The Debutante Ball Welcomes (Back) Deb Eleanor!

Eleanor BrownEleanor Brown is the author of the New York Times and national bestseller The Weird Sisters, and was a member of the Debutante Ball class of 2011. She reads, writes, and tends to one very spoiled cat in Denver, Colorado.

About The Weird Sisters:

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from—one another, their small hometown, and themselves—might offer more than they ever expected.

Eleanor Brown Takes the Deb Interview!

Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.

People falling down. America’s Funniest Home Videos was custom-made for me.

I know, I’m a horrible person! I consider this a weakness, as it means I laugh in situations where there is the possibility of injury. Though if you fall down in my presence, I do promise to stop laughing if I see blood.

Have you ever met someone you idolized?  What was it like?

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Pat Conroy, one of my very favorite authors, at the Miami Book Fair. The line for signings after his warm and witty presentation was incredibly long, and we were near the end, but he was just as friendly and gracious and encouraging to us as he had been to the very first people. I glowed for days after meeting him.

I’ve been lucky overall in meeting people I admire, that the majority of them have been friendly and polite. It’s such a disappointment meeting someone and feeling disappointed in some way – it’s one of the reasons I follow very few celebrities on Twitter. I’d rather preserve the illusion!

What is the best perk of your job?

Free books! However, the saddest part is that I actually have less time to read than before I got published. Free books are less fun when I don’t get to read them!

(I assume the same thing is true of free chocolate cake, but I always seem to have time for free chocolate cake.)

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

Frankly, teaching middle school was probably the job with the largest number of strange incidents (the statistical probability of something weird happening when you are surrounded by 120 thirteen-year olds is pretty high), but I think the strangest job itself was wedding coordinator.

The human drama surrounding weddings is intense, and a wedding coordinator gets a backstage pass to all of it. I saw a drunken groom pick a fight with waitstaff, assembled a twelve-layer cake (with fountain) when the bakery messed up the delivery time, distracted warring family members with the Electric Slide, instructed multiple brides on how best to pee while wearing multiple crinolines and carried a lot of wedding gifts to the car at the end of the night. My feet hurt just thinking about it!

Do you have a regular ‘first reader’?  If so, who is it and why that person?

My sweetie, J.C. Hutchins. He’s a writer too, but he writes thrillers and adventure. We call the dichotomy between us “Fireballs and Feelings.” However, this makes him a really excellent person for me to bounce ideas off of – when I just want my characters to sit around and moon about their emotions, he gives me suggestions on how to add more action.

He somehow manages to be both incredibly honest and incredibly supportive, and I’m really grateful to have him around!

Visit with Eleanor!

Check out the upcoming events on her book tour!
Reading The Weird Sisters? Invite her to call or Skype in to your book club!
Say hello on Facebook!
Follow her on Twitter!

Want to win a copy of The Weird Sisters? Answer one of her interview questions in the comments below!



25 Replies to “The Debutante Ball Welcomes (Back) Deb Eleanor!”

  1. Hi, Eleanor! Wow, you have a busy few months on tap with that book tour, don’t you? Exciting times!

    Congratulations again on the amazing–and well deserved–success of THE WEIRD SISTERS. And thanks for coming back to your old stomping grounds here, and gracing us with another dance. 🙂

    1. Are you saying I’m going to fall down? Can you predict the future? Oh dear, falling down is exactly the kind of thing I’m likely to do. I like my humiliations to be as public as possible.

      Can’t WAIT to see you!

  2. Good morning! Hi, Eleanor–we’ve been so looking forward to your return to the Ball! (And now that I know you were a wedding coordinator, it’s no surprise you take the dance floor so well!;) )

    “Fireballs and Feelings” — I love it!

    *And I don’t mean to rub it in, but I should point out one last time (okay, I’ll be pointing it out again before all is said and done) that I am going to get to meet the lovely Ms. Brown in a few weeks (Feb 17th) here in Charlotte at her reading at Park Road Books! Wee!!!

  3. I had no idea you worked as a wedding coordinator! My SIL (you skyped with her book club) is a wedding photographer – I am sure you could trade stories for hours!

    The strangest job I have had was the summer I worked for a security/CCTV company, packing orders for customers in a (very) hot warehouse. This was the summer AFTER I finished my masters degree, and I was helping out the manager who was a friend – they were closing the Memphis office, and she needed a temp until they got it all cleared out. She said I was the most over-qualified temp she had ever hired!

    Although I already have a copy of the book, I would like to be in the drawing, as I plan to donate my copy to our school library when I win!

    1. Oh, how funny. Weddings are so much drama – I am so glad to be out of that industry, but it was interesting! I’m hoping to see her when I’m in Milwaukee – maybe we can trade secrets!

      The hot warehouse sounds awful, but I think having those kinds of jobs is useful in life – I remember what it was like to work in a mall food court, so I try to be extra-nice to folks in food service!

  4. Congratulations on your book! I haven’t read it yet, but now it’s definitely on my list – the story sounds really interesting!

    I have also met someone I idolized and it happened through a stroke of luck last year – I got to meet Meg Cabot! Her books definitely dominated my childhood, and even my adulthood, and I absolutely adore them. I was stunned into silence when meeting her, as I love her books and her blog and I didn’t know if she would be as wonderful as I thought she was. And you know what? She really was! She was funny and sweet and so inspiring to chat with (for a bit). I will never forget it!

    1. Thank you, Alexa! I’m so glad you came by.

      I have wanted to meet Meg for years – I’m so glad she’s as lovely in person as she is in her books!

  5. I so enjoyed reading this! Thanks for the smiles. Wedding coordinator? Middle school teacher? Not the easiest of jobs but I’m guessing they add to your writer’s life. Now about that chocolate cake…let me know if you find out how to keep getting that! ; )

    Please don’t enter me in the contest. I’m a blessed to have an autographed copy of The Weird Sisters and adore it.

  6. Hi Eleanor – thanks so much for being here! I love the wedding coordinator stories – I bet you’ve got a million of them.
    Congrats on the pb release of THE WEIRD SISTERS! Wishing you all the very best with it!

    1. Thank you, lovely! Some day when we’re deep in our cups, I’ll tell the story of the couple we had to throw off the boat. It has it all – drama, mystery, anonymous letters, and Atlantic City.

  7. Ah, wedding coordinator. I’ve done it for years to support my writing. And while there are strange moments, I have to say the strangesst job I ever had was making miniature cotton bales for sale in those places along the highway in Georgia and SC where “dumb Yankees” bought their goodies to take back to civilization from the hillbilly south. My friend and I had to pack cotton pulled from a bale into a machine that we had prepped with burlap and metal ties (don’t know the technical term). Then when we got it good and full we turned on a press that smushed it down, and we packed some more. This went on until nothing else would fit, then we clamped down the metal ties with washers or something (another technicale term) and we pulled the bale out and trimmed the burlap. We got paid a couple dollars for every one we made, cash each day. then we’d take our lint-headed selves home and wash our hair before heading down to the Dairy Queen. All over the northeast those cotton bales are probably mildewing in basements and garages to this day.

    1. I will admit that I just had to Google ‘miniature cotton bales’, and I am now super-impressed. I think you win the strangest job contest for that one!

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