One of the best things about an MFA program is the chance to meet with, eat with, drink with, and generally friend for life more wonderful writers than you can shake a stick at. Poet Mary Hutchins-Harris invited me to the Next Big Thing Writer Blog Hop, (which in my brain turns into The Next Big Hale Bopp which, you remember, did not end all that well, and The Next Big Hog Plop, which doesn’t sound attractive at all, but looks like a helluva lotta silly.)
This is the way it works: Each person tagged answers a series of interview questions and posts them on his/her blog or website while also linking to up to five other writers. Those writers then answer the questions, post and include links to five other writers and so on and so on….
1.What is the working title of your book?
Camera Shy. But it has also been Chalk Outline, dirtygirl diaries (which became its own blog), Can You See Me Now?
2. Where did the idea come from for your book?
After leaving Times Square–and believing at that time that the leaving would fix everything, and by everything I mean the drunken meandering mess of my life–even before I got sober, I felt like the life I’d lived should serve some other purpose.
My father was a photographer. Growing up in front of the camera would have made most little girls feel special, instead it left me feeling trapped. But without something, or someone reflecting me back, I wasn’t real, not really there. Invisible. Nothing is real until I document it. I needed to leave a footprint, to make myself whole and solid. And I needed to figure out how a little girl who froze whenever a camera was pointed at her wound up spending 10 years naked on a stage with strobe lights and streamers, in the middle of the busiest corner of the busiest city in the world.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Creative Nonfiction. Of the memoir variety
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Me, at twenty-something:
Bear: Channing Tatum
The role of the NYC circa 1979 will be played by Detroit, 2013
5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Camera Shy is a nice Jewish girl’s coming-of-age story that just happens to take place in 1979, on the streets of the East Village, the shooting galleries of Hell’s Kitchen, and the stage of the largest topless go-go bar in Times Square.
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t get the concepts of drafts. It assumes one works all the way through from beginning to end, and then goes back to revise. This has been under constant revision, surgery, or exorcism for more years than I care to think about. Over ten. Under thirty.
7. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
8. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Who – that would be Dorothy Allison. What – that would by BUST Magazine, started by a friend, BUST gave me the opportunity as a writer to go from raw to rare. Warm on the outside, still bloody on the inside. After leaving Times Square, even before I got sober, I felt like the life I’d lived (and believing at the time that leaving Times Square was going to solve all the problems) should serve some other purpose. I needed to leave a footprint, to make myself whole and solid.
9. Will your book be self-published or by an agency?
I am too much of an old-school snob to self-publish. Or e-publish. It’s deckle edges or die.
10. What else about the book might piqué the reader’s interest?
Beneath the sequins and sweat of Times Square, my story looks at the places where truth and fact split, and where hate and love, fear and desire, get all mixed up. About relationships where it is impossible to tell where you end, and I begin. In other words, it’s a story about family.
TAG, you’re it. The following writers have been called out for their chance to answer these questions about their own work and then to TAG others