Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lauren Lipton, It's About Your Husband

Lauren Lipton and I could be great friends. She writes with a warmth and humor that I recognize, a friendly tone that resonates with me. It's About Your Husband is a terrific debut novel that kept me engaged from the beginning until the very end. Iris Hedge leaves her husband and heads to New York City to make a go of life in the Big Apple. What better place to start over, right? Things don't exactly go as planned when Iris loses her job and ends up broke, without friends, without a husband and with a dose of low self- esteem. She stumbles upon a job spying on a husband named Steve who may or may not be doing something naughty. Iris is hired to follow him around the city, track his movies and make sure he's not cheating on his insecure uptown wife.

But of course there are complications, romantic entanglements and mix-ups plus a few crazy hair color incidents and haven't we all experienced those? Iris is likable and fun and what a super novel to lose yourself in! Reading about New York City is always a welcome treat beause isn't New York just the best city in the world?

What did you do today? Do you plan out your days or are you a fly-by-the seat-of-your-pants girl?

I am a regimented, borderline-compulsive girl living a seat-of-the-pants existence, if that makes sense. I work best with a very strict routine. But the reality is having to squeeze writing in-between all the other tasks that seem to come up. (Laundry! Doctor checkup! Buy a new coffee filter to replace the one I accidentally tossed in the trash! More laundry!) Today was perfect, though: Nothing to do but dismantle my new book, which isn’t quite right yet, spread it out metaphorically like so many engine parts across a garage floor, and try to put the pieces back together so the thing actually works. Five hours later, I may be getting somewhere.

How would you describe Iris and is she anything like you? Was she driven into being a detective because she needed the money, she was curious, or was she just bored?

Iris is a nice, normal person who’s gone completely loopy, thanks to the triple whammy of a failed marriage, a cross-country relocation and sudden unemployment. She thinks working as a detective might be a great way to keep her mind off her troubles and earn much-needed cash. She turns out to be terrible at it—it’s hardly a job for someone whose judgment is off. Though I’ve not found myself in quite this situation, I too have been known not to think things through. I could see myself saying, “How hard could it be to follow some guy?” and then realizing in the midst of it I had no idea what I was doing.

Have you ever listened in to a phone call or conversation, peeked in a medicine cabinet at someone's house or read a diary that wasn't yours? I consider those to be relevant detective skills.

Uh, yes, yes and yes. My only excuse is, I’m trained as a reporter, and for reporters these are also relevant skills. But, please, nobody tell my sister about the diary.

Did you know how the story was going to end when you began to write it? I have heard of some authors writing the ending first and working backwards. What is your method?

Really? Some people write the ending first and work backward? Do they then have to go back and change the ending when they finish the beginning? It almost sounds like the literary equivalent of a Rubik’s Cube. I definitely work in plodding, linear fashion, though I did plot out how the book was going to end before sitting down to write it. It helped to see the finish line out there in the distance.

You've worked at Cosmopolitan and InStyle. How fun and cool! Did you get to hang out and chat about boys with Helen Gurley Brown? What was the environment like at InStyle, hopelessly good looking and edgy fashionistas strolling through the feng shui-ed hallways?

Work at a women’s magazine is a delightful cocktail of the fabulous and the mundane. On any given day you might arrive to find a forest of models in the foyer, a pastry-tasting in the conference room and 200 gleaming pairs of next season’s shoes lined up side-by-side against the walls. Then you walk into your office, where your mission is to make sure the story you’re editing doesn’t repeat the word “hair.” (For some reason word repetition is an anathema at women’s magazines.) You spend the next hour scraping for adjectives: “tresses,” “locks,” “mane,” “crowning glory” and so on, realizing there’s truly no better word for “hair” than “hair.”

Ideally, I’d now coin a clever women’s-magazine term to describe the job. “Drabulous”? “Glam-notonous?” Can anyone think of something better?

