I was twenty when Mary Lou and Me was published—my first and only novel. I had turned my life into a funny and tragic fiction and actually became my own Mary Lou. But a new problem soon presented itself—namely, topping that literary gold-medal equivalent—and I struggled over my second novel for the next seven years, with no success. Along the way, I fell in love with an infuriating man named Justin and married him—and when I found myself pregnant, the solution to my writer’s block became crystal clear: It was simply a matter of taking advantage of my wrecked hormonal state. I soon realized that the angst and paranoia stirred up in the unbalanced chemical cocktail of my imagination made for better reading than any fiction I was capable of inventing. That, along with the birth of my daughter Abbie—my amazing, insightful, perfect child—led to the next big discovery of my writing career: It was easier not to turn any of it into fiction. In fact, I didn’t need fiction! So it went that I fell in love with an infuriating man, and we had a daughter, and our marriage dissolved, and I scribbled about it all and continued my success as a blogger. And my daughter grew up to hate her mother’s scribbling.
–Excerpt from Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo.
Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.
Karen Rizzo: A famous mommy blogger chooses a new subject to exploit.
LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?
KR: If Famous Baby were an orphan, I could only hope that Sam Shepard and Fran Lebowitz might adopt it.
LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?
KR: The ingredients in my writing: equal parts angst, fatigue, caffeine, inspiration, and true stories told in confidence.
LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.
KR: I will cheat and name two books I wish I could read again for the first time: A Prayer for the Dying, by Stewart O’Nan, and Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman, because I can’t go more than a week without recalling specific scenes or ideas from either book.
LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.
KR: I’d love for people to ask me what quality my favorite writing shares. Simply, my favorite writing makes me wish that I’d written it.
Get a copy of Famous Baby at IndieBound.
Karen Rizzo is the author of the Book Sense/IndieBound selection Things to Bring, S#!T to Do, a memoir built around her penchant for lists. The recipient of a MAGGIE Award for Best Essay in a West Coast Consumer Magazine, her stories and essays have appeared on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, Living Fit, Salon, Beatrice, Fresh Yarn, and VIVmag as well as the anthology Life’s A Stitch: The Best of Contemporary Women’s Humor. She currently lives with her actor husband and two children in Los Angeles, California. Famous Baby is her first novel.