Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jessica Anya Blau

Jessica Anya Blau's books include the nationally bestselling novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer to Home.

Her new novel is The Wonder Bread Summer.

From the author's Q & A with Greg Olear at the Huffington Post:

The opening scene of The Wonder Bread Summer takes place in the dressing room of a dress shop, when a coked-up coed is made to display her breasts for the priapic pleasure of the store's owner, who happens to be 1) a drug dealer, and 2) hung like a horse. (In contrast to the movie star you saw en déshabillé, who was pinky-sized). We know that your work is heavily informed by autobiography. Please tell us that part is fiction.

(Jessica Blau): Well, sadly, it is based on my real life. When I was in college I got a job at a little clothing boutique in a dumpy area of Oakland where nobody would ever go to buy a dress. It turned out the shop was a front for a coke dealer. And he liked to pull out his dick while I was working. He would lay it out on his palm and show it to me. I was young, eager to make people happy, a good worker, and so didn't do the reasonable thing (like tell him to fuck off and put that thing away!) and just tried to laugh it off and suggest he tuck it back in before a customer came in. Of course customers rarely came in, so it wasn't a persuasive argument.

"I'm a big, big fan of Jessica Blau's first novel," writes blogger Kevin Sharp. "I've just finished her newest one, and what struck me was that I wouldn't have EVER guessed that this is the same author. The storyline, the voice, the syntax all seem completely new... this is quite a talent in my opinion." I agree with him. Your previous novels, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer to Home, are more overtly grounded in autobiography, as we've discussed previously. The Wonder Bread Summer is much trippier. It's in many ways a departure for you. Tell us a bit about your creative process, and what drove you to write this particular story, in this particular way.

The first chapter of this novel is the body of a short story I wrote that was published in The New York Tyrant. I liked writing about the time period (1983) and I liked the place (Berkeley, Oakland), and I liked the character -- the idea of dealing with someone who was bordering on adulthood but still incredibly vulnerable. I was reading a lot of thrillers at the time so...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Anya Blau's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jessica Anya Blau and Pippa.

The Page 69 Test: The Wonder Bread Summer.

My Book, The Movie: The Wonder Bread Summer.

--Marshal Zeringue