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Book Blurb & Info
Heartbroken, Jordan seeks solace in boozing it up with her motley crew of friends: Dean, an overweight, lovelorn librarian, Genna, a banker on a perpetual search for Mr. Right, and Iris, a single mother who views parenthood as somewhere between a part-time job and a hobby. Jordan bitterly swears off men and relationships to focus on her art and her budding alcoholism. Then she meets Louis.
Louis Avery is a twenty-year-old artist and devout Catholic with movie-star looks and “an ass like Brad Pitt.” Jordan falls hard for Louis, who enjoys her affections but strives to concentrate on his paintings and remain chaste, much to Jordan's chagrin. When Louis announces a plan to move to the wilds of Alaska to live “the natural life," Jordan hatches a desperate, hilarious plan to convince him to stay.
"Thanks, That Was Fun" is a frantic modern love story with laugh-out-loud dialogue and compelling characters that remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
“Compelling and laugh-out-loud funny. The whip-smart dialogue, sharply drawn characters and unconventional ending make it a satisfying read for anyone who is single, heartbroken, in love, or in between.” -- S. Parker Ross, author of "City Zen"
"...like gossiping with your closest girlfriends over a bottomless glass of wine. The characters are well-developed and the plot oddly suspenseful. I read it in two sittings, mesmerized by Nash’s ability to illustrate a very complicated and emotional time in this young woman’s life, without pontification and with plenty of humor." --Angela Weldon
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Amazon US: Thanks, That Was Fun
Amazon UK: Thanks, That Was Fun
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“You’re on your own tonight, sis,” I tell her, scanning the gallery. “I don’t recognize anyone here. They must all be Herron people.”
“Look, there’s the Skipper.” Iris deadpans, pointing with her glass at a rotund, white-haired man in a black turtleneck. He’s clutching a whisky glass in his fat fingers and talking enthusiastically to a skinny blonde, who looks like she’d rather be receiving an enema.
Iris cranes her neck, searching the room for Genna.
“I don’t see Genna--oh Jesus, are those elbow patches on that jacket?”
I follow her gaze past the Skipper, where a lanky man in a turd-colored corduroy blazer is standing with his back to us, chatting with a pale redhead.
“Yep, those are elbow patches. He’s going for that junior college professor look, I think.”
“Lord, the fashion crimes you see at these things.” Iris shudders. “That’s gonna drive me to drink.” She swallows the last of her wine.
I can’t put my finger on it, but something about the guy in the corduroy jacket seems eerily familiar. It’s something in his stance and demeanor, something that’s giving me a déjà vu feeling in the pit of my stomach. I raise my wineglass to my lips, obscuring my face from view as I squint across the room, trying to get a better look at him.
“Jordan, what are you staring at?” I hear Iris say.
I take a large swallow of Merlot just as the corduroy guy turns to the woman on his left, giving me a full view of his profile.
“Holy shit!” I gasp, sucking wine into my windpipe.
“Are you okay?” Iris says, thumping me on the back. “Jesus, what happened?”
“That guy over there, I used to go out with him,” I stage-whisper.
“The corduroy jacket,” I say.
“Patches?” Iris cackles loudly. “You used to go out with him?”
“Shhhhhhh!” I hiss. “That’s Mark. I’ve told you about Mark before,”
“Mark,” Iris repeats blankly. “Oh, Mark,” she nods slowly. “Yeah, weren’t you like, majorly in love with him at one point?”
“I can’t believe he’s here,” I say, ignoring her question. “This is too weird.”
“What, seeing him at an art opening?” Iris says. “Why is that weird? Do you know how many men I’ve slept with in this room?”
This revelation prompts concerned looks from two women admiring a nearby glass vase.
“Say that a little louder. I don’t think everyone heard you,” I tell her.
Iris stares openly at Mark while I cringe behind her.
"I hate to break it to you, but he’s not cute at all. I don’t see why you’re freaking out,”
“It just caught me off guard,” I say, “I haven’t seen him in two years.”
