The Disrespectful Interviewer: Dissing Kristy Kiernan
The Disrespectful Interviewer is a semi-regular feature in which your intrepidly disrespectful correspondent is as rude as she likes with prominent writers of the day.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted: So. Kristy Kiernan. Were you aware that when I got married I deliberately kept my maiden name as part of my new last name in order to avoid that whole alliterative-name thing you’ve got going on?
Kristy Kiernan: Oh, I am all too aware of your funny little feminist “statement.” I, on the other hand, chose to gratefully submit to my husband’s will. In fact, Kristy isn’t actually my real name. He had a girlfriend in high school named Kristy, and it was just easier for him to remember. That’s what real wives do, Lauren (I’d be willing to bet that’s even your real name . . . pathetic), we give.
KK: Had you even a shred of journalistic integrity you'd have discovered that my middle name does, indeed, begin with a K. Riddle that one out, Lazy Lauren Lise Logsted.
LBL: You must know that most writers, really anyone associated with books, well, let’s just say we’re not the most physically attractive bunch in the world. So what’s up with the pretty-girl hair?
Actually, I spend a ton of time on my hair so that nobody will ask me any hard questions.
Okay . . . that’s not true. The truth: I hope my good hair will distract everyone from noticing the fact that from the neck down I’m all Elephant Man. Seriously. Hideously deformed. Thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention.
LBL: No problem. You were born in Tennessee and then moved to southwest Florida where you currently reside. Frankly, I can’t figure it out. Do you consider that move to have been upwardly mobile or downwardly mobile?
LBL: Growing up you were a fan of Nancy Drew. There were fifty-six books in the original series. Nancy was eighteen years old in book one and she was still eighteen at the end of book fifty-six. Most people don’t bother doing the math, and you probably didn’t either, but I did. That comes to Nancy solving mysteries at the rate of one every 6.5178571 days. It kind of defies credibility. We won’t even talk about the inconsistency of seasons passing over the course of the series. Can you honestly claim that this was a good early role model for a writer to have?
KK: Yeah, I was really just intrigued by the questionable sexuality of “George.” Those books were mysteries? Huh. Fascinating.
LBL: You were also a fan of Trixie Belden. Come on, admit it. Trixie would kick Nancy’s roadster-driving butt in a girl-detective smackdown.
KK: Oh my God, that’s not even close to a fair fight. Trixie . . . now she was a heroine. I always thought Trixie and George would get along really, really well. And Honey? What the . . .? How did they get away with the stripper names? Why hasn't anyone in the LGBT community done a Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden mash-up? (Can you hear the screaming yet? And you thought health care reform was controversial.)
LBL: OK, enough of this. Let’s talk about your work for a bit. Your debut novel Catching Genius was about two sisters. Was this autobiographical in any way? Have there been interfamily lawsuits as a result?
LBL: What does the title mean exactly? I mean, it’s not like one of those obvious titles like Love Story, now, is it? Do you honestly believe that genius is catching like catching the flu?
KK: No, dear. It’s not obvious. It’s intended for a slightly more sophisticated audience than the one you cater to. I understand that it’s confusing. I’ll try to bring this down to a level that even you can comprehend: Seven- and five-year-old sisters misunderstand an overheard conversation and believe that the eldest's high IQ is a potentially communicable illness, like chicken pox.
I know I used a five-syllable word in there, but you get it, right?
LBL: Ohhhh, go antidisestablishmentarianism yourself. The book contains both musical and mathematical elements. Except for those people who will gleefully pull out a calculator to check the rate at which Nancy Drew solved mysteries, most people despise math. Just what do you mean when you claim that math is fun?
LBL: Why a violin? Some kind of twisted phallic symbol or possibly a girl with a wide bottom?
LBL: Your second novel, Matters of Faith, revolves around a boy who saw his best friend killed by a train when he was only twelve and how when the boy grows up he allows his whackadoodle anti-medical-intervention girlfriend to feed his allergy-afflicted sister peanuts in an effort to cure her. There are lots of kids in my daughter’s school and in our neighborhood with deathly peanut allergies. Are you suggesting I feed them all peanuts?
JDR, KK's Legal Representative: NO.
But we both heartily approve of "whackadoodle."
