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Oh — hello! I’m not used to being both a host and a guest at the Debutante Ball at the same time, but I am so excited to be here today to celebrate the launch of my debut, THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS, which is officially out and in bookstores TODAY! As any writer will tell you, the feeling of having your first book published is almost indescribable — and this coming from a bunch of people who are supposedly good with words! So instead of telling you how excited/thrilled/overwhelmed/emotional/giddy I feel today, I will channel my words into taking the Deb Quiz. And in the comments section, ask any question of me you like! By doing so, you’ll enter yourself to win a giveaway package — a signed copy of my book, a canister of all-natural vanilla bean cupcake mix, and a handwritten recipe from my recipe collection!
So without further ado…
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Julia Child. I’ve always admired the way she was able to revolutionize American cooking, but when I read her autobiography, My Life in France, I fell in love with her spirit. Her nephew actually wrote most of the book, with her at his side, but her voice comes through so strongly that with each passage, I felt as if she were sitting next to me. The scene where she describes tasting sole meuniere for the first time stirred my own passions for cooking, and her enthusiasm throughout the entire book was infectious.
Where do you love to be?
With my family. I love to travel, and I love to see new places and try new foods (surprise, surprise), but I could be in Cape Town or Santa Barbara or Podunk Wherever, and if I was there with my family, I know I’d be content. When I say “family,” I extend that beyond blood relatives to mean my in-laws (yes, it’s true — we really do get along!) and family members by association — you know, those people who have been in your life so long they’re like aunts or uncles or cousins. Aside from loving the comfort and familiarity of family, I’m lucky to come from a family of excellent cooks, so with them around, I know I’ll never go hungry!
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could shake my booty like Beyonce. I don’t think this requires further explanation.
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
I don’t really like talking on the phone. As anyone who has met me will tell you, I am, quite possibly, the most talkative person alive. And yet I’ve never been much of a phone talker. I much prefer talking to people in person. However, with many of my closest friends living hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away, meeting up for coffee isn’t an option, so I’ve gotten better about calling to catch up and stay in touch. Once I call, I’m always glad I did, but I’m not one of those people who talks on the phone every day.
Do you have a regular ‘first reader’? If so, who is it and why that person?
Historically, I’ve sent my first draft to my husband and my sister-in-law, who is a novelist in the UK. My husband knows me inside and out, so he can be brutally honest while also knowing what I was probably trying to do in a scene that isn’t working. He is also surprisingly good with plot and character development, even though the development he deals with is of the economic variety. My sister-in-law is a successful YA author in the UK (whose first adult book comes out both there and here this summer!), so she understands the mechanics of writing and is great at providing feedback to bolster the tension and the stakes.
That said, I also recently had a friend take a look at my second manuscript, and she provided amazing feedback that helped fix some major problems in the book, so I foresee adding her to my roster of readers!
Hannah Sugarman seems to have it all. She works for an influential think tank in Washington, D.C., lives in a swanky apartment with her high-achieving boyfriend, and is poised for an academic career just like her parents. The only problem is that Hannah doesn’t want any of it. What she wants is much simpler: to cook.
When her relationship collapses, Hannah seizes the chance to do what she’s always loved and launches an underground supper club out of her new landlord’s town house. Though her delicious dishes become the talk of the town, her secret venture is highly problematic, given that it is not, technically speaking, legal. She also conveniently forgets to tell her landlord she has been using his place while he is out of town.
On top of that, Hannah faces various romantic prospects that leave her guessing and confused, parents who don’t support cooking as a career, and her own fears of taking a risk and charting her own path. A charming romantic comedy, The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs is a story about finding yourself, fulfilling your dreams, and falling in love along the way.
Your turn! Ask me anything! What do you want to know about me, the book, or anything else?
20 Replies to “Deb Dana Takes the Deb Quiz!”
A huge congratulations to you! My question is how are you possibly getting any sleep this week?
I’m actually getting more than I expected! But that’s probably because I’m almost 9 months pregnant, and I know sleep basically won’t happen ever again after March 13… So I’m getting it in while I still can ;-).
Congratulations, then, on BOTH your new arrivals!
My Birthday is March 12th and I can vouch that March birthday’s are the best =D Congrats!
Woohoo! Who knows? Maybe you’ll share a birthday!
Nice Deb Quiz answers!
Here’s my question: Do you eat while you write? If so, what? I mean, are you a nibbler, or do reach for something substantial as you *ahem* ruminate on plot development? (Okay, that was technically more than one question. But they’re all related.)
Strangely, I don’t usually eat while I write. Well, let me clarify: I don’t nibble while I’m typing my way through a scene. BUT, I take snack breaks. Often. Sometimes I’ll just have something boring like a yogurt or a granola bar, but if I’ve baked (oh, happy day!), I’ll have a muffin or cookie or something like that. Love my snack breaks.
No talking on the phone?! My phone and I are joined at the ear! lol
Haha, I know, most of my friends are that way, too. What can I say? I’m a weirdo.
Who inspires (inspired) you to become (be) a writer?
Excellent question! I’d say the first person who inspired me to become a writer was my 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Purcell. She encouraged me to find my own voice and to believe in myself. Never underestimate the power of a good teacher!!!
What is your favorite thing to cook/bake? I love making soups and baking cookies.
I love making soups and baking cookies, too! But I think my favorite things to bake are muffins. I know that sounds totally random, but (a) you can eat the straight out of the oven (much like cookies), (b) you can play around with the flavors and add-ins, making them healthier or less so (wheat germ vs. chocolate chips…), and (c) you can basically justify eating cake for breakfast by making palm-size cakes and calling them muffins.
As for cooking…I love trying new pasta dishes. But soups rank right up there.
Ask you anything?
What’s the baby’s name????
It’s Kelly, isn’t it. C’mon, fess up.
Aloysius Nimrod Bate.
I kid, I kid. The name is still under wraps, but I think we’ve (finally) come to a consensus! And that consensus involves neither Aloysius nor Nimrod. Thank goodness.
I’m sure you’re probably tired of everyone asking you about the mechanics of how you found your agent and then landed a publishing deal…what I’d really like to know is: how did it feel? When you received that call and realized that all your hard work was about to pay off and your dream was coming true – could you talk about that?
It was relief, that’s for sure! There is definitely a point where, as an aspiring author, you wonder if your work will ever see the light of day. Reading is so subjective — just look at a book’s Amazon or Goodreads reviews, and you’ll see what I mean! What one person loves another despises. And agents and editors are just like the rest of us: some books grab them, others don’t. So there is a lot of nail biting involved in both getting an agent and an editor. Will *anyone* out there like this? Am I the only one who connects with this story? So when I found out the answers to those questions were “yes” to the former and “no” to the latter, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I had a bit of a Sally Field moment — “You like me! You really like me!”
Congratulations Dana!! Wishing you ALL the best today has to offer – I can only imagine how happy you are today!!
Thanks so much, Susan!! Can’t wait so celebrate your release in a few months, too! xo
Sounds like a fun book. Where did the idea for the book come from?
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