“Are you going to talk to him?”
“What am I going to say?”
“I don’t know…ask him why he’s wearing my father’s corduroy jacket from 1983."
“Shut up. You’re not helping anything,” I take a slow drink from my glass, trying to steady myself.
“You’re shaking like a crackhead!” says Iris. “I don’t believe you. Just grow some balls and go over there.”
“I can’t. I don’t want him to think I noticed him first,”
“Oh my God,” Iris rolls her eyes. “Jordan, it’s happened. You are officially lame.”
Genna reappears then, a bemused smile on her face.
“Okay, number one, where did you and the waiter run off to, and number two, how big is he?” Iris says.
“Number one, we were over by that steel sculpture-which is his-and number two,” Genna pauses, shooting a disdainful glance at Iris, “I have no idea. He has a wedding ring, anyway.”
“So?” Iris shrugs.
Genna cocks her head. “No. Uh-uh. I am not about to be the other woman,”
“If it’s not you, honey, it’ll be someone else,” says Iris, shaking her head.
“This argument sounds mighty familiar,” I say, rolling my eyes at both of them.
“You guys are tight-asses,” Iris proclaims. “I need a cigarette.”
“Hold on, I’ll join you in a minute,” I say, looking over her shoulder at Mark, who is now engaged in an animated conversation with Ty and his big Afro.
Iris huffs, tossing her head in frustration.
“Oh, come on, I’m not standing around with my thumb up my ass until that dork notices you.”
“What dork?” asks Genna.
“Mark’s here,” I tell her.
“Mark who?” she says loudly.
“Shhhhhh!” I hiss, and Iris cackles.
“Remember, the massage therapist?” I say.
“The one who was really good in bed?” Genna asks, eyes wide. “Wasn’t he an asshole or something?”
“Of course he was an asshole. Jordan dated him,” Iris says.
Genna and I both look at her.
“Excuse me, I think you’re the one with the asshole fetish, hon.” I say.
“Yeah, one word: Frank,”
Iris just shakes her head.
“I’m going for a smoke. Screw you both."
Genna turns back to me.
“Well, where is he?” she asks excitedly.
“He’s over there in the brown jacket, talking to the dude with the ‘fro.”
Genna squints in his direction.
“That’s Mark?” she asks, looking puzzled.
“Okay, I know. He’s not George Clooney.”
“No, he’s kinda cute.” Genna said. She looks at me, then back over at Mark. “He’s cute in that nerdy sort of way that you go for.”
“Yeah,” I agree, smiling wistfully.
“So are you going to talk to him?”
I hesitate. “I think so. I’m nervous, though.”
“Have some more wine."
“Yeah, liquid courage. That’s what I need.” I look around for the waiter. “Where’s your man?”
“I dunno. Maybe refilling his tray. Do you want me to go get you a glass?”
“That’d be great,” I say, still not wanting to move.
“Okay, I’ll be back. Deep breaths."
I watch Genna’s retreating form, chewing my nails, then turn and pretend to study the giant stone vagina.
“Well, how are you doing, young lady?”
I turn, startled, to stare into the big red face of the Skipper.
“Good,” I manage to gasp.
“Oops, sorry-didn’t mean to frighten you there,” he chuckles, and reaches out to squeeze my forearm. I look down at his hand, wondering why I’m being groped by the doppelganger of a dead sitcom star.
“Oh, that’s okay, you didn’t,” I say, laughing artificially along with him.
He studies me, his eyes narrowing.
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
Oh good Lord. What a time for one of these. I try to force another weak smile, knowing for sure that at least I’d never slept with the guy.
“Um,” I fumble. Okay, elderly artsy guy, I think, searching for a possible connection. “Do you-know my mother?” I ask.
He looks vaguely insulted. “Ed O’Malley,” says the Skipper. “I monitored the Stone Sculpture class last spring.”
