WBEZ | local authors http://www.wbez.org/tags/local-authors Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A brief chat with author Jami Attenberg http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/brief-chat-author-jami-attenberg-103726 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jami%20Attenberg.jpg" style="height: 432px; width: 620px; " title="Jami Attenberg (Photo by Michael Sharkey)" /></div><p>Jami Attenberg is a writer pal of mine whom I interviewed <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/01/1_there_is_some_sex.php">many moons ago</a>. However, now she has a new book, the fabulous and fabulously-reviewed <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Middlesteins-Novel-Jami-Attenberg/dp/1455507210">The Middlesteins</a>,&nbsp;</em>so I wanted to ask her a few new questions.<em>&nbsp;</em>Jami reads this Thursday November 8 at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bookcellarinc.com/event/jami-attenberg-middlesteins">The Book Cellar at 7 p.m.</a>, so come say hi, have a glass of wine and get your book signed!</p><p><strong>What made you decide to set <em>The Middlesteins</em> in the Chicagoland area as opposed to New York or any of the other places you&#39;ve lived?</strong><br />I remember reading <em>Olive Kitteridge</em>, which is such a wonderful book, and thinking I wanted to write something like that about the suburbs of Chicago &mdash; it felt like a very complete look at a particular place, and I wanted to do the same for where I grew up. It took another year or so before I actually sat down to write <em>The Middlesteins</em>, but as soon as I started working on it, they physical landscape felt very clear in my mind, even though I hadn&rsquo;t lived here in a long time.</p><p><strong>How did you come up with the name &quot;<em>The Middlesteins</em>&quot;? What (if any) other names did you consider?</strong><br />Initially, I wanted to call the book <em>Sprawl</em>, because I was thinking about the idea of suburban sprawl, and also this feeling of collapse and exhaustion. Maybe for the first month it was called that. <em>The Middlesteins</em>, to me, is a very obvious name. I can&rsquo;t really recall the moment I thought of it &mdash; I should search through my correspondence! But it was a moment of clarity, I do recall that. The book started out being about a place, but it is the people in the community that anchor it together.</p><p><strong>This book, your fourth novel, received a major push from your publisher. How do you think you&#39;d be affected if this was your first novel as opposed to your fourth? Has there been any downside to the additional attention? </strong><br />I don&rsquo;t know how I would have handled it had it been my first, but I suspect I appreciate it more now, especially since my books have not done particularly well in the past. I have a lot gratitude to everyone around me, the people at my publishing house, my agent, and the press that have given the book coverage &mdash; and to the people who are buying it. I have perspective; I know this can all go away in a second. People can be excited about you and your work one minute, and ignore you at a party a week later. In the end, you know who your friends are, and what matters the most is actually being able to do your work. I must admit along the way I have developed an exceptional bullsh*t radar.</p><div><p>And there is no downside to the additional attention, Claire. I&rsquo;m happy to have people reading my books!</p><p><strong>What do you always make sure to do when you&#39;re back home in Chicago?</strong><br />Can&rsquo;t wait to eat! I fantasize about the decadence. It&rsquo;s going to be either pizza or Hot Doug&rsquo;s. (Or both.)</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/brief-chat-author-jami-attenberg-103726