Posted October 19, 2011 by
I gave my first interview about THE RULES OF INHERITANCE yesterday, to an editor at BlackBook Magazine. (Yes, if you’re wondering, I do write about restaurants and hotels for their online guide.) They’re going to be featuring a little write-up about me and my book in the January issue of the magazine, which is very exciting.
In any case, this was my first interview, presumably of many, or at least some, hopefully and I couldn’t help but get really nervous before and during the phone call. I can’t really describe how it quite feels to have this intensely personal book out there in so many people’s hands. So talking to someone that I don’t really know who has read this intimate work of mine is quite strange. It’s so very one-sided. They know all of my most vulnerable life moments and personal details, and every word I’m saying is being recorded to fit into a little write-up that even more people will see.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely thrilling and dream-come-true-ing and all those things too. It’s just also a little nerve-wracking. I want to make sure I say the right things and come off intelligently, or at the very least make sure that I’m making sense.
The thing I’m terrible at is summarizing the book. A while back Greg suggested the line, “It’s a memoir about overcoming the loss of both of my parents.” But every time I say that I feel compelled to add a bunch of stuff like–
“it’s also kind of about coming of age…”
“and about my tumultous twenties…”
“and it’s about relationships and grief and it’s kind of edgy too…”
And usually by the time I’ve thrown a few more sentences around it, both the person I’m speaking to and myself are usually left feeling a little awkward. It’s just not an easy book to sum up and sometimes telling people what it’s about can be a conversation stopper.
For instance I was in an airport recently talking to a man next to me and he asked what I do. I told him that I’m a writer and he naturally asked what I write. I told him that my first book was coming out next year and his eyes lit up. “Oh, that’s exciting,” he said. “What’s it about?” And of course that’s when I stalled. We’d been having a nice conversation but suddenly I was about to tell him that my parents both died of cancer. Either that’s going to make him feel sad for me or in general, or it will simply make him uncomfortable, OR it will open up a much deeper conversation about life and death and all kinds of things.
Do you see what I mean? Things just get a little intense the moment I begin talking about the book and my point is that I’m still trying to figure out how to handle it all. Granted, it’s not a bad problem to have, just one that’s kind of strange. Whenever I get too overwhelmed though I just think about my friend Jillian and how she has to tell people that her memoir is about how she was in a harem belonging to the Prince of Brunei.
Anyway, I’m working on it. And I suppose that each time I have to do it I’ll get a little better. Any advice?