You grew up in Southern California, now you live in New York City. I grew up outside of New York City and now live in Southern California. How do you think the two places compare? What inspired the move east?

This makes me want to Q-and-A you! Where do you live? Which place do you like better? Do you know any of my friends?

I came here because in seventh grade I had a vision. I saw myself walking down a New York avenue on my way to some amorphous job in publishing, holding a clever handbag and wearing a boucle suit and a pillbox hat. Obviously, destiny had called.

I think New York and So-Cal are almost incomparable; they’re on such opposite ends of the lifestyle spectrum. But the crucial difference is this: I have never worn a pillbox hat—why my vision put me in Manhattan circa 1959 I have no idea. But in New York, if I wanted to, I could.

Trying to find an agent is like being set up on a blind date, you don't know them and they don't know you. You are being judged you solely on a short paragraph about a novel and judged not on your wit or sparkling personality or cute shoes. Tell me about your agent search.

It was surprisingly straightforward. I subscribe to the publishing-industry website, a database of every deal that’s made, every day. The site lists each newly purchased book, its author, a quick synopsis, the editor who bought it and the agent who sold it. While working on “It’s About Your Husband” I spent months scouring those deals for books that sounded similar to mine. When it was finally time to find an agent, I knew exactly which ones to send that sparkling, oh-so-witty one-paragraph description of my novel. If only I could remember which shoes I wore to meet my now-agent for our first lunch.

When you are writing, what is your schedule? Is it an all day commitment to the computer?

I love writing and if things are humming along can happily sit at the computer for ten hours, or until my eyeballs are popping out of my head, whichever comes first. (See “borderline compulsive,” above.) Generally, though, life gets in the way of these marathon sessions. I do write every day, including most weekends, for one to four hours at a time.

Iris feels a bit lonely and out of place in Manhattan. What is a time in your life where you felt out of place or like an outsider?

I felt like an outsider for much of my childhood, not because I didn’t have friends, but because my entire existence as a Southern Californian was just plain wrong. I was a pale, indoorsy bookworm in world of puka-shell-necklace-wearing beach bunnies. I had a surfer-girl skirt with a rainbow silkscreened across it and tried to incorporate words like “gnarly” into my vocabulary, yet knew I wasn’t fooling anyone. I always thought, “I must get to New York, to my people.”

What are you working on right now?

A new novel, set in New York City and small-town Connecticut. That, and the laundry.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


What do you do after a long Christmas day when everything is cleaned up and you feel like you could sleep for twenty hours? You take a steamy hot shower and land in bed with Nearlyweds by Beth Kendrick, that's what!

This fun, easy to read, quickly moving tale involves three brides who find out that their marriages are not legal due to the minister dying before he signs the marriage certificates. The book is told from the point of view of the three wives- Erin, Casey and Stella.

I read this book for a few hours last night and then finished it up this morning. I liked it quite a bit. You know me well enough by now that you know I love to read different books of all genres (except science fiction) so this lighthearted book was just the perfect treatment for my post-Christmas exhaustion.

Check it author Beth Kendrick's website to learn more.

Friday, December 22, 2006


I am so grateful to the people who have read my book so far! Thank you so very much, I love hearing from people after they have read it. The whole thing is so surreal- knowing my words are out there in the world, being read by people other than my gal pals. I am working on the sequel and Marilyn Monroe will play a part in this novel. That's all I can say for now...

And a big huge thanks to the following fabulous bloggers who took the time to post about A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss, here are the links:

Manolo, The Shoe Blogger


ScarletB Designs

Barbie Martini


The Pug Bus


Ned Vizzini, Live Journal

Coming up very soon is an interview with the terrific Lauren Lipton who wrote It's About Your Husband and David Dalton, he is one of the founding editors of Rolling Stone as well as a rock n' roll journalist, his book Edie Factory Girl contains gorgeous photographs and is a very intriguing study on Ms. Edie Sedgwick.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Linda Wells, Confessions of a Beauty Editor

This is a beautiful book, chock full of gorgeous photographs and tons of beauty advice. Linda Wells, the editor of the beauty bible known as Allure, put together this awesome guide (along with the editors of the magazine) which has a permanent place within easy reach so I can pick it up and page through it for inspiration. Nails, hair, lips,'s all in this glossy book. I admit to being a total beauty product junkie and a devout reader of all beauty magazines so getting the book wasn't a choice- it was a necessity.

