WBEZ | Lydia Netzer http://www.wbez.org/tags/lydia-netzer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Lydia Netzer Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-08/lydia-netzer-interview-102015 <p><p>Today I chat with Lydia Netzer, the author of <em>Shine Shine Shine</em>. Reviewers have passionately praised Netzer&#39;s debut novel for its sci-fi love story: the book follows the relationship of Sunny, a congenitally bald woman, and Maxon, a robotic space engineer, as they find their own version of normal both at home and up among the stars. The novel&#39;s blend of folksy and futuristic is like a bacon muffin: shocking, yet somehow it all makes perfect sense.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lydiaauthorphoto.jpg" style="float: left; " title="Lydia Netzer (Courtesy of the author)" /><strong>One of the things I identified with most in your book was the somewhat mystical/alien nature of pregnancy. What was the weirdest part of being pregnant for you?</strong><br />Feeling the baby move for the first time was terrifying. The reality of having created a life form within myself which was separate from me and controlled by a brain other than mine really freaked me out. If I think about it too much now, I still get unsettled.. I mean, imagine if you had a worm inside you that was going to grow by a factor of like a thousand, and then bust its way out the nearest available hole and go found a corporation.. Yet our reaction is supposed to be to coo and crochet a hat.</p><p><strong>The following two questions will take you through some high-highs and low-lows. Your book has elicited some really positive reviews. What were some of the best compliments people have paid to your book?</strong><br />The best compliments I have received were supportive messages from parents of children with autism, or wives of men with Aspberger&rsquo;s Syndrome. I wrote my book including characters with these traits, but I did not not make it a central point of the book. I was concerned I would be seen by people who live with these disorders as having been dismissive, or trivializing the troubles they experience. That doesn&rsquo;t seem to be the case, and that&rsquo;s very rewarding to hear.</p><p><strong>Now: What were some of the meanest critiques you received on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lydia-netzer/marriage-secrets_b_1459770.html">your piece about a successful marriage</a>?</strong><br />I think the best one was the woman who was like, &ldquo;Fifteen years? That&rsquo;s nothing! Try again when you get to 30, like me!&rdquo; And I mean, there&rsquo;s no response to that, except to say, yes, you&rsquo;re right. Thirty is certainly a larger number than 15. It doesn&rsquo;t really bother me &mdash; in fact, I&rsquo;ve had as much fun with the one-star reviews of my book as the five-star. The person on <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13167199-shine-shine-shine?auto_login_attempted=true#other_reviews">Goodreads</a>&nbsp;who trumpeted, &ldquo;<em>Shine Shine Shine</em>? This book is crap crap crap!&rdquo; made me laugh &lsquo;til I cried. I mean, you have to laugh. You can&rsquo;t take anything so seriously.</p><p><strong>So many depictions of marriage in pop culture paint it as a drag. What are some examples of marriages &mdash; either fictional or real &mdash; that seem sexy and fun?</strong><br />I always really loved the Bartletts on the show <em>The West Wing</em>. They always had a twinkle in their eyes with each other, even when they fought. I like the Obamas, too. I really love seeing couples that kid around with each other without crossing a certain line of respect. The difference between the marriage on <em>Everybody Loves Raymon</em>d, which I found depressing, and the marriage on <em>Roseanne</em>, which I found fun, was that strangely, Roseanne and Dan actually never really crossed that &ldquo;teasing&rdquo; line into insulting. Of course, I like April and Andy on <em>Parks and Recreation</em>. And I love Pam and Jim on <em>The Office</em>.</p><p><strong>What are some of your favorite examples of books or movies that successfully combine sci-fi and romance?</strong><br />I&rsquo;m reading a book right now called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Infinite-Tides-A-Novel/dp/1608198103"><em>The Infinite Tides</em></a> by Christian Kiefer. While it&rsquo;s not really a romance, I think it really gorgeously combines sci-fi elements with contemporary literary fiction, so it&rsquo;s a compelling statement about fatherhood, marriage and identity, and it still has astronauts, space walks, math and rockets. One movie I really love is Contact, which is about a straight-laced, scientific-minded woman falling for a woo-woo theologian dude, all in the framework of alien contact and extraterrestrial machines.