Author Takeover #13: Libby Cudmore, author of: THE BIG REWIND + Giveaway!!
AUTHOR TAKEOVER IS A NEW FEATURE HERE IN HBT WHERE WE LET OUR CURRENT FAVORITE AUTHORS TOOK OVER THE BLOG. EXPECT GUEST POSTS, INTERVIEWS, LOTS OF PLAYLISTS, GIVEAWAYS AND OF COURSE, A BUNCH LOAD OF FUN!
I am so excited about a lot of things today. First: AUTHOR TAKEOVER IS BACK! It’s been so loooong. I promise you great authors you guys, watch out! And second: because an amazing debutante is here on the blog for today. Thank you so much Libby for chatting with me and dishing out deets about THE BIG REWIND! What a great way to make a comeback, by featuring an awesome book and author.
Published February 2nd 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
A > Mystery | Music
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.
But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.
KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.
Libby Cudmore worked at temp agencies and record stores before settling down in Upstate New York to write full time. Her forthcoming debut novel, THE BIG REWIND (William Morrow, February 2016) is being hailed as “smart, poignant, and addicting,” (Kristi Belcamino, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD). Her short stories have been published in PANK, THE BIG CLICK, THE STONESLIDE CORRECTIVE and BIG LUCKS. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and makes all her own notebooks.
- Hi Libby!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us how you got into writing? Is this your first profession? 🙂
I’ve been writing since fifth grade, when I had a dream that I had written a book. My dad, Dana Cudmore, was a writer (The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story) and my mom was a storyteller, so I grew up reading a lot and hearing stories told. But originally, I wanted to go into musical theater. I didn’t get into my top-choice of theater colleges, and ended up going to Binghamton University, where I really focused on my writing. Now I work as a reporter for the Hometown Oneonta/The Freeman’s Journal, which I love doing.
- Murder and Music seems to come together in your debut novel, The Big Rewind. Was this the original concept that you wanted for your first novel?
Like most writers, I have a few “first novels” that didn’t sell. I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to write about music and murder,” the story came to me and evolved organically.
- How would you introduce your main character, Jett, to us? Did you have a particular muse for her?
I wish I could say Jett was me, but she’s much cooler than me! But one of her friends is inspired by a girl I went to college with, and I “cast” a few of the characters with different actors so I could get a sense of how their dialogue would sound so that I can make sure each character has their own “voice” — most notably, early drafts of Sid had cast him as Walton Goggins, who I think is just darling.
- How did the whole concept of the book materialized in your head? Is there an event or a person or something that sparked the plot? 🙂
I was on the bus home from work, listening to Syd Straw’s “CBGB’s,” and the whole first chapter came to me like I was watching a movie. And it all just took off from there.
(Pictures of the notebook I started in! – Libby)
5. The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?
The original title was No Awkward Goodbyes, in homage to Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, my favorite novel. It was a clumsy title, so I worked with my great editor, Chelsey Emmelhainz at William Morrow, to come up with something a little more streamlined, and sure enough, I got my Chandler homage. And the wonderful HarperCollins art department gave me my cover. They hit it out of the park on the first try.
6. What is the hardest thing you ever did while writing The Big Rewind? Can you share a bit of your experience?
Writing this book taught me to enforce a writing routine. I work long days at the newspaper, so if I was going to get any writing done, I had to carve out and protect that time. I had to be honest with myself, which is never easy, and realize that the earlier in the morning I got up, the more work I got done. So 6:45 am, I’m out of bed and turning on the coffee maker. Doesn’t matter if worked until midnight the night before. I put in at least an hour with either an open document or a notebook. Some days I just have time for that hour before I have to go into the office. Some days I have the whole morning. But if I hit snooze, I may not have any time. Teaching myself that discipline was difficult, but it made me a better writer.
7. What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?
There are a couple love stories throughout, but they don’t always end the way the characters want them. It’s very realistic in that way, which I think is something the readers will really connect with. But don’t worry! There is a big romance. It still makes me swoon when I read over it.
8. Did something creepy or funny or even scary thing that happened while writing The Big Rewind?
When I finished the first draft, I woke up one morning and just felt flooded with poetry. I’m not a poet by any stretch of the imagination, but my sentences all felt abstract and fractured in this fascinating way. So I wrote a whole series of poems about TV shows like The Shield and Burn Notice and The X-Files. And I thought that I was going a little crazy from burn-out, but then I was at a reading and two other novelist friends of mine read what they called a “post-novel poems.” Apparently, they’re a very real thing. I posted a few of them on my blog, and one go picked up in the lit mag Paper Darts.
9. Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂
I do have a WIP in very early stages, but right now, I’m working on a few short stories, seeing where those go. I’m also hosting a weekly live-tweet event I call #RecordSaturday, where I share an album from my vinyl collection. It’s a lot of fun; I’ve played Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, the Flashdance soundtrack, The Smiths The Queen is Dead. Sharing music is really important to me, so I’ve been really enjoying that. A couple of Sid and Jett’s favorite albums are coming up, so keep an eye out!
10. Lastly, what’s your three current book/song favorites?
My favorite songs at the moment are Steely Dan’s “The Second Arrangement” (which only exists as a demo; the original was lost during the recording of Gaucho) as well as Duran Duran’s “Pressure Off” and The Smiths “There Is A Light and It Never Goes Out.” As for books, right now I’m really in love with Matthew Quinn Martin’s Nightlife, Donna Minkowitz’s Growing Up Golem and April Ford’s The Poor Children.
Thanks again, Libby, for the Q&A!
And because Libby and people over at Harpercollins are generous, they’re giving away 2 print copies of The Big Rewind to a lucky US/Canada residents!
Thank you so much about stopping by guys! Don’t forget to share your thoughts about THE BIG REWIND! Have you read it? Will you be reading it? We wanna hear everything! 🙂