Our guest today: Jen Lancaster! Why we love her: The question should be, how can you NOT love her?! She is SASSY and so are her books.
Her latest: Here I Go Again
The scoop: Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.
Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?
Our thoughts: This one is our FAVE of Jen's so far. It's Back To The Future meets Mean Girls and we promise you are going to devour every word. LOVED it!
Giveaway: FIVE copies, yo! Leave a comment and we'll choose winners after February 4th at 8am.
Fun fact: Want to meet Jen in person? She might be coming your way on her book tour--check out the dates here.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...JEN LANCASTER'S FIVE BEST EVERS
1. BEST SONG– I’m mercurial when it comes to music. I’ll get into a mode and a handful of songs will suddenly become my Best Evers before quickly fading back into oblivion. (Ahem, Taylor Swift. Ahem.) Right now I’m obsessed with 80s metal. In Here I Go Again, heroine - and I use that term loosely - Lissy Ryder is a closet fan of all things Whitesnake, which is so far removed from the new wave/alternative music I lived for back in the day. To get into Lissy’s character, I required a YouTube-based rock education. Often, my husband would walk past my office, incredulous to hear Pantera coming out of my speakers.
Turns out, the more I listened to old metal, the more I came to appreciate the power behind it. I defy anyone to not be moved watching Metallica doing Enter Sandman live in Moscow in 1991 in front of 100,000 screaming Russians. So, I feel like I’ve discovered the entirely new universe, particularly the hair metal genre. Some of my new (old) favorites include Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Motley Crue. Plus, I’m so tickled by the reaction I get from hipsters every time I pull up in my sweet convertible, wearing soccer-mom Capris, a ponytail, and pearls, with Rock You Like a Hurricane cranked up to eleven. They look at their vintage Schwinns and skinny jeans, all, “My life is a lie.” (Thus, my work here is done.)
2. BEST BOOK– Again, mercurial. Right now I’m obsessed with J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which is just as brilliant as the Harry Potter novels, in an entirely dissimilar way. I didn’t realize exactly how different it would be until I got to a part about a miserable teenage boy and I thought to myself, “Wait a minute… wizards don’t wank!” I have so much additional respect for Rowling after reading this book. She took everything she learned about creating a magical universe and used it to breathe life into her version of the sleepy little town of Pagford. I’m bowled over by her prowess in crafting so many distinct, complex characters. I’m in awe of her bravery for working against the archetype of pure evil and pure good like she did in Harry Potter. Every character is layered and nuanced and imperfect. Are any of them likable? Generally, no, and that’s part of this quiet book’s subtle genius. And spoiler alert? She’s not afraid to eschew the happy ending. The Casual Vacancy isn’t for everyone, especially for those yearning for a grown up version of Hogwarts. But for me? It’s my Best Ever for 2012.
3. BEST MOVIE– Do I even need to mention that my favorites change depending on my mood? My perennial must-watch-each-time-they’re-on films score pretty high on the cheese-o-meter, e.g. Day After Tomorrow, The Hot Chick (and really, anything with Rob Schneider), 13 Going on 30, MIB, Independence Day, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet (wherein Don Knotts is a cartoon fish who helps the US win WWII in the Pacific Theater), so I’m probably not the Best Ever person to ask. I saw Oscar nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild last winter and I left the theater completely confused, thinking to myself, “So, the earth is sick, the little girl eats dog food, the rains come down and they have to sail around a motorized bathtub, and then she visits her mom on Prostitute Island. I don’t get it.” I guess I prefer to do my thinking while reading. In movies, Will Smith + alien invaders + quirky sidekick = Best Ever.
4. BEST LIFE MOMENT– The first time I realized that I wouldn’t have to go back to temping while trying to make it as an author. I had an event at the Chicago Barnes & Noble where I’d also signed my first two books. Each time, I had twenty to thirty people attend, which was outstanding. There’s nothing worse than having a book signing where no one comes. Trust me on this one. So when I walked in the store, I noticed that there was no one in the area where the event was always held and I was disappointed. Not surprised, having had it happen before, but bummed nonetheless. But then the event coordinator spotted me and brought me upstairs to where two hundred and fifty women were waiting. I was astounded and humbled. A week later, my memoir Such a Pretty Fat not only hit the New York Times bestseller list, but stayed there for most of the summer, and that’s when I knew I was finally done fetching coffee and making copies.
5. BEST PIECE OF ADVICE – The minute you stop being fixated on looking cool is the minute your entire world changes for the better. Whatever you pursue in life, do it because it makes you happy, and not because you want to post an impressive Facebook status update. There’s no shame in loving cheesy music or opting for onion rings over escargot, if that’s what you want in the moment. Generally, people are too self-absorbed to even notice your efforts, so you may as well do what you like. Ultimately, the only opinion that really matters is your own.
Thanks, Jen! xoxo, L&L