Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jessica Anya Blau's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....

Jessica Anya Blau
Would You Rather...

Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

Definitely my feet. I’d want my tongue to talk, eat, kiss—in between pages, of course.

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

Ompf, hmmmm, oy, this is a hard one. I want a long string of giant bestsellers. I want to be able to write no matter what.  And either of those scenarios would allow me that, so it’s a tie.

Would you rather be a well-known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

Now. Dead is dead. When I’m dead there will be no me to care about any of this!

Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

Obviously, you didn’t grow up in Southern California where we never parsed sentences or learned the parts of speech! I rather have a book where every sentence starts with a conjunction.

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

Audio in the background. I write with kids, a dog, husband, people, the phone, and friends constantly interrupting me. I’m used to background noise.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

One I truly believe in. I always feel like I’m on the verge of death, so I have a hard time writing things I don’t really want to write or don’t believe in.

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

Character. A hated character could be interesting.  A hated plot twist would be tedious to work around.

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

Blood as ink.  It would be less scarring.  I’m vain that way. I don’t want to be skinned.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

It seems that both have already happened in some sense since I use so much of my real life in my fiction.

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

without using punctuation and capitalization it would probably be easier for people to read, don’t you think

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

 Hmmmm, that’s funny. Teach my book. No, wait, banned.  No, taught. No, banned.

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

I definitely rather get hit on by Dylan Thomas. It would be a fun story to tell my friends and family. He looked a little like Don Knotts, didn’t he?

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

Ugh, oy, how awful
That would be but I would choose
Writing just because.

Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language that you can't read?

Definitely the series in the language I couldn't read.  I'd spend my lonely, isolated island time teaching myself the new language.  It would probably save my sanity--keep me from falling in love with a coconut or a monkey. 

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publically or never talk about it at all?

These are brutal questions!  I guess not talk about it.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

The voice in my head already narrates my every move and that’s fine by me, I just typed, while thinking that I’m typing, and typing what I’m thinking, and thinking what I’m typing . . . .

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

Is there anyone who is going to give up their computer? Show me that person! Of course I’d give up pens and paper. I believe I already have.

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or lying flat on your back?

Absolutely tippy-toes! Tippy-toes has energy, life-force, power.  Back is so . . . Bucket family, Christy Brown, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

Well, I’ve read to a room of naked people. But I’ve never read to others while I was naked. I rather have no one show up at a reading. In fact I rather have no one show up at a reading than read in a bathing suit to a packed room.

Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 

This week I’d have to say an excellent story because I’m running around so much that if the story is weak, I’ll instantly fall asleep.  If I were more rested, or even it it were the weekend, I might prefer the well-written one.

Last week, Ryan W Bradley asked Jessica:

Would you rather write a bad book that ends up with a great cover, or a great book that ends up with a bad cover?

Great book with a bad cover.  I'd be in good company (I don't like most of the Hemingway or Fitzgerald covers).

Check back next week to see what Sara Habein would rather
and see her answer to Jessica's question:

Would you rather write a bestseller anonymously, or a moderate-seller under your name. 
(And no one can ever find out that you wrote the bestseller!)

Jessica AnyaBlau’s newest novel, The Wonder BreadSummer was picked as one of Five Thrilling Summer Reads by NPR’s All Things Considered. In Believer magazine, Nick Hornby said The Wonder Bread Summer was, ”. . .  picaresque, properly funny, unpredictable, and altogether irrepressible . . . it made me so happy that after I'd read it, in two days flat, I bought everything I could find by the same author.” Jessica is also the author of the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer toHome, and the bestselling The Summerof Naked Swim Parties.


  1. I giggled my way throughout this whole interview :) Another great one!

  2. She definitely had a lot of fun with this one!

  3. I want to know more about reading to a naked audience!

  4. I hope I don't end up the only one who's willing to read in the buff, I'm gonna need some naked company...

  5. Pssst.... It's HabEIn. E-before-I in this case. ;)

    I am so looking forward to reading everyone's answers!