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Coq au Vin, Kardashians & Cujo | BLUFF author Lenore Skomal (Interview)

Lenore Skomal (my new foodie hero) oh! and author of BLUFF

Lenore Skomal award winning author of BLUFF

*BOUNCING WITH JOY* I have Lenore, I have Lenore.. she is on my website *squeeling* 

OK I know I am a crazed silly Alaskan woman stuck in a cabin and maybe I can be a bit cabin feverish, but Bluff has been sitting here in my MUST read for ME list and I was so excited to read it and now her on my blog *bouncing more*. I have been reading interviews, and talked to my friends and I almost managed to hang with her in a writing sprint the other day. Plus have you been to her website? I mean seriously, this is someone I get to say, “I was exposed and hung onto the coat-tails when .. she was on my blog!” *giggling* OK seriously *drawing down my serious face mask* This is great, this interview is awesome and Lenore rocks! I hope you grab the book and read it. Bluff is amazing, the next one will be even better (almost here!! almost here!!) and after reading the interview she sent me I have a feeling she is going to have a new fan base. Though I hope she forgives me for all you crazy freaks that read me … Kidding.. kidding none of you are crazy!! *giggling*

CABIN GODDESS– Tweet the book: You are challenged to tweet a synopsis of the book (include your tweet handle, no link, #hashtag it if you got it) GO!

(hey guys, click on the date above and retweet! Share the the love! Or just copy and paste! Make up your own, tweet and share if you like the post, it means more people will join in on the bandwagon of looooove for Lenore and this awesome book!)

CGIntroduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing)

It’s a pleasure to meet new readers and fans. Thanks for the opportunity! There’s plenty that’s not in my bio, but as far as dirty little secrets, I don’t have any that would warrant the adjective “dirty.” Especially not my fervent childhood desire to be a nun, or my crush on Mickey Dolenz, or my ability to huck a lunger a good four feet, or the fact I took two, count ’em two, years of banjo lessons and can’t play a note, or my horrible habit of swearing colorful and anatomically outlandish curses at my computer, or my ardent desire that the entire Kardashian family are rendered poor, homeless and ugly by the harsh yet balanced hand of universal payback, otherwise known as karma.

 (Backing slowly away from the keyboard, hands held high at the Jazz Hand level, but no jazz handing.. no sudden movements.. what she wants to take on Kardashian’s people, I am not messing with her! As far as banjo lessons.. did I ever tell you about this one time… at band camp?)

CG- Synopsis’ are one of the most challenging things an author has to write. If you could write another one, one for your fan-girls and boys, what would it say?

I wouldn’t change a word. But assuming my fans are truly my fans because they like to read me, I might be more brazen in my attempt to lure them into the first pages, you know, something like: Read this book or die wishing you had.

CG- Writing a title is half the battle of a book for many. Bluff is pretty in your face as she fell from a bluff and now she is where she is and what she is because of this. However, from everything I have read from your blogging and other interviews I am betting there is more to it than that, care to share?

BLUFF is a double entendre. When you read it, you will understand that it means much more than a cliff. It actually captures the overall theme that no one who is they claim to be, and everyone is lying.

CG- One of the things you talk about with your writing, which you mention in your bio is your themes involving the bigger issues with “the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence” Your bio is what sold your book not your book synopsis, though it helped too

 

Seriously? Well, I guess that’s a real compliment. Yeah, I have this fascination with picking apart difficult topics and examining the human interactions and feelings in minute detail. Face it, we all experience the fundamentals of being a human being: pain, loss, joy, false ego, deception, greed, lust and longing. My particular interest is in being able to capture all of these and write it in a way that will resonate with my readers. I am constantly examining responses with all my senses to find the commonalities. Even if the event that frames those resulting emotions and reactions is completely foreign to a reader, my belief and hope is that it will ring true with them because they can totally relate to the responses. And perhaps from that, we will all come to understand that nothing but circumstance really separates us in this world.

CG-If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters? (some have a huge cast, so say no more than five, I am thinking many would be able to do at least one, you do have one character right?)

