This is my week to be surrounded by smart, inspiring, funny women. I’m currently in New York City at BlogHer’10, and this past Monday night, I was at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena in the entertaining company of best-selling author Jennifer Weiner.
I don’t read a lot of “chick lit,” but I do read Jennifer Weiner‘s fiction – she’s been a favorite of mine since her first novel, Good in Bed. Her best characters are conflicted, complicated, and have a sense of humor; one of them is Sylvie Woodruff, star of her latest novel Fly Away Home, which I loved. When I read that Jen would be at Vroman’s for the last stop in her “Cupcakes Across America” book tour for Fly Away Home, I decided I wanted to be there too. (And yes, she did bring cupcakes from Sprinkles. The dark chocolate/chocolate-frosted one I chose was wonderful, and I think it helped me stay awake on the drive home!)
Jen’s fans know her fiction is often laugh-out-loud funny, and in person, she’s even funnier. She shared some anecdotes from earlier on the book tour, including her guest spot on the Rachael Ray Show; she was accompanied there by her mom, a “gay lesbian woman,” who was far more excited to meet that day’s other guest, Rosie O’Donnell, than she was about her daughter’s appearance. She got in a few digs at The New York Times, which has infamously refused to review her books, and mentioned that they do not count e-book sales toward their best-seller lists (however, USA Today does). She discussed her obsession with The Bachelor/The Bachelorette – she’s been live-tweeting the current season of The Bachelorette, although being at the signing caused her to miss this week’s episode. She talked about the high-profile sex/cheating scandals that partially inspired Fly Away Home, and her curiosity about how the wives of the men involved in these scandals might react to them.
Jen revealed that she was pitching a couple of TV shows while she was in LA, which led to the topic of adapting her books into movies. All of her novels have been optioned, but only one, In Her Shoes, has been filmed, and she suspects that the fact that so many of her principal characters are “women of a certain size” may be a factor in that. In answer to an audience question, she said that she understands that novels and film are different forms of storytelling, and doesn’t have a problem with if one of her books is changed a bit when adapted for the screen – she’s still told the story she meant to tell in the book – as long as her “certain-size” characters don’t become “size-six” ones.
There was one question she never did quite answer, although she said it might be the best question she’s ever been asked during a book tour. One man, who said he hadn’t planned to stick around for longer than five minutes but found her talk “strangely compelling,” asked if she’d consider a one-night stand with a man old enough to be her father. (And yes, there were about two dozen men present – not a bad turnout for a “chick lit” writer, although it looked like most were with wives or girlfriends. I was there on my own.)
In case you’re wondering – yes, authors will sign ARC’s, but they’ll usually be curious about how you got one. That’s your in to let them know you’re a book blogger, and to slip them your card if they’ll take it. Jennifer Weiner took my card!
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More author chat and cupcakes: Leah of Amused by Books had the chance to attend Jennifer Weiner’s signing event at Book Passage in San Francisco.
P.S. Sorry for the lousy pictures. My “good” camera is not so good right now – it’s being sent off for repairs – so I had to take my older one to the signing.