Today's guest: Jessica Anya Blau Why we love her: We literally bumped into her at the Harper Collins party when we were in NYC for BEA. And when she told us about her latest novel, we were immediately intrigued and started reading it on the plane ride home!
Her latest: The Wonder Bread Summer
The scoop on it: In The Wonder Bread Summer, loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, 20-year-old Allie Dodgson has adventures that rival those Alice had down the rabbit hole. Or those of Weeds’ Nancy Botwin.
Allison is working at a dress shop to help pay for college. The dress shop turns out to be a front for drug dealers. And Allison ends up on the run—with a Wonder Bread bag full of cocaine.
With a hit man after her, Allison wants the help of her parents. But there’s a problem: Her mom took off when Allison was eight; her dad moves so often Allison that doesn’t even have his phone number….
Set in 1980s California, The Wonder Bread Summer is a wickedly funny and fresh caper that’s sure to please fans of Christopher Moore, Carl Hiaasen, and Marcy Dermansky.
Our thoughts: We could not put this book down. A hilarious summer read! (Plus: Doesn't it have like the best cover ever?)
Giveaway: Two SIGNED copies! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, June 16th after 12PM PST.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...JESSICA ANYA BLAU'S 5 FIRSTS & LASTS
First: I come from a kissy family so certainly I was kissed a lot as a kid. My great-grandmother didn’t speak English (that I had ever heard) and she laid some pretty terrifying kisses on me as she spit out a guttural Yiddish. But my first romantic kiss was when Scott Carpenter said, “Jessica, come here, I want to tell you something.” We were standing at the top of a hill on the cul de sac where I lived. It was a bright sunny day and the sidewalk was chalky clean. Scott leaned in and kissed me quickly on the tip of my nose. I think he was aiming for my lips but missed. Then he turned and ran as fast as he could down the hill and away from me. Matt B. was the first boy who French kissed me and it was a messy affair. There was drool sliding down my neck.
Last: My husband thirty seconds ago just before he walked out of the room. He’s a kiss-when-you-enter, kiss-when-you-exit kind of guy.
Book I read
The first book I read to myself was a French counting book. On each page was a number with a play on the pronunciation of the word. On the page for the number four it said QUATRE and there was a picture of a cat (the reader was supposed to pronounce quatre as CAT). And on the page for the number five it said CINQ and there was a picture of the cat sinking in a tank of water (cinq was to be pronounced SANK). I loved that book. The next book I remember reading is Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans.
The last book I read was Cheryl Strayed’s WILD. I’m probably the last person on the planet to read it. I can’t wait to see the movie. Nick Hornby wrote the script and I’m a huge Hornby fan (as well as a Strayed fan, too, now!).
Risk I Took
First: I was a pretty fearful and quiet kid and until around age seven, I preferred to hang out with my mother and read books (she read for hours each day—not to me, beside me) than hang out with kids. So my first real risk was probably when I agreed to sleep over at the neighbor girl’s house when I was five. It was a long, miserable night. We shared a bed and she tortured me by making horse whiney noises with her face an inch from mine. I couldn’t wait to go home.
Last: Every day that I sit down to write, I feel like I’m taking a risk. I’m risking failure, humiliation, rejection, time-wasting, revealing how stupidy-dumb-dumb I am, etc. I write in spite of these risks. Yet, still, all the perils of this occupation occur to me each time I open my computer.
First: When I was a little kid I didn’t understand children. I thought the things they wanted to do weren’t interesting. I liked reading, I liked quietly mothering my dolls, and I liked having tea with the old lady who lived across the street. Then my family moved to California and I discovered friends who were fun, exciting and imaginative. I suddenly realized that it could be great to hang out with people my age.
Last: Wow, I feel like I have Aha! moments every day. Today I had one when I was wearing a white shirt with a blue and white polka dot bra. (I was rushing this morning when I got dressed and didn’t realize the bra showed through until I was out of the house.) It was a hot day so I thought I could pretend it was a bathing suit and that I was coming from the pool (this pretending was going on in my head since the general public wasn’t discussing the polka dot bra with me!). Then, around six, I met a couple friends at the neighborhood pool. My one friend said, “Why are you wearing a polka dot bra under that white shirt?” I asked her if it didn’t just look like I was wearing a bathing suit. She said it looked like I was wearing a polka dot bra. And I thought, “Aha! I’ve fooled no one and I just look like an idiot!”
Hell ya! Moment
My first Hell ya! moment was probably when I fell in love repeatedly in sixth grade. The entire class was falling in love and switching up boyfriends weekly. The whole love stuff was pretty fun and exciting and I remember thinking a version of Hell Ya! when the class went to sleep away camp and my friends and I spent all our energy maneuvering for hand holding or kissing.
My last Hell ya! moment was about thirty minutes ago when my daughter handed me an award she got for a short film she made. She worked really hard on that film (writing it, storyboarding, casting it, shooting it, editing it) and Hell Ya! she deserved that award!