  • Why? (yes you are going to have to support that choice)
  • Write one line or a couple of paragraphs from the book you would love for him/her to hear them say. (obviously with this book it would be a really cool movie it would be a voice over or a scene being played in her head.. oh I do not know I have not finished the book!! Give it a whirl!!)

Noomi Rapace should play Jude. Just look at her! She IS Jude. It’s not that I had her in my head when I wrote the part—but when I saw her in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Swedish version, I just knew this was what Jude looked like. I would want her to do one of the flashback scenes with her mother, Gay. In this excerpt, “I” is “Jude,” and it’s actually more the acting I want to see then the reading of the lines.

 

“What? What did you say?” I called out.

“You heard me, Miss Jude.” The cubes in her in glass clinked. Like a cowbell, it signaled she was on the move. Damn, she’s coming into the kitchen. I kept my head buried in the fridge, the cool air pushing against my face and neck, momentary respite from the hot anger searing through my spine.

“The prom? You and what fine young man might be going—to—the—prom?”

Behind me now, she punctuated her words, her sarcasm drilling a hole in my back. Oh, we had been here before, she and I. It was to the point where the vodka numbed her tongue and would soon derail her logical thought off a deadly precipice, sending her emotions and this conversation careening into the abyss of irrationality. The point of no return and one that Mother and I had fallen off together, yes, so many times before. In some macabre, perverse way, I was an eager participant, happy to fuel the engine’s fires.

“Well, Gay,” I pivoted around, Coke can in hand, pointing it rudely in the direction of her face. “Since you clearly feel I owe you a response, here it is: No, I’m not going to the prom.”

I backhanded the refrigerator door shut with a whoosh to punctuate my pronouncement, and pushed past her toward the counter, with a swagger swelled by feeble hope that my bold move would sufficiently end the conversation.

But she blocked me, her face set, lips pursed and eyes smoldering black. I squelched my natural response to wince. Here it comes. She swayed a little in a boozy breeze.

“Stop calling me by my first name. I am your mother. And I expect respect, Miss Jude.” Her voice crescendoed with her last words.

“You think you are so perfect, don’t you? Look at you,” she continued. She glared at me now, snide in her rampage. “You think you’re so smart. Don’t you? Hmm? You think you are—so—smart.”

I stood there, a few feet away, and took the assault silently, as I’d learned to do while still a child, knowing that any word, any response at all, positive, negative, thoughtful or coarse, would only inflame the tirade.

We were on the runaway train now, and the precipice was clearly in sight.”

Brian Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle” and “Breaking Bad”) is definitely Paul. He even looks like the character in my mind’s eye. He can easily switch from the nerdy, nice guy to the hardened killer, something that would be essential in the actor who plays the lead male role in BLUFF. Again, I would love to see the acting, not so much the recitation of the lines in this scene.

“Lately, despite his acceptance of those things that created the sum total of his life, those things he couldn’t change, he had become increasingly antsy. And with that, The Review started to creep in at the most unlikely times. Like this morning, like right now, like right before work.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” his wife called to him from the hallway. “Why are you moving so slowly? The kids are already in the car.”

He tucked his shirt into his trousers and buckled his belt. As he slid on his shoes, he reached down to dust off the tips carefully with his thumb. His head pounded as he stood back up. A wave of nausea overcame him.

“I’m coming.” He sighed again. Why don’t they just take the bus? It was fine with her that they took it home from school so she didn’t have to pick them up. Why not relieve him of the early morning task?

“You’re hungover, aren’t you?” Her smarmy look was visible from the doorframe. She looked well-rested. Never too much booze for Mary Shannon, he thought miserably. They had been at a dinner party the night before, something he never enjoyed. He had spent the night drinking and watching most of her phony friends talk about nothing. For the majority of it, he sat on the edge of a bookshelf talking to the bartender and nursing martinis.

“You only have yourself to blame, Paul,” she said, leaning onto the doorjamb, her bright blond hair cut short around her face, rimless glasses framing her eyes that drilled into him.

