Thursday, August 5, 2010
Interview with Alicia Bessette and book giveaway
Alicia Bessette is a debut author for 2010, whose novel "Simply from Scratch" can now be found on the shelves of your local bookstore. She also writes a blog with her husband called Quest For Kindness, where people can share essays about their experiences with their own kindness or the kindness of others.
Here is a trailer for "Simply from Scratch":
Recently, Melissa Patafio and I got to ask Alicia some questions about her book and got to know her a little better. We hope you will enjoy getting to know her too. She also has offered to give away two signed copies of "Simply from Scratch" to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.
MP: Do you have any personal remedies for “writers block”?
AB: Go for a walk. Take a shower. Talk things over with the dog. Prepare a meal. Anything that gets your body moving or your thoughts flowing. Anything that feels creative, constructive, or therapeutic.
MP: What was the journey to publishing like for “Simply from Scratch”?
AB: I began writing Simply From Scratch in 2008. My goal was to write an emotionally honest book that book clubs would fall in love with. I wrote six hours a day, six or seven days a week. I also spent many hours researching agents and soliciting advice from kind writer-acquaintances.
Ten months and two revisions later, I started pitching to agents. I emailed a query to Laney Katz Becker, who is now with Markson Thoma Literary Agency. After reading the manuscript, she called and asked if I was willing to make some changes. We talked about how it might be improved, and she offered me representation.
After some editing, the fabulous Laney sold Simply From Scratch to Penguin’s Dutton imprint. I spent a few more months editing with my editor, the equally fabulous Erika Imranyi, before nailing the final version.
I’ve blogged quite a bit about my road to publishing. If you’re interested, feel free to check out the following posts for more details and advice:
Persistence + Luck = Pluck
MP: Your husband is also a writer, do you both work from the same space or do you prefer to have your own separate corners?
AB: I can write anywhere; Matt needs to hole up. In our apartment, his office is the second bedroom. My “office” is a corner of the living room, in front of a window that looks out over a busy street. We’re separated, but within yelling distance.
I love that Matt and I are both writers. We understand each other so well, and we read and edit each others' work. It’s a beautiful partnership.
MP: You write the main character from the point of view of a widow. What inspired you to create such an emotionally tragic and heart wrenching story?
AB: I set out to write about healing, about how to let yourself be lifted up by friends, love, family, home -- things we all live for, things we all need and celebrate. Simply From Scratch is about how vulnerability can lead to transformation. It’s about how communities can heal individuals, and how individuals can heal communities.
MP: Do you hope to see “Simply from Scratch” made into a movie at some point? If so, who would you cast in the main roles?
AB: Sure! I think a lot of writers imagine their books as films. I don’t have a movie deal, but I’d love to see Renee Zellweger as Zell, Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice guy) as Garrett, John C. Reilly as EJ, and either Joan Allen or Jamie Lee Curtis as Trudy.
MA: How are you similar to or different from Zell? Ingrid?
AB: Just as Zell and Ingrid are fans of a celebrity chef and her television show, I am obsessed with watching cooking shows. Seriously, I could watch the Food Network all day long.
Zell and I are both very sensitive and perceptive. Both Ingrid and Zell are a lot braver than me.
MA: Do you have plans for another novel?
AB: I have plans for several more novels. Details to come!
MA: What is your favorite dessert to bake?
AB: Mini red velvet cupcakes. They're adorable, and .... mmmm ….
MA: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
AB: At different points, I dreamed of being a veterinarian, a wildlife photographer, a French professor, a restorer of antique furniture, and a concert pianist. But somehow I knew from a very young age that I’d be a writer.
MA: What type(s) of music do you like listening to the most?
AB: It varies from day to day. I have very broad musical tastes. To quote Trudy in "Simply From Scratch" -- who is actually quoting my husband! -- “The more you like, the happier you are.”
Lately, I can’t get enough of the band Mumford & Sons. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Schubert.
Thanks to Melissa P. for some more great questions. She does a great job with researching before she asks!
Special thanks to Alicia for answering our questions. We enjoyed learning about her. Also thanks to her for providing the books for the giveaway.
**Giveaway is now closed**
How to win "Simply from Scratch":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)
For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite dessert to bake (or eat)?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
Open to residents of the US and Canada. Giveaway ends Monday at 6pm EST.