Written with a sense of humor, Confessions of a Beauty Editor is a great book to own. You can sit and read it in one sitting like I did, or page through it for advice as you need it. I am so grateful that Linda herself gave an interview to me so we could chat about a few things. Now we can be best friends and trade lipglosses and talk about new products. Get your copy of Confessions of a Beauty Editor here.

When you leave for vacation, what are the first and last things you toss in your suitcase?

Because my skin is the color of Wonder Bread, the first thing I pack is sunscreen (Anthelios SPF 50) and Heliocare (antioxidant tablets that protect the skin from sun damage). The last thing in the suitcase is a book—rarely a paperback because that would be too easy. For Christmas vacation, I’m taking Dave Eggers new book, “What is the What” and Claire Messud’s “The Emperor’s Children.”

What magazines and/or internet sites do you read to gleam the latest information and best trends or beauty tips?

I always check out the competition and read a whole list of beauty blogs regularly, but the information we report in Allure about new products, breakthroughs and trends comes from direct sources: the scientists, dermatologists, designers, cosmetics companies, and chemists who invent the trends. For tips, the makeup artists, hairstylists, facialists, beauty bloggers, and readers are invaluable. ((Note to Linda and other beauty lovers- check out Hello Dollface!))

What are your worst habits, beauty-wise? Do you pick pimples, rip off false eyelashes, bite your nails?

My worst beauty habit is forgetfulness. I usually don’t schedule a haircut until I look in the mirror and realize I can’t go another day without one. It’s gotten to the point where my hairstylist calls me to tell me it’s time to come in.

Complete the sentence, The best advice I ever received was_____________

The best advice I’ve ever received was not to talk about my flaws. If I tell everyone that I’ve gained five pounds or have a zit on my chin, then that’s all anyone will see. It’s probably all anyone does see, but I’m trying to curb the confessions. It takes a lot more will power than you’d think.

Is there anything in life that you absolutely will not do? For example, I will never wear a sweat shirt with Winnie the Pooh on it.

There are so many things I will not do. I will not get a tattoo, dye my hair brown (or pink), wear sneakers with a skirt, a pastel velour sweat suit, golf clothes, or a Lilly Pulitzer shift dress.

Do you watch Project Runway? Have you heard Heidi Klum's new holiday song yet?

I love Project Runway. Yes, saw the holiday video. Heidi’s eye shadow is lovely.

Can you list your very favorite products, please be sure to include the best mascara, lip gloss, foundation, primer.

My product favorites change every few weeks. At the moment, my favorite mascara is Max Factor Volume Couture. Foundation is Prescriptives Flawless Skin. Lip gloss is Nars. I don’t use a primer. Facial cleanser is Olay Daily Facials. Moisturizer is Dr. Brandt Lineless Cream. Anti-aging treatment is ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. Body scrub is Clarins Smoothing Body Scrub. Shampoo is L’Oreal Vive or Garnier Fructis (I alternate). Volumizer: Kerastase Mousse Nutri-Sculpt and Garren Volumizing Spray. Fragrance is the new Chanel 28 La Pausa (I’m using a sample; the real thing comes out in February).

I was sixteen before my mother let me wear makeup. I was a tall, skinny, pale teenager with blonde eyelashes and light blue eyes and I needed color! How old were you when you began to wear makeup? Did you pile it on or show restraint?