Mary Shannon liked to be right.

“You do this to yourself. Really you do. There were plenty of your friends there to socialize with. You act so antisocial. You make yourself unhappy. I really do think that. Now come on.”

She started to turn away.

“Mary, have you ever wondered if you were dead?”

She stopped and wheeled back at him. Was that a glimmer of understanding in her eyes?

“Stop talking stupid.” She headed down the hall with a brisk step, heels clicking on the oak floor. The clicking stopped, as she turned before the staircase.

“You know what your problem is, Paul? You forget. Your life is good. You have a lot to be thankful for.”

Chloe SevignyFinally, I would love, love, love to see Chloe Sevigny (“Big Love,” “Boys Don’t Cry”) as Mary Shannon—her roles are as diverse, but she can play a bitch better than just about any actress out there. A bitch, with a heart that is.

“No, Mary, no,” Paul yelled as they walked from the car into the kitchen after a silent trip home. “You can’t turn this around. You can’t help him. Things have gone way out of control and we can’t fix it. You got that?”

She cowered. There was no fight left in her. The discovery of the gun, despite Paul’s reassurance that it was gone and back in the hands of its rightful owner, had unnerved her. Guns scared the hell out of her. They were a staple of some of the rank-and-filers from her street days. More than once she had been held at gunpoint and robbed by some dope head pumped up on junk. Her money, earned the hard way. Gone.

The rain was falling harder now and she blessed it. Summer rain was a wonderful break in the August humidity. And the perfect cover for her in this part of town. Cars passed slowly in this part of town where the rundown houses were cheaply thrown together and neglected, and where her granny used to call “the poor people” lived.

She knew all too well about this part of town. There were plenty of these parts of town all over the country, all identical no matter where you were geographically-rural, urban, down south, up north, industrial town or one-horse village-not much was different when it came to poorville.

She knew about this part of town, several states away. She landed in this part of town right after she turned legal. Yes, Mary Shannon was very, very familiar. But it didn’t mean she liked being here. That was her past. Thank God, Paul didn’t know.

Another one of those little secrets he pestered her about, but he was so stupid. What did he think knowing her secrets would do? Bring us closer? Hah.

If he did know, he would leave her in a second. If he had known, he would have never, ever married her.

If he knew about her present, he would hate her guts.

She laid her head against the steering wheel. Dammit!”

CG-If your book was to be woven into a tapestry or created into a piece of clothing, what color schemes, or cloth or images do you see, what style, or fashion, how would we wear your book?

It would be an enormous winter coat, rich in textures of varying cloths and the colors of deep winter on the outside, and late fall on the inside, since the theme is really the closing seasons of our lives. This coat would be voluminous, one you could twirl in, with at least 10 yards of fabric. The outside would be dark greens, cobalt blue, deep Vienna brown, jet black, touches of inky purple. And on the inside, which could only be seen as you move and spin, the resplendent colors of autumn would peek out. Burnt orange, rampant red, butter yellow, with some touches of sequins and embroidery. It would move like the waves of the lake as you move and the loose, over-sized hood could cover the face and identity of the wearer to add mystery and implied duplicity.

CG- Your bio says you want us to eat your books… “savor them on your tongue”. You have several books, but with this particular book, Bluff if it was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light novoue cousine? (I do a recipe with many of my authors this maybe an opportunity for you to share a recipe you think could go along with this?)

Yes, I do want you to eat my books, figuratively. But as a foodie, may I suggest something else since man cannot live by paper alone? For this book, because of it’s complexities and darker themes, I have chosen a complex recipe that on the surface may not appeal to the average person, but one bite will hook her.

Quick Coq au Vin

Quick Coq au Vin

photo credit José Picayo

(Bon Appétit  | October 2010 | by the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen)

 

  • 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
  • 8 large shallots, peeled, halved through root end
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  •  1 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Syrah)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm.
  2. Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; toss 10 seconds. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, bacon, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour in small cup.
  3. Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

FAST and FUN FACTS (first thing that comes to mind *clicking stopwatch* GO!!)

