby and dead friend all within a short span. All the books were very good, I especially adore Marian Keyes but you know, death is not a subject I care to immerse myself in. But dysfunction is! Hence, Dry by Augusten Burroughs which many of you suggested I read. It is the continuation of Running With Scissors which I couldn't put down until the last page was read.

Alcoholism is the main thrust of this memoir, it's about Augustens's stint in rehab and trying to maintain his sobriety afterwards. It's very catchy, his writing. I love it. I like writing that feels like you are sitting down with a pal and laughing and making comments about the things that make you crazy.

I have a stack of books to get through including Tabloid Love by Bridget Harrison, a bunch of novels by Sarah Mlynowski (including a sneak peek at her chick-lit writing guide called See Jane Write which is fabulous) and the new Lolly Winston novel, Happiness Sold Separately. If you haven't read Good Grief, order it right this minute because even though it was about death (ahem!) it was one of the best books I've ever read. I want to take The Untelling by Tayari Jones with me on my upcoming vacation and The Booster by Jennifer Solow is supposed to be a great read.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Baby Proof

Claudia Parr is a career driven young woman who does not want children, ever. She’s been dreaming of things other than babies ever since she was a little girl. Claudia is very content to be a successful editor, married to her best friend and soul mate, Ben. The couple decide early on that baby booties and pacifiers are not for them, in fact it seems that not wanting children bonded them together like Krazy glue. It was to be them against the world without the interruption of night-time feedings and dirty diapers.

Soon after they get married, however, Ben and Claudia’s friends get pregnant and suddenly Ben thinks that having a child may not be such a bad idea. Claudia is staunchly against growing anything in her uterus and tells Ben there is no way she is ever going to have a kid. This of course drives a huge wedge between the two and divorce is the only option because now they want very different things from life. And so goes the story of Baby Proof by Emily Giffin who I recently interviewed.

I liked the book and enjoyed Emily’s writing style. She is certainly an author I'm going to continue reading for a long time but I do wonder what will happen when she runs of pastel colors for the book jackets. I recommend Baby Proof to those of you who take pleasure in women's fiction: it’s a good story, well written and an enjoyable way to spend a few hours of your reading time.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Deanna Kizis, Finishing Touches

It was almost two years ago when I went in for major surgery and my friend, Gayle brought me a bag overflowing with good books to keep me occupied. She was just returning from Book Expo America and had tons of novels to share. One of those was a fun little book called How To Meet Cute Boys by Deanna Kizis. Humorous book with cartoons throughout, you couldn't help but read it and love it and pass it to your best gal pal. The book is set in Los Angeles and the author wrote superbly about the glitzy town. Fast forward to very recently when I noticed Deanna Kizis was coming out with a new novel. You know me so well by now--I had to get my pink nailed hands on a copy.

Finishing Touches is about a girl whose good friend dies after a terrible car crash. Grieving friends comfort and pull away from each other as they deal with death in their own way.

Deanna is the super cool girl everyone wants to be friends with. Imagine a gorgeous brunette who is glam and successful, who interviews celebrities for a living, whose work shows up in the most stylish of magazines. Besides that, she writes fabulous novels and when I opened my InStyle magazine today, guess who was hanging out with Heidi Klum? Yup, our author du jour, Deanna.

The book deals with death which is a huge and difficult topic to write about. What was your research for portraying the characters as grieving?

That was the interesting thing--I tried to research, and I couldn't find anything for people who are young (as in, twenties and thirties) and single. Unless I really missed something, I could really only find books for widows, widowers, and more general books about grief. So instead of doing research, I drew from personal experience.

How to Meet Cute Boys was light and funny and, well, cute. Finishing Touches is not cute or light. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I know--it's a crazy switch right? Here's what happened: After writing How to Meet Cute Boys, I started working on another comedic novel. At the time, however, a close friend had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and her prognosis went from perhaps okay to very bad. I found myself really fortunate in that my friend let me be there for her. This was one of the most incredible gifts--a true honor--I've ever received.

It also made me less inclined to work on a funny novel. When she passed away, I couldn't write that book anymore. I kept trying, but it just wasn't there. I was grieving, and couldn't get back to where I was. About a year later I started writing Finishing Touches instead.