I started wearing mascara and concealer when I was about 17. I didn’t wear much makeup until I started working, and even then, I exercised so much restraint that it was virtually invisible. My parents never forbade makeup; they didn’t have to: I went to a girls’ high school where no one really thought about it. In college, it wasn’t a big thing either unless we were visiting the clubs in the city. And then my friends made me up until I was unrecognizable.

If you could wake up and look like anyone in the world, who would it be?

If I could wake up and look like anyone? Well, about a thousand people come to mind. I’d love to have flat abs and thicker hair, even if only for a day.

I heard gloss is out and red lipstick is in. Any truth to this?

Gloss is out; red lipstick is in. Gloss is in; red lipstick is out. These are the things you hear every day. The fact is: red lipstick is as classic as gloss. Some women prefer the former; some go for the latter—and rarely do the same people go for both (I’m a gloss person).

Book to film: Notes on a Scandal

A few years ago I read this amazing, chilling novel called What Was She Thinking, Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. I loved it. It is one of those books you cannot pull yourself away from. I don't want to tell you too much about it because I fear I would ruin the surprise for you.
I am certain I blogged about it after I read it but right now I'm too lazy to look at the archives and find it. Rest assured, the book is well worth your time, I promise you that you will close the book and say, "Oh. My. Goodness." Shocking. A page turner. Well played, Zoe Heller!

This morning, rainy and cold, so untypical of southern California, I was watching a rerun of the movie The Firm, pre-crazy Tom Cruise, when what should come on the screen but a movie trailer for Notes on A Scandal starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, two excellent actresses who are already in the running for Oscars!

Go get this book right now and read it. Then see the movie opening on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nancy French, A Red State of Mind

A long time ago, a friend of mine told me she never discussed politics or religion with her friends. I didn’t really understand why. What was the big problem? You have your opinions and I have mine, right? Apparently, people get really upset when you disagree with what they feel strongly about. Nancy French writes about her experiences living in different states while being a red state kind of gal. What do you do when you stand out like a rusty Gremlin in a lot of new Hummers because you don't subscribe to the theories around you?

This was a super fast read, a book written with humor and warmth. You may or may not agree with Nancy but you know what? That’s okay. We are all different and that’s what makes us all special. That sounded like something from Sesame Street but it’s the truth.

Can't we all just get along? Why is it that everyone can chat happily about cooking and books and Britney Spears but bring up politics and religion and the atmosphere changes. What do you think?

You know, Americans are more politically polarized than we have been for years. Studies show that ethnic segregation is decreasing, but political geographic segregation is increasing.

In other words, you’re less likely to have a disagreeable conversation with your neighbor because it’s less likely you’ll disagree. For example, cities like Washington DC, Philly, and Manhattan voted anywhere from 80 to 90% for Kerry in 2004 – urban dwellers have less opportunity to openly discuss their ideas with conservatives… which makes it easier to put us in the category of “strange-people-who-live-in-places-without-mandatory-recycling-laws” instead of actual sentient humans.

Would you ever move to a state that was known for being liberal? You seem like you can get along with anyone, is that pretty accurate?

I actually loved living in Manhattan when my husband and I were newly married. I love the pedestrian lifestyle, the great Vietnamese restaurants, and the exercise gained from jumping over sidewalk urine puddles. I would definitely consider moving to a “blue area,” just not right now. We still have boxes we haven’t unpacked from our last move.

I recall when you were writing and we exchanged emails, what did you change from the original book? I think it was slightly different or maybe I've just been drinking too much vodka tonight. Did you have to do a lot of revisions once you got the book contract?

I’ll hold off on judging your vodka intake, but it’s very possible you might be thinking of a novel I wrote and was trying to sell for years. I’d written what I thought was the Great American Novel, only to realize that no one else shared my enthusiasm for the project.

In fact, it was rejected repeatedly by every possible publisher until I came to the conclusion that perhaps it just wasn’t as good as I thought. Then, my friend and agent DJ Snell called me with the idea for “Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle.” This is a humorous memoir instead of a novel, which evidently is more my strong point. I use my novel manuscript whenever a table leg is too short. I’ve found that a few pages helps even things out at the dinner table.

