I caught up with wonderful author Jennifer Weiner at the Philadelphia Library this week for her book reading. My interview was short notice; however a great interview is exactly what it turned out to be. Jennifer came in well-polished, make-up looked perfect. Her warm personality was perfect and set a great tone for the interview. I was so excited to speak to a top selling female author whose wonderful book turned into great film that I love called In Her Shoes. The turnout was successful and this shows that people still enjoy a great read by an immensely talented writer with positive energy and poise.
Jennifer was promoting her new book The Next Best Thing which is based on some personal experience. Character Ruth Saunders leaves her home in Connecticut in the hopes of becoming a screen writer. Six years later, Ruth gets the Green Light with a sitcom she wrote entitled “The Next Best Thing”. Ruth is the show runner dealing with demanding actors, executives, personal endures and, of course, family life. It illustrates Ruth dealing with Hollywood’s rollercoaster ride, back stage behavior and politics. It’s a heartfelt story of love, loss and dreams becoming reality. It is edgy and funny similar to her book Good in Bed. The book is very relatable like her other writing.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A. I was in first grade, I always loved reading. I had a house full of books and the deal in my house was that I could read any books that I wanted as long as I could explain to Mom and Dad what the book was about. So I read my dad’s medical text books first, because it was naked people in them. I then read the Bell Jar by Sylvia Black which was depressing memoir of a young suicidal woman. My mom was like “What was it about Jenny “and I was like “a really sad lady named Saliva” and my mom was like “yeah hand it over”. I remember my first grade teacher would give me extra papers to write during recess and write stories instead of having to go out where kids would be mean to me. So I really knew early on.
Q: How did it feel to have your book In Her Shoesbecome a movie?
A: So, amazing; Amazing, because it is so rare. So many things go to Hollywood and never get options, so many get options and never get made, and so many things get made badly. The author winds up having to spend the rest of their career being like “that isn’t really what I had in mind.” I feel really lucky that they wrote a great script and they had a great cast. They shot the film in Philadelphia which thrilled me. I remember I came home one night and my whole block was blocked off like every parking space and it was a sign that said no parking movie shoot I was like “What the Hell?” until I saw “In Her Shoes” then I was like, well it’s okay as long as it’s my movie (she laughs).
Q: Do you feel the actors that were chosen portrayed the characters as you had envisioned them?
A: I wish Toni Collette had gained more weight. It was really funny because Rose in the book was a bigger girl. Toni had just come from filming a movie where she was really fit. So they would call and let me know she gained ten pounds and I’m like awesome then fifteen pounds and I like fantastic. Then they called and said she has hit the wall and I’m like there’s a wall I’m not familiar with this wall does she need me to bring her some cheesecake how can I help?
Q: Can we expect any of your other books to become a movie?
A: I would love that to happen but you can never know. I mean, you have to have the stars line up just right. You have to have the right directors, the right screen play and the producers who are going to pay for it. You have to have no one going to get married, pregnant, or getting implants, losing weight or gaining weight. It has to be a stellar alignment of things. I would love for it to happen again. It is nice because it has had a second life on cable. People are constantly tweeting and telling me they are watching it. I think that’s really cool.
Q: You are currently a resident of Philadelphia and I was wondering what is your passion or love for The City of Brotherly?
A: Yes, 2nd and Bainbridge. I’ve lived here since 1994. I came, I got a job at the newspaper. I grew up in the suburbs so this was my first city experience. What I love about it is that I can walk everywhere. I go days without getting in my car. I can go to the grocery store, park, movie theater, museums, plays and the art museum. You can see first run movies in Philly. There are so many amazing accessible things that you can walk to that’s what I love.
Q: What advice would you give women aspiring to be a writer?
A: Go to www.Jenniferweiner.com and there is, like, 20 pages of advice on there. You have to be a reader first, read everything. The difference between people who believe they have a book in them and the people who actually write and publish a book is just persistence. It’s not fun it’s not necessarily a ‘LALA’ thing. It is work. You have to sit down, do it, and treat it like a job. NO, it’s not going to be fun everyday but you have to make yourself do it, every day do it.