Our guest today: Selena Coppock Why we love her: Her writing is FUN with a capital F!
Her debut: The New Rules For Blondes
The scoop: Writer, comedienne, and full-time Blonde, Selena Coppock offers up adventures, misadventures, and golden-hued nuggets of wisdom in a laugh-out-loud anthem for those of us who really do have more fun.
The modern blonde is savvy, wise, confident, capable, and not afraid to laugh at herself when the occasion calls for it. She knows who she is and is prepared to subvert all stereotypes (although she's not above wielding her golden tresses to her advantage), and knows how to be both classy and a little brassy.
In the way only a Boston-bred New Yorker who once won "Best Hair" in her high school graduating class could, Coppock doles out tongue-in-cheek advice about avoiding hair disasters, the consequences of dating a man who cares a little too much about his own hair product, and so much more in an outrageous essay collection that will have even the staunchest of raven-haired beauties considering a trip to the nearest salon.
Our thoughts: Whether you are blonde or not, you will love this book!
Giveaway: Two copies! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered. We'll choose the winners on April 28th after Noon PST.
Fun Fact: She's a comedian too!
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...2013 CLUB: SELENA COPPOCK
DO'S: 3 things every aspiring novelist should do
1. Set Boundaries: I know this sounds really Dr. Phil of me, but it's important to set boundaries to ensure that you have work time, brainstorming time, quiet time to get your writing done. For some people, it's helpful to be strict about it (for example, I found it useful to reserve my weekends as MY time and I never strayed from that for the 8 months during which I wrote my book) and for other people, it can be looser (for example, I know some people who write 2-3 nights/week but it changes from week to week).
2. Don't Have Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen: Some people might workshop chapters and pieces with writing groups or trusted friends and that's great, but you should trust your personal workflow and for me, that's a pretty solitary venture. I had a vision for what I wanted my essays to be and, however bonkers, I didn't want to bend from that (until my agent & editor were giving notes). Don't be afraid to NOT get input from friends--it's YOUR project, you get to be the boss.
3. Seek Different Ways to Get Exposure/Published: As a standup comedian, I have been my own publicist for the entire time I have been performing and I've found that any publicity or press is helpful. So feel free to cast a wide net--write random blog entries on your personal blog and guest blog on other blogs and perform at storytelling shows (if you're comfortable with that) and go to MeetUp groups of writers and attend literary events--there are SO many different pathways and all of them are "correct."
DON'TS: 3 things every aspiring novelist shouldn't do
1. Ponder What People Will Think of Your Work: Once my book was sold and I knew it would be out there in the world, I began to think, "What will people think of this joke? Will they be offended? Will so-and-so be upset with me that I said this?" and that is SO BAD. My storytelling teacher Margot Leitman used to teach us to write and tell stories as though the people who might be upset are dead. It's a bit morbid, but it works. You simply cannot write with a nagging sense of worry weighing on you. When it comes to the question of "what will people think?" I use the standup response of what you should think of an audience if they don't "get" or like you: F 'em.
2. Think That There's 1 Way You "Should" Write: Tons of people write and sell books while working other jobs. Some people don't. There's no 1 way it "should" be done and it doesn't mean that you aren't a "serious writer" (whatever that means) it it's currently a hobby or weekend activity. We're each on our own path and you do what is right for you, as far as work/life balance.
3. Be Scared to Just Start Typing: I find it best if I start writing (or typing) feverishly and pare down later. Just get it OUT to start and you can tinker with it later on, but holding yourself back from even commencing is not a productive way to work.
1. Music that somehow helps you write: I don't know what it is about Arcade Fire, but I found that band to be really good background music for me as I wrote. That and assorted jazz music. I logged a lot of hours on Pandora.com while I was writing.
