Thursday, July 03, 2008

Interview with Laura Jensen Walker

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.03.2008

Today I'm interviewing Laura Jensen Walker about her latest novel:

Daring Chloe

When Chloe Adams' fiance dumps her--the night before their wedding--two girlfriends from her book group decide a little adventure is in order for the three of them. After all, why let a perfectly good honeymoon cruise go to waste?

Adventure? Chloe Adams? No way! Chloe's lived in one town her whole life. The closest she's ever gotten to actual adventures is reading about them. But her girlfriends won't take no for an answer.

One good adventure calls for another as Chloe's friends try to coax her out of her post-dumping funk, and soon she finds herself living out the adventures in her book club's latest selections. Hiking. Sailing. River rafting. Traveling to new places and eating exotic food. The play-it-safe Chloe begins to blossom into a new, daring Chloe. A Chloe who just might be ready to take on her biggest adventure of all.

And now, here’s me and Laura!

Which character in Daring Chloe are you most like?

Actually, I'm a lot like Chloe--also scared of water, sharks, and cheap pedicures, but in my 20's, I was a lot like Becca--reckless and adventurous. I'd just plunge into any adventure without a moment's thought or hesitation. Age has mellowed me, though. Oh, and like Chloe, I was also dumped before my scheduled wedding (only mine was a week before, not the night before, and not by text message--'cause they didn't exist then :) I'm SO grateful that God stopped that marriage from taking place though, because we definitely were NOT a good match, and besides, he had the right match, Michael, my wonderful Renaissance-man waiting for me. (We're celebrating our 17th anniversary in August.)

Congratulations! And what a close call!

Did you travel to Paris yourself? Did you ever live there?

Yes! My husband and I went to Paris two years ago on a combined vacation/research trip for Chloe. And like Chloe, I fell head-over-heels with that beautiful city. The architecture, the joie de vivre, the fabulous food. Yumm. AND the art. Oh my. The art. Breathtaking. (Like Chloe, I had an art awakening there. C'est magnifique!) I'd been to Paris once before, when I was 20, but didn't appreciate it then the way I do now. I can't wait to go back! But I've never lived there.

Of all the books featured in Daring Chloe, which is your favorite?

Hmm. That's a tough one... Little Women is one of my all-time favorite classics (I totally identify with Jo--which woman writer doesn't? :) and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is such a delightful children's book (if you haven't read it, you must!) plus I'm an English mystery fan and Agatha Christie is the Queen of English mysteries... But I guess if I had to pick just one, it would be Coming Home because I absolutely adore England--particularly the English countryside--and sort of consider it my second home since I lived there years ago. Rosamunde Pilcher is such a rich, fabulous storyteller, and makes you care about all the characters--good and bad. (Most people love The Shell Seekers, and I do too, but Coming Home's my favorite of her books.) Plus, that time-frame--just before, during, and after, World War II--is one of my favorites, particularly in England. One of my favorite Churchill quotes from then is "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."

I know you're a tea gal. What's your favorites and why? How do you drink it--straight, with milk, with sugar, with lemon?

I'm definitely a tea girl--coffee never touches these lips--and I think putting lemon in tea is sacrilege (unless you're sick and then a little tea with lemon and honey is perfect. Or maybe in iced tea...) Having lived in England, I'm afraid I'm a bit of a tea snob and a traditionalist. I only like black tea, and the tea I drink every day is PG Tips--England's most popular tea--with milk and sugar, of course. (Sugar-in-the-raw.) Whenever I go out to a tea room with friends, they always try flowery or fruity ones or whatever and I stick to English Breakfast ('cause no one ever has PG Tips :) or Earl Grey. Sometimes at home, I'll also do a mix a friend introduced me to of 2 Darjeeling and 1 Earl Grey that's a delicious black tea combo.

If you were a dessert, what would you be and why?

Hey, you're getting all Barbara Walters on me :) She once famously asked Katharine Hepburn "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" And Hepburn said "An oak." I'm not sure what kind of dessert I'd be... I LOVE desserts--never met a chocolate I didn't like--and am partial to fudgy brownies, most cakes (no nuts, but definitely buttercream frosting) and hot fudge sundaes. Maybe creme brulee? Because I can have a bit of an edge at times (especially when I'm tired :) but underneath I'm soft... How's that for being all deep and philosophical? :)

You're off the hotseat! Any parting words?

Thanks, Camy for featuring me and Daring Chloe on your blog. I appreciate it--and you. I just want to encourage everyone to read more (and maybe join a book club) and try a new adventure now and then--something you've never done before. Step out of your comfort zone--you might be surprised. (For instance, even though I'm a little scared of water/the ocean, like Chloe, I went on a catamaran sail around San Francisco Bay, and it was the coolest thing ever! So freeing. Loved it!)

Camy here: Thanks for being here, Laura!