Right Back Where We Started From Book Trailer

Filed under: RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 7:01 am on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

My book has a book trailer! MARCIA made it for me! She is the best!

Interview By The Petaluma Argus-Courier

Filed under: RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 2:19 pm on Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Petaluma Argus-Courier interviewed me about Right Back Where We Started From! Check out: Longtime Petaluma journalist debuts first novel

I Was Illustrated

Filed under: Joy's Work,Personal — Administrator at 1:50 pm on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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Check out this illustration of me in the Spring 2021 issue of Alta!

The Curious Reader By Mental Floss

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:41 pm on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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So happy to have contributed to The Curious Reader by Mental Floss!

It’s full of facts about authors and their books, from Jane Austen to JRR Tolkien. From the publisher:

Readers rejoice From Mental Floss, an online destination for more than a billion curious minds since its founding in 2001, comes the ultimate book for lovers of literature. From Americanah to War and Peace, from Chinua Achebe and Jane Austen to Jesamyn Ward and George R.R. Martin, learn surprising facts about the world’s most famous novels and novelists.

Really interesting to peruse and easy to digest. Read more about The Curious Reader here.

Opening My Book!

Filed under: Personal,RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 1:34 pm on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

I’m writing this on June 8th. Right Back Where We Started From came out on May 4th. It has been over a month now, and I can finally breathe a little after this whirlwind. Promoting and publishing a debut novel is intense.

One of the best experiences so far was the moment writers always dream about, when you open the box from your publisher and pull out the book. It was quite surreal. Here are a couple of pictures of me holding my book for the first time:

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Note the painting I’m sitting under. It’s by the artist M. Maxwell. Kyle and I bought the painting years ago because it reminded us of Vira, the grandmother in Right Back Where We Started From. It seemed appropriate to be sitting under her severe gaze while pulling out the book for the first time.

The Storyboards Of My Novel

Filed under: RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 12:38 pm on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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These storyboards have been kicking around my office for 9 years now. I used them to structure my novel, Right Back Where We Started From. I’ve often considered throwing the boards out, but never did. For a long time it seemed like my book wasn’t going to be published, so the storyboards became the only physical evidence that the novel exists. (If you want to read why my book, which I finished in 2012, is coming out now in 2021, check out my essay in LitHub.)

Right Back Where We Started From is a multi-generational saga that weaves through time, starting in the California Gold Rush with stops in World War II San Francisco, 1906 Healdsburg, and 1930s Hollywood, among others. I used the storyboards to figure out the order of the chapters.

For each draft, I’d print a list of scenes, cut them out, lay them on the floor, and move them around until I had an order I thought might work. Then I’d tape them to the boards as a guide to edit the book. As I finished each scene, I gave myself a sticker, much the way a third-grade teacher would reward a student who did well on a test. Earning the sticker meant I could move on to the next scene. I did this over and over until it was no longer necessary to move the scenes around, and the structure was set.

Now that my book is out in the world, a physical object that I can look at, I don’t need the storyboards anymore. But I wanted to write a blog post about them anyway. They’re like old friends that offered support when I needed it the most.

Alta: Interviews and Excerpt of Right Back Where We Started From

Filed under: Joy's Work,RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 12:11 pm on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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Alta Magazine has been so supportive of Right Back Where We Started From! They featured me on Alta Live and ran an excerpt of the novel, which you can read here.

They also did an interview with me about ambition, creativity, and the California dream. Check it out here.

Thank you so much, Alta!

USA Today Article: Is It Finally Time To Turn Against Workaholism?

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 11:38 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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For USA Today, I wrote an article about the consequences of hustle culture and its roots in the California Gold Rush. Excerpt:

Whether it’s called hustle culture or toxic productivity, workaholism is now mainstream. For the past few years, the idea of “rise and grind 24/7″ has infected American life. People are working extreme schedules, forfeiting weekends, relationships and even sleep to attain success. It’s the newest incarnation of the American dream, the belief that if you hustle now, later you can enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and astronomical achievement. You too can become Bill Gates or Oprah, if you just work hard enough.

However, the pandemic ground much of hustle culture to a halt. For many, there was nothing to do for months but look at personal and societal problems that could no longer be covered by a busy schedule.

Read the rest here.

LitHub Essay: All in the Timing

Filed under: Joy's Work,RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 11:29 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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For Literary Hub, I wrote an essay called All in the Timing: On Publishing a Novel Nine Years After Giving Up on It. It’s the publishing story of my novel, Right Back Where We Started From, which I finished way back in 2012.

Excerpt:

This May, my first novel, Right Back Where We Started From, will be published nine years after I gave up and put it in a drawer. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the book, which I’d labored on for much of the aughts. While writing, I poured my fear of failure into the novel, as well as questions about success: Why does American ambition, which turns so many people into workaholics, seem both poisonous and attractive to me? Where does my constant urge to work come from? Every day I struggled with discouragement, yet I put off life events, like having a child, to write a book. I put off spending time with friends. I set aside other creative projects and spent years looking at the same story from every angle. By the time I finished the book in 2012, the emotional investment was deep.

Read the rest here.

Article: Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal

Filed under: Joy's Work,Nonfiction — Administrator at 8:44 am on Saturday, April 17, 2021

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For Mental Floss, I wrote about a juicy 1930s Hollywood scandal involving Mary Astor’s Purple Diaries.

It’s one of the first Hollywood sex scandals–plus it inspired part of my novel, Right Back Where We Started From, which starts in 1930s Hollywood and has a Scarlet Diary and a controversial starlet in it.

Check out 10 Juicy Facts About Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal.

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