The Next Best Book Club discussion

141 views
Author/Reader Discussions > The Wonder Bread Summer Author/Reader Discussion

Comments Showing 1-50 of 69 (69 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
Hi Everyone!

Time to open up our monthly Author/Reader Discussion giveaway!!

Next month's guest author is Jessica Anya Blau. She's going to be discussing her new release The Wonder Bread Summer with us during the back half of July.

If you'd like to win one of the 10 copies we have been given to stimulate discussion, enter the giveaway here:

http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...

Good luck and looking forward to the discussion!!!


message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
Whoot whoot! Winners have been chosen. Were you one of them???

http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura Tveras (lauratveras) Yes, I was and I'm thrilled! Thank you very much for this opportunity. I can't wait to receive this book and start chatting about it. :)


message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
2 days till Jessica arrives! How's the reading coming along, guys?!


message 5: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Just finished the book yesterday. What a crazy ride! I really was not sure what to expect, but I loved it! I would like to see Allie to have more adventures!

Deanna


message 6: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited Jul 14, 2013 06:31PM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
So guys, I wanted to pop in a little early and welcome Jessica since I'll be at work tomorrow for most of the day!

Jessica, welcome to TNBBC! I'm so excited to have you here with us, chatting away about THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER. Of course, we don't have to stick to that book only... I hope to see lots of questions from our members about your other novels, your reading and writing preferences, and anything else they can think up!

So let me start off with this, if I may...

What do you like most about your newest novel? What, if anything, would you go back and add or take out?


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Thank you for having me! Yes, we can talk about anything: books, writing, life, children, drugs, alcohol, divorce, marriage, parents, love, etc.!

Okay, to answer your first question . . . . hmmmmm. It's hard to like or dislike anything about the novel because I am so close to it and know it so well that I can't see it with any distance or objectivity. But maybe I can figure this out by thinking about the part that was the most fun to write . . . okay, the parts that were most fun to write were the scenes with Billy Idol. I really loved thinking about him in my character's life. And I loved imagining him speaking, and I loved seeing his body, and just hanging out with him. I don't think there's anything I'd go back and take out now. I probably wrote about 250 more pages of the novel than is in there now, so I've already taken out a A LOT. As far as adding something . . . I don't think I'd add anything. I haven't reread it. I don't reread my work once it's published since there's nothing I can do about the final product. Maybe if I reread it I'd want to add or cut something.


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (therelentlessreader) I can see why the Billy Idol scenes were the most fun to write! They were the most fun to read as well ;)


message 9: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (therelentlessreader) Jessica, I'd love to hear about what you're working on next!


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura Tveras (lauratveras) Jessica, I've always heard that authors write what they know, so I am wondering if Allie is fashioned after a young, adventurous you?


message 11: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I've just made it through the Billy Idol scenes and can see how they would be fun to write. He is such a larger than life character in real life, that anything written in the novel about him would seem believable. That being said, I wonder what made you choose to set the book in the early 80's? The story, so far, feels like it could be taking place today.


message 12: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Lomazow Loved the book any chance of it being made into a movie.what are you reading now?who are your favorite authors


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Well, I'm glad that you all like Billy Idol as a character! (Makes it seem worth my time to have written him into the book.)

Right now I'm working on multiple things at once. I'm having a hard time focusing these days because I have too much going on--traveling a lot, doing a lot of readings, etc. etc. I'm not complaining about it--I really enjoy it all. But it does make it so I can't focus very well. I wrote for about two hours today. I'm working on a TV show based on DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME, my other book. There is a guy who wants to make the TV show and I told him I'd give a stab at the script. This is Hollywood, though, so even though there's a TV producer who wants it there is still a very very very very very very very very small chance that it will ever be on the air. This is the thought that floats through my head while I write. It is the thought that I should ignore. I've written thousands and thousands of pages of fiction that have never been published, so it's not something new. BUT, there is a new novel that I want to work on so I'm feeling like I should finish up this script and get to it on the novel.


