BookCon 2015 Day 2 by Jami Kelmenson
After her training day at BookExpoAmerica, our roving reporter, Jami Kelmenson, fled the industry side for the reader side. BookCon is “the event where storytelling and pop culture collide” and “the ultimate celebration of books”. Don’t believe the hype? Jami fills you in.
Killing Carrie Bradshaw
Does the female writer protagonist in Candace Bushnell’s new book, Killing Monica, bear any resemblance to the crème de la crème of female writer protagonists, Carrie Bradshaw, her first alter ego of Sex and the City fame? (Before it was two movies and an HBO series, it was a book based on her New York Observer columns of the same name).
Well, after much ballyhoo and bravura about how “we’re missing the discussion of power and imagination and creativity” when we compare ourselves to our characters, and the “intersection of fiction and real life,” the author of two subsequent TV adaptions, Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries, finally admitted: “No” (to the idea of killing our Manolo princess off). “I kind of am Carrie Bradshaw so it doesn’t make sense.”
On the difference between Monica and Carrie, Candace didn’t skip a beat: “Carrie is the every girl. Monica is THE girl.” On where she fits into all of it as their creator, she said, “The reason to be a writer is to change women’s perceptions ever so slightly… My goal is to move your thinking a dial or two in a different direction…and maybe think for yourself.”
Real Housewives of Nantucket
Speaking of “Telling Women’s Stories,” Elin Hilderbrand is the author of more than 10 best-selling beach-read novels (she may not like that classification but they all have beaches on the cover), including her most recent, The Matchmaker. Like Candace, Elin was tall, blonde, coiffed, and dressed head-to-toe in flowing white. (What’s with that? I doubt they planned it!) She talked about using the people she knows in her Nantucket town for her novels, “until they become unrecognizable to anyone but me.” (Or at least until they read this blog post!)
There’s a lot of gossip that goes on for the people of Nantucket, a island whose summer population of 50,000 dwindles down to a mere one-fifth of that the rest of the year. That seems like a great source of stories to me, and don’t worry Elin, your secret is safe with us!
Are You There Publishing Deal? It’s Me, Jami.
Iconic author Judy Blume, who wrote about pre-teen strife before there was a “middle grade” genre, writes about what she knows and has experienced as a young girl, in the case of her latest novel In the Unlikely Event, growing up in Elizabeth, NJ in the 1950s. If the Pulitzer’s ever have a category for “Most Likeable Author,” this non-diva of contemporary women’s fiction would win hands down. And that comes across in her books. Like a younger, hipper Helen Gurley Brown, this author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deanie, Wifey, Forever, and countless other coming-of-age tales told sans vampires since 1970, Judy shares with us: “Sex is still great in your seventies.” Thank God, on behalf of now-peri-menopausal women like Margaret everywhere!
Judy was telling all this to another insightful storyteller who knows a thing or two about writing and sex, Good in Bed author Jennifer Weiner (not to mention at least 10 others with pretty pastel covers). I had to get my hands on a preview copy of Jen’s new book Who Do You Love and tell her how much her writing has inspired my own storytelling.
The Human Touch
And if the Pulitzer’s had a prize for “Best Inspirational Author,” this one would no doubt go to Brandon Stanton, with his unforgettable rendition of how Humans of New York went from a crazy idea of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers as a means of quelling his loneliness to a top blog and best-selling picture book. Now, the forthcoming Humans of New York Stories features 100 never before seen pictures and longer stories – some of his best, he excitedly promises. Brandon should try his luck at becoming a motivational speaker or a documentary filmmaker in the vein of Morgan Spurlock next, if this HONY gig ever goes away, as his embodiment of spirit, commitment and passion (despite his mother’s objections!) was the biggest takeaway of the day for this human of New York.
Where was Fabio?
We write to tell our own stories. Even if we claim that’s not the case. What exists in our imagination are our stories too; no one else can lay claim to them. And in my storied imagination, Carrie Bradshaw will live on “forever” having great sex well into her seventies and wearing Manolos with arthritic knees. As for me? My story finds me as an author at a Harlequin imprint in a non-romance genre, but ‘til then I’ll just have to settle for a cover shot:
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