The hospital in Ithaca, the one with no epidurals? That was plain wrong. I'm all for natural health and but that was insane! Is there one place you lived that you would refuse to move back to?

One of the most humorous and shocking chapters of the book is called “Nipple Confusion,” which relates the story of giving birth in Ithaca. I’d have to say that I’d rather listen to Michael Moore pontificate rather than move back to Ithaca… the only city in America which elected a socialist mayor, whose female police chief’s main claim to fame was walking around topless to make a point of gender rights, and who refused to fluoridate their water because they didn’t trust the government to medicate them. Yeah, it’d be hard to move back there. Especially if any of them have read “Red State of Mind.”

Out of the places you have lived- Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania- where do you feel most at home? Where are the people most kind? What surprises you most about the people you have met?

Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to me… I just love Tennessee, in the kind of way that there’s a place in your heart shaped like “home,” and you just can’t squeeze much else into it. Tennesseans are the nicest, most welcoming bunch of people.

I love the catfish, music, lightning bugs, seventy degree November days. What surprises me most about people is that everyone is fervent in their beliefs: Tennesseans might be particularly devoted to Christianity, whereas Philadelphians might be devoted to secular humanism, environmentalism, or whatever. However, only one side admits it. Urban dwellers are more evangelistic than Billy Graham when it comes to, say, recycling. Try throwing away a bottle into the wrong receptacle at the park, and liberals drop from the trees on tethers with advice on how to save the planet. I find them much more “fundamentalist” than any evangelical I’ve met.

You totally lay it all on the line and make no bones about your political and religious preferences. I find that admirable because many people would shy away from stating their beliefs so openly. Were/ are you nervous, worried or anxious about what readers will think of you?

I “stayed in the closet” for a while during our Philadelphia residence. I wanted the kids to be able to have playdates, I wanted friends, and I didn’t want to have contentious political conversations while living in the City of Brotherly Love. However, it just so happened to be 2004 – when George Bush was running against John Kerry for President. All of my friends wore buttons proclaiming, “I’m a Member of the M.O.B. – Mothers Opposing Bush.” For weeks, no one commented on my lack of button. Then, on election day, my friend came up to me and asked, suspiciously, “Who are you voting for?” It was one of those moments that test your intestinal fortitude. “President Bush,” I said.

Well, I would’ve been more welcomed had I just announced I was creating my own pyramid scheme. People were aghast. “But you seem so reasonable,” one friend lamented when she heard I was a Republican. From that point on, I decided to be more public. If I was going to have to defend myself, I wanted a larger audience. I began writing opinion pieces for the Philadelphia City Paper, and the rest is history. My columns generated so much hate mail that I literally could not pick up a paper lest I read about how I was a “shit-head-war-monger.”

The paper even lost advertisers over me. But, thanks to a great editor who believed in free speech, the columns continued to annoy Philadelphians until I moved. (When the book came out, the headline of the City Paper was “Nancy French Took Your Advice: She Went Back Home.”)

So…I take it you aren't a fan of Bill Clinton? Do you think Hilary will run for office in 2008? What do you think would happen if she won? Would that be a sign of the apocalypse? ((I'm kidding!))

My prediction: Hillary will be the Democratic nominee in 2008, although she’ll go down in flames to a conservative candidate with both blue state and red state appeal – someone like Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a conservative standard bearer, who also has the political chops to appeal across the board. I blog for a political grass roots website: , which is my attempt to make sure that the words “President” and “Clinton” will never be combined to describe Hillary.

Do you think things are black and white or do you tend to see the gray areas too?

Oh, there are definitely gray areas. For example, I have grace towards people who have not yet started watching “24” – due to their schedules or whatever. The show is so compelling, it requires an emotional and time commitment that some people just do not have. However, people who don’t watch American Idol are, quite possibly, enemies of democracy and the American way of life.