message 14: by Jessica (last edited Jul 15, 2013 01:31PM) (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments AND, yes, a little of Allie's story is based on my real life. When I was in college, I worked at a boutique that turned out to be a front for a coke dealer. This dealer frequently exposed himself to me while I was working and TRIED to get me to go into a fitting room with him while he did what Jonas does with Allie. Somehow I had sense enough to refuse (I was pretty much a dumbass and a fuck-up in college, but I was smart enough to avoid some things!). Also the porn producer in the wheelchair with the head pointer is made up but he's inspired by two people I know. The first was a guy who was in a wheelchair like that and spoke with a head pointer like that. He sat next to me in a cafe where I would study when I was a student at Berkeley. One day his wife approached me and asked if I would be in one of his movies. I asked what kind of movie. She said her husband was a film director and directed erotic movies and that if I were to be in the movie I'd have sex with her husband and with her. I told her I'd think about it (!). Of course I didn't need to think about it, but I didn't want to insult her! THey were creating "art" she claimed--they didn't do it for profit. Also, one time I was set up on a blind date by a friend who was dating a 40 year old lawyer. When I showed up at the blind date, with my friend, I saw that I'd been set up with a middle-aged bald man in a wheelchair. I was 19 or 20 at the time. The guy was nice but he was already drunk when I arrived and was totally smashed by the time dinner was served. His head kept tipping down toward his plate, as if he were going to fall into it. That was the only blind date I've ever been on. There's more stuff in the book that's based on real life. I knew a guy named Vice Versa. He was a cool guy. He wasn't a hit man but I love the name so had to use it!

And as far as having the book take place in the 80s: It was a cocaine-infused period of time, particularly in California. There were songs about coke all over the radio, everyone seemed to do it, you couldn't go on a date without a guy pulling a little packet of coke out of his shirt pocket. Also, it's better to have a novel like this take place BEFORE cell phones and facebook and computers. This story couldn't have happened the way it does with all the "tracking" devices we have now. It's a much bigger struggle for Allie, and a much more difficult journey for her, when she has no cellphone, email, etc.


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Jennifer wrote: "I can see why the Billy Idol scenes were the most fun to write! They were the most fun to read as well ;)"

Thanks!


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Jennifer wrote: "Jessica, I'd love to hear about what you're working on next!"

Oh, I just saw that there are REPLY buttons here. I wrote a long answer to this great question. Thanks for asking!


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Laura wrote: "Jessica, I've always heard that authors write what they know, so I am wondering if Allie is fashioned after a young, adventurous you?"

Hey Laura,
I just discovered the reply buttons! My answer to your question is on the page here. Thanks for asking!


message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Ethan wrote: "I've just made it through the Billy Idol scenes and can see how they would be fun to write. He is such a larger than life character in real life, that anything written in the novel about him would ..."

Hey Ethan,
I just posted an answer to your question. Sorry I didn't post it right here, I didn't see the REPLY buttons!


message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Rhonda wrote: "Loved the book any chance of it being made into a movie.what are you reading now?who are your favorite authors"

Hi Rhonda,
I love too many authors to list. I read everything from historical fiction to YA to thrillers to literary fiction to dead writers to living writers to . . . . everything but fantasy! It would be impossible to name a single author I love. But I will give you the names of some of the authors whose books I have DEVOURED: Alice Munro, Nick Hornby, Lorrie Moore, Dave Eggers, Roddy Doyle, Anne Tyler . . . . I could type for hours and never get to the end of this list. Thank you for asking!


message 20: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Jennifer,

Why a wonder bread bag? Was this also something from experience? Or is it because wonder bread is so squishy? You brought me right back to my childhood with the Wonder Bread!


message 21: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Jennifer,

I was reading what Rhonda wrote and am curious do you find yourself reading more young author books now then when you were young? I know I do. I am hoping it is just not me, but that these books just were not around when I was young, so I had to read books like Carrie, the Exorcist, Joan Collins novels, etcetera when I was a teen.


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura Tveras (lauratveras) Jessica wrote: "Laura wrote: "Jessica, I've always heard that authors write what they know, so I am wondering if Allie is fashioned after a young, adventurous you?"

Hey Laura,
I just discovered the reply buttons!..."


