Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We don't know how Laura Pedersen does it...plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Gail Allison

**Giveaway is now closed**

She's no stranger to success...Laura Pedersen was once the youngest columnist for the New York Times, and was also once the youngest person to have a seat on the floor of the American Stock Exchange. Now, she's a best-selling author of twelve (that's right...twelve) books, and has appeared on David Letterman, Oprah, and the Today Show, to name a few. Also, in 1994, President Clinton honored Laura as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. You'd think all that would wear a girl out, but Laura just keeps on carrying on! She still writes, and also teaches at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center in East Harlem. Her novel "Fool's Mate" (reviewed here) is actually titled after a chess strategy.

Visit her at her website.

Thanks to AuthorsOnTheWeb, we're giving away TWO copies of "Fool's Mate" to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.

(Author photo credit: Denise Winters)

What kind of research did you do for "Fool's Mate?"
I’ve been on news channels such as CNN, MSNBC and FOX, and even had a TV show of my own for several years that ran out of a busy studio. With regard to the news biz itself, I wrote for The New York Times for twelve years and come from a newspaper family. I even reworked a couple of practical jokes that had been played by or on my grandfather, who wrote for a number of Buffalo papers and also The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with? How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
I think my heart lies with Josie, who is struggling to get her life together. Although Fool’s Mate is intended to be a funny romantic comedy, alcoholism is a serious problem, and Josie is indeed an alcoholic at the start. Even though my grandfather was a wonderful writer, the joke in our family was that the best stories weren’t by him but about him. He was often over-served at local taverns, got into mischief, and had to switch jobs with a certain amount of regularity.
I think a good story results from a strong plot and that’s something you need to plan ahead of time. Not necessarily every detail, but you need to know where your characters have to end up for the story to work.

What did you do to celebrate when first published?
When my first book, "Play Money," came out I enjoyed going to bookstores and gazing at it with disbelief. Fortunately, you don’t need an excuse to stand in the aisle and do that for long periods of time, or else I would’ve been arrested for vagrancy. I don’t celebrate by having a drink since obviously that can lead to problems in my family.

What is one piece of advice you'd like to share with future writers?
It’s for the most part a solitary profession unless you work in a newsroom, and even those are disappearing fast. I suppose if one is a reviewer then you can go out and socialize before spending time alone in a room trying to put some thoughts on paper. [For folks interested in writing, I answer the most often asked questions about that here.]

What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Having a newspaper column with a strict deadline forces you to manage your time, not procrastinate, and blow through writer’s block as well as inconveniences such as food poisoning. So usually if I don’t want to work on an essay or a book chapter it means there is a big problem with the plot or a character’s arc, in which case I need to find the trouble and create a fix or abandon the project altogether since it’s not going to work even by inserting zombies.

If "Fool's Mate" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
I’m sure there are a lot of great young actresses who could play Josie as being smart, intrepid, slightly rogue, and largely self-destructive. Calvin needs to be more solid, earnest, and preppy. Josie’s boss should be an experienced loud-mouth who is dedicated to the news business and has an eye for real talent when he finds it.
Actually, I don’t see enough of the current pool of performers to decide. My six stepsisters can argue for days over imaginary casts for my novels so I’ll ask them to work on it. However, they usually reserve a few minor parts for themselves.

If you could live anywhere in the world, besides where you’re currently living, where would it be, and why?
I’ve always been attracted to the vibrancy of New Orleans. It’s unlike any other place I know and has been a magnet for many of the writers I admire such as Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin, Michael Lewis, Lillian Hellman, John Kennedy Toole, Renee Peck, and Truman Capote.

Who is your current celebrity crush?
There will always and only ever be Bill Moyers for me. He reads essays on PBS that he writes himself and they are in and of themselves a Master Class in the art of writing when it comes to clean, concise and powerful prose. Otherwise, I always have a soft spot for female comedians, like the sassy waitress played by Kat Dennings on Two Broke Girls and the mother on Two and a Half Men, played by Holland Taylor.

