TAKE 5: Dee DeTarsio and All My Restless Life to Live

PorterKath and Therese stepping in with a special introduction. As you know, Take 5 interviews at Writer Unboxed are generally dignified affairs, allowing authors to reveal details of their latest novel–the backstory, inspirations and writing process–via five pithy questions. We are proud that T5’s have become something of a classic.

When we send T5 questions to our authors, we always invite them to rewrite any of them–in case there’s something in particular they’d like to reveal about the book that our questions don’t invite. Occasionally an author will do a nip-tuck on a few T5 questions, but it’s never been anything drastic.

Until now.

In a WU first, Dee DeTarsio–one of our original Reader Unboxed reviewers, now contributing to our newsletter–rewrote all of the questions meant to showcase her new novel, ALL MY RESTLESS LIFE TO LIVE. Then she sent the finished Q&A to us. Then we had to pick ourselves off the floor, helpless with laughter, and contact our lawyer.

If you followed our Reader Unboxed site while it was still alive, you will likely remember the camaraderie that developed between the contributors there. Much like it has here. Except over there, there was a special raillery evident whenever Dee and Porter Anderson (who was also an original Reader Unboxed contributor) got together in a thread.

We are pleased to share Dee’s Q&A with you today, another salvo in Dee and Porter’s battle of wits. (And, yes, Porter gave his stamp of approval, and sent us the picture you see here, proving he has an exceptional and truly unboxed sense of humor.)

Grab a box of tissues to wipe away tears of mirth, and enjoy!

TAKE 5: Dee DeTarsio and All My Restless Life to Live

Disclaimer: I can’t promise that you will like this interview or learn anything, but I can issue a money-back guarantee it will be shorter than a Porter Anderson post. (Hey, Porter!)

1. How has Porter Anderson influenced you? 

Every time I want to comment on a post, I ask WWPD—What Would Porter Do? And then I get scared of making a fool of myself and edit it a million times. See, being part of a tribe is awesome. (Can’t you just picture Porter, with a Campari in one hand, raising that bar high, toasting industry insiders?) He recently shared an agent’s perspective from the Muse conference in Boston last month: “Self-published books almost need to be better than traditionally published work.

Oh boy, I’ve learned that the hard way. All My Restless Life to Live is my sixth indie book. It was critiqued and edited by a NYT best-selling author. Copy-edited by a mean ol’ red-penned slasher who seemed to get almost sexual satisfaction from all the errata. (Right? Errata not erotica.) I raffled off a child to go with a publicist. (Hey, Crystal!)

2. Who are you, how old are you, how much do you weigh, and how much money do you make?

I didn’t teach myself to read at an early age. I didn’t write my first story in kindergarten—I was still busy wetting the bed and playing in the can cupboard. I had the same back brace that Joan Cusack wore in Sixteen Candles, and I would have traded being fat for having clear skin in a heartbeat. I read a lot.

I lost my ego along with the placenta of my first-born, making writing a natural career choice. More than seven hundred rejections, three agents, and close-but-no-cigar publishers toying with my affections, I perversevered. (I know that’s not a real word, but it should be.)

Full disclosure: while I am not making enough to pay for LuluLemon writing pants, I could probably spring for a pair of LuluLychees. (I would buy those.) My best month on Amazon was December 2011, when I earned $3000. It has been harder to reach those sweet, sweet payoffs, but I am trying.

3. Favorite Oprah “aha moment?” (It’s a thing, it’s in the dictionary.) [Read more…]


About Dee DeTarsio

Dee DeTarsio is a TV writer living in southern California. She is the author of THE SCENT OF JADE, THE KITCHEN SHRINK, and just released, ROS.