Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Princess of Park Avenue

Interview with Author, Daniella Brodsky
Chick-Lit Plus Blog Tour
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Please tell me a little about yourself.  When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I am a native New Yorker, loving my expat life here in my new hometown of Canberra, Australia, where I’m finishing my next novel and teaching the craft of fiction. As for my dreams of becoming an author, there is a wonderful quote in Lorrie Moore’s “How to Become a Writer,” about this: “First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age—say, fourteen. Early critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She’ll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a donut. She’ll say: “How about emptying the dishwasher?” Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Accidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.”  I tried to be practical out of university and get a business-y job in publishing, but I discovered very quickly I had a calling and nothing else would do.  I started to tell people I was a novelist, doing this “international licensing thing” on the side.  In a week I had a job assisting a writer.

Please tell me a little about your novel.
Anyone can see Lorraine Machuchi is no ordinary Brooklyn girl.  Anyone except for Lorraine, that is.  She’s been too busy obsessing over Tommy Lupo to notice.  Living day to day on his confusing midnight phone calls and big-haired memories of their relationship in the early nineties, she’s given up any opportunity of leaving Brooklyn.  And though she never saw the home she loves as a failure, there are lots of folks she’s pissed off by staying put—her mother, her dead grandmother’s ghost, not to mention the old Italian ladies who shake their heads at her in the pork store.  And what’s worse, the very guy she tossed everything away for just told her he’ll never wind up with her—a girl who’s not going anywhere.

…Okay, so you might disapprove of her motive—changing for a guy.  But then you probably haven’t seen Tommy with three shirt buttons undone.  Besides, when Lorraine crosses the bridge to Manhattan she begins to realize she’s got a lot to offer.  She starts coloring hair at a swank salon where they actually appreciate a little talent, even if you have to bend some rules to use it.  She gets a fabulous Park Avenue sublet, even if it does involve chasing around a dog/horse named Pooh-Pooh.  She meets a guy who’s actually…perfect, even if she might be too hung up on Mr. Wrong to notice.  She’s asked to become the newest member of the Princesses, an elite group of Park Avenue’s most powerful socialites, even if the reasoning behind it might be a little fishy.  Sure, their $400 cashmere sweaters, charity balls for poor girls with small boobs, and ‘sexy’ yoga are a bit over-the-top, but a Brooklyn girl can learn a lot by discovering her own inner princess…

“If you liked ‘Mean Girls,' you'll get a kick out of Brodsky's book.”
—Farrah Weinstein, New York Post

“Princess of Park Avenue is a delicious self-indulgent treat right up there with a leisurely soak in an aromatherapy infused bubble bath with scented candles…It would be cliché to say that Princess is a ‘good read' but truth be told, it's not only good, it's fabulously fantastic.”
— Karen Marie Shelton, HairBoutique.com

“Daniella Brodsky…charms us with her second novel…Princess of Park Avenue is an entertaining and amusing book that will remind any of us who have found ourselves lost in a relationship with a man that the real ‘us’ still exists and we only have to look in order to find her.”
— Amie Taylor, Bookreporter.com

How did you become published?
I started out trudging through an apprenticeship with a freelance journalist, and became so enlightened by all the wonderful, new experiences I was having that I made the decision—on my way home from seeing my very first fashion show—that I wanted to write a book.  At the time launches and new restaurants and bars were a big part of my journalism rotation, so I came up with the idea for The Girl’s Guide to New York Nightlife, and pitched it to a small publisher.  The rest is history.

What was the publishing process like?
It’s a crazy world, publishing.  You never know what to expect.  Each book has been completely different.  Each partner has been completely different, as well as each editor.  The only constant is yourself.  You’ve got to be open to learning, but also be strong—because it’s a tough biz.

What is something you wish you would have known about the publishing business?
I wish I would have held out for the perfect partner with my first novel.  I had more power than I realized, but I was so grateful to have any opportunity at all that I jumped at the first deal.

What has been your best author experience so far?
Every time I get an email from a reader who enjoyed the experience of reading my book so much that they felt they wanted to reach out to me, well, that makes the whole thing worthwhile.

What is the least thrilling/attractive part of being an author for you?
The publishing world.  It’s a wreck.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write, write, write.  Read, read, read.

Do you have a novel in the works?
I do.  THE BOOK CODE is a novel for anyone who loves to read.  It’s all about the ways our favorite books touch us in such individual ways, and stay with us always.  I’m shopping it around right now!

What is the last book you read?
I was at a fellowship at the Varuna Writers Center, and reading all kinds of books I never heard of from their vast library.  I was halfway through Momento Mori, by Muriel Spark when I left.  I’m dying to know how it turned out.  I have my suspicions…

Name three things you couldn’t live without.
My husband, my puppy, and my family.  Can I add a fourth?  Recently, I’ve been having a love affair with gelato…

If you were given the opportunity to invite any 5 people to dinner who would you invite?
Oooh!  Good question!  Since I live far away from my family, the first two people would have to be my brother and sister, after that it’d be my grandmother, whom I lost about six years ago, my father whom I lost as a child, and then Robert Redford (because he’s Robert Redford, duh.)  Would be a great party, I think!

Name three things on your bucket list.
Hmmm, don’t technically have one, so let me see here.  Make the NY Times Bestseller List, Own a Louis Vuitton handbag, learn to be an expert surfer.

What is your preferred writing atmosphere?
I go Hemingway all the way…I’m a café writer.  There’s something about the bustle that gets my blood pumping!  

If you thought this interview was as entertaining as I did, you'll love Daniella's writing.  The Princess of Park Avenue was a joy to read.  It had laugh out loud moments as well as those that make you want to slap someone!  When I read the quote from Farrah I realized why!  I felt the same way about mean girls... laugh out loud moments and times where I just wanted to slap someone.  I recommend reading this entertaining novel!  Once you read something by Daniella, you'll be sure to want more.

About & Connect with Daniella:
Daniella Brodsky is the author of six novels published by Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, one of which has been adapted by Disney as the film, Beauty & The Briefcase, starring Hilary Duff.Daniella teaches at ANU’s CCE and at her Captain Cook Studio. A native New Yorker, she lives in Canberra, where she is writing her next novel, The Book Code, which has been awarded a 2012 Varuna fellowship.
Buy the Book: Amazon

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