LBL: Matters of Faith won the Florida Book Award Bronze Medal and was an Indie Next Notable Title with Publishers Weekly using in their review the word “stunning”—now there’s an overused bit of reviewerese! Must be nice for some.
LBL: Speaking of reviews, you seem to have been mostly very lucky in that regard. But surely, someone somewhere must have said something juicily scathing about your work. We love that here, so please toss us a bone. Feel free to quote at length.
KK: I think GIJane is my favorite. She likes Labs and cooking. And hates, with a white-hot furious passion, Catching Genius
“I don't understand how any woman could enjoy this book."
Maybe she should have given it to her Lab and seen how he liked it?
And then there's Judith Mogol from New Jersey, who said Catching Genius was “drawn out and tiresome – I couldn't wait for this book to end. It was too long and had too many plots. It was too loosely woven for me to enjoy. I was surprised to see so many positive reports, but I didn't have too much positive to say.”
LBL: Exceedingly! I have to grudgingly admit, I actually like your writing. And it looks like you have another book out—when? Oh, this month! April! It’s called Between Friends but I presume you know that already. Care to tell us what it’s about or should we just assume more of the music/math/peanuts same?
A provocative new novel about birth, death, and the stuff in between, from the award-winning author of Catching Genius.
And since you seem to be unhealthily obsessed with my reviews, Publishers Weekly said:
Kiernan (Catching Genius) again demonstrates her ability to portray true-to-life relationships between women. . . . With realistic dialogue and pinpointed emotions, Kiernan paints a persuasive portrait of the bonds between mothers, daughters, and friends in this inspiring, heartbreaking tale.
Chew on that for a while, Logsted.
LBL: That’s Baratz-Logsted to you, witch. Debbie Macomber and Sean Michael both also have novels titled Between Friends. When you settled on your title were you ever worried about consumer confusion or were you hoping for it?
Actually, my original title was The Donors' Daughter but everyone hated it and thought the plural possessive apostrophe would confuse people. I choose to have a little more respect for my readers' (←see how I did that?) intelligence, but, hey, Between Friends was my favorite of the other eighty-seven titles I came up with.
KK: So I shouldn't mention my secret plans for world domination on Facebook then? But . . . I thought everyone there was my friend?
LBL: In a guest post you did on the marvelous blog The Divining Wand—of the questions people ask about your work, you said, “They are an honor, and a gift, and I hope to always field them with the dignity that they deserve.” How’s that working out for you today here?
KK: I'm pretty sure I don’t have a MySpace page. Do I? I really don’t pay attention to that stuff. I have people who do those things for me. I’m too busy rereading my stunning reviews and blow-drying my hair.
Will you like it? Oh, you’re gonna love it. If you don’t, then I want a refund of all the money I’m paying you to say slightly pleasant things about me.
LBL: You mean there’s money in this for me? Sweet! OK, I need to go watch “General Hospital” now. Sonny’s on trial for the murder of his wife Claudia and the jury has at least three members who know him. I’m thinking this wouldn’t go down this way in real life. Feel free to spout any last words after I’m gone. Ciao!
LBL: As my readers are aware, I never come back for a final word, but this time I’ll break that rule because I want people to know: I love this woman!
Win a free copy of Crazy Beautiful! We will be giving away a copy of her latest young adult novel, Crazy Beautiful, to this week’s lucky winner. To enter, send us an e-mail with your name. That’s it. For this drawing, all names received on or before Friday, April 16 will be entered, and the winner’s name will be drawn that evening. We will notify the winner over the weekend. Only one entry per person, please. (We apologize to our international readers, but due to high postage costs we can only mail books to U.S. addresses.) There is no obligation, and your name and address will not be saved by BiblioBuffet or used for any purpose other than mailing the books.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted has sold twenty books to six publishers since 2003. Her published novels include The Thin Pink Line and Vertigo for adults; Crazy Beautiful for teens, Me, In Between for tweens; and the first four of The Sisters 8, a nine-book series for young readers, co-written with her novelist husband Greg Logsted and their nine-year-old daughter Jackie. In the year 2010 she'll have four more books published, including two more titles in The Sisters 8 series, The Education of Bet for teens and one more teen title. Lauren still lives in Danbury, CT, where she writes and reads pretty much all the time. You can read more about Lauren’s life and work (and contact her) at her personal website and the Sisters 8 site. Contact Lauren.