“Oh! Oh, I’m sorry.” Okay, now I’m remembering him. He used to leer at me creepily when I would go in to check on the Wednesday night Stone class. “I, uh-I guess I just didn’t recognize you without your safety goggles.”
The Skipper coughs out a loud, wheezy laugh, and I fidget with my glass uncomfortably.
“I was actually working on this piece during that time,” he says, gesturing toward the giant stone vagina. So this is his work. That makes sense.
“Yes, it’s very nice,” I say robotically.
The Skipper rubs his chin and looks at his masterpiece, then at me.
“You all by yourself tonight?” he asks my breasts.
I open my mouth to answer, scanning the room for Genna or Iris. They’re nowhere in sight.
“I’m here with some friends and my boy-“
Suddenly Mark is standing next to the Skipper, smiling at me with wonder and amazement.
“Hi,” I squeak.
He doesn’t answer right away; he just stands there for a moment in his brown corduroyed glory, his eyes crinkling up as he takes me in, grinning with approval. I stare back at him paralyzed.
"Lover, You Should've Come Over" -- Jeff Buckley
"God Help the Girl" -- God Help the Girl
"A Little Sugar in My Bowl" -- Nina Simone
"A Question of Time" -- Depeche Mode
"Trip Through Your Wires" -- U2
"Dancing Barefoot" -- Patti Smith
"Falling is Like This" -- Ani Di Franco
"Broken Hearted Savior" -- Big Head Todd and the Monsters
"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" -- Stars
"Disconnect the Dots" -- Of Montreal
"Flying High Again" -- Ozzy Osbourne
"Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" -- Elton John
"Sunday Morning Coming Down" -- Johnny Cash
"The Part You Throw Away" -- Tom Waits
"Thanks That Was Fun" -- Barenaked Ladies
Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new book Thanks, That Was Fun and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.
So first off, Thanks, That Was Fun Questions.......
In your own words, what is Thanks, That Was Fun about?
I guess the simplest way to explain the novel is it’s that a love triangle between Jordan, Mark, and Louis. But it’s not an equal triangle; Jordan is in madly in love with Mark, who isn’t the best candidate for a happily ever after sort of relationship, and furthermore, Mark doesn’t really love Jordan. But then Jordan meets and falls hard for Louis, who seems perfect at first but has his own issues that become clear as the story goes on. But Jordan is smitten anyway, so she pursues Louis, an ill-advised pursuit that takes her down a very strange road. So Thanks, That Was Fun is a love triangle, but an uneven love triangle (an obtuse love triangle, I guess) with lots of angst and a lot of tears and plenty of comedy. I like the old adage that comedy = tragedy + time. There is a lot of tragic comedy and comic tragedy in this book. The comedy makes it fun, but the tragedy makes it authentic.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
Thanks, That Was Fun first came into the world as a series of short stories called “Some Fantastic”, a title borrowed from a Barenaked Ladies song of the same name. I started writing Thanks in 2000 at the age of 27, when The Ladies’ seminal 1998 album Stunt was in heavy rotation on my CD player. I love that album, and it was so instrumental in my creative process. I mean, every single song on that album could have been ripped from my novel—it really awakened something in me. I had the whole story mapped out in just from the songs on that album—“I’ll Be That Girl,” “Light Up My Room,” “Alcohol,” “Some Fantastic,” “Never Is Enough” and “Call and Answer”—those songs really inspired me and the character of Jordan Lockhart (my protagonist) was born from those songs, the lyrics and the feelings they brought out in me. The funny thing was though, when I first put pen to paper, I didn’t know I was what I was doing. I just started writing these short vignettes inspired by those songs and then suddenly I was writing a novel.
