Joni Rodgers -- who started her writing career after being diagnosed with cancer and wrote the best-selling BALD IN THE LAND OF BIG HAIR -- is one of those women you know you'd just love if you lived next door. Though she doesn't like to think of herself as a ghostwriter, but rather as a literary sherpa, I think her 'day job' sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, having helped Lance Armstrong and his mother write their memoir would be, for me, the equivalent of helping Bruce Springsteen pick which guitar to take out to the big lights My brother died of the same cancer Lance survived and our family has cheered the man through his many triumphs. I may not agree with his politics, but who cares, the guy is tough.
Okay, back to Joni's latest fiction:
THE SECRET SISTERS which has just come out in paperback.
It's gotten great press and is in my TO BE READ file as soon as i finish the second novel, which, is still kicking my ass and taking names...
- If I had to offer two bumper sticker explanations for my novel, they’d be “Appearances are deceiving” and “Mean people suck.” Tell me what your slogans would be, and why.
The Secret Sisters is the braided story of three women who are each in a different kind of prison: Pia suffers from a panic disorder, Beth is trapped in the past by her anger and grief, and Lily is in a state penitentiary as the result of a fatal drunk driving accident. Each in her own way discovers the power of this tidbit of ancient wisdom: “The truth shall set you free.”
- Your two favorite movies over the past twelve months and why?
Oh, dear. I don't think I can narrow it down to two. We're a movie loving family. A Prairie Home Companion fan from way back, I thought they did a wonderful job with the movie, which could have so easily gone so terribly wrong. Gotta love Little Miss Sunshine for the simple but beautiful script and poignantly perfect acting. Closing credits of V for Vendetta left me bawling with that awesomely profound mash-up featuring Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Gloria Steinem. (Revolution from within!) Children of Men was amazing in every way. And for pure visuals, I enjoyed the beefcake buffet that was 300 (aka “Pecs and the City”.) Go Spartans!
- What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that you were really surprised to find out?
This was my sixth book, so I was surprised to find that I learned just as much as I did with my first. That’s one of the wonderful things about this job. Each book is a fresh challenge, as the high-diving-horse-trick of making a daily living in the publishing industry is an ongoing adventure.
- If you had to pick one and only one condition (beyond computer or pen and paper) that would allow you to write would it be: a. solitude b. caffiene c. sleep d. food e. sex or f. ______.
a) Solitude. Now leave me alone!
5. Do you have a favorite genre? If so, who are your three favorite writers? If not, who are your three favorite writers and how have they influenced your work?
My three favorite books are Sidhartha by Hermann Hesse, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, but my favorite writers are my critique partners: Colleen, Bobbi, Wanda, TJ, and Anna. We “Midwives” help each other through the creative process and daily labor pains of the writing life. My work would not be half as clean or confident without their candid but loving criticism.