Monday, June 2, 2014

Meet Author Naomi Zener

Hello fabulous #JLBCP fans and followers! We're so glad you stopped by today as we are featuring an interview with a wonderful author, Naomi Zener, who is celebrating her debut novel. We had so much fun doing the interview with her, and hope that you will have just as much if not more! 

Please welcome....

Author Naomi Zener
Naomi Elana Zener is a new writer with a fresh satirical voice. Naomi writes satire and fiction on her blog, Satirical Mama. Her vociferous blogging has been read and appreciated by industry bigwigs such as Giller Prize winner Dr. Vincent Lam and New York Times best-selling author and journalist Paula Froelich. Naomi’s articles have also been published by Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club. Naomi is also a practicing entertainment attorney and lives with her husband and two children in Toronto. She’s currently working on her sophomore novel.


So you thought you’d be a writer – how’s that workin’ out for ya?

It is amazing! I’m pinching myself everyday that I get to share my creativity, humour, thoughts and ideas with the world.

Let’s say you’re thinking about going on once in a life time vacation…how exciting! What are some of the places you’d consider, and what would you do while you’re there?

How long is this vacation? Assuming that it’s as long as I want it to be, I would spend six months in Italy, touring, eating, imbibing in the best super Tuscan blends on offer, shopping, learning Italian and gesticulating a lot. Then, I would hop on a plane and tour all of South America, with Argentina being my first destination followed by Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia. Once tired of a Latin infused life, I would fly to Russia to touch the world of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky while enjoying some oligarch hospitality. I would then head over to Japan, followed by a trip to Australia/New Zealand, and end my wonderful journey with some rest and relaxation in French Polynesia where I honeymooned 9.5 years ago.

The phone just rang – it’s a movie deal for your book! Holy cow – they’ve left it up to you as to where you want them to film on location, and who will play the starring role…we can’t stand the suspense. Where and who is it?

Los Angeles of course! As for the leading lady to play Joely, shhh, I’ll never tell. You’ll have to see the movie.

A zealous fan approaches your book signing table and wants to know everything there is to know about writing a book…right now! There’s a long line of fans waiting, and you only have a few seconds…what one thing would tell them to encourage them to become a writer?

Start with writing what you know. It will flow from there.

What book or books are you currently working on? Can we expect a new release soon?

“Deathbed Dime$” is my debut novel, which is being released on May 30, 2014. I’m currently working on my sophomore novel, the details of which are top secret at the moment.

Time for dinner! No, no, no, we’re not cooking – we’re going out. So…where’s your favorite place to throw down some good food with friends and family? And even more so, what do you recommend from the menu?

Mastros on Canon in Beverly Hills. I have to fly to dine there, but it is well worth the gastronomic experience. Start with a Caesar salad, followed by a New York Strip Sirloin steak with generous portions of lobster garlic mashed potatoes and Alaskan king crab gnocchi on the side.

What kind of animals, birds, or fish do you like best? Do you have any pets - how many do you have – and what are their names?

My red headed miniature poodle, Milo. I love him, except when he feels ignored and marks his territory in the house.

Time for adventure! Your friends are heading out to go skydiving for the first time…are you going to join them or suggest a different adventure? If you go skydiving please elaborate, or if you suggest something else what would your favorite adventure be?

I would tell them to write me into their respective Last Will and Testament leaving me everything. Then, I would suggest that we go to an art auction and see who will succumb to the draw of bidding on art first.

Forget about make-believe super powers…we’ll never have them – bummer, I know right? But good news…TRUE super powers come in different forms such as a great attitude, a wonderful personality, loving kindness, and other cool traits like those. Who’s the one super hero in your life, and what is their TRUE super power?

My grandmother, Ruth, because she survived the Holocaust.

