Thursday, November 30, 2006

Debut novel!

I was told that A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss would be out on December 1st! So this weekend, if you are around your computer, go on to or Barnes and Noble online and pick up a copy. If you are really inspired, you can go to your local bookstore and request that they stock the book. That would make me really happy. After you order the book, you can make me a myspace friend by clicking here.

And of course I will have new interviews this week! Janet Evanovich, Julia Holden and Nancy French will appear on the site to chat.

If you order the book, you must email me and let me know. And if you catch me on Googletalk, be sure to say hello. And tell me if the character of Kat Savage reminds you of anyone in the news these days.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Twins, Marcy Dermansky

Haven't you always been interested in twins? Who grew up during the 80's reading Sweet Valley High books and thinking about which twin you would rather be, Jessica or Elizabeth? Being a twin would be so cool, you could try out different hairstyles and put makeup on each other, you would always have someone to hang out with and best of all, a partner in crime no matter what happened. Not to mention that close connection only twins can share. Just ask the Olsens.

Twins by Marcy Dermansky is about two girls, Chloe and Sue, who are beautiful blonde twins. The book is set into action by Sue convincing Chloe to get tattoos for their thirteenth birthday. Twins spans several years taking us inside the secret world of twin sisters. After reading the book, you realize that perhaps being a twin isn't so much fun.

Marcy's writing is wonderful, the book moves a long quickly and there is not a moment of boredom. I really liked it and I know you will too. I love books that explore different relationships aside from male-female. A satisfying read!

Have you always been fascinated by twins? Did you watch Full House with the Olsen twins and become motivated to write the book? I know those two little imps are incredibly inspirational.

You're right about Mary Kate and Ashley, they are inspirational. Their success is phenomenal. I love to see what they are wearing: always with the big sunglasses and the Starbucks coffee. Mary Kate and Ashley get a cameo mention in TWINS. Chloe would never want to be so closely identified to her twin sister.

But the Olsens didn't motivate me to write TWINS. I have always been fascinated with twins. The idea of having someone else look exactly like you and yet not be you is so intriguing. I loved writing the different voices in my novel. First Sue, then Chloe. Their experiences of being blond and beautiful are extremely different.

Sue's behavior was extreme. If you were a psychiatrist, how would you diagnose her? My own opinion is that she just loved Chloe so much, she herself didn't know how to handle it.

Your reading of Sue is dead-on. I think Sue is troubled, yes, maybe more than a little troubled, but not in need of diagnosis--or medication. I created the character of Smita to give Sue someone responsible and wise to talk to, someone who would understand her. Sue did not know how to handle her emotions. Her obsessiveness placed an enormous burden on Chloe.

If the book was to be made into a movie, would you want it to take place in the 70's, 80's, 90's or present day? The music from the 70's would provide an awesome soundtrack.

I would love for TWINS to be made into a movie. I could almost see the movie in my head while I was writing. I'd want the film to be set in the present day, because I wouldn't want the story to feel dated in any way -- not the clothes or the hair styles. You could still throw in some seventies music though. I think every soundtrack is better with one classic Cat Stevens tune.

The parents in the book were beyond horrible. Do you think that it is common for workaholic parents to let kids parent themselves? Were they based on anyone you know personally?

Writing TWINS, I wanted Chloe and Sue to be free to do whatever it was that they wanted to do. In Catcher in the Rye or the Harry Potter books, the heroes don't have parental rules to abide by. The easiest way for me to write my story tell was to get the parents out of the picture. Their cruelty, and then later, their absence, gives TWINS a slight fairytale quality.

The parents in TWINS aren't based on anyone I know. I especially like to repeat that in interviews, in case my parents worry that the fictional parents are a reflection on their parenting. Not at all. Unfortunately, there are horrible parents in the world--abusive, neglectful, self absorbed. I think the parents in TWINS are so upsetting in part because they do not come across (and shouldn't, I hope) as caricatures.

You were a MacDowell fellow. I'm intrigued. Tell me about MacDowell and what happens when you attend such a prestigious writers colony. How long were you there? Did you write this book during your stay?

MacDowell is a wonderful, and in many ways, dreamlike place. Poached eggs for breakfast, a beautiful private cabin in the woods, with a fireplace and a perfect little lunch delivered to your door. I was there for a month several years ago. This was before TWINS. I wrote a novella while I was at MacDowell that later won the Smallmouth Press Andre Dubus Novella prize.I only had two short stories published in obscure lit journals when I was accepted. It's a marvelous thing that in addition to supporting the creme de la creme of the art and literary world, MacDowell takes risks on unknowns.

