Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Interview: Rebecca Bloom, Jill of All Trades

For me, one of this year’s summer must-reads is Rebecca Bloom’s Eat, Drink, and Be Married. The book follows the story of four women, who’ve been friends since college, as they reunite for the wedding of one of them. And like most longtime friends, even if they haven’t seen one another in a while, they can pick up right where they left off. And this also means that old insecurities and slight animosities can also pick up where they left off. I spoke with Rebecca about this book, her previous books, and what she has coming up next. For info on getting your own copy of Eat, Drink, head here.

Celebrity Extra: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? Was it something you had just always known, or did other circumstances steer you in that direction?

Rebecca Bloom: Actually, after college I thought I wanted to be a chef, so I went to culinary school and was doing that for awhile. Between all the little scars and burns and cuts that I would give myself —being in a restaurant is very different than cooking for your friends and family — simultaneously I was doing a lot of writing. My first novel, Girl Anatomy, which is published by William Morrow, is sort of like a happy accident that came out of that time. I started writing it as a short story, but it evolved into 12 short stories with the same character in all of them. Through a series of wonderful events, my book got published.

So my writing took off, and I published my second book, Tangled Up in Daydreams, and after that I was offered a position of editor at LA Confidential magazine. I decided to do that because writing is very solitary, where you’re sitting alone a lot in your house, and I needed a different outlet. I was editor for about two years, and then I got to writing my third book, Eat, Drink, and Be Married.

CE: There is also a gorgeous poem in Eat, Drink — “A Scientist’s Paperweight” — did you write that?

RB: Yes, I did. Thank you. I had written that a while ago for someone. I always was writing poetry. My first book was the first thing I tried to write that wasn’t a poem, because I realized there’s really no market for poetry, even though I really liked writing it. I can’t sing, so it wasn’t like I was gonna become a singer-songwriter girl, so poetry was sort of my only option. A good poem can capture something in a way that nothing else can.

CE: I was reading that a certain celebrity has been seen reading Eat, Drink ….

RB:  It was Charlie Sheen. You can find the picture online. It is really kind of funny.

CE: What is your writing schedule? Do you have a set schedule, or do you write when inspiration hits?

RB: I used to be more disciplined; now it’s sort of gone out the window a little bit. I’m really still trying to figure out how to do it all, with my other big responsibilities — my kids — so it’s a bit challenging. But when I’m really writing, I definitely put in the time. I like to write when I’m inspired, like in the backseat when my son is asleep in my lap.

CE: Do your works border on the autobiographical side, with stories and situations you’ve been through with your friends and family, or do you try to keep your writing work separate from your real life?

RB: I definitely think that as I’ve written more, it’s gotten less about me and my friends. Now I feel more confident being able to be creative and not have it be so true to everything that I already know. No one character of mine is a literal representation of someone I know, but there are pieces here and there.

CE: How do you feel about the label “Chick Lit”?

RB: I think I was more offended by it before because, why does it have to be classified? But now I’m much more of a realist than when I started writing, and you have to do whatever you can to market your book. It’s a way to classify and sell, and ultimately that’s what any writer should want. I’m not as against it now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating women’s accomplishments. The Help was awesome, and that was chick lit and a chick flick, so if my book is classified as chick lit, that’s fine.

CE: One of the things I really liked about Eat, Drink is that we get to see what’s happening from lots of perspectives — all the girls and even some of the guys. What made you decide to go that way with it?

RB: I’d been wanting to write a book from multiple perspectives, so I definitely did that on purpose. It’s interesting because one of the editing notes that I had gotten that I didn’t end up taking was, “This is from so many different points of view, does the reader get confused?” I felt it wouldn’t be confusing because each of those women has their own thing and own thought processes. I liked being able to explore each of them as a main character.

And because it’s a wedding, there is so much going on that I wanted to be able share all of that. I was thinking about the movie The Big Chill — you can’t do the story justice unless you hear from all of them.

CE: Have you got another book stirring around, just waiting to be written?

RB: Yeah, I think I finally figured out what I want to start writing about, so I’m starting to work on my outline. I think I’ve figured out my next book, which makes me feel better, but I’m also having another baby, so I have such a small window to try to get the bulk of it done.

CE: When you do have free time when you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

RB: I make jewelry, and I have a couple of reality projects that I’m working on with a friend producing, so I’ve always got some iron in the fire. I’m kind of a Jill of all trades, so to speak; anywhere that my creative side takes me, I tend to go. I like writing books, but it’s a tricky business right now, so I have to figure out a way to make it friendlier on my pocketbook. 

Readers: A few months back, I held a contest for one reader to win a copy of Eat, Drink, and Be Married. After sifting through the entries, I have randomly chosen a winner: Dorine T. of Terryville, Ct. Be on the lookout for your book, and I hope you enjoy it! 

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