Sometimes people ask me if I'll finish that previous book, and the answer--I'm pretty sure--is no. I really enjoyed writing Finishing Touches--it was painful, but it felt right. Don't get me wrong, I'm really proud of How to Meet Cute Boys, but I look at this book as a step forward, as part of growing older for me personally. I liked the challenge and I'd like to continue to write books that are a bit less comedic. Of course, I'm sure I'll never play it too serious, or too straight.

Are you a person who needs to make an outline of the story or let it unfold organically as you write?

You know I never can seem to write an outline. I start obsessing over it and then I think: What's the point of this? I can't publish something that says "Chapter One, Scene A, dialogue here TK"! So I just go for it and live with the consequences.

West Coast editor of Elle magazine. How did you land such a sweet job?

I bugged them until they gave it to me. Well, not quite. I started as a contributing writer to Elle and then took on the West Coast editor position when it was created. However, I'm not the West Coast editor anymore! I had to take time off to write more books. Of course I love the fine ladies at Elle--such a great magazine and I plan to contribute as much as they'll let me.

“Don’t Date George Clooney”...sound familiar? I want to hear all about this story.

Ahhh, yes. Gee, it does sound familiar. Look, I think anyone who can land a date with George Clooney should go for it or rue the day forever.

What happened was this: Elle was working on their annual Hollywood Issue and I wrote a piece that was about why it's horrible to date a celebrity when you're not one yourself. The central anecdote in my story was about an actor I went on a date with who had some interesting opening moves. Problem was, the story ran with the headline "Why Not to Date George Clooney."

He took offense to that, understandably, since the anecdote was not about him. Then Mr. Clooney wrote a very funny letter that basically set off a media sh-t storm complete with the Enquirer calling my aunt to find out who the date was really with and threatening to put a photographer outside my house.

I learned the following lessons: A. Don't date celebrities in general. B. If you DO date celebrities and then callously write about all it, expect wrath to come your way and take your medicine. I rely on your intrepid readers to do an internet search to find out the rest!

What is your writing schedule?

When I'm working on a book I write 1,000 words a day, five days a week. If it takes an hour or two, great. If it takes until four in the morning, well, then I write until four in the morning. It's the only way I've found that works. The point, I think, is not to wait for inspiration. Just write, write, write, look at it a few weeks later, and fix it.

Who is your muse, what is your inspiration?

On the first book it was an ex-boyfriend who, surprisingly, I'm still friends with. Horrible boyfriends can make great ex-boyfriends. On Finishing Touches I was most inspired by my incredible, honest, and extremely understanding group of friends, many of whom were wrestling with their own grief at the time.

When you were a child, what did you think you would be doing at the age you are now?

I thought I would be a corporate attorney! My aunt was friends with one and he always talked to me at grown up dinner parties--I had a tremendous crush on him. Then I found out I'm terrified of confrontation and don't have the stamina to go to the office every day.

Take me through a typical day of Deanna. What time do you get up and do you run to Starbucks or the Coffee Bean for a non- fat, no sugar, no whip, half caf cappucino?

A typical day starts with my patient fiance making me coffee because I'm too lazy and difficult to do it myself. Then I read the New York Times. Then I play with my dog. Then I check my email for way longer than I should. I talk to my best friend on the phone and then, when all that is done, I putter around the garden, procrastinate some more, have some eggs or something, and only then do I work. Fortunately I like to stay up late.

What book are you reading right now? What is your favorite book from this past year?

Right now I'm reading The Time Traveler's Wife and really enjoying it. My favorite book from this past year...wow, that's tough. The Rachel Papers (not a new book, I know, but I'd never read it) and I just started my pal Steven Kotler's West of Jesus and it's incredible.

What’s next for you?

I have to start writing the next book! I have a few pages for two different ones--no outlines--and may the best book win.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hillary Carlip, Queen of the Oddballs

If you were slightly off kilter as a child, or if you were hopelessly out of style because your mother insisted on a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut for your entire childhood, or if you were the source of ridicule because of you wore a hideous headgear then well, we could be very good friends. Anyone who was the butt of cruel jokes or was teased will pique my interest and I will want to learn more about you. Those who stood firmly on the outskirts of popularity are the most interesting souls in adulthood, this is simply my humble opinion and what I have found to be true.

