Thursday, January 29, 2009

A VERY Belated GCC Post, plus health update

Thanks for the love, everyone. I'm finally feeling better! Yay! I'm making some major but temporary changes to revamp my health and send Lefty packing: no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, no corn, no processed foods / baked goods / refined flours, limited wheat, no meat (we already knew that one), limited coffee, but gobs of supplements...this is what is known as the NO FUN diet. What will I eat? Oh, rocks maybe. Air. Dirt. For the next six weeks. I'll tell you how it works after the ultrasound.

(Please note: don't worry family, I have detailed, carefully-planned menus lined up, nutritionally balanced and all that jazz. So, no, I won't be getting anemia. But I will be kicking this cyst to the curb. Whatever it takes, baby!!)

And now, let me awkwardly segue into a VERY belated GCC tour stop for Melissa Clark, author of Swimming Upstream Slowly. It has such a fun premise, and I can't wait to read it!

About the author: Melissa Clark is the creator and executive producer of the award-winning television series, 'Braceface', and has written for shows on the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Fox. She received a master's degree from the writing program at U.C. Davis, and currently lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.

1. Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
"Swimming Upstream, Slowly" is a novel about Sasha Salter, who wakes up one day to find she is pregnant. Only problem is she hasn't had sex in over 2 years. The doctor's diagnosis is that Sasha's body has been harboring a 'lazy sperm'. Sasha must now open up the Pandora's box of her past loves to figure out which of her exes is the father - and what the future holds in store.
The idea was born because I was having lunch with a friend and overate. I lifted my shirt to expose my bloated belly and the friend said, half joking, "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" and I said, "Yeah, right, from a lazy sperm." I went home that night and started outlining the idea for a movie. I decided, eventually, to write it as a novel instead.

2. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background?
My dad is a writer, so I was always playing on his typewriter and writing on legal steno pads. I wrote short stories from the time that I could write. I studied writing and literature in both college and graduate school. In my 20's to mid-30's I worked as a writer in television. I created a kid's show called "Braceface" which ran for 5 seasons. I loved that experience, but really wanted to write a novel, so I quit my own show and set out to write "Swimming Upstream, Slowly." It was the best risk I've ever taken!

3. Is writing your main job? If not, what do you do for your real source of income and how does it impact your writing?
I still consider writing my main job even though I'm now teaching at the college level. In between grading, preparing lectures, meeting with students, etc. I somehow manage to find time to write. When I wrote "Swimming..." it was my only job. I had the luxury of time and money from the TV show. Now, my writing time is more precious because it is limited.

4. What do you love most about this book?
I appreciate this question because I feel a little weird loving it so much. I feel genuinely tender toward my characters and feel very disconnected to the fact that I created them. I appreciate their personalities and foibles. Every time I reread the book, I enjoy going on the journey with them all over again. When I was writing the book I had that swoony feeling of romantic love. I couldn't stop thinking about it, I bumped into things all the time, etc. I've never told anyone this before!

5. What's the most surprising thing that has happened to you on your publishing journey? Have you learnt things about the industry you never knew before?
I was invited to speak at the Carmel Authors and Ideas Festival. There is a famous food writer named Melissa Clark who writes for the NY Times and I was sure they meant to invite her. I wined and dined with the likes of Frank McCourt and Elizabeth Edwards. I gave a talk during which I explained that I thought they invited the wrong Melissa Clark. The audience thought it was hysterical. They were cracking up, but I was really venting my insecurity. The head of the program came up to me after the reading and said it was great, but never assured me... a few months later a friend, after hearing that story, told me she knew the other Melissa Clark - they had been in a wedding together - and gave me her email. I wrote about that experience and she replied, "That's okay, everyone thinks I wrote the lazy sperm book."
Thanks, Melissa! I'll be back to regular posts next week (and back to work, and back to life, back to do you have that Soul 2 Soul song in your head?)


  1. So glad to hear that you're feeling better. Yeah, that diet sounds horrible. I would waste away and die. (Okay, not really. But I might want to.)

    And the book sounds awesome. I'll add it to my list!

  2. Hang in there Jess... If you need a good dirt recipe just let me know. I've eaten plenty of it in my day.

  3. that sounds like the most horrific diet ever... BUT if it "kicks lefty to the curb" it is certainly worth it!! Good luck!

  4. Happy to hear you're feeling better, but am wondering what's left for you to consume....air?