You are also a film critic. That must be the coolest job. Do you tuck a pad of paper into your purse and take notes in the dark while watching the movies?

It is pretty cool. I love that I get to see movies before the reviews and the buzz, good or bad.
Usually, I scribble notes on the back of the press kit I am given before the film. Most of the time, my notes are so messy I can't read them. I see most films in screening rooms. Sometimes, though, I miss that movie theater experience: popcorn and trailers.

Lets talk about movies! I want to know the best movies you have seen this past year. Is it too early to talk about Oscar contenders? What is one movie that you would say I **have** to see?

It's never to early to talk Oscars. Who I think should get nominated and who gets nominated are often two very different things. I'm excited to see Soderbergh's new movie "The Good German." I hope Helen Mirren wins Best Actress for "The Queen." But then I would also be happy to see that statuette go to Penelope Cruz. She was wonderful in Pedro Almodovar's new movie "Volver." It's an amazing film, about three different generations of women, and it will make you laugh and cry.

What do you think of George Clooney being People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year? I'm not impressed with this years choice.

I'll have to admit, I dig George Clooney. He's such a straight shooter--and old school movie star handsome. I saw him at a press conference for "Good Night and Good Luck." Clooney was just wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, and I was awestruck. The entire room was awestruck. He oozes charisma. Maybe you have to be in a room with him.

But that said, Clooney's gotten an awful lot of attention over the years. I think the Sexy Man mantle should be passed on to some new blood. I vote for Gael Garcia Bernal.

And last but not least, how does it feel to get so many amazing reviews for your debut novel? What will your next book be about?

It feels good, really good. For a short while I had a big ego and believed all the praise. I wish that had lasted. I'm working on my second novel. The characters are adults this time around, but that's all I can say for now. I'm scared of jinxing myself.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss

Hey friends~

I have two interviews to post but for now, I wanted to share this with everyone. James from Fantasticsmag did a really fun interview with me. The link is here.

Thank you so much James! It's a neat experience to be the one answering questions instead of making them up.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend to all...


Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's almost here....

This is a sample of the cover for my novel. Everything is moving along quickly and it will be out at the very end of November. Let me say that again- MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE OUT! I am so excited, you can only imagine!

I got some awesome author blurbs from such incredible ladies as Jen Lancaster, Amy DeZellar, Robyn Harding, Laura Dave and Gayle Brandeis. All writers I adore for their books and wonderful personalities. Here is what they said:

"A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss offers a priceless—and hilarious--lookat what can lie beneath the glitz and glamour of celebrity. Cindy infuses this "be careful what you wish for" tale with great energy, humor, and sharp, witty social observation."
Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for WomenWho Write, The Book of Dead Birds, and Self Storage

" A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss is a biting piece of social satire about our obsession with celebrity culture, cleverly cloaked in the perfume-scented guise of 'chick lit.' I practically inhaled the story and loved how Bokma seamlessly wove a morality tale into the lighthearted, fast-paced narrative. Bokma's writing is funny, smart, and incisive, and I didn't want the book to end!"
Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black

"A Thousand Dollars For A Kiss is a fun, funny, and thoughtful novel. Barrett Greer is one of a kind, and true-to-life. What a pleasure to live in her world for a little while."
Laura Dave, author of London is the Best City in America

"A superficial, celebrity-obsessed heroine who will have you laughing out loud and cheering on her transformation."
Robyn Harding, author of The Journal of Mortifying Moments and The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom

"What seems to start out as a standard, although engaging, story of girl-meets-Hollywood ends up surprisingly real and a little bit dark. There had better be a sequel -- I have to know what happens to these characters next."
Amy DeZellar, author of Dating Amy

I will be posting links as soon as the books are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Thanks to all who have emailed and asked about A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss! Now, who is going to interview me?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kristine and Joyce Atkinson, The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Amy Zoe Mason

I've never read a book quite like this, a new and exciting way to write a murder mystery, involving the reader to participate in putting the clues together. The book is a journal with various photos, notes and emails, dropping hints here and there about what happened to a wealthy doctor's wife named Amy Zoe Mason. Who was Amy? A young pretty wife and mother of two...well, you need to read the book and figure it out for yourself.

Each page of this book is artfully done, created to look like a real journal that someone left behind. The story is told throughout the pages. It's a completely new and creative way to tell a story and I applaud the authors for their smart project. I am already looking forward to what these sisters come up with next- hopefully a longer mystery as I did not want this one to end.

