Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interview with V. C. Chickering - Nookietown

I'm so pleased to present a debut author V. C. Chickering to my readers, her new book Nookietown looks like a lot of fun. See why she thinks Nookietown will be a "book club bombshell" and look for my review coming soon!

ISBN-13: 9781250064813
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2/23/2016
Length: 368 pp
Buy It: B&N/Amzon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


Recently divorced, 40-something single-mom, Lucy, is lonely, bored and craving physical connection. So, when her trusted long-time married friend, Nancy, begs Lucy to sleep with her husband to save her marriage, Lucy goes for it. It's such a success, the two friends invent a town-wide underground barter system whereby Nancy's married girlfriends sub-contract Lucy's divorcee friends to sleep with their husbands so they don't have to as often. It's a win, win, win- for a while. Then it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.
Laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally provocative and at times racy, Nookietown is a story of risk-taking, marriage, honesty and desire, and what one woman rationalizes in order to get what she wants.

Excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press: 

Chapter 1

“I just. Want. To get. Laid,” said Lucy. Her married friends hadn’t heard her put it quite that way before.

“There are lots of single men out there,” said Nancy.

“No, there are not,” Lucy shot back. Her voice squeaked with the effort. She was so tired of hearing that phrase she wanted to put a Nerf bullet in her head. She steadied herself then slipped into her teacher voice—frank and authoritative. “There are not scads of smart, attractive, disease-free men out there. That is a myth, my friends, a myth I’m through subscribing to. There are, in fact, very few. I just want sweaty sex with a killer orgasm and oxytocin coursing through my body. I want to be out of my conscious mind and feel alive and connected to another adult. I want my neurons high-fiving each other. Then, after I get my rocks off, I want to walk away. No laundry, or bitching about the gutters, or would you please turn off the game and help me with whatsis. None of that. No strings attached. I just want a nice roll in the hay—about once a week would probably do it. Twice would be ideal. By someone kind. And hot. And ideally funny and smart. But I’ll settle for kind. And smart. No, hot and funny. No, funny and fit. And smart. Just not a slob, please.”

“You sound like a hormonal teenage boy,” said Nancy.

“Exactly. But without the acne.”

“You could have sex with Duncan,” said Gina. “It would be nice to get a break once in a while.” Nancy looked over at Gina incredulously. Gina was texting, totally blasé. She looked up. “What?” Gina said. “The incessant pawing in the morning gets old.”

“You mean at like 6 A.M.?” said Nancy.

“Hate it. Poke, poke,” said Gina. She looked over at Lucy. “Can I send Duncan over to you before work?”

“Sure,” said Lucy, “how’s about Thursdays?”

“Deal,” said Gina.

“Sign Ted up, too,” said Nancy. “I love the guy but it’s nonstop, and by the end of the day I’m wiped. I can’t take the guilt.”

“Fine. I’ll take Ted every other Wednesday night at 8:30, after Gus is in bed asleep.”

“I’ll pencil that in,” said Nancy.

“What should I wear?” asked Lucy.

Gina said, “Something trashy. Duncan loves all that French boudoir bullcrap but won’t admit it. Do you own garters?”

Lucy said, “No, but I bet that place in Penn Station has them.”

Nancy looked aghast. “Okay, enough kidding around,” she said in all earnestness, “this is making me uncomfortable.”

“It’s fine, Nance, we’re just joking,” said Lucy.

“I’m not,” said Gina matter-of-factly, looking up from her phone. “When do we start?”

“I think it’s wrong to be talking so flippantly about infidelity,” said Nancy.

“It’s not infidelity if the wife’s in control,” said Lucy.

“I still don’t think it’s anything to joke about, with 20 percent of husbands cheating—”

“And 20 percent of wives cheating,” added Gina.

Nancy continued, “—and everyone prowling around Facebook, looking up old flames, not to mention the 50 percent divorce rate—”

“Actually,” Gina said, “they say it’s higher but the government doesn’t want us to know, because a healthy economy depends on people getting married.”

“I read that somewhere, too,” said Lucy. “It’s all wrapped up in real estate and home goods and services. Something about selling more wall paint and vacuum cleaners and keeping landscapers and furnace-repair guys employed.”

