Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mancode: Exposed by Rachel Thompson Blog Tour Guest Post/Interview

***You will either LOVE this controversial book or you will HATE it. If you have no sense of humor, DO NOT BUY IT.***

‘I’m over forty. I don’t have a blankie. I have vodka.’

Note: this is not a book of advice, how-to, or self-help. The author deconstructs stereotypes with satire. Totally different concept.

‘I write about men, women, sex, & chocolate. My experiences, my truth, my martinis.’

*Note: Thompson employs hashtags (i.e., the # sign) in her collection. Google it. These are not typos, people #deargod.

Looking for a humorous take on family relationships or love and romance? Look no further.

Praise for The Mancode: Exposed – already a #1 bestseller in Marriage, Parenting & Families AND Parenting & Relationships!

–As a long time warrior in the Battle of the Sexes, I would’ve won a lot more skirmishes had I had a copy of Mancode in my saddle. Reaching back toward my shotgun, I would’ve found this collection. Instead of shooting the man, I could’ve said, “Stop acting like a man!” Buy Mancodeand stop wasting bullets. ~ Beth Wareham, author Power of No

–Finally! A woman who gets what I’m going through every day, from that whole spitting thing to my deep abiding love for chocolate. Well done! ~ Amber Scott, author of #1 Kindle bestsellers IRISH MOON, FIERCE DAWN, WANTED

–Mancode: Exposed is a scathingly funny, rapid fire and heartfelt look at men. Author Rachel Thompson delivers a satirical piece that invokes strong shades of Penny Marshall and Seth McFarlane. ~ Casey Ryan, Host & Creator, Cutting Room Floor radio program

3 Top Challenges Non-Fiction Writers Face
By Rachel Thompson

Write something you’d never show your mother or father ~ Lorrie Moore, author.

As a nonfiction essayist, I basically write short stories that are not stories in the classical sense; it’s more my views on the experiences I’ve had or observed in others. I’ve been writing all types of pieces since I was a child, but now I mostly wrote short stories, journals, or articles (though I am working on an literary erotica anthology and a new work of fiction). Writing nonfiction comes easy to me.

There are three basic challenges I face in this genre:

1. Most people love fiction (me, too!)
2. Criticism for sharing intimate moments
3. Marketing issues
Let’s deconstruct. 
Fiction: Most readers are looking for an escape. Why do you think Romance is the number one selling genre? It’s like Disney all grown up, with sex and stuff. 
As a nonfiction writer, I still get to write about that stuff (if I choose), but getting people to look at my books can be a real challenge, when what they’re really after is the next Fifty Shades of Whatever. 
On the other hand, there have never been as many blogs as there are now – that says something very intriguing to me about what people want to read. We DO want real stories; we DO want real characters; we DO relate to universal truths. 

Which leads me to my next point…

Criticism: When I wrote my first book A Walk In The Snark, I wanted to show the arc of comedy to tragedy. I never planned the book to be all humor--just more my take on different life situations; but then it just so happened during the writing of it an ex-lover tragically killed himself. I used my writing as a way to express the shock and grief I felt over his death. Always a survivor, the word took on a decidedly different meaning after that.
I expect people to not like my work, because these are my experiences, opinions, and books, right? Not to take away from the many people who loved it (and reached out to me privately as survivors themselves); to have touched them in a way that made them both laugh and cry is extraordinarily meaningful to me. 

And yet…some people felt I exploited his death for sympathy, to sell more books, to make more money. And they are certainly entitled to think that. And that’s okay. But I think, for any nonfiction writer, we have to know that people will object to our content, particularly if their values are different. A nonfiction writer, or any writer really, needs to know that people will have opinions about our truth.
(Interestingly, my next book is not humor at all. It’s about the arc, if you will, many women (including me) experience as we grow: fear, desire, love, loss, grief, and then, trust and deeper love.) 
Marketing: You’d think that marketing nonfiction books would be easier than fiction, but I find it difficult at times (and I’m a marketer, too!). In fiction, you have characters and a story line people latch onto. In nonfiction, I basically become the main character by default; ergo, everything I say and do creates a persona that people assume is real. For example, I mention Prada shoes in my book as a literary device for something women desire, which people instead, took quite literally. 

Again, that’s okay. I’m not here to defend myself to anyone. My point is that finding my brand, understanding what naturally drives and interests me, is what I endeavor to convey to people. And sometimes I fail, clearly. But when you’re marketing your books about personal experiences, it can be hard to be objective.
That’s why I recommend every writer have critique partners, a great editor, proofreader, graphic artist, and formatter (unless you know how to do that). 

