Josie Brown's New Book

Josie Brown is tackling marriage in her newest release Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (Downtown Press, June 1, 2010).

This is what Jackie Collins, yes the Jackie Collins, said about Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. "Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading."

Josie submitted herself to five questions about her new book, what she reads and her life as a writer.

1. What was your inspiration for Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives?
I live in a county (Marin County, in California) that has tremendous affluence. The stay-at-home moms are to a great extent well-heeled and well-toned, even more so than their nannies (LOL!). I thought it would be great to write a fish-out-of-water-story: not about a woman dropped into this Stepfordian "Ladies of the Flies" world, but a man: perhaps a Master-of-the-Universe type who is taken out of his element. In this case, after his wife deserts him, he has to survive in Suburbia. Of course, his trials and tribulations are seen through the eyes of my heroine.

2. Do you read as a writer or as a reader?
Ha! A bit of both! Surprisingly, what I read isn't necessarily what I write. I prefer the classics (Edith Wharton, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Theodore Dreiser) and of contemporary writers, I like strong stories about humanists, despite what might be considered written in a genre. My two best examples of this are Graham Greene, John LeCarre, adn Margaret Mitchel.

3. What’s the worst and best parts about being a writer for you?
The worst part: I don't like the fact that authors have to be marketers as well. I have a leg up, in the fact that I spent fifteen years in advertising before sidling into journalism, and then into fiction. But it's still a full-time job, even if you've only got one book coming out a year. To top it off, the distribution channels are changing constantly (the demise of the indie bookstore, the precariousness of the chain bookstore, the growth of the ebook...). Sadly, publishing as an industry is not as promotion-minded as other industries. In many cases, it's playing catch-up, as opposed to leading reader--and its authors--into the fray. In an ideal world, each author contracted would be seen as a brand, and marketed as such. S/He would be assigned a marketing manager, who would know the demographics and psychographics of the primary reading audience backward and forward. There would be cross promotion between the author's books, and products mentioned in the books. The author would not have to build and maintain his/her own "platforms" either the real or virtual worlds.

We are moving in that direction, because technology is dictating it, as is the survival of the industry as a whole. In the meantime, we authors have to do -- and be- it all: creator and marketer.
The best part: When you get to focus on the writing, and the process is in sync so that the characters and plot flows out of you.

4. If you could have written any book that’s already been written, which would it be?
Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell). It has EVERYTHING: Great characters, compelling story, spot-on research.

5. And, of course, what can readers expect from you next?
I have two works of fiction coming out in 2011: In the fall, you'll be able to get your hands on Extracurricular, a novel about a private school scandal precipitated by a family secret that goes back a generation.
I also have a novel coming out in April 2011 -- but because it hasn't been publicly announced yet, I can't give you the title. All I'll say is that it is funny and dark and about the choice women make in love, marriage, and family. Does that make you curious? I hope so...

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