Ask Maria Semple - Tuesday, April 23rd! discussion

Ask Maria!

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message 1: by Margo (new)

Margo (maothrockmorton) | 1 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Maria will be answering questions on Tuesday, April 23rd. In the meantime if you have a question for Maria or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.

message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter Wayner (peterwayner) | 2 comments Do you think of yourself as an outsider writing about Seattle? Or have you gone native?

message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Ozawa | 1 comments What are some of your favorite places to eat in Seattle?

message 4: by AJ (new)

AJ (ajfeuerman) | 2 comments Where'd You Go, Bernadette is written in such a unique way - it is quirky and endearing and, also, completely insane. With all the time jumps and insertions (like the letters and reports, etc.), how did you keep yourself organized? And also, did you write it in order or did some things get put in later?

message 5: by Cat (new)

Cat (catamoore) | 1 comments Maria,
I'm looking forward to seeing you at your book talk in Atlanta next month! I *loved* your book, your characters, and your unique and entertaining storytelling. Did you get to go visit Antarctica to research the book? Your descriptions were surreal and amazing... a kind of Mars on earth.

message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Stohrer | 1 comments You write so precisely about Bernadette's personality, so I am curious to know if you are (or were once) a Bernadette type yourself. Your wonderful helped me through a few days of post-surgery - thank you!

message 7: by Didi (new)

Didi Maria would you ever think about writing a book about Bee when she's in her twenties or thirties?

message 8: by David (new)

David Yoon (Daejin) It feels like the Fox's co-exist in the same universe as the Bluths - will you be involved in any aspect of the Bluth clan's return? PS - how do you feel about about the Amazon acquisition of Goodreads?

message 9: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Boler (book_magnet) | 1 comments While writing this novel did you have any inkling how big it was going to be?

message 10: by Megan (new)

Megan | 1 comments I'm always intrigued by the architecture of homes. I secretly love when people leave their curtains open at night so I can look into their windows. I think that the use of architecture to set up two very different periods of Bernadette's life was fascinating. Which do you feel was "more" Bernadette, the modern home or the historical home?

message 11: by Barb (new)

Barb | 1 comments I stumbled upon this book, and found it refreshing and laugh out loud funny! Where did your insider knowledge of all things Seattle, architecture and Antarctica originate?

message 12: by Dixie (new)

Dixie | 1 comments I absolutely loved this book. I listened to it on audible, because I didn't want to put it down. From your vision when you began the book, how much did the characters voices change the book, if at all? Which character surprised you the most from your vision in the beginning to their growth at the end? Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill | 1 comments Fantastic book (!) - curious about whether you are an avid letter writer or if you just used that as a form of storytelling for the book?

message 14: by Miriam (new)

Miriam (MiriamJ) | 3 comments I love how the story satirizes everything scared to Seattlites!

message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan Karsten | 1 comments I laughed. Quite interested in the way you had the mean neighbor get converted. Rarely do I see religious conversion treated kindly or at all in mainstream fiction. Was this based on a real experience of yours?

message 16: by Calley (last edited Apr 16, 2013 06:47PM) (new)

Calley (calleynlsn) | 1 comments Bernadette proved to be a dismantled and disillusioned architect living in the shadow of her past work and her Microsoft husband. What is your view on the role of the artist in contemporary society?

message 17: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 1 comments I realized about halfway through reading this book that you wrote for Arrested Development, and I immediately became more enamored with it than I already was. How do you compare screen writing and novel writing, and how have your writing experiences influenced each other?

message 18: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 1 comments What part of the book did you write first? What part did you write last? And which sentence or passage are you most proud of?

P.S. LOVED the book. Bernadette is an icon.

message 19: by Charly (new)

Charly | 1 comments Would you recommend bourgeoning authors work in an industry first? Or jump right in?

message 20: by Kristina (new)

Kristina  (goodreadscomkristina_L) | 1 comments I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette; it was one of my favorite reads so far in 2013. I was wondering, do you have plans to write more novels in the future?

message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill (JillinPgh) | 1 comments Your sense of humor and energy remind me of Amy Sherman-Palladino's. Have you two ever worked together?

message 22: by Katia (new)

Katia (SAHMClark) | 1 comments Your depiction of Bernadette was unnerving and endearing. Did/do you have a person in your life similar to Bernadette?

message 23: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Middleton | 1 comments I had the same question as Katia - who was your inspiration for Bernadette? Surely her character was somewhat biographical?

message 24: by Mikhael (new)

Mikhael Tarigan (miketarigan) | 1 comments Bernadette is a great female character. If there's going to be an adaptation of the book, who would you like to play Bernadette on screen?

message 25: by Mariah (new)

Mariah Rist | 1 comments First of thank you so much for this book. I can honestly say this is my all time FAVORITE. I have recommended it to so many people. I was so intrigued by the relationship Bee and her mother have. You did an amazing job at expressing how much Bee truly loved and cared for her mom even though she was different than the norm. I believe that Bernadette was a good mother in her own way. What inspired you to create such an interesting relationship between Bee and Bernadette?

message 26: by Cindee (new)

Cindee | 1 comments I absolutely loved Where'd You Go and have recommended it to all my reading friends! It is a wonderful, broadly appealing book. Can't wait for your next book. What are you working on now?

message 27: by Marcela (new)

Marcela Hb (MarcelaHb) | 1 comments Hello Maria,
I was wondering what research did you do to describe Bernardette's profession, if any? I ask because I'm a product designer and all the discussions about Bernardette's work really struck a chord in me, how it's a part of her personality as a whole, the way this particular market works, the college part, the "green"/alternative approach to design. It sounded very real, I enjoyed it a lot!

message 28: by Cher (new)

Cher (CheekyCher) Loved your book, Maria! Delightful read and made me an instant fan. As an avid traveler, I'm curious to know what prompted the idea for Antarctica. Have you ever been, and if so, what are your thoughts regarding a trip there?

message 29: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 1 comments Maria,
I loved both of your books. I think you have a fantastic sense of humor. When will your next book come out? Are you writing another?

message 30: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1 comments First, I loved the book! I loved Bernadette!