Allow people to help you through these challenges. In the end, we’re all better off for it.

Engage in the difficult work – I’m not saying take shortcuts because letting others help you takes courage and last time I checked, asking for feedback is never, ever easy.
In good work, there are no shortcuts. 
Image of Rachel ThompsonINTERVIEW:1. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

My maternal grandmother and grandfather (since they’ve both passed) so I could introduce them to my children; Steve Martin because he’s brilliant; John Irving and Lorrie Moore; David and Amy Sedaris. Wait, that’s 7. Oh well. 

2. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Does family count as a thing? Okay, then my family. A generator. A satellite phone. (The last two are awfully boring and practical, I know. But hey, I watched LOST).

3. What is one book everyone should read? 

The World According To Garp by John Irving. It’s got everything: love, sadness, romance, death, parenting, sports…honestly, how can anyone not want to read it?

4. If you were a superhero what would your name be? 

Nutella Girl

5. If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 

I want to twitch my nose like Bewitched and have dinner made, home clean, kids bathed, and my next book written. Does that make me a witch? Er, oops.

6. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 


7. Night owl, or early bird? 

Definitely night owl. Mornings and I do not get along.
8. One food you would never eat? 

Anything that’s not normally thought of as food: bugs, cats or dogs, etc. That’s just disgusting. 
9. Pet Peeves? 

When people spell a lot as alot. Do they not know? This is a total mystery. Well, that and why coconut exists. Blech. (Someone once called it tongue hair, which I think describes it so well.) 

10. Skittles or M&Ms? 

Mmmm. Chocolate.

11. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 

Well, I have two books and my third comes out in a few months; I write with pure honesty, which is meant to pull out emotions we don’t acknowledge. (Is a semi-colon ok?)

12. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

Besides my next book, Broken Pieces, I’m also working with author Pavarti K. Tyler and my editor, Jessica Swift Eldridge, on a literary erotica anthology. Then comes my next book in the Chronicles of Snark trilogy, titled Chickspeak: Uncovered.
13. What inspired you to want to become a writer? 

When I was nine, my fourth grade teacher read us The Secret Garden. That was it. I was hooked. 

14. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 

In my first book, A Walk In The Snark, I write about love, loss, relationships, etc. I also share my grief upon finding out a former lover committed suicide. One of my readers contacted me privately to share their grief when they suddenly lost their spouse the same way. That was when I knew I had done the right thing.

15. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 

I’m still pretty obsessed with Poe’s album Haunted. Her songs Control and Amazed are my favorites.
16. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 

Just do it. We can always find excuses not to, but if you love writing, you can’t help it. It pours out of you. Edit later. Just get it down.

17. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 

Italy; but I’d have to be able to also eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight, a la Defending Your Life.

18. What's the best advice anyone has ever given you? 

I quote Lorrie Moore a lot: ‘Write something you’d never show your mother or father.’ It’s incredibly freeing.
19. Hidden talent? 

Piano. I took for eight years. 

20. Favorite Food? 

Anything ethnic: Asian, Indian, Mexican. You get the idea.

21. Favorite Candy? 


22. How do you react to a bad review? 

Just move on. Don’t take it personally. I think 1-stars actually give validity to our work. I don’t like everyone I meet just as they won’t like me. Why should books be any different? Free speech, man. AND: people are reading my work. Always a plus!

23. You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? 

A room of my own for writing. Where nobody can bother me!

24. Which authors have influenced you most & how? 

Lorrie Moore for sure – she’s a brilliant short story author. And David Sedaris – he writes what we really think but are afraid to say, in ways that make you laugh and cry.

25. What do you do in your free time? 

Read. Kinda boring, I know.

26. What's your favorite season/weather? 

Fall. Love the leaves changing and bundling up to stay warm.

27. What is your guilty pleasure? 

It’s a toss up between a perfect dirty martini and … no, that’s about it.

28. What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit? 

I love the British show, Skins. It’s real, the kids are messed up, the parents are even worse -- but it’s awesome.

29. Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is...

The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Brilliant book; horrible movie. I reread it every year.
30. Favorite places to travel? +


31. Favorite music? 

Rock. All forms. And soundscores (the music that accompanies a film), especially by Thomas Newman. Everything he writes is amazing.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Humor / NonFiction
Rating – PG13
Connect with Rachel Thompson on Twitter & Facebook

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