Healdsburg, California. It’s very close to where my book takes place, in Sonoma County.
As a very young child I wanted to be a pink cement truck. I’m serious. When that didn’t work out, I started writing. I wrote my first novel at age eight, an epic fantasy tale about flying dogs that I penned as a gift for my best friend, Deena.
Desert island book?
Ooh, that’s so hard to choose! Just one? Probably Lolita, because Nabokov’s sentences fascinate me.
Easy: San Francisco. New York, Amsterdam and Austin are tied for second place, I think.
Where do you write?
In a sunny room that used to be a nasty, perm-scented beauty parlor. My boyfriend transformed it into a gorgeous haven with skylights and French doors. Right outside my window there’s a hummingbird feeder for inspiration when I’m searching for just the right word.
What made you decide to write Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty?
Well, my boyfriend and I would sometimes get coffee at this little espresso stand, and we loved the girls who worked there–they were funny and sassy and good at what they did. They inspired us to write a song called “Mocha Shack Girl.” After that I got the idea to use a drive through espresso stand as a setting for a book. While I was mulling this over one of my students started telling me hilarious stories about Espresso a Go-Go, the place where she worked, and pretty soon I was hooked on the idea. It just seemed like the perfect backdrop for drama–a magical little claustrophobic world where the caffeine is free and you’ve got a constant stream of characters you can interact with, but none of them have access to the inner sanctum of the coffee shack.
Coffee or tea?
In addition to being an author, you are an actress, playwright and singer-songwriter. How do find the time to do everything?
I just want to clarify: my endeavors in music and on the stage are purely for fun. As far as I can recall, nobody has ever paid me for either of these passions, so I’m not a professional actress or musician. Time-wise, I do have to watch myself and not over commit, though. I perform like once every three or four years! Still, I’m a firm believer in the idea that art feeds and begets art, so I like to mix it up now and then for variety’s sake.
Are any of your characters based on anyone in “real” life?
Many of the characters in Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty can be traced back to young people I’ve known–mostly my students. Before long, though, they veer off into their own identities. After I’ve been writing about them for a few months they become so distinct, I tend to stop focusing on the real people who inspired them.
What adjectives would you use to describe Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty?
Fun, caffeinated, effervescent, summery.
Most embarrassing moment?
God, there have been so many! Well, one that’s haunted me for the past seven years involves the love of my life, David. We met in Washington; he did the lights and music for my one-woman show up there. Then I moved to L.A. for graduate school, and he was in town for a couple of weeks so he called me up. At first I didn’t remember who he was and I was pretty rude–like get-away-from-me-you-telemarketer mean. I’ve had a hard time living that down…
Smartest thing you ever did?
Once I realized that I actually did know him, I agreed to go out with him. We’ve been madly in love ever since!
Avoid clichés, be kind to your mother, and never skip dessert!
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