Stressed In Scottsdale, a satire, was released in January 2010. With the absurdities of desert living set in her cross hairs, multi-tasking Jean Rubin tries to find sanity in a world where it rains dirt and blind sheep fall off mountains. Modern living isn’t for sissies and Jean’s sandwiched between demanding kids, a cranky mother, well-meaning friends and golf-obsessed husband whose political and environmental issues take her over the top.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a former English teacher/entrepreneur/corporate trainer/environmentalist who has changed careers numerous times but kept the same husband. Which was much harder. I grew up in South Florida as the daughter of New York bohemians and attended school in Tallahassee. I have a healthy dose of East Coast culture infused with Deep Southern living, tempered by survival in the desert West. I have written two prize-winning historical fiction novels as well as three satires because I can’t stop seeing funny things in the world around me.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write STRESSED in SCOTTSDALE because the things people “stress about” are not that serious. For the most part we all live good lives and don’t want for anything. Living in a place that admires consumerism (we’re known for our exceptional shopping!) I couldn’t resist poking a little fun.
How did you publish this book?
I’ve had three agents and four publishers. I was tired of the length it takes to get a book through the traditional system, particularly because my topic was current. I decided to start my own publishing house, L’Image Press. We will be accepting manuscripts for other satires and novels with womens’ issues in the fall of 2010. Our second satire with a well-known author, whose publisher isn’t interested in humor, is lined up for this year.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part of writing is keeping your tush in the chair. There’s so much to distract us. It’s easy to give up. I’m passionate about the stories I tell so there’s no stopping. I push to finish the first draft and get the structure of the story down. Then I can go back to enhance it, build character motivation and add details of setting.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I always learn writing a novel. With the two historical ones I did extensive research, traveled to the countries where they took place and had family letters translated from three different languages (Paper Children–An Immigrant’s Legacy). On a local level I have inundated my brain with the flora and fauna of Arizona and know every weird political idea brought up in our legislature. We are known for our kooks.
What are you reading now?
I am reading HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls after recently finishing her extraordinary biography, THE GLASS CASTLE. I am in a book group so recent books I loved are: THE BRIEF and WONDROUS LIFE of OSCAR WAO, WHITE TIGER, THE WOMEN and SOMEONE KNOWS MY NAME.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Currently I am half way through a novel with a thriller aspect set in Paris and New York City that deals with the art auction business. I actually talked my way into the storage basement of Sotheby’s! Unfortunately, I have put it aside to do book marketing for my fifth “child.”
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I am promoting online through social media sites, more than a dozen book reviews and book signings at book stores and unconventional venues, such as an art gallery (50 showed up!) and a vintage clothing store. I also blog as my character, Jean Rubin (http://www.jeanrubinblog.com) who has opinions about everything including current events and utilize my website (www.marciafine.com).
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The best advice I can give is to hone your craft (I go to at least one writing conference a year; I’m attending the Erma Bombeck Humor Conference soon), join a writing group to stay accountable and stop worrying about getting published. It’ll happen when you’re ready. Breathe.