Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interview with Dee DeTarsio

I'm thrilled to offer an interview with Dee DeTarsio, author of The Scent of Jade, which I just reviewed (hint: loved it!).  Ms. DeTarsio is as funny in her novels as she is here so get yourself a copy of The Scent of Jade stat!

Where did the idea for The Scent of Jade come from?

My husband, who has earned his title of beditor, once complained that ‘women sure do think a lot.’ That’s right, we do. Live and learn, hombres. The Scent of Jade grew out of his observation and into a hybrid chick-lit action/adventure novel.

If you were stranded in a jungle, would you have a purse with you? If so, what would be in it?

If I was stranded in a jungle, I’m pretty sure I’d have my “Praha” bag I bought off a street vendor in Venice. (Please don’t judge--I now carry it only as penance. You’d have wanted to see me sweat it out through customs. If it is any consolation, the handle is ready to fall off, bless its crooked little seams.)

In that bag, I would have Bear Grylls’ cell phone number.

I’d also have my kindle, which would be magically connected to Whispernet, allowing me to provide clues. (I could download The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and Rescue, Anita Shreve’s new novel.)

Stashed deep down, I would have a handwritten love note from my husband (while I adore the sentiment, I’ve long since erased the memory of his gift, which I’m pretty sure was the iron).

I’d have my neti pot (this piece-o-crap knockoff is pretty big).

It goes without saying there will be kleenex and granola bars. Kleenex, because I inherited that gene from my grandmother, and, granola bars, which are a little something-something I added to that just-in-case chromosome. You’re welcome, kids.

You write for television -- why did you start writing novels? How is the process similar or different?

I started writing novels several years ago because I wanted to recycle all those notes I couldn’t stop scribbling. I have three other novels and I am just finishing up a fourth.

Writing for television is writing for tell a vision. Producers are the authors of suspense: amping up the conflict and drama. Storytelling a vision invites the audience, through whatever medium, to stay tuned for the good stuff...coming up.

Are you a reality TV junkie like Julie?

I don’t watch much TV at all--only when I’m in the kitchen, family room, living room, bedroom, or on the treadmill. It’s not like there’s a TV in the bathroom or anything. (Have you ever priced getting cable in through all that plumbing? Oof.)

Have you lived in CA a long time? Would you want to live anywhere else in the world?

Since I grew up in Ennui, Ohio, I LOVE everything about California. (Except winter.)

[Ms DeTarsio included a photo of a chilled southern California windshield to help illustrate her point! :)]

What do you do when you’re not writing (and when your kids give you time off ;))?

When I’m not writing, I’d like to say I’m busy speaking and cooking fluent Italian, teaching yoga class and volunteering for the Peace Corps, but none of that would be true.

Read any good books recently?

I just finished Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King--which includes four brilliantly-written-as-always short (ha ha) stories--PLUS his genius Afterword that explains how he got his ideas. It resonates with the concept that while literary fiction extolls extraordinary people in ordinary life, he is more interested in ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Five stars for Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. (The cheesy side of me can’t wait for Angelina Jolie in the movie role--and I can’t help but think it would be awesome if Philippa Gregory would take a whack, using Stacy Schiff’s research.)

Loved The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato--Luciana Vetra is one of my new, all-time favorite characters--and it was so cool to see the painting the story was based on, La Primavera, when we were in Florence.

I could go on, but I think I hear Audra tapping her foot. I would never re-watch a movie, but I always enjoy revisiting old friends; anything by Marian Keyes, Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs, all of Harry Potter, David Sedaris...

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read for pleasure. Reread for what you missed the first time around. Remember the stories and styles that spark your passion.

About Dee DeTarsio
Dee DeTarsio is a television writer living in southern California. After growing up in Ennui, Ohio, and graduating from Ohio State University she vowed ‘never to be cold again’ (in a tantrum more worthy of Suellen than Scarlett) and ended up in Tucson, Arizona, producing the news for the CBS affiliate, oddly enough called KOLD-TV. She moved to San Diego where she worked in the SeaWorld entertainment department as a Producer/Writer, (Penguins are mean!) and then became a Producer/Writer with NBC for a live, comedy/variety show.

After working for Children’s Hospital, she totally sold out and became the Marketing Director of a cosmetic dermatology group where she got free Botox. Her husband is a Director of Photography and travels around the world while she stays behind as the indentured servant of their two children. Though her father was never famous and her mother never beat her (that hard!) she suspects one of her sisters is a vampire.  Learn more at her website and blog.  Check out the book trailer too!

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My thanks to Ms. DeTarsio for taking the time to answer my questions!  I'm thrilled to say she's offering a Kindle copy of The Scent of Jade to one lucky winner!  As a result, this giveaway is available internationally!  Just leave your email address for a chance to win!  (No Kindle needed to read the copy; the software can be downloaded and e-book read on computer or smart phone!) Contest closes at 9pm Pacific US on Dec 12th and I'll announce the winner on Mon, Dec 13!


  1. Not entering, not before I get that e-reader one day.

    Just enjoyed the interview :)

  2. LOL - sister is a vamp?! wonder what a neti pot is.
    would love to read this gem.
    vvb32 at

  3. count me in at gmail dot com

  4. This was a really hilarious interview -- the book sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway!


  5. Oooh exciting! I'm in - empty.chords at gmail (dot) com.

  6. @Vee: A neti pot is this pretty fantastic invention for cleaning out your sinuses. It seems v freaky at first, but is wildly addicting.

  7. My name is Dee DeTarsio and I am a neti pothead.

  8. Unfortunately, I don't have a Kindle or any e-reader for that matter, but this interview was great! The author definitely has my kind of sense of humor.

  9. If you liked the interview with Dee, you'll love the book. It's hilarious and witty and you won't stop L(ing)OL! Thanks Dee, for a great read! Diana

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  11. Count me in !
    would love to read this !

    raluk.93 at gmail (dot) com

  12. Throw my name in the hat please.
    baychriz at gmail dot com

  13. i saw pics of the infamous neti pot. ummm, hmmm.