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1- What’s your favorite Nirvana song?
“All Apologies.” It’s hopeful, wistful, strange and sad.
2- Can you share a story from your life that shows who you are as a person and why you are a writer?
When I was pregnant with my son, he began having an erratic heartbeat and I was flown by helicopter to a bigger city. I have never been more worried. I had to stay in hospital there until he was born, leaving my friends, my belongings, and my dog (my husband later joined me). Unlike many of the pregnant patients, I was allowed to move around, so I left my room one day to get my hair trimmed at a nearby salon. It was an odd place.
I sat there, in my hospital gown, and realized the woman in curlers under the dryer was reading a magazine article I had written telling the story of how my mother died of cancer just two days before my wedding. The woman looked like someone from the 1950s—big hair, dramatic makeup—and as she read, she sobbed. “Joseph, bring me some tissues!” she called to one of the stylists. “This story is so sad.”
This strange coincidence was an intersection of elements—the power of story, the power of a mother’s love, the pain of loss and grief. It was a bizarre experience, made weirder by me sitting there, watching, wearing a hospital gown. Happily, my son is fine. But I have never forgotten that scene in the salon.
3- What ignited your passion for writing?
I have always been nosy. When I walk past a house at night with the curtains drawn I always want to know what’s going on inside. I used to put on plays with my friends when I was little. I guess that passion for story has always been there.
4- What’s the best part about running?
Being outside and exploring. Clearing your mind. I have also seen some amazing things while running: from owls to otters. One time while running in Canyonlands I nearly did a face plant right onto an enormous green snake.
5- What story had the most impact during your investigative journalism days?
It depends, I guess, on how you define impact. I once flew to a small seaside community in Eastern Canada to report on the health problems of the people there who’d grown up near a toxic waste site. The community had sky-high cancer rates. Now that I am a parent, I remember meeting the children. I still think about how generous those people were to me then, sharing their lives. So that story had a big impact on me.
6- Who is currently your biggest fan?
My sister. Her enthusiasm is not tempered at all!
What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
Perhaps the sad parts? She has a tender heart, for sure.
7- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I hope readers find the book funny and entertaining, but yes, the book is sad—though it is ultimately hopeful. I hope the readers remember the scenes of Nico and Cobain in the cabin, in the storm, when anything can happen.
8- If you could only have one coffee order from one coffee house for all of 2017, what would it be?
Dark-roast drip coffee in a cup the size of a rain barrel.
9- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
Nico’s best friend Obe likes to wear fingerless gloves and has the posture of raw bacon—he’s unusual but lovable.
10- Does anyone in your book wear pajamas to a wedding or other major life event?
The incident you reference is mentioned in the book—but as a historical event.
11- Is there any diversity we can look forward to in your book?
No, there is not much—and that really had to do with the confines of the premise. The current books I am working on are very different in this regard, and I am really enjoying that freedom.
12- Which character has your favorite Personality Contradiction?
Well, Cobain in the story is caring, but crazy—he’s eccentric, yet also effective in helping Nico.
13- Do you think Courtney Love has read your book? What review do you think she would write?
I really doubt Courtney Love has read SAVE ME, KURT COBAIN. I could not guess her review. Mind you, she loves music, and this is definitely a book for people who love music.
14- As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
One key thing is simply wanting to know from the description—what happens next? I am also trying to make a point of reading more widely—from authors with different experiences and backgrounds than me.
15- Do you tune in to the Lithium station on Sirius XM?
No, but I probably should. I love radio.
16- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I finally connected with my wonderful agent who helped me get a book deal with a wonderful publisher—that was pretty much my good fortune. It took a lot of perseverance, though.
17- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father? Nicola Cavan has been an outsider since age four when her mother vanished from their home in Victoria, British Columbia. Now 15, Nico is determined to find her beautiful, music-obsessed mother. After glimpsing “Cobain” on a ferry from Seattle, Nico follows the man with the blazing blue eyes to a remote Vancouver Island cabin—and her life will never be the same.
READERS- If you could only have one coffee order from one coffee house for all of 2017, what would it be?