January 5th, 2009

What Would Emma Do?

What Would Emma Do
What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook, is a book about, of course, a high school senior named Emma. She has committed a few sins, but kissing her best friend’s boyfriend is the worse. And since she lives in a small town, everyone knows everything about everyone else. Now her best friend isn’t speaking to her, her best guy friend is making things totally weird, and Emma is running full speed toward certain social disaster.

Time to pray for a minor miracle. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Emma to stop trying to please everyone around her, and figure out what she wants for herself.

I asked, Eileen answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you used it, in any way,in a book?
Q. When I was young my younger brother was born with a terminal condition. I remember that I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I knew how upsetting it was for my parents. I understood that he was in fragile health and I was almost scared of him. Once my mother had stepped outside to get the mail and he began to cry. I remember thinking that he was going to die right there and then and I was terrified. I knew there was nothing I could do, but I felt totally useless. I’m not sure if it is connected, but I hate still hate situations where there are people in distress and I can’t help. This may explain why I went into counseling as a day job.

A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?

E. I absolutely loathe spiders or any type of creepy crawly creature. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and wonder what I would do if a spider slowly lowered itself onto my face. Then I have to get up and turn on the light. Just because I told you my phobia- you aren’t going to make me face it are you?

A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
E. I LOVE mysteries! Picking one favorite is hard so I’m going to cheat and list a couple. Minette Walters, PD James, Ruth Rendall/Barbara Vine (same author different name).

A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will happen next. What question does your book ask?
E. Can you still have strong relationships with people when you don’t want the same things anymore? I am fascinated by how we change and how those around us deal with that change.

A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
E. How can I fit in everything I want to do/see/visit in this life?

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Running, Writing, and Chip-Eaters Anonymous

Today feels like the real start to the year. Which is good, because I already need a do-over. I’m way old enough to know that if I buy junk and bring it home, I will eat it. But does that stop me? No.

I need to be in some kind of Chip-Eaters Anonymous. At Target on Saturday, I bought a bag of baked Ruffles, which meant they were okay, right? But not if you consume an entire bag over the course of two days. I’ve started a food diary, but somehow dutifully noting how many servings of chips I was eating did not stop me from eating more. And more. It had nothing to do with hunger. It had little to do with flavor. It had a lot to do with … hmm, that’s a good question.

But today is a new day. Last night it snowed again, filling my heart with dread. Slick streets, snow piled up on the sides, etc. But the rain melted it away, so I had no excuse not to run five miles. I’ve been thinking about halseanderson and her dream to run 1,000 miles in a year. I realized I could share the same dream. After all, I already run five miles four times a week, which would equal 1040 miles. Except there are a lot of “excepts.” Except if it’s snowy or super rainy or I feel sick or I think about it too much.

Still, I think I will see how close I can get.

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More whining, less dining

The New York Times has an article about how publishers are cutting back on expenses."For decades the New York publishing world promised a romantic life of fancy lunches, sparkling parties, sophisticated banter and trips to spots like the Caribbean to pitch books to sales representatives."

Well, I'm not sure it was ever all that great, esp. for the rank and file, but I would guess it's ratcheting down across the board now. Macmillan has gone from having a sales conference in a ritzy hotel in San Diego to a Web meeting.

I do disagree a bit with something uber agent Amanda "Binky" Urban says in the article, "Ms. Urban said some of the more lavish practices could not be sustained by a slow-growth, low-margin industry that can’t charge luxury prices. “Books can only support a certain retail price,” she said. “It’s not like you have books that can be Manolo Blahniks and books that can be Cole Haan. Books are books. A book by James Patterson costs the same as a book by some poet."

Books by Patterson are routinely discounted 30 percent or more by Amazon and big chains. Good luck finding a poet in the same category.

Click here to read more.

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