Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Could You Do Better?

What an interesting question! It's exactly that question that Daphne Wells, the heroine of Stephanie Lehmann's brand new novel, YOU COULD DO BETTER, poses to herself. Welcome, Stephanie, and thank you for agreeing to an interview! Stephanie also sent me an advance copy of her book, and it's a lot of fun. We like Stephanie... :)


Daphne Wells tells herself being glued to the TV counts as research for her job at the Museum of Television and Radio. But the truth is, as much as she's looking forward to a future with her fiancé, their sex life just isn't ready for prime time. What if she can do better?


Stephanie Lehmann is the author of Are You in the Mood?, Thoughts While Having Sex, and The Art of Undressing. Her plays have been produced Off Off Broadway, and she is a contributor to Salon. Originally from San Francisco, she's a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and has a master's in creative writing from New York University. Lehmann now lives with her husband and two children in Manhattan.

"I laughed until my sides ached... Full of unusual and interesting TV trivia, Stephanie Lehmann has a winner on her hands."

-- Contemporaryromancewriters.com

"But things don't sort themselves out the way Daphne wants them to in this very funny tale. And just when it seems that it's all about the laughs, Lehmann switches gears and introduces true poignancy."

“Readers looking for fluffy fare and pleasant, light humor will be sated.”

--Publishers Weekly

YOU COULD DO BETTER is a fine lighthearted romantic romp... filled with amusing asides and entertaining TV trivia footnotes interwoven into the plot.


TV trivia and history fans who enjoy summer-style reading will quickly devour this story and its references to TV shows: past, present, and fictional.


Turn off that TV and pick up this book.”

--Sarah Mlynowski

“Sharp, fresh, and clever… Simply put, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

--Johanna Edwards

“Near the top of my list of favorite writers.”

--Rian Montgomery, Chicklitbooks.com

Q: How did you get the idea for this book?
A: I was trying to think up a book idea, and I wanted the main character to do something different, something I’d never read about, and something I would enjoy researching. I hit on the idea of setting the novel at The Museum of Television and Radio. There actually is such a museum in New York, and I’ve been to it many times. (I’ve always been a TV watcher, still am -- even my own daughter sometimes tells me to “get a life.”) The first time I went to the museum because I was trying to get a job writing for ALL MY CHILDREN and wanted to watch old episodes. They had some from the 60s and the 70s with the original ads still in. I was hooked. (Didn’t get the job, though.) I thought the place was a great discovery, though. They have and incredibly large collection of shows to watch dating from 1947 to now. So I made my heroine a curator there. (I love it that you could “curate” at a museum that “collects” TV shows!) This character loves the history of television, so I read every book I could find on the subject and spent lots of afternoons going there watching old shows. Not that it really became necessary that I view old episodes of, oh, say Bachelor Father, but it was fun…

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Give your writing to people who will tell you it’s good and encourage you. There’s a lot of critics in the world, and it’s important to feel supported!

Q: What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
A: My typical writing day. It’s usually the weekend, as I get most of my work done then. So… get out of bed thinking about that first cup of coffee. Leave the apartment before seeing children, who thank god are now old enough to sleep late. (Husband has already left to go exercise.) Get to coffee shop at undisclosed location where no one in my family can find me. Order that cup of coffee I’ve been thinking about, along with a whole wheat bagel with butter and marmalade. Sit down with coffee and bagel and read something for awhile (newspaper, magazine, book for research, novel for fun) and procrastinate turning on laptop. Sometime around when finishing that cup of coffee, force myself to turn on laptop. Read over what I’ve already written, hopefully not from first page. Rewrite obsessively until I get mad at myself for not writing anything new. Get more coffee. Eat one more bite of (now cold) bagel. Actually write something new. Start worrying that I should be getting home. Continue to write. Feel more pressure to get home. Try to squeeze more writing in. Perhaps get second cup of coffee. Squeeze in more writing. Realize that two hours has gone by, maybe three. Perhaps get call on cell phone from daughter, who is now up and wants me to bring home a muffin. Tell her I’ll be home soon. Squeeze in one more half hour. Leave for home. Hopefully remember to get muffin for daughter and one for son too, just in case. Once home, present muffins, hope that earns me points as a good mom, set up laptop on kitchen table, put on a pot of coffee, and basically begin cycle again.

Q: What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most
A:The first time seeing your published novel on the shelf at the bookstore./Not being able to find your published novel on the shelf at the bookstore.

Q: Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not,
what else is in the works?
A: I’ve thought about it, but no plans at the moment. I’m on to something else that I can’t talk about yet!

Q: Do you eat when you write?
A: Yes, it's absolutely necessary for me to begin with a cup of coffee and something sweet.

Q: Do you need it to be neat and organized where you write?
A: No, it can be (and is) a total mess on my desk. My motto is messy house, clean manuscript.

Q: Do you need it to be quiet when you write?
A: No, I can write at the kitchen table with my entire family around me talking and getting food. The key thing is that they are getting the food.

Many thanks once again, Stephanie! You can find Stephanie's book at your local indy (THE BEST CHOICE), or at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.