Gina said, “Our whole economy is tied up in people thinking it’s a good idea to get married and buy a house. The real estate industry subsists on it.”

“You’re wrong,” said Nancy.

Gina said, “We’re not saying people shouldn’t fall in love and buy a house and a vacuum and have a family. We’re just saying that they don’t need to get married to do that.”

Lucy added, “Yeah, maybe there should be a ten-year lease renewal program instead. Every ten years you get to decide whether to renew each other or move on.”

“Are you shitting me?” railed Nancy. She ripped her bread in half, then in half again. “Marriage is not a car-lease agreement! And I don’t think it’s anything to joke about. It’s hard enough!” With that the table fell silent. Forks were adjusted and wine was sipped. Sitting positions shifted. Lucy reached over to touch Nancy’s arm, but Nancy moved it away before she could. Gina looked at Nancy and spoke evenly, so as not to come off as patronizing. “Everything okay with you and Ted?” she said.

“Everything’s fine,” Nancy shot back, then stopped herself. “We’re in a rut, but we’ve had them before. We’ll be fine.” Lucy took notice of her change in tone.

“Okay, good,” said Lucy. “You know you can always tell us if—”

“I know,” said Nancy, “I know, thanks. Let’s skip it.”

* * *

The maitre d’ asked if they wanted more white wine. An oblong lighting fixture hung beneath a hand-woven fishing net, and a red polyester napkin, which had been folded like a teepee, still sat untouched at Kit’s place setting. This was a two-fork Italian joint, Lucy thought, so Gina must have chosen the restaurant. Gina Martell had married Duncan Cho—a corporate attorney—and she herself was in maritime law, one of many degrees. Lawyers marrying lawyers, Lucy thought, shouldn’t work in theory, but their marriage was solid and Lucy considered theirs the gold standard. After fourteen years and two kids, Duncan was still mad about Gina’s quick wit, slow smile and chunky glasses frames. She was a little odd, which Lucy valued in any woman, and was rarely fazed by anything, which was comforting in a friend. Duncan was so flabbergasted that he caught such a dish, he would tell anyone outright, “I’m the luckiest bastard,” then shake his head in wonderment. Gina agreed and loved him right back. They rarely bickered, occasionally fought, and always made each other laugh.

Nancy’s marriage to Ted was something else entirely.

“Well,” began Lucy, “Kit is going to be late—”

Gina interrupted, “Again.”

“Something about one of her kids finding a pack of bubble gum and a Sharpie.”

“Yikes,” said Nancy, and made an uh-oh face. She was quick to rebound in social situations.

Lucy said, “Gina, did I hear you got another lawyer promotion?”

“A lawyer promotion,” said Nancy. “Is that like a teacher promotion?”

“I get a private plane with my name stenciled on the side,” Gina said, texting.

“Yup, just like a teacher promotion,” said Lucy.

“I should have gone to business school,” said Nancy.

“It’s the least they can do for those poor lawyers,” said Lucy.

“To lawyers,” Lucy and Nancy said, raising their glasses. Gina looked up.

Lucy said, “May God bless their sweet, generous, selfless souls—”

“That’s enough, it’s just a change in title,” said Gina, and she went back to texting.

Nancy said, “When do I get a stay-at-home mom promotion?”

“Never,” Lucy and Gina said simultaneously.

Lucy leaned towards Nancy and spoke with a singsong lilt, “Don’t worry if your work is small and your rewards are few, remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you.”

“Thanks,” Nancy said. “Emily Dickinson?”

“Sylvia Plath.”

“Right,” said Nancy, then she proceeded with the monthly update. “Kit apparently has bunions. Or hammertoe, maybe. We’re still not sure. She’ll clarify when she gets here.”

Lucy said, “She may need minor surgery, according to Nurse Nancy.” Nancy Brisbane had applied and been accepted to business school before switching to nursing to appease her parents’ financial scenario. She was an ER nurse before quitting to have her three kids and the most seemingly responsible of the group—not that all nurses weren’t a little batty, they were, and Nancy had stories to prove it. She’d met Ted right after nursing school in a summer group share at the Jersey Shore. Both tall and blond, they made a striking couple—Nordic stunners. Ted had skipped college to take over his dad’s lucrative car dealership and was a good guy, and that’s all anyone ever said about him. Their marriage always seemed status quo and Nancy rarely discussed it.

