Friday, July 22, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - Laurie Boris

STEPH: Welcome Laurie, can you tell me a little about yourself?

LAURIE: I’m a writer from my sneakered feet to my unretouched roots. I’m rarely as happy and fulfilled as when I’m lost in writing fiction. I am also rather quiet. If I weren’t, I’d probably be a stand-up comic. I love baseball; I’m a long-time New York Mets fan from a Yankees household. My father probably still wonders what happened.

STEPH: What's "The Joke's on Me" about?

LAURIE: Thirty-something Frankie Goldberg, a less-than-successful Hollywood stand-up comic, is scared back home to her mother’s Woodstock B&B following a natural disaster. But after being away so long, “home”, with her bossy older sister at the helm, is not especially welcoming. Frankie is faced with two choices: run back to LA and start over (she’s very good at running away) or stay and take on the family responsibilities she’s been shirking. Learning that her high school crush has also returned makes the decision harder…and more interesting.

STEPH: How did the story find a home on 4RV?

LAURIE: I had almost given up on these poor characters! First a back injury and then starting a small business derailed me from marketing Frankie’s story. Then a friend told me about the Muse Online Writers Conference. 4RV was accepting pitches, and something told me to sign up. Publisher Vivian Zabel agreed to take me on. She and 4RV’s wonderful editors worked with me to refine and strengthen the story.

STEPH: How long did it take to write?

LAURIE: All told, the first draft took about a year to complete, then, two more years to edit. I was in the midst of the first draft when 9/11 struck. The tragedy hit me very deeply; I live a couple hours north of Manhattan and knew and worked with people who’d suffer losses. I wanted to keep writing, but for a while I couldn’t reconcile working on a comedy at such a tragic time. Then, I needed the healing and relief that comedy brings me, so I turned to my writing for solace.

STEPH: What do you want readers to take home with them after reading the book?

LAURIE: Overall, I want to entertain and make people laugh, because that’s so important, especially now. But I also want to leave readers with a sense that no matter how bad your situation, or how many years you’ve let go by, if you’re willing to trust and love, you can get a second chance.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for it?

LAURIE: Not really. I researched a bit about Alzheimer’s and Stroke, learned a bit of Yiddish from my mother and Mother Google, and imagined the rest.

STEPH: What was the inspiration for the story?

LAURIE: I was stuck in traffic in the middle of Woodstock, going back to work after lunch, when this character in my head started talking to me. It was Frankie. She was doing a bit about how bizarre and annoying Woodstock and her sister had gotten since she left home. I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk to take notes.

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

LAURIE: I write in a spare bedroom that I painted pink. I’m quirky about how I keep my space. The mess can pile up…empty coffee mugs, pens, drafts to edit…but as long as it’s clean in my direct line of sight, not even anything on the walls, I’m good. Also, the previous owners had several children, so the bedrooms were decorated in early My Little Pony. Mine came with glow-in-the-dark plastic stars cemented to the ceiling, and I left them there. Occasionally, a star will fall. I think that’s kind of cool. I make a wish.

STEPH: What's your favorite summer fruit?

LAURIE: Sour cherries! I buy them at the farmers market and eat them straight from the bag. They’ve never lasted long enough for me to make pie.

STEPH: Tell us about the state you live in?

LAURIE: Denial? It’s lovely this time of year… No, seriously. I live in New York’s Hudson Valley, about halfway between Albany and Manhattan. I love it. I was born in this area, went away for college and for about five years after that, but then returned. The mountains, the river, the autumns, the apples…it’s amazing. I feel grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

STEPH: Where can we find The Joke's on Me at on the Web?

LAURIE: You can buy directly from 4RV’s web site or from,, and the usual culprits.


  1. Thanks, Steph, for letting me visit!

  2. I loved this interview. Already a fan of Laurie's, I'm tickled to have learned something new about her here. Can't wait until The Joke's on Me arrives in my mailbox!

  3. I love that you left the stars on the ceiling and that when each one falls you can make a wish! You my dear are a shooting star and we are all so proud of you! Can't wait till my book arrives....come on mailman!

  4. And here I thought I was the Queen of Denial ~ guess I should get out and meet my citizens more!

    It's so exciting to be THIS CLOSE to actually reading your book Laurie. I love your sense of humour and just KNOW I'm going to love Frankie too!

  5. Laurie it's great to have you hear today! Thanks for the interview. May you have many sales!


  6. I love the falling stars wishes ... lol. That is so cool. It would be a cute children's book ... lol.

  7. And Laurie is great to work with. She and her editor made a marvelous team.


  8. You do live in beautiful country--except in the dead of winter. I like that term "dead of winter".
    I love your story. I have a bossy siser so I think I can relate to the heroine. LOL
    I was nice to learn a bit about you--even the baseball part.
    I wish you every success.

  9. JD, I'm full of surprises. ;) brancatokids, you are amazing. Sally, I think we're going to have to share that title. Aidana, what a great idea! Vivian, thank you, and if not for you, I would not have had that marvelous editor. Sarah, thank you. The other parts of the year almost make up for the “dead of winter.” And Steph, thank you for being such a lovely host, and many sales to you!

  10. And I guess I should mention that you can no longer buy my book at Borders. Or any book, for that matter! :(

  11. Reading such a funny interview just makes me miss Girls Night In even more...but I know I'll catch some of that humour when I read "The Jokes on Me". Cannot WAIT to get stuck in and read this book!! :)

  12. I can't wait to buy your book at your next reading. What a great end-of-summer read. And BTW--I LOVE Hudson Valley winters, but then I'm retired and don't have to deal with icy roads anymore.

  13. A great interview, Steph.

    Congratulations on your book, Laurie. Love the stars on the ceiling idea. I wish on stars too. :)

  14. Congratulations, Laurie! Wonderful interview!

    I live in NYC and the Hudson Valley is gorgeous.

  15. It's so nice that all of you could come visit, and Anj, all the way from Oz! ;)! Lyn, working from home is pretty nice, too.

  16. Thanks, Beverly and Karen! I'm down to about a half-dozen stars. When they fall, I'll have to put up more!

  17. This interview was great... I love hearing about how other writers decorate their designated writing space. Can't wait to read this book. :)

  18. Awesomeness I must peek in more often!!!