The idea to make this artistic journal with recipes, pressed flowers, family photos and cards is nothing short of brilliant. Clues and notes that we the readers can follow and sort of piece together was super creative. Where did the idea stem from? How long did it take you to make the journal and come up with a story?

Kristine: We both love mysteries and we wanted to create a book that presented a mystery in an entirely new way. So many people record their lives in diaries, art journals and scrapbooks, we felt would be a great premise for a mystery and tap into the voyeuristic appeal of reading a stranger’s diary. Unlike conventional mysteries in which the reader is a passive observer as the murder is neatly solved, the reader of JOURNAL is an active participant or detective, as they explore the pages of Amy’s diary.

Joyce: Amy’s artwork, the recipes, notes, newspaper clippings, emails and other items that she saved allow the reader allow to discover who she is, and give the sense of reading an actual journal.

We also wanted to push the boundaries of the traditional novel, not only with the visual component, but also by using the internet as one of our storytelling tools, merging the printed page with virtual world. Our website, AmyZoeMason explains how we “found” JOURNAL, links to other aspects of the story, and readers can interact with them: Amy’s daughter, Susan, is on
and all the characters’ email addresses are live. All together it probably took about eighteen months to create JOURNAL.

If you could peek into someone's journal, whose would it be and what would you hope to find?

Kristine: I would love to peek into Jane Austen’s diary. She writes about relationships so well. Did she ever have a secret love?

Joyce: I think that almost anyone’s diary could be interesting, and give a glimpse into another’s life.

Who do you think would have a more interesting journal, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, or Elvis Presley?

Joyce: Marilyn Monroe—she was a complex person, with so many facets beyond her physical beauty.

Kristine: I would love to see John Lennon’s diary, and I would hope that it contained his drawings, as well as his writings.

I really like the artwork included in the journal. From it we learn that Amy was a creative, sentimental person but so sad as well. Did she contribute to her own untimely death?

Joyce: Amy was going through a very difficult time. Her artwork was her form of self-expression, and perhaps shows that she was falling into a depression. Because of changes in her life, she was very vulnerable, and lacked any kind of support network.

Do you have any plans to create another journal?

Kristine: We would love to tell another story this way. We have been so happy with the response from readers who enjoy the sense of discovery they have with JOURNAL, in a CSI-way it is up to them to look for clues and evidence and come up with a conclusion. Many readers write to us and say that after reading JOURNAL they came to one conclusion, but upon a second, closer reading, they had a different idea.

Where did the house listings and family photos come from? The newspaper clippings look so real! How did you do it?

Joyce: The photos are mostly family members, so JOURNAL is sort of a family journal. We created all the newspaper and magazine clippings, business cards, menus, real estate listings, etc, on the computer and printed them on appropriate paper, such as using newsprint for the newspaper articles to give a sense of authenticity.

Do you like antiques? Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture or something that you later found out had a story behind it?

Kristine: We love antiques. It is the story behind each one that makes them so intriguing—to wonder about the child who created and so carefully stitched her name onto an antique sampler or how many generations wrote letters at an old desk.

Joyce: Also, we have both have the lifelong fantasy of discovering a diary or letters hidden in an old piece of furniture. That would be so exciting. Since it hasn’t happened yet, we “found” JOURNAL.

I think it’s a coincidence that I just interviewed Ronlyn Domingue whose book The Mercy of Thin Air features an old desk with some pictures tucked away in a secret compartment, and in this book, there is a desk with a hidden journal. Should I start thinking maybe there is a clue hidden in the depths of my leather couches?

Kristine: There are secrets hidden everywhere!

So… was it Vanessa or Julia who was responsible for Amy’s fate? Don’t tell me the conclusion is up to the reader, who do you want us to think it was?

Joyce: What makes you think it was one of them?

Since the two of you made the book together, how did you divide up who wrote what or who made the artwork? Did you ever disagree on anything?

Kristine: We had a lot of fun creating JOURNAL. It was a total collaboration. Our creative process involved getting together at Starbucks and doing a lot of talking, which led to the initial ideas for JOURNAL. As we talked back and forth, we developed our characters, their story, and the format, then we worked on the pages together.

Joyce: So many people say, “I could never work with my sister!” but for us it was great. In fact, neither one of us could have done it on our own. Because we spent so much time discussing Amy’s story, and came to know her and the other characters so well, we feel like Amy told her own story, so of course we didn’t disagree about what she told us!

How are you celebrating the success of this book?

