You may not have realized that I am now a prominent millennial dating expert. I appeared on A.M. Northwest earlier this month to give twenty-somethings my advice about how to find love in this crazy hookup culture of ours. Here is a link to that segment. I can’t figure out how to embed it. Sorry. Here’s a screenshot, anyway:
Also, I will be reading from Broken Homes & Gardens on Monday, June 22, at 7:30 at the Hawthorne Powell’s. Check out my Facebook event page for more information.
My writing group is going to do a reading on July 28th, so stay tuned for details. I am sure you won’t want to miss hearing from Mark Russell, who is celebrating the release of the first issue of Prez; or Heather Arndt Anderson, who is coming out with a new book on Chillies (or however they spell it in England); or Sarah Gilbert, who has recently published an essay about lichens and volcanoes and sex, etc., etc. in the Chariton Review; or Art Edwards, who last night read us an essay about being a 9-year-old fan of KISS; or Mara Collins, who says she is not reading at the event but really should (I suggest one of her Lydia Davis-esque pieces); or Michael Zeiss, who is dabbling in experimental Duran Duran poetry.
Aside from those exciting events, I was thrilled to find Broken Homes & Gardens listed as a Romance for Real Girls in the Huffington Post’s Summer Reading List. Also my author friend Christi R. Suzanne interviewed me for Propeller Magazine. I was certainly glad she did. Little did I know that her interview would give me the confidence to become the celebrated dating expert I am today.
We went through so many cover designs: the lone tomato vine snaking around the title, the tomato vine peeking through the picket fence. Bright sky, dark sky. Flaky paint on vertical fence slats, flaky paint on horizontal fence slats. It’s a tricky business, landing on the right design. It has to do so many things in an instant. Most importantly, it needs to capture the attention of the right kind of reader. But who is the right reader for Broken Homes & Gardens? I pictured a twenty-something girl with black-rimmed eyes, sitting in a Portland coffee shop drinking Americanos. Her hair would be tangled. She would be wearing all black and listening to The Cure. She would be frowning. Maybe crying.
“Huh,” said the team over at Blank Slate Press. “We were picturing a twenty-something woman as well, but our twenty-something woman would not be wearing that much eyeliner.”
“Interesting,” I said.
“And she wouldn’t be drinking that many Americanos. Or if she was, she’d take them with cream and sugar.”
“Tell me more.”
“She probably wouldn’t be listening to The Cure.”
“I like to think of twenty-somethings listening to The Cure.”
“Okay, she can be listening to The Cure. And her hair can be tangled, but she wouldn’t be crying.”
“Fine,” I said.
And so, after this completely fictional conversation, I began to imagine a different kind of reader, a reader who enjoys off-beat love stories about kind of messed up but mostly endearing characters. She wants a book that is entertaining and also kind of moody and heart-wrenching. But mostly entertaining. She’s going to be walking through Powell’s or browsing through her Kindle and see the perfect book for her. It won’t have a tomato vine or a picket fence. It will look like this:
She’ll gravitate toward it. She’ll take it to the coffee shop and start reading it in line. She’ll order her coffee, an Americano. “Room for cream?” the barista will ask.
As this book trailer will soon make evident, my sister (director of photography and editor, Gina Kelley) and I are no strangers to film making. We got our start in our grandparents’ basement in Denver, Colorado. Along with our cousins, we wrote, acted, and directed a groundbreaking piece of cinema we called “The Forbidden Toilet.” It was a story of a detective–toilet plunger in hand–on the case of a pink toilet that took hold of all who sat upon it and flushed them into a sort of swampy netherworld. We followed up on the success of this first film with a sequel (The Forbidden Toilet’s Last Flush) the following summer.
Now, in our first film making collaboration since the 1980s, we’re at it again, this time with a little trailer for my novel manuscript (working title: Broken Homes and Gardens). For our early Forbidden Toilet fans, you’ll see a dramatic shift in our film making style:
This is the Nietzsche version of the trailer. We have three more versions with different taglines, which we may reveal sometime in the future. Unfortunately, Nietzsche was unavailable to blurb my novel, but I imagine him declaring it a “delightful romp.” In addition to our favorite 19th century German philosopher, we would like to thank Central City Music Company for allowing us to use their song, which perfectly punctuates The Broken Homes and Gardens’ characters’ emotional ups and downs.
“Broken Homes and Gardens is a delightful romp.” Thus spake the author of The Antichrist and The Death of Tragedy