I held tight to that title Some Fantastic because I love the song and I thought the lyrics fit so perfectly. When I began the editing process in 2008 (this novel was a long time coming; life, work, failed relationships, etc. kept getting in the way) my editor Scott Edelstein urged me to change the title of the novel. He felt “Some Fantastic” was too vague. The song “Some Fantastic” is about a person trying to convince a would-be lover that they’re the perfect mate, which is basically what Jordan is doing throughout the novel--first with Mark, then with Louis--but it’s not a well known song, and yeah, the title is pretty ambiguous. A novel called Some Fantastic could be about anything. So Scott asked me to write out a list of alternate titles and send them to him for review and I typed up this half-hearted list of possibilities—mostly song titles, because I draw a lot of inspiration from music and lyrics—I chose ones like “History Never Repeats” (Split Enz) and “Last American Exit” (Tragically Hip). I even had far-out titles like “Cross-Eyed and Painless” (a Talking Heads song) and “Lust To Love” (a Go-Go’s song). I mean, I really couldn’t find another title I connected with. At the last minute, I added “Thanks, That Was Fun,” which was a previously unreleased track off of the Barenaked Ladies compilation album All Their Greatest Hits. Anyway, I emailed the list to Scott and when I met with him later that week, he had the list printed out, with every single title scratched out, aside for the one at the bottom: “Thanks, That Was Fun.” He pointed to it and said, “This. This is the title of your book. It says everything you want to say.” And I thought about it a while, and decided he was right.
Is Thanks, That Was Fun a standalone book or will it be part of a series?
Thanks, That Was Fun was a standalone book until very recently. Over the summer, I started playing around with an idea in my head for a story involving Jordan and one of the other main characters in Thanks, and I finally decided that I wanted to write this story. It’s a continuation, picking up eight years after Thanks left off. Thanks was set in 2005, so the sequel—tentatively titled In Spite of Me—starts in the present day (2013). I’m having a great time with it so far, so I think it’s something that fans of Thanks will really enjoy.
What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in Thanks, That Was Fun?
I had a great time writing the party scene in Thanks. I’ve been to a lot of bad parties in my life, so it was fun to dream up the lamest, goofiest, most comically awful party scene and sort of drop Jordan right in the middle of it. It’s one of those situations that everyone can relate to; Jordan is too wasted to leave the party, but just sober enough to know that she’s trapped in what is probably her worst social nightmare come to life.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The scenes between Jordan and Mark were hard to write. They have this very visceral, animal-like attraction to one another, but there’s always something that gets in the way. Mark’s infatuation with Raina (his cute bisexual neighbor) is an obvious red flag—but then Jordan realizes that he’s got all these other things holding him back—his issues with women, his basic fear of love and commitment—and she is forced to realize that Mark is a no-win situation. Of course, by the time Jordan starts to lose interest in him, Mark is all intrigued by her rejection and it makes him want her more. That dance between two people who aren’t sure what they want—that come here/go away/come here dance—it’s a delicate thing to write.
Did anything memorable happen to you, that you wouldn't mind sharing, during the writing of this book?
In the first chapter, there is a scene that is pretty much a note-for-note retelling of something that happened to me. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but all the details are the same. And it’s a doozy of a scene.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?
I think it was Anne Lamott who said that you know you’re a writer when you can’t not write. That’s always been the case for me. I was about seven years old when I started writing in earnest, usually stories about girls and their horses (I was big into horses—Black Beauty was my favorite novel). Then it went on from there, lots of two-page short stories and 10-page “novels” that I’d shove under my bed when I was finished, because I was too shy to let anyone see what I wrote. Later, all throughout high school, I wrote a lot of really angsty poetry, furiously scribbled down in my notebook during study hall. After college, I started my own zine (I even had a few subscribers!) and I filled it with my own overwrought poetry, short stories, personal essays, and movie reviews. And then sometime in my late twenties, I started writing a series of vignettes that eventually became Thanks, That Was Fun.
I’m finally at a place right now where I don’t have to hold down a day job, so that’s nice. I make a point to write every day—usually I’ll start at about 8 or 9am and I’ll keep going for about three hours or so. Then I always have this mad burst of creative energy late at night, so I’ll stay up til the wee hours of the morning, just writing and writing until I have to stop. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m a writer, and that’s pretty much it. That’s what I was born to be, for better or worse.
What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?