What is your theme song?
Chumbawamba -- “Tubthumping (I get knocked down).”

Which TV show, book, or movie reminds you most of your own life?
Early Roseanne did a good job of representing life in the 1980s for the working class in the American Midwest, right down to the afghan over the back of the couch, Dads who hang out in garages, sending the check to the electric company without a signature in order to buy more time, and stretching the meatloaf with filler such as Quaker Oats. I recognized all of that.

Special thanks to Laura for answering our questions so eloquently and to AuthorsOnTheWeb for sharing "Fool's Mate" with our readers.

How to win "Fool's Mate":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note:Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Which TV show, book or movie reminds you most of your own life?
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.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends January 30th at midnight EST.

20 comments:

Marthalynn said...

I think there is a lot of familiar content on Modern Family with which I can completely relate!

I'm a follower

marthalynn16 [at] gmail [dot] com

Kim W. said...

1. Currently, I'd have to say Parenthood as both of my kids are on the autism spectrum. Such a well done show!!

2. I follow the CLC blog

3. I shared the contest on FB

4. I belong to CLC on FB

kewalker1972@gmail.com

Carl said...

Jack Kerouac's On The Road reminds me of my younger years.
I'm already a follower of CLC.
I'll post a Twitter message as soon as I'm done here, (@carlrscott)
I'm already a member of CLC on FB.
Thanks again for hosting.

Lilian said...

1. Please tell us: Which TV show, book or movie reminds you most of your own life?
I am a pretty boring person...how about what show I want my life to be like because then I could say Glee. The pressures of college applications and having supportive friends...I can relate.

2. I already follow~

3. Twittered: https://twitter.com/circustoybox/status/161866232650403842

4. Joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

lilianxcheng AT gmail DOT com

Margaret said...

The movie Monster in Law with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. Oh yes I have one of those lol!
I'm a GFC follower and new to facebook so I'll follow there too.

Margaret
singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

StereoQueenBee said...

1. Please tell us: Which TV show, book or movie reminds you most of your own life

Being Erica and not just because we are both Canadian

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow this blog.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Am already a member!

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

I don't think there could be a show as boring as my life. At least I hope not. It would be cancelled immediately.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

meandmom said...

I would like to read this book.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

meandmom said...

The movie that reminds me of my life is He's Just Not That Into You because the Ben Affleck character reminds me of my husband.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook follower.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

bn100 said...

1. The Brady Bunch

2. I follow your blog.

Thanks for the giveaway.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Maureen said...

I would say The Middle reminds me a bit of our household.
I am a follower
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Jordan said...

I honestly can't think of a single TV show, movie or book that resembles my life. It's all too normal for something like that!

I follow the blog and I'm a fan on FB.

jordanweber at live dot com

Kristen said...

My life is totally like Sex in the City... okay, that's a total lie, but how much fun would that be? :)

I follow on email and FB.

kly(dot)327(at)gmail.com

mep said...

My life is very Downton Abbey since I too have a large household staff -- NOT!!!

I follow CLC on Twitter (I'm @nottobrag)

I would love to win this novel!

mep said...

Oops ... forgot email: mep AT nottobrag DOT net

rubynreba said...

Small town like The Andy Griffith Show!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

Follower
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

Belong to Chick Lit Central on facebook
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Erica said...

Hmmmmm ... Buffy? Seriously, there's nothing that I do that anyone would make a movie about.

I am a follower.

wordywon AT gmail DOT com

Carl said...

Can't believe I post before without an email address. DUH!
Anyway, here it is again, corrected
Jack Kerouac's On The Road reminds me of my younger years.
I'm already a follower of CLC.
I'll post a Twitter message as soon as I'm done here, (@carlrscott)
I'm already a member of CLC on FB.
Thanks again for hosting.
carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx