Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swimming Upstream, Slowly


Sounds like life sometimes, especially during the holidays, right? But that is so not what this book is about. Ever heard of lazy sperm? Swimming Upstream Slowly is about a woman who gets pregnant as the result of an extremely lazy sperm.

It's by Melissa Clark, a member of the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit and the creator and executive producer of the award-winning television series, 'Braceface', and has written for shows on the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Fox. She received a master's degree from the writing program at U.C. Davis, and currently lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.

Here's a quick Q&A with Melissa:


Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.

Swimming Upstream, Slowly is a novel about Sasha Salter, who wakes up one day to find she is pregnant. Only problem is she hasn't had sex in over 2 years. The doctor's diagnosis is that Sasha's body has been harboring a 'lazy sperm'. Sasha must now open up the Pandora's box of her past loves to figure out which of her exes is the father - and what the future holds in store.
The idea was born because I was having lunch with a friend and overate. I lifted my shirt to expose my bloated belly and the friend said, half joking, "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" and I said, "Yeah, right, from a lazy sperm." I went home that night and started outlining the idea for a movie. I decided, eventually, to write it as a novel instead

[By the way, I had to ask Melissa if this was really possible. The answer is no. But scary, isn't it??]

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background?
My dad is a writer, so I was always playing on his typewriter and writing on legal steno pads. I wrote short stories from the time that I could write. I studied writing and literature in both college and graduate school. In my 20's to mid-30's I worked as a writer in television. I created a kid's show called "Braceface" which ran for 5 seasons. I loved that experience, but really wanted to write a novel, so I quit my own show and set out to write Swimming Upstream, Slowly. It was the best risk I've ever taken!
Is writing your main job? If not, what do you do for your real source of income and how does it impact your writing?
I still consider writing my main job even though I'm now teaching at the college level. In between grading, preparing lectures, meeting with students, etc. I somehow manage to find time to write. When I wrote Swimming... it was my only job. I had the luxury of time and money from the TV show. Now, my writing time is more precious because it is limited.

What comes most naturally for you to write, dialogue? plot? character? And what's hardest?
I love writing dialogue. I've written a few plays in the past and found it incredibly satisfying. I learn so much about my characters through what they say. I often have the feeling that they speak through me and I'm just listening and transcribing their words. I know a lot of writers feel this way. It's hard for me to slow down and be descriptive - really describe a setting or something. I am very aware of this and tried to do it more consciously in the new book.

What's the most surprising thing that has happened to you on your publishing journey? Have you learnt things about the industry you never knew before?
I was invited to speak at the Carmel Authors and Ideas Festival. There is a famous food writer named Melissa Clark who writes for the NY Times and I was sure they meant to invite her. I wined and dined with the likes of Frank McCourt and Elizabeth Edwards. I gave a talk during which I explained that I thought they invited the wrong Melissa Clark. The audience thought it was hysterical. They were cracking up, but I was really venting my insecurity. The head of the program came up to me after the reading and said it was great, but never assured me... a few months later a friend, after hearing that story, told me she knew the other Melissa Clark - they had been in a wedding together - and gave me her email. I wrote about that experience and she replied, "That's okay, everyone thinks I wrote the lazy sperm book."

3 comments:

Larramie said...

This sounds delightful, but can you imagine if it could happen?! *G*

Carleen Brice said...

I know...it'd be a different story altogether: a horror story! But this one seems much more my speed.

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