Your ship is sinking, and you’re the only one to make it into the life boat. Sad, I know, but sometimes life isn’t fair.  There’s plenty to keep you fed and watered until help arrives. What would you do? Eat, drink, cry, scream for help, pass out, sing, give up, or grab the tablet and pen you found in the food box and start writing a new book?

Write, write, write. Then, eat.

Do you prefer writing the good guy’s dialogue or the villain’s? Give us an example of your amazing talent…write us a line of dialogue from your favorite good guy or villain.

The comeback is the line I love to write, no matter who is delivering it. Below are two lines of dialogue, to give you some context – for more, buy “Deathbed Dime$”:

“We are trying to create some air of professionalism here Joely, so she really can’t call Chip names, even if he does deserve it,” Ethan said.
“Well Ethan, I will take your opinion under advisement,” Coco said. “Perhaps when Mr. Hancock doesn’t call me Ming Dynasty, and if he has the sailing mast surgically removed from his misogynistic sphincter, then I will respectfully refer to the ‘Chipmesiter’ by his given Christian name. Tata!”

Soup or stew?

Neither, I despise hot liquids.

 Chocolate or vanilla?


Dogs or cats?

Dogs that come with a built-in dog walker.

Horses or cows?


Insects or reptiles?

A five star hotel free of both.

The family wants to go camping. Are you going to join them or stay behind? If you stay behind what are you going to do? Are you going to go shopping and to the spa? Read a book? Sleep in a hammock? Please tell us…we’re curious and want to know just what you’re thinking about doing.

My idea of camping is a three star hotel. I respect and appreciate nature; however, I don’t commune with it. I prefer a five star hotel with a great pool and a great book. After I’ve read for a few hours, I want to sightsee, explore and learn about the culture of the place I’m visiting.

We all love stories – especially yours! Would you be willing to give the readers a synopsis of your current book?

Deathbed Dime$ exposes the reality that if you can outlive your relatives, friends and sometimes even strangers, your odds of hitting the inheritance jackpot are better than playing the lottery! Joely Zeller is a beautiful and ambitious 32 year-old attorney and only daughter of Hollywood film royalty, who is determined to build a successful career, find love and marriage without their help. To emerge from under her parents’ cloud of notoriety, Joely fled to New York upon graduation from Stanford Law School to practice Estates and Trust law at a blue chip Wall Street law firm. Over the next eight years she endured ninety-hour work weeks and sacrificed her love life (jilted by her fiancĂ© for his best man) only to have her career efforts foiled by her male and incredibly incompetent counterpart. A  serendipitous encounter with a former professor reminds her that with the impending inevitable demise of aging baby boomers, an unprecedented wealth transfer would take place, making Joely realize that with her experience, Hollywood connections, she could start her own law firm back in L.A. With her two best friends and former law classmates, as her partners in her new L.A. law firm, Joely sets about helping the recently disowned, dispossessed and penniless sharpen their claws as they stake their claim to the fortune of the dearly departed. 

Creativity. Where does yours come from? This is something writers are asked about much of the time.  Would you be so kind as to elaborate on where you get your ideas and what sparks your creativity?

I’ve found inspiration in the way someone looks at me, in an article I’ve read, in a conversation I’ve had wherein I’m doling out unsolicited dating advice. in an amusing exchange between my husband and I, or what I hear other people talk about, as I insouciantly eavesdrop on their conversation. The list could go on forever.
When I write satire pieces for my fiction blog,, they are almost invariably the product of my skewering politics, society, religion, economics, relationships or any other thing that happens to rub me the wrong way and is ripe for parody. For my articles on Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club, the catalyst provided by other people’s parenting styles, attitudes and judgment, stimulates my musings. Last, in the world of fiction where I write my novels, it is where my humour, life experiences, legal background, and simply being a living and breathing humanoid intersect. It is where I live with my characters, who keep me company day in and day out, often telling me what to write, leading me to wonder sometimes if I’d make for an excellent candidate in a loony bin.
At the end of the day, every writer is inspired by something, be it an object, a sound, or a visceral experience. We rue the day when we stare at a blank page that we cannot fill with black-inked words. Luckily, the writer’s disease that shall not be named has yet to visit my brain, and I hope it never plagues me. So, I go on, writing one piece at a time, sometimes several simultaneously, hoping to entertain the masses by conveying meaning through intelligent humourous pieces that readers see fit to share with others.
Love and romance, paranormal, epic fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, drama, and the list goes on. Where do your books fall as far as genre and reading audience?