2. Twitter and Instagram are two of my favorite things on my phone right now: I'm a bit of a Luddite, so perhaps Twitter and Instagram are obvious, but I was a (somewhat) late convert to both and now I love them. It's really fun to see where your friends are and what they are seeing (on Instagram) and twitter is a comedian's dream app--just spout out throwaway jokes and see how many retweets you get. RIght when Paul Ryan was announced as Romney's running mate I wrote a tweet about Ryan ("Guys: Paul Ryan likes Ayn Rand and Rage Agains the Machine? He's the coolest guy in our 9th grade class!) and it got about 250 retweets, which (sad to say) was one of the most exciting days of my life. I might need to get out more.
3. There are so many amazing Podcasts out there: and I find them really inspiring, so I've downloaded quite a few to my phone.
1. Song you listened to on repeat? I tend to beat the heck out of a song (on repeat for weeks) and right now that song is "Catch My Breath" by Kelly Clarkson. How much does Ms. Clarkson rule? That girl can do NO wrong as far as I'm concerned. "Catch My Breath" is not only catchy, but the lyrics about "catching my breath, letting it go, turning my cheek for the sake of the show" are something that I find it especially relatable as a performer.
2. Book you read? Recently I've been reading "We Killed: The Rise of Women In American Comedy" by Yael Kohen and "Nasty" by Simon Doonan.
3. Time you laughed? The last time I laughed was this morning with my sister Laurel (also a performer/comedian and Jan on the Toyota commercials) and brother-in-law Bobby Mort (a brilliant writer/actor/comedian)--those two crack me up and you just can't beat family jokes.
1. Agents did you query before you found "the one?"I am very fortunate that my agent (Elizabeth Evans with Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc) is a great friend from college. I have been writing recaps of "The Bachelor" on my personal blog for years and she sent that along to a wonderful editor at It Books (Stephanie Meyers--now at Mental Floss Magazine) and Stephanie liked my tone and writing and knew what type of book she wanted to buy. So I was able to get in through the back door somewhat (though my years of blogging and storytelling are really what opened the door for me).
2. Hours do you write per day? I still have a 9-6 job (I'm a book editor for a test prep company) and after a full day of reading and editing manuscript, I really couldn't bear to go home and write, so I gave myself Saturday and Sunday to write all day. I still write here and there during the week (mostly standup bits, jokes when they come to me) but the bulk of the work on my proposal (3 versions of it) and book was created only on weekends.
3. Hours do you waste online when you should be writing? The online thing is SO hard. I set certain rules for myself and goals (like if I cranked out a full hour, I was allowed to check Twitter for 5 minutes). As it got closer to my deadline, I had to disconnect my computer from the WiFi entirely--that helped a LOT!
1. Way to celebrate a book deal? A few cocktails with friends was how I celebrated my book deal and it was lovely. Then when the book was totally done (after the 8 months of writing the original manuscript and rewrites) I went out for a big, steak dinner with a friend to celebrate. It's important to stop and toast these milestones so that you savor the entire experience.
2. Trick to overcome writer's block? I find running to be really helpful when trying to organize my thoughts or work through a problematic chapter. If I'd hit a wall, I'd just put on my sneakers and go run in Prospect Park and usually during that hour of running my brain would sort of work through the blocks and I'd arrive at home with new ideas or a new way to organize a chapter.
1. Show you'll DVR? I'm fired up that Mad Men is back, as I love that show and vintage clothing, hair, and make up. So this season is already programmed on the DVR. I also can't wait for Netflix to release the newest season of Arrested Development.
2. Book you'll read? Books that I want to read very soon include some new releases written by my friends: The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf and Screw Everyone by Ophira Eisenberg. Those two gals are both hilarious and wonderful and I can't wait to read their books!
3. Book you'll write? Once the dust settles post-New Rules for Blondes release I might explore either a book about dating or a book that's a bit darker than this one. I'm hopeful that if people enjoy my writing style in The New Rules for Blondes, they might be willing to go a bit darker with me (no pun intended!) and explore topics that are a bit more serious. Who knows!