Kristine: It still doesn’t seem quite real to see JOURNAL in bookstores. This has been such an exciting time, and we are enjoying every minute!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Robin Hazelwood, Model Student

When I was thirteen I started subscribing to both Seventeen magazine and Harper's Bazaar. I imagined life as a model would be magical- flying off to other countries, wearing high- end clothes, going to parties with Elle, Cindy and Naomi, and drinking champagne night after night, having tons and tons of money and driving a fancy car which back then was something like a Dodge Daytona or a Corvette.

I never knew too much about what really goes on in modeling. And I never read a book like Model Student, giving super juicy details of modeling. The character of Emily Woods is from Wisconsin, a long way away from the highly competitive and fierce modeling in the fashion capital of New York City.

Emily arrives in New York to attend Columbia as well as pursue her budding modeling career. New York is where careers are made and to become a top model, she must work the fashion shows there. Emily tries to juggle school and modeling but she doesn’t seem to fit in either world. Author Robin Hazelwood, a former model, gives readers tons of information about a model's life. She writes about the gritty photo shoot in a seedy hotel room, doing lines of coke is as common as brushing your teeth, extreme dieting to be ultra- thin, vicious competition with other models, romance with a two- timing photographer…it's all in Model Student. I enjoyed this book for both the finer points of that mysterious world and Robin's writing. Two thumbs up! It is a novel that will keep you interested and entertained. I should point out that it's not a light, happy, funny book- it can be dark and serious.

What were the best and worst times of your modeling career?

Best times: when I first started (because even a jogging with shoulder pads seemed glamorous back then—and trust me there were a lot of those!) and whenever I got a chance to explore a new destination, be it Taos or Berlin. Worst times: those first few weeks in a foreign city, any combination of: casting/ subway/95 degrees/ mini skirt/Milan and hunger pains.

Is there a photoshoot that makes you cringe when you think back to it?

Any? There are many, o so many, which is why I felt compelled to create the slide show on my website: My Life in Bad Fashion.

Knowing the nature of the business and all the immoral behavior and habits, do you feel sorry for Kate Moss or do you understand her behavior? I’m taking about her getting caught with the coke, not her relationship with Pete Doherty.

Yes, I do understand Kate Moss’s behavior (which is not to say I condone it). Models begin their careers at such a young age and are under so much pressure to be unnaturally skinny that many rely on substances--both legal and illegal--to help them succeed. Cocaine is like the little black dress of the modeling industry: a wardrobe staple. The drug keeps you up and it keeps you slim, two things a model needs to be.

Who are your favorite models of today? There doesn’t seem to be a big super model craze like when Cindy, Elle, Christy, Linda and Naomi were popular.

And did you ever get a phone thrown at you by Naomi Campbell?

I think Daria Werbowy and Karolina Kurkova are both stunning, but yes, you’re right, there are fewer big names today. In fact, most of the supermodels today are actresses: they’re on every cover and in every campaign. In part, the pendulum shifted because the well known supermodels became very expensive to book and started making a lot of diva-like demands. Like Naomi (no she never threw a cell phone, but let’s just say my encounters with her back then haven’t inspired me to throw a pity party for her now).

I applaud this transition, though it’s interesting to note that actresses, now under greater scrutiny and pressure to be physically perfect, seem from the outside to be developing more eating disorders.

Is Model Student your first attempt at writing a book? And why not make it a memoir instead of a fiction novel? I’m sure many of the details were taken from your experiences.

Model Student was my first attempt at writing a novel, which is probably why it took me over three years of full time work to finish it; I learned as I went! I decided on fiction because I wanted the freedom to compile characters, compress the timeline, and incorporate other model’s stories into the book.

You had some pretty impressive book parties - I saw the photos online. How was it to be the center of attention, this time for a totally different reason than modeling?

It is much more gratifying to be photographed and filmed as “Robin Hazelwood, author” than as “hey, you,” “babe,” or “the brunette over there!”

What do you want people to come away with having read Model Student?

First and foremost, Model Student is designed to entertain. I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said something along the lines of “I’m not all that interested in the world of modeling but I really found Model Student engaging” (and I paid them all handsomely for it).

For those that are coming to the book with an interest in fashion, I think they will come away with a more thorough understanding of the pitfalls of such a seemingly glamorous life.

Do you have any regrets from your modeling days?

I accelerated a semester of college in order to model longer so that I graduated in 3.5 years. I regret that.

What do you think when you hear people like Mischa Barton complain that being pretty is such a burden?

I think people don’t want to hear it. Sure being attractive has a downside but, let’s face it, we live in a very looks-oriented culture; the advantages vastly outweigh the disadvantages. One must always be cognizant of that.

Who are your favorite designers? Your must-have beauty and skincare products?

