Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A STRANGER LIKE YOU: AUTHOR INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
A STRANGER LIKE YOU

BY ELIZABETH BRUNDAGE

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A taut and terrifying thriller about the lengths to which we'll go to make our dreams come true !

Hedda Chase is a top-flight executive producer at Gladiator Films, fast-tracked in the business since she graduated from Yale. An aggressive businesswoman, she recently pulled the plug on a film project initiated by one of her predecessors. The screenwriter on the project was Hugh Waters, a wannabe with a dead-end marriage and a day job at an insurance company. This script was his ticket out-until Hedda tampered with his plans, claiming his violence was over the top, his premise not credible, and his ending implausible. Hugh decides to prove otherwise by staging his script's ending and casting Hedda Chase as the victim. He flies to Los Angeles and finds Hedda, kidnaps her, and locks her in the trunk of her vintage BMW in the parking lot at LAX. He leaves the keys in the ignition, the parking ticket on the dash, and lets "destiny" take its course.

This is the set-up for a troubling, smart, deadly look at women and images of women, at media as a high-stakes game and the selling of a war as theatre. (One key character is an Iraq veteran, and one of Hedda's projects is a film about women in Iraq). Brundage's Los Angeles is a casual battleground that trades carelessly in lives and dreams. As always, her characters are complicated, surprising, and intense in this high velocity, provocative novel.

Elizabeth Brundage's new book "A Stranger Like You."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Brundage is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she earned an MFA in fiction and a James Michener award. Her short fiction has been published in the Greensboro Review, Witness Magazine, and New Letters, and she contributed to the anthology Thicker Than Blood: I’ve Always Meant to Tell You, Letters to Our Mothers. Her first two novels, Somebody Else’s Daughter and The Doctor’s Wife, were also published by Viking. She lives with her family in New York State.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

1. Welcome, Elizabeth, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Before we get started, can you tell my readers where they can find out more information about you and your work?

You can go to my website www.elizabethbrundage.com

2. Where did you get the inspiration or idea for this book?

The book took root when I was a film student at The American Film Institute in Los Angeles. I lived in LA for about five years after that, working in the film industry in a variety of capacities. Many of the locations in the novel were places I had actually lived. I had this great funky apartment off of Beachwood Canyon that’s in the novel – it had tall windows that had no screens and you could reach out the kitchen window and grab an avocado from the tree. That place was great and a little spooky. Many of the characters are loosely based on people I met while working at some of the studios. Hollywood is a seductive and fascinating town. I’d go to work during the day and come home and write all night. Being any kind of writer is difficult. Screenwriting is particularly challenging because you are often at the mercy of someone else – a producer, a director, an agent – and some of my own feelings of anxiety and despair went into creating Hugh Waters. I wanted to capture that sense of ambiguity in the book, that your destiny can seem arbitrary, that your dreams are vulnerable to the whims of others. I saw parallels to these sorts of feelings in all three of the characters in the novel, Hugh Waters, a fledgling screenwriter; Hedda Chase, a powerful producer; and Denny Rios, an Iraq War Veteran.


In A Stranger Like You I was interested in writing about a character who is a kind of misplaced person – he isn’t able to easily connect with people and as a result feels like an outsider, a kind of shameful alien. He is someone who has no grasp of what is meaningful in life, or of what characterizes pride or joy. Watching and dreaming from the outskirts, he feels he has been deprived of something essential, something other people seem to have and even squander – some key life-ingredient that he cannot name, but knows he lacks. When his dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter fails to materialize, he sets out to seek revenge on the woman responsible for shutting down his project. Not unlike a terrorist, his anger metastasizes as a deadly act against her. The result is an exploration of how terror can be used for strategic effect – in life; in work; in love; in politics; and in war.


3. How did the title of your book come about?


I had reread The Stranger by Albert Camus and saw a parallel between the book’s narrator Meursault and Hugh Waters. It occurred to me that we are all strangers to one another on some level. I had started writing the character of the producer, Hedda Chase, in the third person, and then it struck me that it would be interesting to write her perspective in the second person so that every reader is inside her head, experiencing her power as a Hollywood executive, then her diminishment as Hugh’s victim when she is abducted, her sense of isolation and desperation. I wanted to experiment with the reality of what happens to her, not as a dramatic consequence or plot point as in a traditional thriller – but as a metaphor for what many women have experienced throughout history and continue to experience, and as a real and terrible ordeal from which she will never fully recover.

