My dear friend Tom Cutrer, after following me home one hot summer afternoon, got me a bumper sticker of my very own. Though I did not put it on my car, it sat on my kitchen desk for quite some time, and I was astonished at how many people thought it was funny. I did not think it was funny, because I did NOT think it was at all applicable to me. It said, and I quote, "I'm Just Driving This Way to Piss You Off."
How very droll. I am a slow, hyper-safe scared-to-death driver. I'm well aware of braking distances, turn signal laws and the possibility of overhead planes crashing directly in front of or on top of my car. The problem with such white-knuckled fear-based defensive driving is that it can't be maintained for long without scaring the shit out of other people who are driving with me. Which reminds me of another favorite bumper sticker "When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not like his passengers, screaming and wetting their pants."
Alright, so here's the part where I tell you about Jess's novel which has gotten great press so far. Marian Keyes, whose RACHEL'S HOLIDAY is one of the funniest books I've ever read, calls DRIVING SIDEWAYS ‘hugely entertaining and genius’
Not only that but the book's been selected as a breakout book for Target which is huge, since everytime I go to Target I have to avert my eyes from the book section only to peek and see who is there. I tell myself, I will really have made it when my book comes out at Target. So I'm jealous a bit, but not enough to serve passive-aggressive appetizers.
Anyhow, I am going to try and show you a picture of the book and of the way-too-cute author, but first I'll publish our interview in case the pictures do what they've done everyother time i've tried to upload them using typepad's new-and-improved!!!NOT!!! user-friendly software.
1. 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.
This way to Wall Drug!
I’m only joking, a little. (If you’ve ever driven through Minnesota and South Dakota, you know all about the Wall Drug signs.) How about, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” And “Sometimes what you want has nothing to do with what you need.” You can tie both to my protagonist’s road trip, in which she sets out to achieve certain goals and ends up learning some completely unexpected lessons.
(Sidenote: The other day I saw a blue bumper sticker with a simple message: “Red Sucks.” The absurdity totally cracked me up when I really needed a good laugh.)
2. Your two favorite movies over the past twelve months and why?
The Orphanage: oh, such a haunting, moving film! A classic ghost story, with so much atmosphere and chills. One of the most frightening movies I’ve ever seen, with no slashing or gore whatsoever. And completely unexpectedly, I cried at the end.
Also, of course I adored Juno. Loved the writing, the characters, the humor, the story itself.
3. What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that you were really surprised to find out?
How much self-promotion was involved. I’ve never been comfortable with that (hey, I’m from the Midwest…a place where, as Garrison Keillor so eloquently stated, ‘The introverts stare at their shoes and the extroverts stare at yours.”) but I’m learning.
4. 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. ______.
No day job!! Yeah, that’s a biggie. Although as a friend of mine said, having a day job is one major incentive to get off my duff and write every day, if only to write my way to the point where the day job no longer is a necessity. (Is that what you call ‘circular logic?’ )
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?
I love memoirs and essayists, and David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, and Haven Kimmel top my personal list of favorites. Jen Lancaster, Paul Feig, Suzanne Finnamore, and Beth Lisick are right up there, too.
This genre is so different from fiction, but I count myself lucky if a small bit of their dexterity with language, their skill in setting up humorous scenes or phrases, rubs off on me.
Now, let's see if I can tease you with a photo and a book cover...If this is one book you choose by it's cover, I highly recommend flouting conventional wisdom, since it looks just yummy, does it not?