Second, What is the writing process like for you? For example, where do you get your ideas? Do you have a time set aside solely for writing? Do you write notes on paper? Type it on the computer?

Thirdly, who are your favorite authors?

message 31: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewbeverett) | 1 comments Maria - I wanted to know what the reaction was like at the actual school your daughter attends in Seattle. Was it talked about among the parents? Did people ask you about it? Did people worry they were models for the characters?

message 32: by Megan (new)

Megan (everydayautumn) | 1 comments How do you feel about the book being shortlisted for the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction?

message 33: by Somer (new)

Somer Parker | 1 comments My book club was fascinated by the over-seas personal assistant. Where did this idea come from?

message 34: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andrea_k_isom) | 1 comments Hi Maria! I loved this book so much. You have a background as a TV comedy writer - can you comment on the difference between writing a funny show or movie and writing a humorous novel?

message 35: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (saunadoo) | 1 comments Loved the book! I got to start reading it before it was even published, from an advanced copy a friend had while I was on vacation in Palm Springs. Loved it so much I had to buy it to finish it when I got home!

Your characters are delightful and really well drawn. Did you struggle at all with making sure that Elgin remained a likable character, even when he was doing things that pitted him against Bernadette (who, I assume, most readers were really rooting for)?

message 36: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (tootie517) | 1 comments Maria,

I admire the way you really got inside Bernadette's head by depicting her phobias and psychological challenges, yet at the same time played up the irony that other characters in the story displayed far more "crazy" behavior than she did. Did you plan that sarcasm, or did it come about organically as you started writing?

Thank you!

message 37: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 1 comments Did you go to Antarctica for research? I couldn't believe the amount of detail that went into the cruise ship to Antarctica--especially the ropes that crisscrossed the hallways for people to hang on to! You must have either gone there or had a lot of conversations with people who live there for periods of time.
I LOVED this book! I was so sorry when it ended.

message 38: by Ana (new)

Ana | 1 comments Maria,
I loved the book, it stayed with me for a long time... I am from Argentina so I was thrilled to read at least some description of Ushuaia (like you´ve really been here). Question: if the book we read was actually Bee’s book, what did Sarah find in it that got Bee expelled from Choate?

message 39: by Carol Ann (new)

Carol Ann | 1 comments Maria,

Like everyone else in this feed: I LOVED this book. Laugh out loud funny; Ollie-O, Audrey, are the least of the laughs. The fishing vest! Beginning to end, soup to nuts, I just loved WYGB. After my reading, I chose it for my book club and then read it again. As a librarian, I recommend it constantly to our patrons. Are any of the characters based on real people...certainly loosely based? Is there a new novel in the works? Will you come to NY? T-shirts? The book was wonderful. Thank you!

message 40: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Tropeano | 1 comments Was it difficult to make the decision to allow someone else to handle the screenplay and did you have the possibility of a movie in mind while you were writing it? Do you have any plans on maybe bringing This One is Mine to the big screen? I LOVED both books!

message 41: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (httpwwwgoodreadscomNicoleC) | 1 comments Maria,

I loved this book. It was one of my favorite reads of 2012. Did you know how you would end the book before you started the project?

message 42: by Pragyna (new)

Pragyna | 1 comments What were the alternative titles for Where'd You Go Bernadette?

scissorstoariadne | 2 comments Maria,

Thank you for blessing us with the funniest book ever. How do you craft such endearing voices (Bernadette, Audrey Griffin and also Sally, Teddy and others from This One is Mine) that are so ingratiating and darkly hilarious? What inspires you when doing so?

message 44: by Gail (new)

Gail | 1 comments I really enjoyed this book, it was funny and endearing. I loved the setting and the way you were spot on in your descriptions using the characters voices. I live north of Seattle and really identified with your great setting descriptions and laughed out loud many times as I read this book. Antarctica was a surprising turn of events and interesting, have you been there? Where did your inspiration for this book mainly set in Seattle come from? I have recommended this to others and it has been enjoyed by them, too.

message 45: by Lissa (new)

Lissa (lissa00) | 1 comments Hi Maria, I thought your book was one of the best I read last year. I have a son who, like Bee, has a single ventricle heart defect. What inspired you to include that in your book?

message 46: by Mary (new)

Mary | 2 comments Why so harsh on Canadians and Canada? We are really lovely people who love your writing.

message 47: by Kerri (new)

Kerri Turner | 1 comments Hi Maria,
As a writer, what do you think your biggest shortcomings/weaknesses are, and how do you work to overcome them?

message 48: by Joan (new)

Joan | 1 comments I listened to your book on CD, while driving. It was exactly what I needed during a time of major crisis -- a major diversion! I absolutely loved it and recommend it frequently. The reader was also amazing, and I kept thinking how different it would have been to just "read" it. As an author, what kind of control do you have over the recordings? How do you get the reader to get the "voice' right?

message 49: by Molly (new)

Molly | 1 comments Hi Maria,

I loved this book and your use of all the documents. SO smart and entertaining. What advice do you have for other writers out there?


message 50: by Ioanna (new)

Ioanna (ioannamavrou) | 1 comments I don't have a question, I just wanted to say that this was one of the funniest coolest books I've read in a long time. With some incredibly beautiful parts toward the end that just floored me.

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Ask Maria Semple - Tuesday, April 23rd!

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