4. Do you see yourself in your characters? Which characters are easiest or more difficult to write?


I see myself in aspects of all my characters. I think that’s the fun of being a writer, you get to “play” many different roles when you write. The hardest characters for me to write are nice people. I suppose I am a fairly cynical person. I tend to write about darker subjects and complicated problems. Problems are interesting. I’m interested in examining what motivates people to behave in certain ways.

5. What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out? What are you currently reading?

I would say reading Dickens growing up had a huge impact on me. I read mostly poetry in high school and wrote it. I went to see Adrienne Rich read in college and felt certain that I wanted to find that kind of powerful voice inside myself. I started reading novels in high school – I took a Russian novels course – and that was the beginning of my desire to write stories of psychological suspense, as Dostoyevsky so brilliantly did in Crime and Punishment.


6. What is the next or current book/project you are working on?


I’m writing about a scary house that had something terrible happen inside of it and all the people whose lives were affected by it.


7. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?


I write because it’s my way of trying to solve problems. I see problems and I want to address them. I realize I can’t please every reader out there. Some of you will like my work; some won’t. I try to do the best I can. I work very hard.


8. What is your advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?

The best advice I can give anyone who wants to write is this: READ. It’s pretty simple. Read and read some more. And then read a little more after that. Teach yourself how to read better and then teach yourself how to think about what you’ve read, how to break it down. Then teach yourself how to write. Put one word after another. Figure out what turns you on about the words in a particular sentence or paragraph and then figure out how to do that same thing in your own way. Writing is a privilege. Talent has less to do with it than hours and hours of practice and determination. You have to respect the work. You have to give yourself up to it day after day.

REVIEW: WATCH FOR MY REVIEW TOMORROW AND MORE CHANCES FOR YOU TO WIN ONE OF FIVE COPIES UP FOR GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO DARLENE AND THE GREAT
PEOPLE AT VIKING PUBLISHING,
I HAVE FIVE COPIES OF THIS
THRILLING BOOK TO GIVE AWAY




--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING IN ELIZABETH BRUNDAGE'S INTERVIEW ABOVE


+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT IF YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG AND WRITE HOW

+1 MORE ENTRY:
COMMENT IF YOU SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL TO MY BLOG


+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, AUGUST 19!

81 comments:

jenna said...

Great interview! &I love the writing advice.

I'm a follow through GFC!

-Jenna
http://elevenpages.blogspot.com
alackofcolor703@yahoo.com

jenna said...

I'm also an email subscriber!

-Jenna
http://elevenpages.blogspot.com
alackofcolor703@Yahoo.com

Chanelle said...

I like the part where she says she writes "because it’s my way of trying to solve problems."
cparkins14 AT teancum.net

Chanelle said...

I follow your blog GFC.
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Chanelle said...

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Shardae Allen said...

I love how she said talent has less to do with it than practice and determination! great post. i would love to enter your contest. My email is sallen@ameritrainedu.com. Thanks.
-Shardae Allen

bermudaonion said...

I found it interesting that Elizabeth got the inspiration for her title from another book. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I subscribe in Google Reader. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the interview. Most of all her apartment where she could reach outside the kitchen window and grab an avocado. It reminded me of an apartment that I had in the area. The kitchen was so small that only one person could stand in it and peacocks and peahens walked along the dividing wall.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I am an e-mail subscriber of this blog.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I am also a follower via GFC.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

traveler said...

I enjoy this author's books and writing. Her interview about writing was interesting. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Hi! When she talked about where she lived that it was kinda of spooky intrigued me. This book sounds like a great suspense film!

:)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Loyal follower here. :)

Great giveaway!

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

petite said...

Elizabeth Brundage was a film student in LA. and involved with the film industry. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Mona said...