So it's not surprising that I zipped through Hillary Carlip's memoir, Queen of the Oddballs because I am a card-carrying member to the Oddball club. Yes, Hillary's life was a bit different and she calls herself an oddball, but I think she's super cool.

I kept wanting to see what each chapter held, like an adventure with your best friend, never quite knowing which direction you are headed in next. Hillary has done all kinds of things in her life: being on House Party as a child, hanging out with Carly Simon, appearing on the Gong Show (and winning I might add), fire eating, juggling and more. She sums up the various eras of her life with snippets of what was happening in the world during the 1960's through the year 2004.

Hillary also runs a site called Fresh Yarn which is a collection of personal essays from all sorts of oddballish people, all with an excellent sense of humor. After you scope out the many essays on Fresh Yarn, you can skip to her website here. And then buy the book here. And check out the write up on Augusten Burroughs, Hillary Carlip and Terri Jentz in The Advocate here.

Hillary, what's the difference between being a weirdo and being an oddball? Is this a subjective opinion? What do you consider to be the official definition of oddball?

To me an oddball is someone who’s on the sunny side of weird. Anyone who’s a crackpot, an iconoclast, a cock-eyed optimist or a tin-foil-hat-wearing kook. It’s someone not afraid to do things unaccording to plan.

I'm assuming that's you on the cover of the book. Sweet outfit! You should have worn that hot little get-up to the book festival rather than those True Religion jeans you were sporting.

It’s not me on the cover, though I have danced with a wooden spoon before! It’s a pic from the ‘60s that I found that captured the oddball essence and spirit of the book. I’m just waiting for some random older lady to come up to me and say, “Hey, that’s ME!”

How did it feel to smooch with rumored CIA assassin, Chuck Barris on The Gong Show? Did you get any vibes from him, like maybe he killed someone minutes before you preformed your juggling routine?

Cool. No tongue, though. Total vibes. Why else would this smart guy come off so damn bumbling and goofy? I’m sure he so totally offed someone right before I did my act (and WON, I might add!)

After she reads the book, Carole King may find out how you spent several weeks plotting The King Case. Do you think she already knows? How would you feel if two teenagers were spending their summer vacation setting up the "Carlip Case"?

As long as they show up with homemade banana bread like my friend Greg and I did, it’s cool. And keep in mind -- once we found Carole and she gave us lemonade and performed her Lamaze breathing exercises on her kitchen floor, THAT WAS IT. We didn’t stalk her!

Do you still bake banana bread as a way of trying befriend celebrities? I have some blueberry muffins for you by the way.

FUNNNY! That’s probably the last thing I ever baked or cooked -- decades ago. Now I’m sure my baking would only bring hatred and potential law suits.

How do you feel about being so honest about your life, allowing strangers to read personal things about you? Does it make you nervous? Do you have any fear about how people will react to what you've written?

I’m only nervous about the hate-mongers. And I don’t just mean the ultra conservatives or homophobes. I’m talkin’ about the juggler-haters. Or the anti fire-eaters. (Ya know, mimes gave a bad name to both jugglers and fire-eaters!)

Do you have any plans to write more books? Queen of the Oddballs has such a great buzz, you might need to follow it up with something else. Oddballs Part 2 perhaps.

I’m definitely continuing to write about more oddball adventures. I’m also doing an anthology of personal essays from my website FRESH YARN. I’d like to have FRESH YARN become sort of like a McSweeny’s, where I can continue to support and develop other writers, and help get their work out there. I know that was an incredibly dry answer, but whatev!

How do you spend your time when you aren't writing or running Fresh Yarn? What types of books do you like to read? I hope you aren't a sci-fi fan because those people are just plain freaky. (if you love books about bug- eyed aliens, unicorns and spaceships then I’m just kidding)

Damn, that’s exactly the sequel I’ve been writing! A book about a bug-eyed unicorn who comes to earth on a spaceship. All I’ve been reading for a couple o’ years now are memoirs, memoirs and memoirs.

If you could have dinner with any celebrity who would you choose and why?

Oprah. Just to explain why I started my last chapter in Queen of the Oddballs with the line “I didn’t always want to bitch-slap Oprah.”