Thursday, April 11, 2013

Having a ball with Katie Schnack....plus a book giveaway

Introduction and interview by Melissa Amster

**Giveaway is now closed**

You may not already know this about me, but I used to work in the restaurant business. I started out in Chinese take-out and eventually became a server at a well known breakfast-themed establishment. (I'm probably the only person who has a 17 year boycott going against this restaurant.) The concept of the customer always being right can be a thorn in the side of someone who has served food in any capacity. I remember a customer who got mad at ME because she brought her own fancy teabag and didn't check if the cup was clean (to her standards) before dipping it. There happened to be a lipstick stain on it that just gets embedded through many dishwashing cycles. But to her, I RUINED her precious teabag. Oh, the agony!

Katie Schnack has dealt with her share of crazy customers, as she became a waitress to support herself through higher education in the field of journalism. It wasn't just your average diner though. Katie worked at one of the most expensive and renowned hotels in the country, on the most wealth concentrated island in the country....Palm Beach, Florida. Excessive wealth does funny things to people sometimes, and lets just say...work was never boring. She lived to tell about it, and has a book to show for her wild and strange customer stories, Ballrooms and Ugly Poodles: Semi-Tall Tales of a Palm Beach Waitress.

Since that time, she has relocated to Austin, Texas so her husband can focus on his education. She is a literary publicist at Shelton Interactive, and her past freelance work has been featured in Redbook, Austin Lifestyle, Thrillist.com and more. 

We're glad to have Katie here today, as she is a lot of fun and has a great sense of humor. She has TWO copies of her book for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

You can visit Katie at her website (where she features pictures of ugly poodles every Friday), Facebook (I love her cover photo) and Twitter.

As a waitress, what is the strangest request you ever received?
The one that I think of right away --and this is in the book, of course-- is when I asked a guest if he would like a drink from the bar. He ordered a Bud Light, however, the party was being sponsored by Miller. I politely told him, and offered to get him a Miller Lite. He just stared me right in the eyes and said sternly "I want a Bud Light." I was terrified. I had to take about a 10 minute walk into the hotel's dungeon basement to get him his gross, warm and slightly dusty beer from storage. It was so weird. Also people would always request a black napkin and I thought it was so odd. I get it, but I still think it is weird to ask for one.

Where do you find all the pictures for "Ugly Poodle Friday" on your blog? Do people send them to you or do you find them randomly online?
I find the pictures by just asking the ever-great oracle known as Google. But if someone were to send me one, I would be happy to post it! My family and friends basically send me every poodle they come across now – online, ones on the street. I guess I am now “the poodle lady.” I don’t know how I feel about that.

What was the easiest thing about writing Ballrooms and Ugly Poodles? Most difficult?
The easiest thing was the very early stages of writing it. Those terrible first drafts that just pour out of you. To me, this is the absolute best part of writing. I would hole up on a Saturday, drink way too much coffee and write write write. It felt great. The most difficult - editing. I had the book professionally edited a few times, but wanted my husband to give it a read though before I called it finished. He knows me, he knows the stories and he is a really, really careful reader, so he tore it apart. It was SO PAINFUL for me, as I am defiantly more of an all over the place, crazy creative soul. Combing through my work one sentence was like some sick, twisted mind torture. But, in the end I am so glad we did that and forever grateful to my overly patient husband for all the time he put in.

What did you do to celebrate when Ballrooms and Ugly Poodles was first published?
In a way it has been a slow, random process of celebration. There are little victories that were celebrated, like finally being done with edits, finalizing the cover art or getting my first good review. When I first put the e-book online, my husband sent me flowers and cookies at work. Then, after work there may have been some celebratory drinks consumed, of course. When the print version came out, I celebrated with good friends at The Alexis Hotel in Seattle. It was a half my birthday, half my book’s birthday shindig, and it was perfect.

Which authors have been inspirations to you during the writing process?
When I first realized that I really, really wanted to make this writing thing a reality, there were a few books I read that still stick with me.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing by Stephen King
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

Also, the Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper by SARK. She writes her manuscripts by hand in different colored makers, pens and paints and doodles everywhere. When I first opened that book up, it looked so much like my journal it was weird. I was comforted knowing there was another multi-colored crazy living out there in the universe who also loved words and drawing and the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. Also once she re-tweeted me. I just had to brag about that. #bigdeal.

What is the most important advice you've ever been given?
I guess it is in a way self-imposed advice, if that is possible. My best friend died in a car crash when she was 19. Everyday, when I feel like giving up, or not chasing dreams or loving people or doing anything worthy with my life, I think about her. I think of what she would say to me, what she would do. What I wish she could have had the chance to do. She was, and continues to be an amazing inspiration in how I live life daily. Her memory is my advice, and I am determined to juice every drop out of these years that she was never able to experience.