Assuming you have one, what is on the night-stand next to your bed? What kind of books do you like to read?

My birthday was this week, so I have a new stack:“Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems.”

I’m hoping to learn how to convince my new puppy that my house is not his gigantic toilet. “Widow of the South,” a novel by Robert Hicks, based on the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee – five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. “The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles,” by Martin Gayford. This is true story of the time period that artists Van Gogh and Gauguin lived together in the south of France, chronicling the events that escalated until Van Gogh actually cut his own ear off. What night stand does not have this book?

What's in your purse? In mine you will find: a wallet, receipts from Target and Starbucks, two packs of gum, four lip glosses and blotting papers for my oily skin.

1. Beauty Control makeup 2. “Cherries in the Snow” colored Nail Polish 3. Dramamine 4. Facial soap from the last hotel I stayed in 5. A seashell 6. Chopsticks 7. The plastic head of General Grievous, a Star Wars toy of my son’s which I promised to superglue. 8. A Bluetooth earpiece I never figured out how to use 9. The wrapper of a Sonic chocolate milkshake straw

Are you going to continue writing and what are you working on now? Any plans to move again?

I actually had the blessing of a two book deal with Hachette Book Group (formerly Time Warner Books), which means I’m writing another book which will come out in the spring of 2008. It’s tentatively titled “American in Paris… Tennessee” and will be misadventures of small town life.

My current book is more of my misadventures in urban living, so this will be a continuation of the same theme… the fact that I struggle to live as an adult no matter what zip code I find myself in.

Great interviews coming up...

I have some great interviews coming up with Linda Wells, Editor of Allure magazine, authors Marisa de los Santos and Nancy French! I've been busy trying to work on promoting my novel this past week so excuse the absence of author interviews.

If you would like to submit some interview questions for me, please send them to

Thank you!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dreams do come true!

Unicorns and fairytales may not exist, but dreams do come true. I looked this morning and lo and behold, the book is online!! Click here for Amazon and the page will be brought up. I keep admiring my name up there although I think an alias would have been cool. M. Monroe comes to mind. Just wait until book 2 of this series! Click here for Borders and here for Barnes&Noble.

Can I tell you how very excited I am today? Look for an interview with well, me...coming soon.
Thanks for all your kind words and emails! It's so much appreciated.

THANK YOU to the authors below who so kindly blurbed my book for me!

A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss offers a priceless—and hilarious--lookat what can lie beneath the glitz and glamour of celebrity. Cindy Bokma infuses this "be careful what you wish for" tale with greatenergy, 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

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Julia Holden, A Dangerous Dress

I knew I would like this book based on the cover and the premise. A woman named Jane Stuart receives her grandmother's dress from the 1920's. Not just any dress, but a spectacular beaded number that screams "Danger!" in a good way. A dress that inspires Jane to take chances and leave her small town for the bright lights of Paris.

I loved the way author Julia Holden wove in all the details about Paris, I could sit and read about that glorious, magical city all day. Jane leaves behind boring little Kirland, Indiana for the excitement of Paris. She is armed with a dress that is not only dangerous, but serves as an inspiration and a source of strength as Jane takes chances and lives beyond her comfort zone. It's amazing how a certain dress or pair of killer shoes can spike that confidence and allow us to act slightly different. For example, right now I am totally living la vida loca and purchased false eyelashes for fun. Daring, I know. But paired with my patent leather red platform shoes, who knows what I'll do?

Julia's book is entertaining and fun, a great debut novel. After I read the book, I actually dreamed that I owned such a dangerous dress!