Jessica, I didn't know these buttons were here either! Thanks for bringing attention to them and for answering all of our questions in such detail.


message 23: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
Oh my god, Jessica, a TV Show of DRINKING??? That would be pretty cool and the fact that you are writing the script is a cool opportunity, dontcha think?!


message 24: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Lomazow Loved your use of the wonder bread bag brings back so many memories though not with cocaine in it.


message 25: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Lomazow If made into movie who would turn like to play allie ?I love casting games fun to see what you envisioned when you wrote her


message 26: by Jessica (last edited Jul 15, 2013 07:07PM) (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Deanna wrote: "Jennifer,

Why a wonder bread bag? Was this also something from experience? Or is it because wonder bread is so squishy? You brought me right back to my childhood with the Wonder Bread!"


Hey Deanna,

What happened in real life is that a guy once ran into my apartment with a Weber's Bread bag full of cocaine. He was sweating and panting and I suspected that he had stolen it. I sent him away because I figured someone was chasing him and I didn't want to be in the middle of whatever had just gone down (also, I had very little interesting in DOING cocaine--I don't even drink alcohol now). For the book I changed it to a Wonder Bread bag because everyone knows Wonder Bread. It's so cheerful and American and it seems much more . . . theatrical, in a sense, when you put something like cocaine in such a "wholesome" bag. I put wholesome in quotes because I'm not sure how truly wholesome Wonder Bread is as far as the ingredients are concerned.


message 27: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Rhonda wrote: "If made into movie who would turn like to play allie ?I love casting games fun to see what you envisioned when you wrote her"

Hi Rhonda,
I love the casting game, too! If I could control everything, I'd go back in time 17 or so years and get Rashida Jones to play her. But, if I can't control time travel (!!), then I'd get Jennifer . . . what's her last name? That incredible actress from Hunger Games and Winter's Bone. The whole world knows her last name, I'm just a little tired now and can't come up with it!
And I'd love Jack Black for Roger. And for Allie's father, I'd love Idrus Elba. He's incredible.


message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Lori wrote: "Oh my god, Jessica, a TV Show of DRINKING??? That would be pretty cool and the fact that you are writing the script is a cool opportunity, dontcha think?!"

Yeah, it is very cool but because soooooo few things actually get shot and then put on air, I try not to get excited about anything until it actually happens. Of course I PRAY every night for . . . well, I always start with world peace, great health and happiness for all people, healthcare for all human beings, strength for my children, etc. but then I get a little selfish in the end and pray that a movie gets made from one of my books, or that a TV show gets made (and after that prayer I get extraordinarily selfish and pray that not only that it gets made but that it is a HIT!).


message 29: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Deanna wrote: "Jennifer,

I was reading what Rhonda wrote and am curious do you find yourself reading more young author books now then when you were young? I know I do. I am hoping it is just not me, but that the..."

Hey Deanna,

I read those books when I was younger and I read them, now, too. I'm definitely not a book snob. I don't care WHO it was written for, all I care is that it has a compelling story and and is well-written. I just finished The Fault in our Stars--a young adult book--and really loved it.


message 30: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Lomazow Jessica wrote: "Rhonda wrote: "If made into movie who would turn like to play allie ?I love casting games fun to see what you envisioned when you wrote her"

Hi Rhonda,
I love the casting game, too! If I could co..."


I love idris Elba he's incredible in Luther.Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect my best friend did local casting for hunger games&got to meet her she really liked her.& she really lights up the screen


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura Tveras (lauratveras) Jessica, is there a particular area of writing (dialogue, description, etc.) that you struggle with? Just asking because if so, it doesn't show. Your writing is smooth and engaging and for me, easy to pick up after putting it down for a bit (real-life duties called). If time allowed, I'd read to the end and probably start your next book!


message 32: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10089 comments Mod
Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...


message 33: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (therelentlessreader) Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

http://thenextbestbookblog.bl..."


LOOOOVED this interview ;)


message 34: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendy_b) | 10 comments Hi Jessica! I am really liking the characters in the book so far. Allie seems like someone that I might have met in real life at the similar time of my life, but then finds herself in "unusual" circumstances :) What authors do you find have an influence on your writing (or more generically, what types of writing do you like to read?)?


message 35: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Laura wrote: "Jessica, is there a particular area of writing (dialogue, description, etc.) that you struggle with? Just asking because if so, it doesn't show. Your writing is smooth and engaging and for me, easy..."