If Ballrooms and Ugly Poodles were to become a movie, what actress would you want to portray you?
Meryl Streep, duh.

What is your favorite thing about living in Austin, Texas?
Queso + tequila. Everywhere. It is amazing.

Thanks to Katie for chatting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win Ballrooms and Ugly Poodles:
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. Find a picture of an ugly poodle and post a link to it. (Maybe Katie will use it on her blog sometime and credit you for it!)
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. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.


Giveaway ends April 16th at midnight EST.


15 comments:

TinaB said...

Sounds like a fun read!!
I follow u on fb and pinterest
Brannanflooring@aol.com

Ananda said...

Awesome interview! This really seems like an interesting read. Ok, I found a picture on the net, hope it's ok to post the link (credits go to whoever put this on the internet:).

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p114/bufferdoodle/untitled.jpg

I follow on twitter and via GFC.
love2slim(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

StereoQueenBee said...

1. Find a picture of an ugly poodle and post a link to it. (Maybe Katie will use it on her blog sometime and credit you for it!)

http://atomicgator.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/poodle-2.jpg?w=627

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

Am already a follower.

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 a member.

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.

Follow on Twitter.

On a side note, in November I went to a dog show. They used sooooo much hairspray on the poodles!

queenofcrunk@gmail.com

Sue G. said...

How funny! This sounds like a great read.

Here is an ugly poodle pic. How anyone could do this to a dog is just unbelievable. http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&biw=1440&bih=706&tbm=isch&tbnid=9pB7gHDHetGGBM:&imgrefurl=http://facepunch.com/showthread.php%3Ft%3D1005507&docid=nWXk7dk_TODtVM&imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_BsoHTZTWHcQ/SwJJzgsZFJI/AAAAAAAAHqg/gzrSOEY-V0E/s800/dyed_poodle.jpg&w=276&h=414&ei=_MNmUY6wI7Dj4APin4G4Bg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:94,s:0,i:404&iact=rc&dur=386&page=4&tbnh=179&tbnw=116&start=76&ndsp=27&tx=54&ty=80

2. I already follow this blog thru my email and facebook.

3. I shared the contest on my facebook page under Sue Galuska.

4. I have already liked Chick Lit Central on facebook.


suegaluska (at) yahoo (dot) com

Allie Smith said...

I love this interview. I can relate to the crazy waitressing ( I waited tables at an exclusive hotel in Naples, FL) and my husband is often the final editor for my work as well - and he is meticulous and brutally honest.

allieDOTmcsmithATgmailDOTcom

I tweeted the contest.

I am a CLC follower.

I like CLC on FB

I follow in twitter and Pinterest.

Linda Kish said...

Sounds great. Count me in, please.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

http://davemacontheblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/now-thats-just-wrong.html

I follow the blog.

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Nova said...

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Poodle+Cuts+Styles&FORM=RESTAB#view=detail&id=B8A2AF63E2A3D196874CEE4275FEF5A0CEBAF19A&selectedIndex=8

sparkle40075@hotmail.com
I follow CLC on pinterest.
I am a fan of CLC on facebook.
I follow the CLC blog by GFC.

Kritter said...

Pretty in pink - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-twd-GFuH-eo/T2fC_TjrLlI/AAAAAAAAAE8/1R_IHVZ6MFQ/s1600/toy-poodles.jpg

i am a follow via gfc
i am a fan on facebook
i follow on twitter

kdurham2@gmail.com

Mary Preston said...

I did find some images of ugly poodles - what is up with the world? - but I was not sure about the copyright.

GFC: Mary Preston
FB: Mary Preston
Email Subscriber:
marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Ha! This book sounds hilarious! I was a server through college and it can be just awful!

I'm a follower through gfc, twitter and fb!

Missamberljohnson at gmail dot com

Hailey Fish said...

Sounds like a great read!

fishiegirl22@yahoo.com

susieqlaw said...

I would love to read this book!

I follow CLC blog, twitter, pinterest, and facebook.

I tweeted this contest at susieqlaw

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

Melissa said...

Thanks to everyone for participating and sharing the ugly poodle pics you found!

Thanks again to Katie for chatting with us and sharing her book with our winners, who were chosen by random.org from all entries with contact info.

Congrats to Sue G. and StereoQueenBee!

Sue G. said...

Yay! Cannot wait to read this book! Thanks so much. Already sent my email to you!