Contemporary fiction. “Deathbed Dime$” is humour meets legal thriller meets upmarket female fiction.

What are your favorite genres of books to read, and what are your favorite genres of books to write?

To read: Contemporary fiction. Literary Fiction. Satire. Upmarket female fare. Legal thrillers.

To write: Contemporary fiction. Satire. Legal intrigue mixed w/ humour.

Time to go to the movies! Out of all the ones you’ve seen, what’s your fav? And be sure to tell us why in case we haven’t seen it and would like to check it out.

I’m an entertainment lawyer by day, so that is a total Sophie’s Choice-type question. My childhood favourite films are a three-way tie between Troop Beverly Hills, featuring Shelley Long, The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills, and Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. Classics that I adore include Casablanca, Funny Girl, The Philadelphia Story, The Bad and The Beautiful, Singing in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, the list could go on forever. As for more recent fare, I loved The Help, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, A Mighty Heart, Nebraska, Bottle Shock, Charlie Wilson’s War, It’s Complicated, The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give (to be fair, I want to live in a Nancy Meyers movie), Twelve Years a Slave, Frozen, Despicable Me 1 & 2, and if I don’t stop now, everyone will stop reading.

Social media has become a part of being an author. What are your 3 best tips of the trade for upcoming authors when it comes to building their social media platform?

Follow an 80-20 rule: 80% of the time engage in witty repartee and limit your self-promotion to 20% of what you do. Follow people you respect and retweet them. Let people know you are all about quid pro quo.

For the first time in your writing career someone recognizes you as their favorite author, in public. Would you panic? Smile and bask in the moment? Blush and walk away? Invite them for coffee and cupcakes? Scream? Run? Faint?

Smile, nod and say thank you generously and often. Rinse and repeat.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! You rush to grab the special edition only to find the headline describes your life from day 1 till now. Don’t leave us hanging…what is the headline?

Naomi Elana Zener Gets it All Done While Wearing Manolos.

How much time do you devote to writing? Daily – weekly – monthly – whenever the urge strikes?

Daily when possible, but whenever the urge strikes.

Did you ever study writing? Feel free to elaborate – we’d love to hear about your education.
Outside of academic writing for my Masters’ thesis, I’m self-taught.

If you could personally thank one person, or several (living or not) for giving you the strength, determination, and perseverance to continue in your writing who would you thank?

My children, my husband, my mother and my father.

Who is your favorite character that you have created? Tell us about him or her and why you are so fond of them.
You love Sophie’s Choice-style questions. In “Deathbed Dime$” I love my heroine, Joely Zeller, but I equally loved her mother, Sylvia, and her arch nemesis, Chip Hancock.  In my current work-in-progress, I’m in love with four characters, but cannot divulge more than that. In my works of short fiction, my favourite characters were Sam in Kosher Pickles, Satan in Notorious P.R.G., Wife in Scenes from a Marriage (Parts 1-4) and my mom in When We Arrived in Toronto.

What is your favorite make-believe place you’ve ever created in a story? Is it a town? A hide-out? A futuristic city? The possibilities are endless! Please tell us all about your fav as we’d all love to escape with you!

Hell in Notorious P.R.G. Here’s the link, read and enjoy:

If you could choose where you wanted to live on a fantasy world would you choose living in the tree tops, living on the water, living under the water, living beneath the trees underground, or living on a sky ship? Perhaps you have your own idea of the perfect fantasy dwelling. Be sure to fill us in on what and why.