Thanks, Laura--you're so nice! The thing I have the hardest time with is endings. With all of my books I struggled with the end. The last chapter of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties was really a middle chapter. Then someone in my writers group pointed out that it would be a perfect last chapter and I moved it. But it took her to see it for me to do it. And with Drinking Closer to Home, I worked one week about 40 or 50 hours on the LAST TWO PAGES. It was crazy. I just couldn't figure out what the final words would be. With The Wonder Bread Summer, I had an ending that I thought worked. Then my editor sent me a note and said she didn't think it worked. The book was DONE, it had been rewritten maybe 20 times and I needed to come up with a new ending. Once I figured out what I was going to do, I wrote that ending pretty quickly. But it took me a long to time to figure out what I was going to do.


message 36: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendy_b) | 10 comments Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

http://thenextbestbookblog.bl..."


These are great questions and some really funny answers! I want to know more about the reading to a room of naked people!! I've imagined them in their underwear but never naked! Depending on the crowd, that could be distracting! :)


message 37: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (iandssmom) | 30 comments I loved this book. And was just laughing with the whole Billy Idol thing because when I was a bit younger and had got a little tipsy I was talking to Billy Idol on the phone (it was disconnected!!) and he was going to come save me!!! So that was just such a fun flash back moment for me!!! The book seemed very life like in that one thing happens and then that takes on a life of it's own. With the drugs involved was it hard to have family members or other people you were close to read it? I always wonder about that since it must be so personal and then to have other people reading it and critiquing it.


message 38: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Jennifer wrote: "Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

http://thenextbe..."

You are hilarious, Lori--the Would You Rather Literary game is such a great idea!


message 39: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Wendy wrote: "Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

http://thenextbe..."

About a year and a half ago I was invited to do the book club at a nudist club. They said I could wear clothes if I wanted. Every person I told about this said they wanted to come with me. By the time the Naked Book Club night arrived, I had six friends joining me--four women and two men. The meeting was held at a gym. We walked in and found about twenty naked men working out. In a little room off the workout room was a woman conducting a naked yoga class (all the class participants were men). There was warm pizza and warm diet coke in another room. I did the talk to a room full of naked men (there was ONE naked woman) with my six clothed friends sitting amongst them. The nudists were a fun, funny group and they even let my friends take a group picture of me, in a dress, surrounded by them, all naked. It was a pretty hilarious night and my friends and I still crack up every time we bring it up.


message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (therelentlessreader) Jessica wrote: "Wendy wrote: "Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

ht..."


That is freaking HILARIOUS. Love it!!


message 41: by Jessica (last edited Jul 18, 2013 08:35PM) (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Shannon wrote: "I loved this book. And was just laughing with the whole Billy Idol thing because when I was a bit younger and had got a little tipsy I was talking to Billy Idol on the phone (it was disconnected!!)..."

Hey Shannon,

Thanks so much--I'm so glad you liked the book!

Are you saying that you had a phone conversation with Billy Idol?! Please tell more!

I wasn't worried about my family reading about the drugs. The book is fiction. And, my family is pretty . . . uh, well, they're pretty aware of what goes on in the lives and minds of twenty-year old girls. The family I grew up in was very open and liberal. (My book Drinking Closer to Home is a fictionalized version of my family--the book deals with drugs, alcohol, addictions, affairs, etc.) I think this book, because it is mostly fiction, is probably the easiest (of my three books) for my family to read. Although maybe not. The crazy opening scene might be a little hard for my mother!


message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Deanna wrote: "Just finished the book yesterday. What a crazy ride! I really was not sure what to expect, but I loved it! I would like to see Allie to have more adventures!

Deanna"


Thanks Deanna!
I never thought about writing a sequel but maybe if I get stuck with the book I'm working on now, I'll just start writing about Allie again!


message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Wendy wrote: "Hi Jessica! I am really liking the characters in the book so far. Allie seems like someone that I might have met in real life at the similar time of my life, but then finds herself in "unusual" ci..."

Hey Wendy,
Thanks for your question! I read EVERYTHING except fantasy (I find that I get bored very quickly with fantasy). And I think that everything I read gets stuck in nooks and corners of my brain (makes my brain sound like an English muffin, doesn't it?) and all of it influences me. Great movies and great art also influence me. As a kid, the Diane Arbus photo book was always out on the coffee table and I spent many, many hours staring at those photos. I almost have the book memorized page by page. I think that book has had a great influence on my work. Gosh, now that I'm thinking about it, music is also influential. I love art that startles me, that makes me think, that feels fresh and original, and that excites me. When I'm writing I try to startle and surprise myself. But, dang, it's really hard to surprise oneself!


message 44: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendy_b) | 10 comments Jessica wrote: "Wendy wrote: "Lori wrote: "Hey everyone,

Jessica allowed me to abuse her mind with a literary version of the Would You Rather game... it's a new, hybrid interview on the blog. Check it out!!!

ht..."