Currently, I wear blue jeans or cords almost every day (I love James jeans). I buy some of my casual clothing from Vince, and have a weakness for Merrill clogs! But I still love high fashion, even if I don’t wear it often, particularly from the Italian designers. I have more than my fair share of Prada, Gucci and Costume National.

What are your hopes and dreams and goals right now, in this moment?

I hope people continue to read and enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

That sort of answers my last question- do you plan to continue writing books?

Definitely! I am working on my second novel, which follows a group of people in their late twenties/ early thirties between New York City and the Hamptons, so, please, stay tuned!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Check it out...

If you are an aspiring writer, I have no great words of advice but I can surely sympathize. In a career that mostly employs sensitive and creative souls, it's terrible that our writing lives are thick with rejection. Rejection from agents, rejection from editors, rejection from publishing houses and then more rejection. It's enough to make an aspiring writer break down and lock up the computer forever.

I understand, I know what it's like all too well. I'd like to invite you over for some tea and
a hug and tell you that's its okay, you will succeed. Dry your tears and listen up.

There are other routes you can go and one of those is PRINT ON DEMAND. Before you turn up your nose and walk away, listen to this: some formerly self published and print-on-demand books have crossed over and have been rereleased from major publishing houses.

Someone- okay it was super agent Jenny Bent- pointed me in the direction of this fabulous blog called POD-dy Mouth. I want you to check it out. The woman who runs the site reviews POD books, books that may have slipped through the cracks and didn't make it to the big publishing houses and receive advertising and marketing attention. Yeah, there are books out there worth reading that you may not know exist.

If you are looking for a good read, don't shy away from those that are published via POD or even self-published like Abbe Diaz's book called PX This: Diary of a Potted Plant.

From POD-dy Mouth, I learned the following which shocked me and may also surprise you:

In 2004, Nielsen Bookscan tracked the sales of 1.2 million books in the United States and here’s what they came up with:

Of those 1.2 million, 950,000 sold fewer than 99 copies.

Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies.

Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies.

Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies.

Only 10 books sold more than a million copies each.

The average book in the United States sells about 500 copies.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I read this book last week and enjoyed it so much that I stayed up past midnight several nights to read just a 'few more pages'. I simply couldn't put it down.

I sent off some questions to the authors publicist and I'm hoping she answers them so I can share with you. I wanted to be sure to recommend this novel, I know you will love it like I did.

It's a cold, snowy night in 1964 when Norah Henry goes into labor. Her husband, orthopedic surgeon David drives her to his office to deliver the baby. His nurse, Caroline meets him there to assist in the delivery. Norah, drowsy with drugs, gives birth to twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down Syndrome. David makes the decision to hand off his baby girl to the nurse, directing her to bring the baby to a place where children like her can live, an institution if you will. "The grief and resentment caused by his sister's death at the age of 12 washes back over him, and he acts to preserve their vision of a happy future." It's that moment on a freezing night in the solitude of the office that sets into motion the entire novel.

From Norah living her life thinking that her daughter died at birth, to David living with the burden of a horrible lie, and Caroline who brings the daughter up as her own, the book is touching and heart wrenching. For more information and to buy the book, I'm sending you to Amazon. com, you can read about it here.

Of course I have a stack of novels to read but two more books I'd like to read are Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. After a health scare of my own these past few weeks, I'm interested in Why I Wore Lipstick to My Masectomy by Geralyn Lucas.

Currently I need light, quick and snappy so I turn to Janet Evanovich to read Twelve Sharp. When I read her books, I always imagine Sandra Bullock as Stephanie Plum, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Ranger, I have no idea for Joe Morelli, Cloris Leachman as Grandma and Queen Latifah as Lula. When is themovie going to go into production?

As always... happy reading, friends!

And look for new interviews this week with Robin Hazelwood and Joyce and Kristine Atkinson.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More books to the big screen!

I have this book sitting on the shelf and the sheer size of it intimidates me. I have heard terrific things about this novel and I look forward to reading it soon. I need a week of nothing but books!

Here is the latest:

Robert Schwentke is set to direct the love story, The Time Traveler's Wife from New Line Cinema and Brad Pitt's Plan B.The film is based on the celebrated book by Audrey Niffenegger, The Hollywood Reporter notes; it focuses on a couple in which the man has a genetic disorder known as "chrono-impairment," a condition that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. Jeremy Leven wrote the adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife; a 2008 release has been set.

If Brad Pitt's company is producing, what are the chances of Angelina Jolie starring? I'm sure she's saving her schedule for when my book is out...ha ha!