Some days I REALLY want this lolcat tattooed on my butt for those moments dealing with other humans where the ONLY possible response is to drop trou and moon.
SO as you can see, I am still not out of the PITY MUDS yet, but I quit pig-rolling and am slogging my way to the edge. The church hunt is going well, enough days have passed that I assume the angry people who are angry will be go be angry people who are angry with SOMEONE ELSE soon enough and forget I exist. (Let me thank you AGAIN for your bracing slew of BUCKUPLILCAMPER comments. GREATLY needed, DEEPLY appreciated.)
Since I am not QUIIIITE fit to be around HUMAN BEINGS YET, let me introduce you to someone who is --- Bridget Asher is here to answer three questions about her book, MY HUSBANDâ€™S SWEETHEARTS.
It is an AWESOME book by the way. I read it in galleys for a blurb, and I said it wasâ€â€¦ a whip-smart, tender, and eccentric tale that chronicles all the ways forgiveness can come to us; don't miss this ride.â€ and I meant every word of it.
JJ: Can you talk a little about the significance of your title and how you came up with it?
BA: Iâ€™d always wanted to write a novel about the complexities of loving a loveable scoundrel, about betrayal and forgiveness, and the way that, during a heartbreak, friends can become family, the deep bonds that can form between women especially as we grow up and older (and maybe wiser).
My Husbandâ€™s Sweethearts was the title of a novel that I knew I wanted to write, but I didnâ€™t know what the novel was about. In the summer of 2005, I was teaching a screenwriting workshop to grad students at the FSU Film School and we were working on pitches for movies. As an example, I pitched this idea.
A woman has married an older man, Artie, but, when she found out that he was cheating on her she leaves him. Now, six-months later, heâ€™s dying. When she goes home to care for him on his deathbed (because she couldnâ€™t consider herself a good person if she abandoned him and because she still loves him), she gets angry and asks him where all of his sweethearts are now. â€œThey were here for the good times,â€ she says, â€œand now I have to go through this alone.â€
He gives her his black book and tells her to call them up.
She gets drunk and calls his bluff, leaving messages on womenâ€™s answering machines late into the night.
The novel got most interesting to me when two of the women actually showed up â€“ one claiming that Artie saved her life and one who seeks revenge. And, of course, thereâ€™s one more sweetheart: Artieâ€™s long-lost son.
Sometimes a title presents itself and the novel floods in around it. Thatâ€™s what happened in this case â€“ My Husbandâ€™s Sweethearts is one of those floods of a novel.
JJ: lot of writers read this blog----how did you
â€¦Find an agent
BA: My agent found me and then I lied to him to keep him.
Iâ€™d published a short story in a tiny little literary magazine. My agent, Nat Sobel (link www.sobelweber.com), who wasnâ€™t my agent yet, read it and asked the magazine if he could contact me. My answer: of COURSE!
I knew that agents wanted novelists, and I was a short story writer. And, worse, I was actually a devout short story writer. I believed it was the true American form and that novelists basically lacked self-restraint and that a real writer could get it done in 25 pages or less. All fine and dandy and high-minded, but I knew that Sobel would be looking for a novelist not an overly pretentious short story writer.
I had two kids at the time (added a couple more later), and so on the day he was to call, I had a huge box of jelly beans on hand. When he rang, I took a minute to turn on the TV, hand the kids the box of jelly beans, and tell them to have at it. (Nothing in their lives had ever happened like this before. They were stunned, for a moment, but then started mowing.)
When Nat asked me if I was working on a novel, I lied. I said, â€œYes I am. And, coincidentally, itâ€™s based on that short story you like.â€ He asked to see the first fifty. I told him itâ€™d take me a month to polish them, but Iâ€™d send â€˜em on.
From an eleven-page short story called â€œGirl Talk,â€ I wrote the first fifty pages of a novel. My plan was to lure him into signing a contract with me; Iâ€™d give him the collection of stories to sell while I â€œfinishedâ€ the novel, and that would be that. (By the way, this was actually a great thing. I never had to start a first novel. I only had to write the first fifty pages of an undeniable novel that I never intended to write. A much easier proposition.)
He loved the pages and said, â€œI canâ€™t wait to see the rest.â€
And so, I had to write the rest. Eighteen books later â€“ including novels for younger readers under the pen name N.E. Bode,
and the new two-book deal as Bridget Asher, the short-story collection doesnâ€™t exist (I stole from it to make novels) and we still havenâ€™t signed a contract.
JJ â€¦ sell that first book
BA: Nat put the book up for auction. I talked to a few editors and, at the end of the day (literally), there were two editors at a stalemate. I talked to both, but one of them â€“ a junior editor at that time with Simon and Schuster â€“ was hooked into the book in a way that I couldnâ€™t explain. It already seemed to be hers. Her name, Greer Hendricks. Sheâ€™s gone on to do great big things at S & S.
JJ: â€¦ come to realize you wanted to pursue writing as a career instead of a personal passion or a hobby.
BA: I was probably ten years old. My sister was an actress living in New York. I didnâ€™t know any novelists. I probably still thought that books were born from bookshelves or written by people long dead. But playwrights, they were real people â€“ anxious chain-smokers pacing in the dim lobbies of off-off (sometimes off-off-off-off-off) Broadway theaters. I knew that thatâ€™s what I wanted â€“ not the chain-smoking, but to be the one behind it all.
Jj: I know you blog yourself over at Bridget Asher dot com Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?
BA: I write about the things that appear in my work, especially the new novel â€“ the bonds between women, overbearing mothers, scoundrel men â€“ plus my own motherhood (I have four kids ages 1-13) and the writing life. It makes me pay more attention to my everyday life. I now look around at something that strikes me as hilarious or touching or suspicious or scandalous and I donâ€™t think â€“ What would my characters think of that? Instead, I get to say: What do I think of that?
Because I blog, I exist a little more â€“ day to day â€“ which is a good thing because as a writer I tend to want to hole up and roost in my own head.
Itâ€™s the same as motherhood. As a mother of four kids (from ages 1-13), Iâ€™m only allowed to hole up in my head so much. Kids make me live in the world in some similar ways that the blog does â€“ and it all overlaps, of course. Writing and raising kids have a lot of cross-over for me â€“ they can both sap your energy and then zap you full of energy, but you never know when youâ€™re going to get sapped -- or zapped.