I would live on a large plot of land in a well-appointed home (think beach house from Nancy Meyers’ film Something’s Gotta Give), full of serene ocean views, but high enough that I would survive a tsunami because it couldn’t reach me.

If you could restructure the publishing world what would you do and how would you go about it?

I don’t want to get my hands dirty. I prefer to write.

How do you deal with rejection when you submit an MS?

Suck it up buttercup. Onwards and upwards.

As an author we all know we get those “stink-o” reviews that come through now and again. How do you handle a bad review when it hits?

See my answer regarding MS submission rejections.

If you could cure something in this world, what would it be?

Every disease, illness and crime that strikes or is committed against children.

What are your pet peeves – you know those little things that just drive you nuts?

Stupidity. Ignorance. Laziness.

What is your favorite cake? Are you an icing freak?

A decadent chocolate fudge cake. In Toronto: La Rocca’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. In LA: Sweet Lady Jane’s (on Melrose) or Mastro’s (on Canon). In the US: Linda’s Chocolate Fudge cake at The Cheesecake Factory.
Of all the professions in this world you opted to be a writer. What brought you to it?

I’m a hyphenate: Writer-Entertainment Lawyer. I studied to be a lawyer, but always knew that I was meant to do something more. Writing is that something more. Although I wrote the first draft of my debut novel “Deathbed Dime$” in 2009, the floodgates really burst open after I had my first child in 2011. Since then I write whenever I can find the time. I find the time daily. I can sleep when I’m dead. Just kidding, I still get a solid 8 hours a night. I’m a multi-tasker and very organized. In the words of the esteemed Project Runway coach, Tim Gunn, I make it work.

Do you create and design your own book covers?

I worked with my publisher for “Deathbed Dime$” and imagine that I will work with the publishers of my future works.

Do you find it annoying that people spend hundreds of dollars on ereading devices, yet complain about spending 99 cents and/or demand ebooks for free? Share your thoughts – don’t worry, we all know we can’t please all of the people all of the time, but we can always please some of the people some of the time. J

That is a universal complaint about anything creative, whether it be movies, music or books. What people don’t realize (or some just don’t care) is that beyond the valuable intellectual property created in the work, there are many people who want to bring that creativity to life. Everyone has a right to make money and be paid for their work. You wouldn’t think to walk into a bank and get $100 for $0.99, so if something cost $100 to make, why complain that you have to pay a bargain $0.99 to get the final product? Worse still, if you agree that robbing a bank is illegal, why then would you think that stealing intellectual property is justified? It is no different if you rob a bank, shoplift from a store or pirate creative content, like books, films and music.

To ebook or not to ebook – that is the question. What’s your take?

I’m a HUGE fan of e-books and print books, but e-books are the wave of the future.

If you could spend a day with an author, who would it be? And of course we’ve got to know why.

Today it would be Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, because I want a personally guided tour of the world he crafted. I would also love to hang out with Julia Fierro, author of Cutting Teeth, because she is brilliant. And, I would want to hang out with Elizabeth Gilbert, Amy Sohn, Ayelet Waldman, Curtis Sittenfeld, Dr. Vincent Lam, Terry Fallis, Michael Chabon, Gary Shteyngart, Therese Ann Fowler, Ania Szado, Melanie Benjamin, Phillip Roth, Judy Blume, Tomi Ungerer, Kathryn Stockett, William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray,…wait, you wanted one?

Where can we find your book(s)?

TWITTER HANDLE: @satiricalmama


And that's a wrap! Was that not a barrel of fun? We thought so too. Be sure to visit Naomi's links above to get connected and stay in-the-know about her novels.

Until next time, stay casual - live life to the fullest - and have a piece of chocolate for us.

Your crazy, fun-lovin' blog hosts
Authors Elise VanCise and Janet Beasley
Never stop dreaming, never stop creating

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)