Behind the Scenes of The Disrespectful Interviewer by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
It all started about a year ago with a posting to my Facebook page. That’s when a friend congratulated me for being in the New York Times Book Review. I was, of course, pleased. But I also wondered: Was my friend on drugs? Sure, my name had appeared in the daily New York Times – several times, in fact – because I frequently send Letters to the Editor. But I’d only ever had one letter published in the New York Times Book Review and the only other time my name had appeared in those coveted pages, it was in an ad for my debut novel, The Thin Pink Line; an ad so faded and pale, you really couldn’t tell what it was for unless you knew where to look. Still, my friend insisted it was there.
“Check the Inside the List feature,” she said.
Inside the List? But that was all about books on the Bestseller Lists. Had I somehow become a bestseller…and not known it?
Well, check the paper, I did. And there it was. Only it wasn’t me who was a bestseller. It was Adriana Trigiani, yet again, and there was also an anecdote about her that ran as follows:
A couple of years ago, in a conversation with the novelist Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Trigiani said she is sometimes mistaken for the actress Nia Vardalos, who wrote and starred in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” “Once on a plane,” she said, “a lady asked for my autograph. I said, ‘I’m not her.’ And she went back to her seat and halfway through the flight, she came back with a napkin, and she said, ‘Either sign this or I’ll tell the entire plane who you are and you’ll have to sign all the napkins.’ So, I signed, ‘Love, Nia Vardalos,’ on the napkin.”
This was wonderful! Well, in its own way. I mean, sure, Adriana and I had met before, but this made us sound like best friends! “In a conversation with the novelist Lauren Baratz-Logsted…” How much more chummy-sounding could you get? I was practically in the In Crowd!
But wait, I wondered, where did they get this? And then I realized: Ohhhhh. It was from The Disrespectful Interviewer.
The Disrespectful Interviewer was a series of – what else?! – interviews I’d done for an online magazine called Bibliobuffet that sadly no longer exists. The conceit behind D.I. was that I’d ask noted writers the rudest questions I could think of, giving writers the chance to have fun and be creative with something completely different from the standard author interview. I did 13 of these. The 13th was with myself; it was very meta but I figured I’d save other authors from the possible bad luck associated with that number.
When I first started the series, I worried about how it would go: Would the authors be offended? Certainly, when I explained the D.I. to my brother and daughter last weekend, they were horrified. “Wait. You asked Bestseller X, ‘So, when are you going to write a real book?’ And then you printed this thing where other people could read it?” All true. But not only that. Once the D.I. column started running, a curious thing happened: I actually started receiving emails from authors asking, “Do me next!” So I did.
And now I’ve collected all 13 of the original D.I. interviews into an ebook, The Disrespectful Interviewer: Thirteen Interviews with Authors. Within these pages, you’ll see things like Joseph Finder speak Farsi to me; J.A. Konrath tell a story that explains why he’s banned from taking his dogs to the vet; and offbeat exchanges involving 11 other authors, including an incredibly rude exchange with myself. I hope you enjoy it.
Hey, it turns out there’s more than one way to get noticed by the New York Times Book Review!
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children. You can read more about her life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL.
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