Maria Semple joined us to talk about books, writing books versus writing for television and why she thinks novelists should stay away from Twitter.
Semple's very funny book "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" came out this summer. Like "Arrested Development" -- she was a consulting producer on the show -- the book layers on small details and unexpected turns to build an increasingly hilarious plot.
Her novel is a little bit warmer than "Arrested Development" -- maybe more like "Mad About You," on which she was a writer and producer. And then there was "Suddenly Susan," which I liked just fine but Semple often leaves off her resume.
All that Hollywood stuff is behind her now (although she is really looking forward to the next phase of "Arrested Development"). She moved from L.A. to Seattle, where the leaves are green, the sky is full of rain and the streets are not laid out in a logical pattern.
She explains how all of those perceptions of her new city manifested, in heightened, frustrated form, in her novel's character Bernadette. As you might guess from the title, Bernadette has gone missing, and her adolescent daughter sets out to find her.
Semple explains why she decided to use the epistolary form to tell the story, and tells us what some of her favorite epistolary novels are.
She also tells us a little bit about what it's like being an author forced to do bookseller speed dating. (Hint: not that much fun).
Going against the grain, Semple thinks all novelists should get off Twitter. No Tweeting for novelists. Ever. Seriously.
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