So I was asked recently by writer David Dean (whose wonderful stories my husband Art and I first became acquainted with in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) to participate in The Next Big Thing. Which is basically a way to self-promote one’s book or other writing endeavors. So of course I said, “Sure,” because who doesn’t love a little self-promotion?
However, like David when he posted his blog, I find the idea of interviewing myself a little weird. So when answering these questions, I pretended that Daniel Craig was asking me. Because being interviewed by James Bond is way cooler than just me talking to myself in the mirror, right?
So you can imagine THAT when you read this “interview” below.
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book (or story)?
My your eyes are very very blue. Oh sorry. Yes, my book. Well, it’s not a working title anymore, since it was published in October! It’s called Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and you should read it. Right. Now.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
One day I thought of the title, “The Etiquette of Adultery” and thought that would be a cool title for a story. I wrote it down on a sticky note and tucked it in my wallet and carried it around with me for awhile before finally deciding what to do with it. After I wrote that piece, I started thinking about other “etiquette” stories I could write about subversive things. It was around that time that I was also searching for a way to pull together a collection. So it was kind of the perfect storm.
The book is a collection of 10 stories that are plays on the Emily Post-type etiquette guides that you’ll find in book stores. Only they are WAY MORE FUN than your boring wedding etiquette guides. Instead of weddings, you get elopements. Instead of dinner party etiquette, you get obesity. And so on, so forth.
What genre does your book fall under?
I don’t know. General fiction? Literary fiction? Short stories about crazy topics?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, ha ha, Daniel. Funny you should ask. One of the stories in the collection is “The Etiquette of Homicide” and I would LOVE for you to play that role. Beyond that, I don’t really care. Where can we sign you up?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It is a collection of “the darker side of etiquette—the way people conduct themselves in situations that Emily Post would never write about. You know, like conducting international espionage.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Matter Press, a small independent press out of Philadelphia, and headed up by the wonderful Randall Brown.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the stories sporadically over a period of almost two years. I wrote the last story, “The Etiquette of Insomnia” just after my son was born. He inspired me when I was up feeding him at 3 a.m., we’ll say.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Tough question! I have a hard time comparing myself to other people. It’s like asking you who your favorite Bond girl is. Impossible, right? So I’m avoiding this. Let’s just say if you like odd, experimental-ish stories that are a bit funny, a bit sad, a bit playful and a bit crazy, you will probably like this book.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I actually have no idea where this book came from. I’m not particularly interested in etiquette, and I usually don’t write this experimentally. However, I had so much fun writing these stories that I just wanted to keep on going. I still think of other ideas that I could’ve included.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Haven’t you always wanted to know the best way to start a fire in an abandoned warehouse? Or how to masturbate in bed without waking up your wife? Or what to say at a dinner party with your parents and your married boyfriend? It’s ALL INSIDE, my friends.
Also, the wonderful cover image was designed by my dear friend Brandon Wicks, who was kind enough not to hang up on me when I called him about creating something in an obscene time limit. And agreed to work for bourbon. So I owe that eye-catching cover to him and to designer Lorrie Bennett. There is a special place in heaven waiting for these two.
And now I will pass the torch on to some very talented folks, who will be posting about their writing next week.
First up is Amber Sparks, who will be blogging about her newest collection, May We Shed These Human Bodies, which was just published in September by Curbside Splendor. Look for her on ambernoellesparks.com on Dec. 13.
Also, Bonnie ZoBell, whose fiction chapbook, THE WHACK-JOB GIRLS, is coming out by Monkey Puzzle Press, will chat about that collection on Dec. 14 on her blog West Coast Literary Doings.
And Clifford Garstang will blog at perpetualfolly.com on Dec. 11 about What the Zhang Boys Know, a novel-in-stories published by Press 53 earlier this year.
Last but certainly not least, we will hear from Ashley Inguanta about her collection The Way Home, which is coming out January 4th with Dancing Girl Press. She will be blogging on December 11 at ashleyinguanta.com.
Thanks once again to David Dean for being my “host.” Here’s his web site and blog, and you should buy his book here.