Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview with a real count!

(Thanks to my count friend, whose real name shall remain anonymous to protect him from the paperazzi, for taking the time to answer some questions. Here's a picture of his ring!)

How did you get to be a count? 
I did it the old-fashioned way.  I was born into it along with my two older brothers.  My grandfather, as head of the family, was Marquis.  Once he passed away my dad became Marquis.  As the youngest son and with both of my older brothers having male children, I will probably never become Marquis as the title passes down through the oldest male child.

I can see another book…Marquis Nobody….
Very funny.

What was it like growing up? 
I grew up in the US so the only people that really knew about my title was my immediate family and my French relatives, which meant, of course, that no one really knew.  Although once I got to high school, the word got out.  However, it didn't really change much.

Interestingly enough, once I was out of college, I played a sport where a lot of the people on other teams started calling me “the Count.” I had played at the World Championships with the French national team back in the late '80s and the US national team was composed of a bunch of players from NYC.  They started calling me the Count (and “Frenchie” sometimes). The nickname stuck.

Do you make people call you Count so and so? If not, how come? (I would.)
Other than people in my sport (as a nickname), no, and I don't make any of them do it, of course.

Do you go to France a lot? When you do, do you stay in chateaus?
When I was growing up I spent almost every August in France at my grandparents’ mansion on the Normandy coast in a small seaside town called Villers-sur-Mer.  My dad and his 3 sisters (none of whom were countesses, of course) would come with their families so it was a huge gathering of cousins for weeks at a time, going to the beach and playing tennis every day with huge meals for 20+ people at a time.  A few times, I have actually stayed in a chateau of a friend of my parents.

Do countesses really wear tiaras?
Well, I have never seen my mother in one.  But I think it's a cool idea!

Has being a count helped you get girls?
I'm not sure I should really answer that.  I guess the short answer is, yes ;)

How does being a count affect your daily life?
Not so much, I would have to say.  It is a cool nickname though. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action!!

How often does an author get the chance to cast her own novel? This was a blast. Read it here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

An interview with myself...

Sure, other people interview me from time to time. I have one set up with a newspaper reporter this week as a matter of fact. But I like being in control (freak!) so here’s what I’d ask myself if I didn’t already know the answers.

Where did you get that fetching purple dress in your author photo?
Oh that old thing? I’ve had it for ages. Ok, I got it at TJMaxx. For me, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I guess I always had an aptitude for writing, even if it was just papers in school. I had a couple of high school teachers who influenced me: Miss Hooker (seriously, that was her name, but she was like 90 so no one went there). She taught English and just had a way of making words seem magic. And Ms. Emerson, my sociology teacher, who after reading one of my papers suggested I pursue writing. So I did. I majored in Journalism in college, and then became an advertising copywriter. (Meaning I’ve written ads for booze, hotels, airlines, banks, you name it. It's kind of fun and I love being able to learn a little bit about a lot of different things.) It wasn’t until later in life that I became interested in writing fiction. I went back to college and got a master's degree in creative writing. That was really fantastic.

School? Fantastic? Are you nuts?
Going back to school when you’re older is totally different because you actually want to be there. So you study your butt off and love every minute of it. I’m not kidding.  Fun with a cap F.

Where do your stories come from? (Well they’re not just your stories, they’re my stories too. Let’s not forget who’s asking the questions here.)
Sometimes it’s a little scene that really happened, as was the case with my first adult book, Some Assembly Required, where a woman opens a door and announces that she’s a trapezoid. OR it might be a situation. My second book, Summer Shift, was loosely based on my summers waitressing on Cape Cod.

Countess Nobody was based on a true story about a set of boy-girl twins who will be facing this dilemma when they’re a little older. The boy will inherit the title of count. The girl won’t, which blows. But such is life. I imagined what it might feel like to be in her shoes and the story took off from there.

Do you have any advice for young aspiring authors?
Read a lot. You pick up so much about what makes characters great and what keeps you turning pages. You learn a lot of it just by osmosis. So read as much as you can and read all kinds of books.

Be curious about everything. It’s one thing most writers have in common.

Keep a journal. At first it can seem a little strange and forced. “Hello diary. Um. So here we are. What am I supposed to say now?” But if you keep at it, the little voice inside of you will eventually just go and you’ll learn all kinds of neat things about what it is you really care about and what you like and dislike about yourself and the people in your life. All this writing is good for your “writing” because eventually, the words just flow out of you and nothing is too precious. That’s a big problem for some new writers. Because it takes so much effort to write a few sentences, they can’t bear to throw anything out. But sometimes you have to. The more you write, the more you know there’s more where “that” came from. Not to mention, it’s really fun (and sometimes cringe-worthy) to go back and look at how you were feeling at any given time in your life. Writers are always trying to work stuff out. That’s what we do

What are you working on now?
My tan. Well, tomorrow is officially the first day of summer. But, seriously, I have another Cape Cod book I’m working on now. And if enough people like Countess Nobody, I could see writing another book about Sophie. Like what if she went to France to find herself a real count that she could marry to become a countess? Only what if, on the plane ride over, she met an English duke? What if she married him instead and became “Duchess Somebody”? Ok, I literally just made that up a second ago but hmmmm….

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Launch day has arrived!

To celebrate, I will be wearing my tiara all day. To the supermarket, to the post office...a little worried about doing headstands in yoga tonight but I'll make it work...

You can order my book on Amazon or get it at your local bookstore.

Thanks! And stay tuned for an interview with a real live count in the coming days...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming to bookstores on June 14, 2011!

Here’s a secret about Countess Nobody that I’m about to blurt out to the entire world. Somewhere in the United States (you’ll never drag it out of me), there is a young girl who hasn’t yet been told that she won’t inherit the title of countess. When I first became friends with her “Dad the count,” he told me of the "dreaded day" he’d have to tell his daughter that her twin brother would inherit the title of count, however, due to some stuffy, antiquated, messed up traditions beyond his control, the girl would not inherit the title of countess. The only way she could ever be a countess would be to marry a count, and let’s face it, how many counts do you see on Match and eharmony? (Though that could make an interesting sequel.)

Anyway, in keeping with that trying-to-figure-people-out thing that authors do, I started wondering how I would feel if I were her, having a twin and being raised exactly the same, how much their French heritage meant to their family, how unfair it all seemed. I tried to imagine that "dreaded day" when she got older and her parents would sit her and her brother down and tell them the truth. The wheels started turning and, next thing you know, I had a book. (Making up everything else, of course.)

What’s kind of freaky (for her, especially) is that one day, maybe five or ten years from now, that girl will read Countess Nobody and realize it’s based on her life. I wonder how she’ll feel and whether some of the things I wrote about will ring true. I’ll be sure to conduct an interview with her the minute she's done with the book so be sure to check back here every day for the next five or ten years. You won’t want to miss it.

Countess Nobody will be hitting bookstores on June 14th. (But you can pre-order now if you want. It's available as an ebook too! ; ) And please "like" Countess Nobody on Facebook for your chance to win a free copy!