Groucho Marx, Grilled Cheese and Me, by Deb Kristina

MeHi there, I’m Kristina. Often known as Kris. I’m an author, a journalist, a wife and mother, and (twice) an amateur stage actress (more on that another time.) I play the violin, though not seriously, these days. I’m a sometime bookseller for my local indie bookstore, Schuler Books and Music. I’m co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. I own a dog, though I’m not a dog person (more on that another time as well.)

If you meet me in person, you’ll probably notice that I love to talk. If you’re reticent, I might go into “reporter mode” and start quizzing you (gently!) about yourself.

I love dumb jokes, puns and wordplay, as in the following from Groucho Marx: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

I enjoy highbrow culture like opera, classical music and intense literary fiction. I also enjoy lowbrow stuff like karaoke, 1980’s hair band music and Will Ferrell comedies.

I’m an NPR nerd, not to mention a Monty Python nerd. (This is a LATE PARROT!) I love Michigan State football and the Detroit Red Wings. My slow learning curve in the kitchen is a family joke. ( I suppose you were born knowing how to make grilled cheese?)

I love mobster movies like “The Godfather” (I and II only, really) and “Goodfellas.” I also like caper films, and the “mockumentaries” of Christopher Guest a la “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman.”

My reading is all over the map, and I have beloved books in all genres (all-time top pick: CATCH-22), but my stand-by favorite novels are complex family stories. Anne Tyler is my literary hero.

I feel like a pretty smart person, yet I experience flashes of stunning stupidity that I call my “absent-minded professor moments”, like pointing my remote car door unlocker gadget at my house and expecting it to work.

Now that you’ve read these factoids, I hope you’ll get to know me through my work, and especially, my debut novel, REAL LIFE AND LIARS, a story of tangled family relationships across generations, told in one weekend on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. It’s not strictly autobiographical (thank goodness, who needs that kind of drama?) but I’m sure I reveal glimpses of myself in those pages.

I’m thrilled to be taking my first turn on the dance floor with you here at The Debutante Ball. It was a pleasure, to be sure.

Deb Kristina

28 Replies to “Groucho Marx, Grilled Cheese and Me, by Deb Kristina”

  1. All right then, Kris, gosh do I get to be first? I share your Number One All-Time Book choice of Catch-22. I still want to be Major Major and build a tunnel system around my house.
    Looking forward to your work,

  2. Ooooh, I get to be the first to post with the virgin Debs 😉
    You all have done a fabulous job getting up to speed and we are so happy that you are taking the mantle (or white gloves or tiara) from us. Five fantastic books from five very talented authors and I know the Debutante Ball readers have a terrific year in front of them!

  3. Can’t wait to read your book, Kris. Diverse interests make for interesting novels. (I share the Christopher Guest love – GUFFMAN is all-time brilliant!) Enjoy the ball – there’s nothing quite as romantic as your first spin on the floor.

  4. I’m so excited to have you here. Not to mention that your book sounds great and we share a love for Monty Python. Alas- I am a Canucks fan now-so must fight you on the Red Wings thing.

  5. I love Catch 22 as well–I’m due for a reread, in fact!

    This is a great introduction, Kris. I’m thrilled we’ve handed the ball over to such a talented and capable group.

  6. I snuck away away from the family and friends and am crouched outside the (wireless!) island library just so I can say welcome Kris and the new debs!!!!

  7. Thanks everybody, for taking time out of your holiday (at least, those in the U.S. had a holiday) to check in with me! Becky, my first commenter! You always remember your first, don’t you? I hope it was good for you.

    Jenny, is my tiara on straight? I don’t have anything in my teeth, do I?

    Julie P., nice to meet you. BREATHING LESSONS runs a close second to CATCH-22 on my all-time favorite list. Jill, I never thought of my interests as diverse until I wrote this post, but I suppose they are! Judy, DIGGING TO AMERICA is my favorite of her recent novels.

    Eileen, I forgive you for being a Canucks fan because at least you love hockey, eh?

    Thank you Eleanor! (If you hadn’t nailed him to the perch, he’d be pushing u the daisies!” This could go on all day…) Danielle, Catch-22 holds up well every time I re-read it.

    Katie, I’m glad you have discovered Ms. Tyler. Looking forward to your first twirl on the floor tomorrow…

  8. Woohoo! And a new dance begins!

    Congratulations, Kris, and welcome to your debutante year. I can’t wait to get to know all the Debs better. I’ve been to the “Meet the 2009 Debutantes” page and have learned a bit about everyone’s books. They all sound marvelous, and I can’t wait to read them.

    Best wishes for great success this year, ladies.

  9. Hi Kris!

    I knew you would soon no longer be a virgin. ALL HAPPY FAMILIES is going to be a smash hit. A home run out of the park and onto the lists that count. I’m really excited for you, Kris! Congratulations!!!!

  10. Hey Kris,

    Great post for being first out of the gate. If I didn’t already consider you a friend I’d definitely wanna be one as I love all those little tidbits you mentioned. Looking forward to being one of the first hundred-thousand to read your book! 😉

    Here’s a dumb joke for you (and for some reason it just cracks me up):
    A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “Hey bud. Why the long face?” =D

  11. I love this warm welcome!

    Luanne, of COURSE it’s LabOUR Day…naturally. I hope you enjoyed it up there. It was nice here, though the trip to the zoo with the kids was sunk by a water main break, of all things.

    Eliza, Kristy, Lisa, Marina, you all are wonderful for stopping by.

    Terri, I know that horse joke and I love it! Someday I’ll tell you my favorite “blonde walks into a bar” joke but it requires a certain performance element that necessitates being face to face.

  12. Kris, thanks for letting us know a bit more about you! I can’t wait for ALL HAPPY FAMILIES to hit the shelves. But, tell me again, why couldn’t you add a character Mrs. S., the mother of twins who sipped a bit too frequently from her thermos???? Seems like a natural plot element, if yu ask me. Thanks for posting!

  13. Great first post, like others have said! I’m sure you were so worried and nervous about being the first, but you did a great job. And I too share the Christopher Guest love- his movies are AWESOME! Can’t wait to see more from you this coming year!

  14. Kris, I’m a day late here, but it’s so lovely to see you kick things off! Schuler Books is fantastic…and I too love Christopher Guest!

    Happy blogging, Debs Class of 2009!! 🙂

  15. Welcome to the Ball, Deb Kris! And I hear you on the opera and Will Ferrell! I’m looking forward to reading about your debut year and hope you’ll call on us old Debs if you need us!

    all best,
    Deb Mia

  16. To me you’ll always be Kristina just like your byline! 🙂

    Well, I’d say the Debutante Ball is a definite upgrade from our old Laguna Beach dance floor days in Grand Haven! Congrats!! You’re an amazing talent!

    At a work conference last month I had a chance to hear presentations from Story Corps staff as heard on NPR. I’m not an avid NPR listener so I wasn’t familiar with Story Corps beforehand, but I fell in love with the program after hearing the presentations. I’d like to read the book written by the Story Corps founder … I believe it’s titled “Listening is an Act of Love.” In the meantime, I’ll look forward to reading your next post!

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