Nancy asked, “Lucy, how’s your electrolysis coming along?”

“Oh, swimmingly, thanks for asking. I’m almost done.”

“You’re still not done, yet?!” said Gina.

“No,” said Lucy, “I’ve been blessed with tenacious upper-thigh hair, but thanks for your concern.”

“But you’re so fair. Aren’t you, like, Danish or something?” said Gina, looking up from her phone.

Lucy said, “Half Danish, half Italian. The Danes have pubic hair, too, you know.”

“Viking pubic hair,” said Gina. “I’m full Italian and I haven’t had the electrolysis odyssey you’ve had.”

“Some girls are just lucky,” said Lucy. “What about you, Gina. What are your unmentionable health issues of late?”

“Same old herpes cold sore b.s.,” said Gina. “And the damn dog ate my good underwear. Surgery was beyond expensive.”

“You had surgery for your herpes?”

“No, the dog needed surgery to remove the underwear.”

“You’ve got to get rid of that friggin’ dog,” said Nancy, half serious.

“I can’t. Our kids’ favorite babysitter died,” Gina said, as if that explained everything. Lucy and Nancy looked at her blankly.

“How come you never see these conversations on TV?” Nancy said.

“You have to ask?” said Lucy.

“I’m just sayin’ that in the movies women either have cancer or the flu. But nothing in between, nothing embarrassingly lame.”

“At least we’re not discussing our kids’ sports schedules,” said Gina.

Lucy said, “Yeah, kill me now. Is our pact still in effect?”

“Now and forever. No one’s mentioned their kids yet, have they?”

“No, thank God,” Nancy said, and exhaled, visibly relieved, “I couldn’t take it.”

Lucy said, “Nance, I mean it, are you okay?”

Before Nancy could answer, Kit arrived at the table breathless, and by way of greeting said, “Bunions.”

Gina said, “That answers that.”

“And hemorrhoids.”

“Still?” Lucy said.

“No, they were gone and now they’re back,” said Kit as she hung her coat on her chair, put her napkin in her lap, and swigged from the glass of pinot grigio they’d ordered her. Then Kit sighed, looked around the table, and asked, “What’d I miss?”

In unison, the other three said, “Nothing.”

Hi VC Welcome to the Blog, I have to admit I was very intrigued by the early reviews of this book.
Tell my readers about it.
It’s a funny, racy romp about a woman you would be friends with making boneheaded choices that you would seriously question, but you love her, and want to see her happy, so you put up with her—barely. The story follows two groups of friends—married and divorced—and how they defend and argue over sex and the role it plays in the current state of marriage and divorce. I had ridiculous fun with the idea of what would happen if a few women joined forces to create an alternative barter economy whereby local wives subcontract horny divorcees to pick up the sexual slack with their husbands, so the wives don’t have to as often. It’s all above board and a win-win-win for a while… then it becomes a shit-show.

The blurb is hilarious and when putting it into personal perspective I probably would have joined as a married woman client contracting my husband out. ;-)
Have you had other such confessions and have you ever secretly desired it yourself?
The idea started as a running joke. When asked by groups of married friends after my divorce how I was surviving, I would answer that my life was finally ducky again, I was just missing a nice roll in the hay about once a week. Each time I said it, someone would offer up her husband for the task and another would suggest her husband as well. Then everyone would nod and laugh. After this happened like 17 times with various groups of women, I thought, there must be something to this idea and I’m just the gal to write it. But no, it didn’t occur to me while I was married and no, it hasn’t actually happened—I made it all up.

Now this may be your first foray into novel writing but you’ve managed to keep yourself pretty busy, writing and directing plays, writing and directing on air promos for TV, producing music videos, co-producing/directing a film documentary and writing songs for your own band. Whew!
Would you tell us a bedtime story about your birth as a novelist?
It’s a recurring theme with me: figure out something I haven’t written yet and write it. I’ll think, I’ve written screenplays, songs, a tv pilot, and a newspaper column. What’s next? A novel. Okey-doke, let’s give it a go. An acquaintance suggested Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem, which introduced me to the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 1,700 words a day for a month. My kid was at summer camp so I went for it—and it kept me off the pole. Steven King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird were key references as well. My story wasn’t finished at the end of the first 30 days, so I wrote another 50,000 words and voila—first draft.

