Friday, March 26, 2010

Giveaway of This One is Mine and Interview with Maria Semple!

I am very excited today to welcome Maria Semple to Jo-Jo Loves to read!!!  Maria is the author of This One is Mine, which was recently just released in paperback.  If you missed my review of this book you can read it here.  I am also going to give away my hardcover copy of this book at the bottom of this post!

Now on with the interview!

1. What was your inspiration for writing This One is Mine?
I wanted to write the kind of novel I liked to read. It was really that simple. And since I'd been on a jag of rereading Victorian novels, I thought about my story and characters and subject matter in terms of that: marriages, affairs, rich and poor people, social criticism. I wrote what I knew, basically, which was life in LA, and amped it up a bit, to make it more dramatic.

2. Could you please explain your writing process to us, including whether you know the endings of your books when you begin?
I think it's really important to know the ending before you begin. I usually know the ending, and a couple of key beats I need to hit. For instance, in THIS ONE IS MINE, I knew I wanted to hear from David in the middle of the book, and bring him to life during the weekend at the yoga retreat while Violet was back home with Teddy. I was writing towards that. But most of the other stuff you discover as you write. And when you're in the thick of writing, it is truly magical how you'll write something without even realizing how well it fits into something else. For instance, in THIS ONE IS MINE, I knew Sally was going to get married, and I knew Violet and Teddy would have a big blow out. And then I wrote the scene where David offered Sally his house for her wedding. And then, AHA, I realized it would be a great place for Violet and Teddy to have a blow out, and lots of other stuff fell into place during that scene, too.

3. Do you attend any workshops or do you belong to any writing groups that have helped to improve your writing skills?
I never went through a MFA program. Early into the process, I was part of a writing group where they edited pages. But I quit after a few sessions, because I didn't want to start editing a first draft. My gut was that I should get to the end on my own without a lot of input. It was the right decision.

4. I know that you were a writer for quite a few successful television shows, including one of my favorites, Mad About You (I loved the cumin episode). Are you ever tempted to go back to this type of work and if so, what do you miss about it?
I miss the people. The camaraderie of the writers is something that's hard to replicate anywhere outside the writer's room. But nothing else tempts me about going back. I've since moved to Seattle, which makes it pretty easy to not think about.

5. I have heard from several author interviews that the publishing/editing process can be a very humbling experience. What was this experience like for you and do you have any suggestions for aspiring authors to help them deal with this process?
Hmmm. I don't think there's any way you can prepare someone for the publication process. Once you've gone through it, you get it totally. But being published for the first time comes with a lot of expectations that will almost certainly not go the way you imagine. That's a hard thing to try to tell someone. So my advice is to have a few friends who are published novelists who can help you gain perspective as the process unwinds. And as for marketing, it's all changing so fast. It's important that you take matters into your own hands. And most of all, realize that the true reward is in the writing itself.

6. Could you tell us a little bit about the book you are working on now?
If I knew more about it, I would! I love the character and the subject. I'm currently struggling with technical aspects of it. First person or third? That kind of thing.

7. What are some hobbies that you enjoy during your down time (if you have down time, that is)?
Reading, of course. Cooking, gardening. Yoga.

8. What would an ideal "night on the town" in Seattle consist of for you?
Getting into bed early and reading! Seriously, that's where I am in my life right now. If I were back in LA, I'd give you a much more glamor-filled answer.

9. Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
I just finished AWAIT YOUR REPLY by Dan Chaon, which I really enjoyed. I love Matthew Kneale, Jonathan Evison, Barbara Trapido, Philip Roth, Charles Portis.

Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview Maria and I will be anxiously awaiting your next book! 

Now for the giveaway for those of you that may want this book for yourself!

To enter this contest you must be at least 18 and live in the U.S. or Canada.

For one entry leave me a comment including your email address below.

For two additional entries, blog about this contest or add the link to your sidebar.

Please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until April 16th to enter and I will draw for winners on April 17th.

Good luck everyone!

Giveaway is closed.


bermudaonion said...

Her ideal evening sounds just like mine! No need to enter me.

Teresa said...

This sounds great, I'd love to read it.

teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

DCMetroreader said...

No need to enter me in the giveaway as I have a copy (it is in my TBR stack), but just wanted to say that I enjoyed the interview!

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I read this book and interviewed Maria last year. I loved the book and it's always interesting to see what she has to say. I am looking forward to the next book. Great interview!

Anonymous said...

a wonderful posting...thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous book :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Interesting interview. I would love to read this book, it sounds great.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

nfmgirl said...

Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...


nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Debbie F said...

Please include me!


dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Allison said...

Please enter me!
allygotts567 at hotmail dot com

etirv said...

I watched every episode of Mad About You so I know Maria's book will be worth reading!


traveler said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. Loved the interview. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Sue said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

s.mickelson at gmail dot com