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s one of the biggest differences so far, between<em> Shine Shine Shine </em>and its follow-up?</strong><br />The new book has no robots. Which is sad, but if I put robots in every book, people would start to think I had an unnatural affection for them. Which I totally don&rsquo;t. Really.</p><p><strong>What did you learn from writing and publishing <em>Shine Shine Shine</em> that has helped you in approaching the second book?</strong><br />Readers have responded so positively to the elements in <em>Shine Shine Shine </em>that I thought would be the most strange and inaccessible: the meditations on A.I., the weird death/hallucination/memory scene, the spacewalk encounter, etc. I really feel, after having people connect with and love those elements, that I have permission to let myself write what I really want to write, and not edit my imagination to the things I think will be palatable for a wide audience. I think the wide audience has more willingness to engage in strangeness than I had given them credit for.</p><p><strong>You give lots of helpful writing advice online: Whose writing advice has helped you?</strong><br />I often use <a href="http://writeordie.com/">Write or Die</a>, which is writing software that begins to blink, beep, flash and shout at you if you stop writing for more than three seconds. I also am addicted to National Novel Writing Month, which encourages mad drafting, no editing and buckets of output in a short time.</p><p><strong>You&rsquo;re making the <a href="http://media.us.macmillan.com/rggguides/9781250007070RGG.pdf">book club</a> circuit: for those new to that world, how would you advise authors on how to best prepare for these appearances?</strong><br />Engage as a member of the club as much as possible, and as The Visiting Professional Author Lady as little as possible. Be a friend, be a nice person, be a good addition to the group. Listen.</p><p><strong>You homeschool your kids. What are some of the biggest misconceptions of homeschooling you encounter, either regarding the parents or the kids?</strong><br />That homeschoolers are isolated. I mean there are stereotypes about homeschoolers being religious nutburgers or hippies or anarchists. . . &nbsp;but those are pretty much dissipating nowadays as homeschooling becomes more mainstream. What people still really don&rsquo;t understand is how much interaction these kids get &mdash; karate school, horse barns, violin academy, homeschool co-op, church &mdash; and that&rsquo;s not even counting the intentional socializing that homeschoolers do at park days, dances, play dates, field trips, etc. If there&rsquo;s one misconception that I wish I could explode, it would be that homeschooling is lonely. We actually have to work to *limit* the kids&rsquo; social calendar, so it doesn&rsquo;t start taking over our lives.</p><p><strong>Who are some of your favorite famous baldies?</strong><br />I loved <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=bald%20natalie%20portman&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=Hv48UK_HO6TgyQGj14CADw&amp;biw=1024&amp;bih=569&amp;sei=JP48UILIMKObyAHfmYHQCg">Natalie Portman bald</a>. She&rsquo;s my very favorite Also <a href="https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;hs=MkQ&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;q=bald%20sigourney%20weaver&amp;biw=1024&amp;bih=569&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=Vf48UM3-H6rRyQG8xYCICw">Sigourney Weaver bald</a>. I&rsquo;d love to see Claire Danes bald! Demi Moore and Britney Spears, not so much. In terms of boys, Bruce Willis, definitely. <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=Dostoevsky&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=vv48ULf1OcndyAH4q4DYBw&amp;biw=1024&amp;bih=569&amp;sei=wf48ULemG8PkywH0pIGADg">Dostoevsky, obvs</a>.</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 324th person interviewed for Zulkey.com?</strong><br />It&rsquo;s a dream come true. Thank you so much for having me! You&rsquo;re a peach, and all my love for your new baby!</p><p><em>Lydia Netzer lives in Virginia, where she homeschools her kids, <a href="http://lydianetzer.blogspot.com/">writes wonderfully about writing</a> and runs this <a href="https://twitter.com/lostcheerio">Twitter account</a>. Click <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2012/08/the_lydia_netzer_interview.php">here</a> to read an extended interview with Netzer.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 31 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-08/lydia-netzer-interview-102015