Do you own a special garment, something that makes you feel dangerous? I would imagine I would feel dangerous in some Christian Louboutins or Jimmy Choos, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Louboutins and Choos? Yikes. Let me confess: I can't wear high heels. Love them, but I'd kill myself. Bally flats are more my speed.Likewise, I don't own anything nearly as daring as the very dramatic 1920s "dangerous dress" in the novel. I do own a pretty fabulous blue suit that I bought at Armani Collezioni in Paris, which is my favorite store in the world. The suit is sexy AND powerful, which I like to think is a pretty dangerous combination.

Small towns like Kirland get a bad rap. We dream of escaping those stifling suburban places but then feel fondness for them later. Did you grow up in a small town or a big city?

I grew up in and around a big city, but since then I've lived in many places, and I've got very special connections to a small town in Indiana that's an awful lot like the fictional Kirland. Everywhere I've lived has had pluses and minuses; if I ever find the perfect place, I'll stay there forever!

If you had to leave your house suddenly in the middle of the night, what possessions would you grab on your way out the door?

Assuming my family (including my crazy dogs) was already safe outside, the first and most important thing I'd take would be my notebook computer -- not least because it's got the almost-finished manuscript of my next novel on it. After that, wedding pics and other family photos. Oh, and my first edition of "The Sun Also Rises," if I had time to dig it out.

What song on the radio always gets you pumped up and ready for the day? What song relaxes you? And what song makes you feel ten years old?

I'm not so sure about "ready for the day," but songs like Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" and "Love Is a Battlefield," and Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know," really get me pumped. (Does that mean I have an angry side?) Early Elton John puts me in a really peaceful place -- classics like "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer" and "Candle in the Wind."

And ten years old? I'll be revealing my age, but "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies and "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Rolling Stones -- how's that for a weird combination?

Is there anything from this novel based on your own experiences? When you were growing up, where did you dream of living and what did you dream of doing?

There's certainly a lot of me, and people close to me, in Jane Stuart, the protagonist of the book. I've spent plenty of time in all the places Jane goes, from sleepy Indiana to fabulous Paris and New York. And some of the incidents were inspired by real events. For example, a woman really did walk out of the dressing room at Armani Collezioni wearing her dress backwards ... although the consequences in the book are much more dramatic than they were in real life.

Growing up, I had a pretty narrow frame of reference; I never dreamed I'd go to all the places I've actually been. But as corny as it sounds, I really did always dream of being a writer. And here I am. Wow.

You write with such detail about Paris, obviously you have spent a lot of time there. What do you love about the city? From the pastries to the cafes to the Seine and the vintage shops, it sounds like paradise. Just tell me when to pack my bags and I'll be there.

It's much easier to tell you what I DON'T love about Paris: the traffic and the cigarette smoke. Everything else, I love. It's an amazingly beautiful city, and one of the greatest places in the world just to walk around. Needless to say, the food, the wine, the shopping, the all-around style of the place, are all just incomparable.

When my family and I go, here's our itinerary: we walk, we shop, we eat, we drink, all in large quantities. No matter how much time I spend there, it's never enough. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love to write about it -- I get to visit even when I'm not there. Not surprisingly, Paris is the main setting of my second novel as well.

Would you like to see the book made into a movie? How does that process work?

Is this a trick question? I wouldn't like it, I'd LOVE it. And I guess I've got a little bit of a head start, first because my terrific agent, Bill Contardi, has done a lot of movie rights deals for many years, so he's very well connected, and second because I know a few people as well, from my years working in and around the industry. So that makes it sound easy, right?

Unfortunately, not so easy. There's a lot of luck involved. Timing, over which we authors have absolutely no control, can be a key factor. If your book comes out right after the most recent chick-lit book-to-film has flopped, nobody's buying. You've just got to hang in there, stay connected to people, and try to be in the right place at the right time with the right property. (Needless to say, I think it'd make a GREAT movie.)

What are you working on right this minute? What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?

Right this minute, I'm working desperately to finish the manuscript of my next novel. It's called ONE DANCE IN PARIS, and it's due out July 2007. It has a few things in common with the first book, including Paris -- but this is a sexier book with a very different heroine, and, for that matter, a very different side of Paris. I love it.

