I have dropped so many balls lately, that with every step I take I’m essentially wading through one of those ball pits that children like to contract smallpox in at overachieving birthday parties. But here was a fun thing I was supposed to do that got lost in the wild week of kids, more work than usual, a freelance article, book business, playschool drama, and even a co-op building meeting: THE NEXT BIG THING MEME, yay! Thanks to the lovely Kate Hopper for tagging me!
What is the title of your book?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A stressed-out Park Slope mother recovers her sense of purpose in life with the help of a mermaid.
What genre does your book fall under?
Fiction. (I almost wrote Women’s Fiction, but then I was like, nah, fuck that.)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The inspiration was threefold: 1) a bit of family lore about how a pair of shoes saved my great-grandmother’s life, which I heard at a time when 2) I was reading about the powerful, seductive, mysterious rusalkas (aka mermaids)of Slavic folklore. The connection between these aspects marinated for a bit and then 3) I found myself becoming a stay-at-home mother to a baby, in the ever-fascinating parenting culture of Park Slope, Brooklyn. And voila: The Mermaid of Brooklyn was born.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About two years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A mother at the playground had read some books pitched toward young urban mothers that she found annoying, and she said, “I just want someone to write a book for moms like me.”
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have a literary agent who did the businessy magic of selling the book to Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK).
What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
It’s possible that comparisons with Amy Sohn, the grand mistress of Park Slope parent fiction, are forthcoming, but I’ve actually never read her books so I’m not sure how alike we really are. Our names sure are similar though! But I’d say readers who liked Peter Hedges’ Brooklyn-y The Heights, Lorrie Moore’s funny-sad mediation on motherhood The Gate at the Top of the Stairs, Maria Semple’s funny-sad mediation on motherhood Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and/or stories with a hint of the surreal in them, like The Time-Traveler’s Wife, or Alice Hoffman’s novels, will, I’d hope, like my book too.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh man. I hate to boss around my readers, who should cast their own MofB movie however they like. But since you asked, my main character, Jenny, I see as a 2010 Zooey Deschanel. (She’s gotten a little too glamorous lately, but you get what I mean.) And my husband will definitely give me shit for this, but I always thought of Cute Dad as being played by Paul Schneider, on whom I have an undignified crush.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Reading it will make you instantly happier, richer, ambidextrous, and able to do 20 sit-ups.
Just in case it doesn’t, an acquaintance of mine read the book and wrote me, unbidden: “Basically: your book made me forget my own troubles while simultaneously soothing them; it made me feel better about life.” Isn’t that so nice?
AND The next thing I was supposed to do was to tag five authors who have exciting projects coming out now or soon or eventually. But I just wrote them today. (Doing!) (That was a ball dropping.) (And then bouncing again.) (Like how I carried that image through? Professional writer here!) So I will repost if they are able to participate. But just know that you should be very excited about new works forthcoming from Siobhan Adcock, Julia Fierro, Leigh Newman, Shana Youngdahl, and Sara Barron!