If I’m working on something big like a short story or a novel, I keep it in the back of my mind as I go through my day and just let it percolate there. Then suddenly a scene or a paragraph or a bit of dialogue will pop into my head, and I’ll jot it down on a scrap of paper or a gum wrapper or whatever I can find in my purse, then transcribe it as soon as I can get to my laptop.
What are some of the elements in/of your writing process?
Insomnia, a bit of OCD, caffeine, and a laptop within reach. If I’m feeling blocked or stuck, I’ll usually curl up with a good book and read for a while, give the creative juices some time to start flowing again. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I think that’s helped my writing. I interviewed (author) Morgan Richter recently, and she said that anyone who wants to write needs to have two things: a good imagination and a love of reading. I totally agree.
Are you a Plotter or a Panster?
I used to be a big plotter. I thought I had to have the whole novel mapped out before me, complete with character cards and scene sketches detailing who is in what scene, what the purpose of the scene is, any symbolism used and what it really means….and so on and so on. That was a bad idea for an obsessive like me, because if I start intricately planning and outlining like that, I’ll never ever stop and I’ll never get any writing done. I was about a year into writing Thanks when I finally forced myself quit fooling around and go back to writing the darn thing already. Outlines and character cards and scene sketches are good reference materials for a writer to use, but it’s more important to go with your instincts, keep writing, and let the story flow through you.
What's next for you?
As I mentioned before, I’m working on a sequel to Thanks, tentatively titled In Spite of Me. I learned a lot writing my first novel, and my writing process is a lot more streamlined. I’ll be damned if this book takes me years and years to write, like the last one did! At the rate I’m going, I hope to be finished with it in January or February.
Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters in this book, who is your favorite character and why?
I’d have to say that Jordan is my favorite. She’s the main character, and so her thoughts, feelings, experiences, temper tantrums, etc. are the elements that drive the story forward. The novel is told from her point of view, so I really had to live inside her head, just as she lived inside mine. Although Jordan is not me, and I am not Jordan, I definitely feel closest to that character.
Anthony is a close second, as far as favorite characters go. He’s fun to write. And he has a big part in the sequel.
What actor do you envision playing your fave in a movie or TV adaption?
There is an actress called Leisha Hailey who I think would be perfect. She’s about the right age for Jordan, and I’ve seen her in a lot of roles playing these smart, funny, feisty characters. If Leisha Hailey weren’t available, I could go with Kate Hudson. I haven’t seen Kate Hudson take on a lot of challenging roles, though, so she’d really have to step up to the plate and dig deep if she wanted to play Jordan.
Are there any of your stories that hold a special place in your heart?
Definitely Thanks, since it’s my first novel. It’s like my baby. Like a ten-year-old baby that I had to really push and kick to get out of the nest.
If the book or series had to have a theme song, what would it be?
Obviously it would be Thanks That Was Fun—the Barenaked Ladies song. It’s perfect.
Lastly, let's steal an idea from the magazines
.....What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?
Five things about me:
- I hate onions
- I’m allergic to penicillin
- I’m obsessed with Mad Men
- I love documentaries about old Hollywood movie stars
- I’m a certified Reiki practitioner (Reiki is a Japanese energy healing technique)
- The first chapter started life as a very detailed journal entry in December, 1999.
- Jordan’s cat Sophie is named after a French pen pal I had at age 11.
- Cell phones do not figure heavily into the story, as they weren’t as ubiquitous in 1999/2000 (around the time I started writing the novel).
- Jordan’s favorite movie Manhattan is actually my second favorite movie (my first favorite movie is Annie Hall—see, I’m not like Jordan at all!)
- There was a character called Dan Crandall, a one-night-stand of Jordan’s who kept popping up throughout the novel for comic relief. Dan ended up getting cut completely from the final draft of Thanks on the advice of my editor, who felt the character was superfluous.
She is currently working on a sequel to Thanks, due out in early 2014.
She lives in Reno, NV with her husband and their two cats.