I love it! Sounds fantastic and a little scary all at the same time. I guess it's all in how you deal with it, I'm sure to them, being clothed would be strange or different. That's what makes the world go around - it would be very boring if we were all the same :)


message 45: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendy_b) | 10 comments Jessica wrote: "Wendy wrote: "Hi Jessica! I am really liking the characters in the book so far. Allie seems like someone that I might have met in real life at the similar time of my life, but then finds herself i..."

I agree, influence can come from almost everywhere. My mother taught art in a rural school for over 30 years, but she made sure that her students (and her children) were exposed to great art. My dad influenced us by listening to all different kinds of music. Do you feel any pressure to be an influence to future or aspiring writers? I think they would have a good role model!


message 46: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I just finished reading the book and really enjoyed it! The entire story seems to take place in this surreal version of the 80's that is probably closer to reality than I'd like to believe. The part with the condor caught me a bit off guard. I wonder if you wouldn't mind speaking on any deeper meaning, if any, you meant to associate with the bird. Especially given that Allie continued to keep it with her.


message 47: by Jessica (last edited Jul 19, 2013 09:59PM) (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Hi Ethan,

I'm glad you asked about the condor. You are the first person who has asked about the bird (I guess I expected people to ask about the bird, but the poor thing has barely been mentioned in reviews of the book!). A few years back I was reading a newspaper, probably the New York Times but it could have been the Baltimore Sun, and I read a story about a trucker who was hit on the head when a condor crashed through his windshield. The trucker had been sleeping in the cab of the truck. I found it odd and amazing and tucked the memory of this story into some crack in my brain. When I was writing Allie's story I remembered the condor and wanted to put it in there. For a while it was the opening chapter--Allie is sitting in her car outside Marc's apartment, stalking him, when the condor crashes through the windshield and hits her in the head. At some point I showed a writer friend the condor-crash first chapter and the first chapter that exists now. He said he liked the dressing room scene as a first chapter and I trusted him on this. Of course I couldn't let the condor go, so I had to drop it on Allie when she's in Los Angeles.

And as far as deeper meaning goes . . . hmmmm, I don't quite think about what things mean when I write. I write in more of a dream state. I do think that some part of my brain is connecting ideas and assigning meaning, but I'm unaware of it as I'm working. I really liked the image of the bird and the idea of one more thing being thrown into the trunk of the car. I liked that it would start to stink up the trunk and make the situation even more messy.

By the way, a giant owl died in my backyard a couple months ago. I was completely fascinated by it and wanted to spread out its wings and take pictures. My neighbor is a bird watcher and asked that I not do that, she thought it was disrespectful to the owl. The owl was dead, so I don't think it would really matter to him, but I like my neighbor so I did as she asked and refrained from photographing the bird.


message 48: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Anya | 30 comments Ethan wrote: "I just finished reading the book and really enjoyed it! The entire story seems to take place in this surreal version of the 80's that is probably closer to reality than I'd like to believe. The par..."

OH, I don't know if I hit reply or just commented! If I didn't hit reply, see the comment above . . . or below . . . or wherever it lands!


message 49: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments Jessica wrote: "Ethan wrote: "I just finished reading the book and really enjoyed it! The entire story seems to take place in this surreal version of the 80's that is probably closer to reality than I'd like to be..."

Thanks for the comment. I was really struck by that image of the bird, so it is great to get some context on that scene.


message 50: by Julie (new)

Julie (scrapsofhistory) What a fun summer read. The characters you painted in the story were great and I could actually imagine some of my friends in their roles. I had almost forgotten how much cocaine played a part in so many lives in the 1980s and how easy it was to come by. I loved the Billy Idol parts, since I was in love with him just like everyone else.
After reading about how much time you spend on small parts of your books, do you think your a perfectionists?


« previous 1
back to top