Today I’m super thrilled to welcome author Libby Cudmore to the blog to answer a few questions about her debut novel, The Big Rewind. She also share two fantastic playlist for us to listen too. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and listen to the playlist below. And be sure to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fabulous giveaways!
Interview with Libby Cudmore
In writing this The Big Rewind, as a writer, did you feel like or did you discover that you were writing pieces of yourself or your personal experience in the book?
There are certainly little pieces from my life–I did live in Brooklyn and work at a temp agency, and a lot of the music is my own. But I found the more I wrote, the less personal it got. Jett became her own character, her life became her own rather than a wish-fulfillment version of mine.
How different was the first version of The Big Rewind from the final version? What changed?
Early drafts were a lot darker, a lot meaner. If you read any of my short work, it’s ugly stuff, but I wanted to write something that was a little more light-hearted, a little more fun. It’s still dark in places, but a lot of that ugliness is gone.
Did you encounter any challenges while writing the book? How did you deal with it?
Writing a book is always challenging, especially when you work full time. I write for a newspaper, so I write all day, then I come home and write some more. It can be exhausting, but this book went easier than any other I’d written. I think it took about eight months to finish a first draft.
How has your background working in record stores influenced your writing?
It surrounded me with music, good and bad, as well as made sure I was constantly talking to people, hearing their stories. Same with journalism. When someone locks themselves away from the world or only surrounds themselves with their exact friend group, you can see it in their writing–it’s static and, often, didactic. But having to be in public, overhear conversations, talk to people, you get a better sense that people’s lives are complicated, and it makes for more sympathetic characters.
Could you tell us about the hipster culture involved in the book?
It’s a loving mocking of hipster culture. I am a bit of a hipster myself, so for as much as I’m making fun of their decopaged tables and record collections, my coffee cup is currently sitting on a decopaged table and I live-tweet from my own vinyl collection every weekend (#RecordSaturday). And while Jett often rolls her eyes at what her hipster friends are doing, she also desperately wants to be part of that scene, to belong.
What kind of research, if any, did you do for The Big Rewind?
I haven’t lived in NYC in about 10 years, so I did a lot of research to make sure I was as up-to-date as I could be. For instance, the Grey’s Papaya in Greenwich Village closed while I was writing the book, so a scene where a character said they were going to go to Grey’s after dancing at a nightclub had to be rewritten so that she could lament the loss instead.
But ultimately I wrote the NYC I remembered, the feeling of living there in my early 20s. That will never change, no matter what buildings go up or come down.
Could you tell us about Jett? How did you mold her character?
I wanted to Jett to be curious and compassionate, but I didn’t want her to be a goody two-shoes. She screws up–a lot–but she learns from her mistakes. To me, there’s nothing worse in fiction than a character who a) Never makes a mistake or b) Makes a ton of them but never learns from them, and all the other characters just forgive her because she’s the super-greatest-most-awesome (aka wish fulfillment for the writer).
Could you confirm Jett’s age in this interview? There were reviews mentioning that there was no confirmation and we’re just curious.
I’m surprised that so many people are so focused on her age! I didn’t give it much thought when I wrote her. I knew she was younger than 30 but older than 25. So pick a number that works for you and go with it.
If you had a past boyfriend remembrance box, what would it contain and why?
I DO have a Boyfriend Box! I got married last summer and we’re buying a house, so in that process, we’ve been purging a lot of stuff, and with that went a LOT of ex-boyfriend ephemera. But I’ve archived all my old love letters, and I will not part with the plushie James (from Team Rocket) that my high school boyfriend Martin had custom-made for me. I would run into a burning building to rescue it. Martin broke my heart, and although we’ve since made amends, for a long time, that doll meant the entire world to me. I probably stuck white pins in it at one time or another, trying voodoo to win him back.
I also keep all the mix CDs my former loves made me, soundtracks to our time together. Some of those tracks are in the book (but I won’t tell which ones!)
Thanks so much Libby for taking the time to answer all the questions above.
THE BIG REWIND PLAYLIST
The Big Rewind Sid’s (click here to be redirected to Spotify)
Super-Romantic 80s Mix (click here to be redirected to Spotify)
I’ve been listening to the two playlist above ever since Libby sent us the link. I even added them to my music from Spotify and I’m just thrilled to finally share them to all of you. Though I haven’t get the chance yet to read The Big Rewind, I’m sure will be reading it soon with these songs in mind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Libby Cudmore worked in video stores, bookstores and temp agencies before settling down in Upstate New York to write. THE BIG REWIND is her first novel, and her short stories have appeared in PANK, The Stoneslide Corrective, The Big Click, Big Lucks, the HANZAI JAPAN anthology and others. She makes all her own writing journals and has a halfway-decent record collection.
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ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Big Rewind
Author: Libby Cudmore
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 02, 2016
Format: Paperback, eBook
Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.
But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.
KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.
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What’s up for Grabs?
- One hardcover copy of The Big Rewind (US) and
- One eBook copy of The Big Rewind (International)
- Open to US and International
- There will be two (2) lucky winners
- Winners will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
- Winners will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
- Ends March 11, 2016
- Prizes will be sent by the author
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post!