  • On the Rocks or Blended? Both.
  • Coke or Pepsi? Neither, they’re both bad for you. A martini.
  • East Coast or West Coast? East Coast
  • To Be or Not to Be? Not to be.
  • Roller Coasters or Carousels? Coasters for sure followed by a walk through the funhouse.
  • At the movies or DVD? Movies and Broadway.
  • Ocean or Lake? Lake.
  • Duck or Goose? Duck.
  • Scooby Doo or Snoopy? Cujo. (go figure..roflmao awesome)
Cujo, man's best friend

FINAL THOUGHTS

CG-What are you working on now?

I am writing the sequel to BLUFF as we speak during NaNoWriMo. My second novel, Third Willow, is finished and will be released in mid- January. Totally different book—but it’s so beautiful, you will want to stick the pages in your mouth and suck on them.

CG- I know social media is a hard wall to break through, what has been the easiest for you to work with?

None of it. I still don’t get Twitter at all. If it weren’t for Novel Publicity, I would be lost; completely and utterly, floating around cyberspace with no lifeline to the mother ship.

CG- If the apocalypse happened tomorrow. What would your last meal be?

Drinks for the Apocalypse

A vodka martini with a twist, a selection of imported cheeses and liver pate; glass of your finest Pinot Noir with a New York Strip (medium rare), tossed gorgonzola salad, Idaho baked potato with Lurpak butter, lightly steamed asparagus, followed by a latte with a double chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream. Now I’m hungry.

Lenore Skomal's last meal before the apocalypse

BLUFF by Lenore Skomal

BLUFF

Literary Fiction, transgressive fiction, psychological thriller

 The stage is set when we first meet Jude Black, a 40-year old comatose patient being kept alive by medical intervention. Told in part from her fascinating vantage point in the in-between twilight place caught between life and death, the plot unfolds around her mysterious fall off a bluff and circumstances surrounding her pregnancy as well as the complications it creates with two families whose lives will be, unbeknownst to them, intertwined.

No one except comatose Jude knows who fathered her unborn child and how she got pregnant in the first place, because she is gay. There is also the looming question about the circumstances surrounding Jude’s fall, which has left her brain dead and immobile. From her hospital bed, Jude becomes the focal point, listening to secrets shared by those fighting to adopt her unborn child if she doesn’t come out of her coma.

Drama ensues as a network of lies is revealed and catches up with each those close to Jude as she draws closer to giving birth. Everyone has to face the inevitable: A decision must be made whether to pull the plug and essentially end Jude’s life or keep her on life-sustaining equipment in the hopes that she will regain consciousness.

Several unexpected plot twists are artfully sewn into the fabric of this novel to keep the reader riveted. While embroidered with the intricacies of subplots, at the core of this poignantly-written novel is the study of a misunderstood and tragic woman who finds peace, acceptance and love on her deathbed—not only from those around her, but from herself as well.

Lenore SkomalLenore Skomal wants you to eat her books, especially her new novel, BLUFF, which you order here. She wants you to chew them in your teeth, savor them on your tongue, breathe them in, and feel her words in your skin. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She finds ecstasy in constructing a perfect sentence and responds willingly to the nagging ache in her heart to create an authentic experience for the reader. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others.

Lenore Skomal

Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, over 17 books published, a daily blog and weekly column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer’s Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message.

As a member of the world community, she is excited by the opportunities presented in today’s publishing climate having started her own publishing imprint in 2011 in order to release her anthologies and her upcoming debut novel, “BLUFF.” Check out her website at www.lenoreskomal.com.

Connect with Lenore

WEBSITE  GOODREADS  BLOG  FACEBOOK  TWITTER LINKEDIN

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One Comment

  1. “swearing colorful and anatomically outlandish curses at my computer,” – one more reason I adore Lenore!

    And I can conquer on wanting to suck on 3rd Willow. I read the final draft and oh my god. It’s not my usual kind of book, but it’s so exquisitely written and beautiful you never want it to end.

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