The novel has been optioned for TV by Warner Brothers, congratulations.
Are they thinking series or feature TV movie, or is it still top secret?
Thanks! The three-way bidding war was terribly exciting, but your guess is as good as mine. Everyone who reads it imagines a rollicking good movie or tv series—they actually come at me with casting ideas. I do think that with seven meaty—and by meaty, I mean comedic and sexy—roles for women in their forties, it would be an awesome ensemble project to work on and super-fun for me to write on.

Your bio says Nookietown took four years to write.
Will there be a novel number two?
I’m currently at work on a second novel as part of my two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press. It’s a completely different story about a big waspy family, and yes, it’s funny and racy because that’s what I enjoy writing. I suppose if folks want more from Nookietown and Lucy, I could get her and her peeps into more trouble, no prob.

VC, the cover of Nookietown is very “Kenish” from Barbie and Ken. And just from looking at it to me screams, funny and sexy.
Did you have any hand in picking it?
I’m over the moon for David Curtis’ cover art. I gave my editors a list of what I didn’t want (no shoes, wine glasses, floppy hats, etc., please) and I asked that it be friendly and funny but also quirky and sexy if possible, with an imperfect font because the characters are flawed and the story is messy. He crushed it. We went back and forth a little to get the boxers just right and some other details, but it was his awesome concept from the get go. I especially love that the dotted line is sharpied right onto the doll—so good! If Nookietown does well, I believe it’ll be due in huge part to David’s cover.

The visual metaphor for your life on your website is a flying swing carnival ride.
Do you stay crazy busy by choice or is it your dream to have a week alone on a deserted island?
Interesting that you see crazy-busy in that photo. I see an exhilarating, laughter-filled joy-ride with people reaching out and getting so very close to what they’re after. I see easy friendship and fun. Between you and me, I’ve no use for a deserted island.

You’ve generously offered to visit book clubs who choose your book to read and I’d love to be a fly on the wall at just such a party.
Do you picture men enjoying your novel too?
I think Nookietown’s going to be a book club bombshell. I wrote it to stir a whole host of pots, hoping it would provoke on many levels, be entertaining as hell, and ripe for some very lively discussion. Then people would buy it and I could get paid to write, because I love to write. As for dudes, I’ve had men read it and unabashedly enjoy it—even one gent in his eighties. I’ve heard that it’s like reading the playbook for the other team, and I’ve heard that it’s pretty good at nailing the psyche of the long-time married husband. Men have laughed out loud and gotten all hot and bothered just like my women readers—so what’s not to like?

VC Thanks for taking the time out of your flying swing life to answer these questions. Good luck with the book and all your other irons in the fire.
Will fans find author/signing events listed on your website?
You bet. The author site (vcchickering.com) has all the stops on the Nookietown Funny/Racy Book Tour, a mailing list sign up, plus a few other entertaining links to help you procrastinate beyond what your readers are already doing at this very moment. Join me, thanks for everything, and hope you’re entertained!

 Connect with V.C. Website- Facebook - Twitter

V.C. Chickering has written for Comedy Central, MTV, Lifetime, TLC, Discovery, NickMom and Oxygen television networks as well as for BUST, Cosmo, and The Washington Post magazines. She's written screenplays; has a local newspaper column entitled, Pith Monger; and the blog: vickichicki.blogspot.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family where she also writes and performs witty, original songs for the alt-bluegrass/indi-jazz band, Tori Erstwhile & The Montys.Nookietown is her first novel.

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  1. Interesting premise for a story. Great interview.

  2. I'm hooked! Read the excerpt and I feel like that's my head voice talking (single and still mingling here), then the interview. I want to read this!!!

    1. I know right if it weren't for this darned bug I had last week I would have had my review too! UGH I hate being sick! Thanks Braine :)

  3. This does sound like a fun read and I think I like the protagonist already LOL! And that title is definitely fun.

  4. LOL well that sounds very entertaining. The cover gave me a good smirk too :D