We first fell for Gigi Levangie Grazer after reading her delicious novel, The Starter Wife. And we were beyond thrilled when it was made into a miniseries starring the fabulous Debra Messing. So when we found out she'd written another book, Queen Takes King, we knew that not only did we want to read it (and we did and we devoured it in both the hardback and the paperback reprint edition) but that we wanted to have her as a guest here at Chick Lit Is Not Dead to be a part of our new series, 5 Do's and a Do-Over. We knew she'd be just as funny and entertaining in her answers as she is in her writing (and of course she was! -More on that in a minute). But first, if you haven't already, you must read all of Levangie Granger's books, but especially her sassy and hilarious novel, Queen Takes King about Jackson and Cynthia Powers, a high-powered Upper West Side couple feuding over their divorce. The premise: Jacks Power falls for another woman, Lara Sizemore, and wants a divorce so he can marry her, but his wife Cynthia isn't ready to let him- or his real estate empire- off the hook that easily! Publisher's Weekly calls it "The War of The Roses fought by The Desperate Housewives of New York" and we couldn't agree more. Read an excerpt here.
And if you leave a comment here today, you'll be entered to win one of five copies! We'll randomly select the winners after 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 4th.
We heart Gigi even more after reading her 5 Do's and, instead of a Do-Over, her Do-not because they are LOL funny. (And you know we don't LOL over just anything or anyone!) Check out what she says about having kids (Lisa- who just had a baby- may just all Auntie G to babysit), why you should laugh at everything- including testicular cancer- and why she quotes Kanye West!
Five Things You Most Definitely Should – no, HAVE TO Do:
1. Do follow your dream. Okay, fine. But what IS your dream? Start with this: What did you want to do with your life when you were eight years old? When I was eight, all I was good at, all I wanted to do, was read and make up stories (and act, but that’s a whole other traumatic phase)…it so happens that reading and making up stories still gives me a lift, still makes me excited about my day, still gives me hope. Following your dream is better than a lifetime supply of Xanax. Which is what you’ll need if you don’t stay true to yourself.
Ask your eight-year-old self; mine is a chubby little crybaby, but she had the answer.
2. Do have a baby. Have any baby. Have your own, adopt, become a stepmom. Babies are delicious, they smell good (about 75% of the time), they’re fun to bathe, they’re an excellent conversation starter, and a great excuse not to go places and see people you don’t want to see. You want to be in the “now”, in the “present”? Don’t read the book, have a baby.
If you have the love, have the means, have the good public school system, have a frikkin’ baby, already. (Unless you’re still in high school – in which case, have the baby, then send the baby to Auntie G – that’s me.)
But talk to me before you have three or four babies.
3. Do get married. After my first divorce, I swore I’d never get married again. What happened? I got married again. After my second divorce, I knew never to say never. Ever. Because I know myself. I love being single, but damn it, I love being married. I do divorce so well, that my wasband and I have a great relationship. But here’s the thing – I get more work done when I’m married. I’m more calm when I’m married. More organized. Being single is fun and interesting and you get to meet and flirt with all kinds of men, and basically, you become like a kid in a candy store – which means, you become annoying to everyone, including yourself. If I were married right now, I would be finished with the second draft of my next book, already.
Also, husbands are really nice to snuggle with. But stick to your own.
4. Do learn to cook. I remember coming home from school, and our apartment being filled with the aroma of my dad’s Italian sausage sauce, which had been simmering on the stove for hours. That is pure happiness, my friends. A good home cooked pasta dish can make up for a lot of family grievances.
There’s a lot of benefits to making your own dinner, too – it’s healthier, it’s a lot cheaper than take-out, and there’s nothing that makes a house a home like a home-cooked meal (or if Usher moved in, say.)
Get the best cut of meat you can afford, the best piece of salmon, the plumpest chicken, the freshest vegetables. Pop a few potatoes in the oven for an hour. Always keep olive oil and butter on hand, and that coarse sea salt.
Cooking is not a mystery, but let’s not make it drudgery, either. So, okay, don’t cook every night. Find a few good take-out places (with good coupons).
And by the way, I’ve yet to meet the man who doesn’t appreciate a woman who can cook. If you can roast a chicken, or bake an apple pie, and you have ESPN in HD, you can have your pick of the litter. Wrinkles? Thunder thighs? Who cares? Bake it, and he will come.
5. Do laugh your ass off. Funny people are the best medicine. Surround yourself with them. Feed them, encourage them, berate them, if you must. It may take some cajoling, a little cash, or a couple margaritas. Find people who laugh at your jokes – there’s no one quite as fascinating as the person who finds you fascinating.
Find the funny, even in the most dire of circumstances. When my nephew went in for surgery after we learned he had testicular cancer, it took about ten minutes to start calling him “the Uniballer.” I bought him a new, improved ball for Christmas that year. And of course, we joked about that, too.
Life is too tough not to laugh at it.
“Let’s have a toast to the jerkoffs, that’ll never take work off…” Kanye West, Runaway.
1. Like Kanye says, Do Not pay attention to the assholes. This is what my father, whom I call ‘Gran Torino’ always said: “What people think of you is none of your business.” Live by this rule, and you will be a happier, more productive person.
Don’t waste time, energy, ideas, money, tears, words or lawyers bills on negative people. Even if you are in the right. Men, women, strangers, even close friends – some people just don’t want to see you be happy or succeed. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you, who doesn’t approve of your looks, your personality, your sexuality, your very being. Well, this isn’t junior high (unless you live in L.A., where it’s always junior high), so get over it. Let them hate you. And let it make you stronger.
Your continued happiness will befuddle and amaze them.
To read more about the fabulous and talented Gigi Levangie Grazer, check out her website, follow her on Twitter (a recent tweet that made us laugh: I want Charlie Sheen to be my life coach) and become a fan on Facebook.
Liz & Lisa