After considerable buzz California, the debut novel by Edan Lepucki finally landed in bookstores yesterday. Edan is appearing at our sister store Vroman's in Pasadena tonight (Wednesday, July 9th) and she took a few moments out of her very busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
1. California taps into some very real fears about where we might be going but it's not paranoid. How did it come about exactly?
The idea for the book came to me in pieces. The idea for a 'post-apocalyptic domestic drama' popped into my head, and I wasn't sure what I meant, but I was hooked! Then, one night, I was driving down Sunset and the streetlights were out, and the darkness was eerie. It made me wonder what would happen if the city fell apart, couldn't provide services, etc. I went from there. I wanted to write a ruined world that didn't feel too far off for the reader: that feels more plausible and thus scarier.
2. Do you spend a lot of time in nature? Are you a camper?
No! I love nature and want to preserve it...for animals. And human nature lovers. I am allergic to camping. And yet, I love reading about people going out into the wilderness. I love the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock, and the movie Badlands, for instance.
3. You worked at Book Soup in college and again after and you met your husband here. Any fun Book Soup stories you'd care to share?
Book Soup was an education as rich as the one I got at Oberlin and Iowa. I read so much and was exposed to so many people and ideas. I met Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 2003 or so--who came in to shop! I waited on Michael Jackson! We heard about the death of Helmut Newton before the press did because the Chateau Marmont called looking to buy his photo books a few minutes after his car crashed into their hotel. And two words for you: Faye. Dunaway.
4. When did you know you'd be getting the "Colbert Bump"?
I heard that Sherman Alexie was going to talk about my book on Colbert's show the day before it happened...but then they told me it might not happen. The next day, they called back and said it was on! Even then, I didn't realize how big it would turn out to be. The Colbert bump for my novel is way bigger than a bump! I am amazed and grateful.