Great interview. Enjoyed it. I have not read her book's but after visiting her site, her books seems very interesting. I would love to have her books in my collection. Please add me in the giveaway. I am a subscriber. patelmona0113@gmail.com. Thanks!

Margie said...

I found it interesting that most of her characters are loosely based on someone she knows.
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Margie said...

I follow via GFC, Facebook, Networked Blogs.
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Margie said...

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Margie said...

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Mona said...

I live the writing advice. I like her answer to the question # 7. Its great. Please add me in the giveaway. patelmona0113@gmail.com Thanks!

Colleen Turner said...

I love that her next book is about a scary house with strange happenings within it. I love books like that!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC and Networked blogs follower.
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Colleen Turner said...

I am an email subscriber.
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Colleen Turner said...

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holdenj said...

I always think it's great that writers encourage us to read. I have heard in more than one interview that advice for becoming a writer.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I am a GFC follower.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

gcpeach17 said...

I loved the way she said that part of the fun of being a writer was that you get to play many different roles and I had to laugh when she said she had trouble writing 'nice people'. I can't wait for her next book about a scary house...I love reading about scary houses!

gcpeach17 at aol dot com

gcpeach17 said...

I am a follower in Google Reader.

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Cindy W. said...

Great interview! Found it interesting that her next book is about a scary house. Sounds like a book I will want to read.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Cindy W. said...

I am a GFC follower.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Cindy W. said...

I am an email subscriber.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Linda Kish said...

GFC follower

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Linda Kish said...

Interesting that see writes as a way to solve problems.

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Mona said...

I follow you blog. I have a blogger account.

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Mona said...

I am an email subscriber.

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Tore said...

Great interview. Great writing advise. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Mona said...

I like the character "Waters". I like the way he makes his rejected scripts into the real life by kidnapping producer and making her play the main role of his script. I knew i will love this book.

Mona said...

Elizabeth's other 2 books are in my To Read list.

patelmona0113@gmail.com

Pam S (pams00) said...

I really liked her story on how she came about the idea for the book

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

Pam S (pams00) said...

I am a GFC follower and an email subscriber

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

Pam S (pams00) said...

yep ;), i subscribe via email to get your lovely updates!

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

Pam S (pams00) said...

tweeted:
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degood said...

I found it interesting that she encourages young people who want to be writers to read.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

I follow your blog as degood with google friend connect.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

bison61 said...

Problems are interesting. She is interested in examining what motivates people to behave in certain ways. I also find that fascinating

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

I'm excited to see that her next novel will be a scary one about a haunted house. Love that kind of story.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

FB Fan

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

g.g. said...

She is so interesting. I look forward to her new book she is writing about a really scary house!

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

I follow on google friend

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g.g. said...

I also am an email subscriber

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Mona said...

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rubynreba said...

Interesting how she sees herself in aspects of all her characters.
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rubynreba said...

I follow on google
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rubynreba said...

Email subscriber.
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CherylS22 said...

I found it interesting that the hardest characters for her to write are nice people.

Thanks for the giveaway!
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

GFC follower
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CherylS22 said...

E-mail subscriber
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Amanda said...

I love that she drew from places she actually lived to write this!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Amanda said...

I follow on GFC
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StephTheBookworm said...

I like that she said in order to write, you have to READ! So true!

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

StephTheBookworm said...

I follow GFC!

Irene said...

I found it unusual, but interesting that Elizabeth Brundage sees aspects of herself in all her characters. That requires quite a bit of self-examination.


cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Irene said...

I follow via Google Reader.


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Irene said...

I also am an email subscriber.



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Mona said...

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allisonsbj3 said...

I love what she's working on next, it sounds really interesting!

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allisonsbj3 said...

Email subscriber

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I follow your blog via email.

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bloggingmom said...

I found it interesting that she writes as a way to solve problems. I find that to be a very interesting statement. garczynski (at) aol (dot) com

bloggingmom said...

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bloggingmom said...

I am an email subscriber.

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I am a follower on facebook.

bloggingmom said...

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LoveMyCoffee said...

I thought it was interesting that she got the name of this book, by rereading her last book. Interesting.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

LoveMyCoffee said...

I'm an email subscriber
I also follow through GFC!

Love your blog

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