Ten years from now? I sure hope I'm still writing books. I'd better be, because I've got lots of stories to tell.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Any second now...

Thanks to everyone who has been text messaging, calling, faxing, emailing, googling and Blackberrying. The release date for the book was initially December 1st and I was thrilled and spent the day with shaking hands and a palpitating heart, hitting "refresh" every five minutes to see my name on Amazon and or Barnes and Noble.

I jetted out of town for the weekend with no internet access and was worried that I wouldn't be able to see the book on Amazon or No need to fret because apparently the printing was delayed.

Any second, any moment, the book should burst on to the scene! I keep checking and a book on terrorism keeps coming up as well as a mystery novel. These are not my books. You will want to look for A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss by Cindy Bokma. I will of course, post links the very minute the book is there.

If you want to ask questions for a book club or website, of course I would be so honored! And if you could get a copy to Britney Spears, that would be super. She is such an inspiration to me. If it wasn't for her, the character of pop- star Kat Savage might not exist.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp

I've been reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series for years and years. I cannot remember a time in my adult life when these books weren't around. The series about female bounty hunter Stephanie Plum from New Jersey are always super funny and entertaining with a cast of zany characters.

Janet Evanovich is an enormously popular writer- just walk through any airport and you will spot people reading her books in every terminal! I'm so grateful that she stopped by here to answer some questions. Now the only question that remains is, when will the studio start working on that Stephanie Plum movie?

When you first began writing about Stephanie, how many books did you envision for the series? What keeps you going book after book?

I had no number in mind. I keep writing about Stephanie because I enjoy it and there's an audience for the books.

What was the first item you treated yourself to when you were able to sit back and say, I'm successful at this writing thing..?

When I sold the movie rights to ONE I bought a bread machine and new bath towels.

I see lots of books with your name on them, were these novels you wrote before you got famous for Stephanie Plum's escapades or books you wrote after Stephanie burst onto the scene?

I wrote twelve small romance novels pre-Stephanie. These are now being re-released. I have a co-authored a series of six books that were written during the Stephanie years. I have a non-fiction HOW I WRITE book that came anout just a few months ago. And two years ago I started a second hard-cover series about a female mechanic and a race car driver. There are two books out in that series.

What makes New Jersey such a great location for a book? I love Jersey-the shore, the big hair, the long nails, the Camaros, the pizza...

All of the above, but most of all the people are great in Jersey.

I imagine Sandra Bullock as Stephanie and there is only one person who could play Ranger and that's Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. But Morelli totally stumps me. Who do you imagine playing the characters as you write about them? And what's the scoop with a Stephanie Plum movie, I've been hearing rumors for years now. Let's get it going.

I don't imagine any of my characters as existing movie stars. They're unique in my head. TriStar owns the rights to the Plum series and can't seem to get their act together.

If you had to choose between Morelli and Ranger, who would it be? And don't tell me they are both great, I know that. I'd pick Ranger, he's so dark and sexy! (especially when you imagine The Rock as Ranger)

I'm partial to Ranger. I like the mystery.

Tell me about your newest book, How I Write. What prompted you to write a "How To"?

For years and years Alex had been archiving the writing Q&A off the website. It had become much too extensive and complicated for the fans to access so we decided to organize it into a book.

When you sit down to write a new novel, do you begin with an outline or do you let the book unfold as you go along? Do you ever get writers block?

I begin with a short plot outline. I always know the beginning and the end and a few things in the middle. I always know where I'm going with the relationships. I don't believe in writer's block. Some days I write ten pages and some days I write a single sentence, but I always show up for work.

What are some of your other talents?

Drawing, baking and I'm a pretty decent business woman.

Do you think you will write about Stephanie Plum indefinitely? And of course we all want to know what the future holds for her, do you have any hints you can drop?

Not sure about indefinitely but I have no plans to stop anytime soon.