Friday, March 23, 2007

Say hey to Margo Rabb!

I'm thrilled to welcome Margo Rabb to the blog today. I loved her Cures for Heartbreak (as did Jen Robinson) and it's great to have the opportunity to ask her some questions.

(Would you like to read Cures for Heartbreak? Then send an e-mail to One lucky [random] winner will win a copy today if you mention you visited with Margo here. I hope you win!)

Now on to the interview:

Tell us a little bit about Margo Rabb. Where do you live? How do you spend your days?

I live in Brooklyn, New York, not far from Queens, where I grew up. I think there are more writers per capita in Brooklyn than anywhere else in the nation. There's an application for local authors to get their books displayed in the window of the neighborhood Barnes & Noble. As for spending my days: I have a 4-month-old baby girl, so I spend my mornings with her, and then I write for a few hours in the afternoon, when I have a babysitter.

Beer, wine, or a soft drink?

Red wine. I'm a petite person, and a very cheap date--I can't handle more than two glasses.

Who is your favorite writer?

Alice Munro. The only fan letter I've ever written (aside from one to Shaun Cassidy when I was 12) was to Alice Munro. She wrote back, though Shaun never did.

Beach, city, or forest?

All of them--in my dream life I'd own a brownstone in Brooklyn, a country house in the woods, and a place on the beach. At the moment we own none of the above, however. Buy some books, people!

You also write short stories. Which do you prefer--the short story or the novel? Which do you prefer to read?

I love both, and am usually reading a story collection and a novel simultaneously. I enjoy writing both also--I only wish that publishers were as enthusiastic about short stories as they are about novels. (They aren't--mention the words "short story collection" to most literary agents and they turn pale and fidgety.)

Coffee, tea, or a triple skinny latte?

Coffee coffee coffee! (as Lorelai Gilmore says.)

You have said that Cures for Heartbreak took eight years to write (from Backstory). When did you decide it was complete? Was there one moment when you knew it was perfect?

I decided it was done when I found myself taking out words and then putting the same words back in. Then again, I was giving a reading from the book last week and crossing out entire sentences and re-writing them in the margins--so apparently I'd still be re-writing it if I could. As for knowing it's perfect--that never happens!

Movie, Theater, or a Concert?

Theater. One of the things I love most about living in New York City is going to the theater. The last play I saw was the Roundabout Theater's production of The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick, Jr. I'd never liked Harry Connick, Jr. before, but after seeing him in that...let's just say my husband is tired of hearing about Harry.

If you had an entire week and unlimited resources to do whatever you'd like, what would you do and why?

Since I've been dealing with the sleep deprivation of having a young baby, first I would check into a nice hotel and sleep and sleep and sleep. When I finally woke up I'd love to travel to Italy when truffles are in season and eat them with everything.

Halloween, New Year's, or Valentine's Day?

Halloween, definitely. Another advantage of being a mere 5' 1" is that I already have big plans for future Halloweens with my daughter. I'm going to go undercover as another kid so we can go trick-or-treating together and I can get as much candy as possible. Then I'll share it with her and her friends. If they're nice.


1. What is it about sisters? What I especially appreciated about Cures for Heartbreak was your description of Alex and Mia's relationship. Polar opposites, yet still close (although sometimes combative). Did you base this relationship on ones you know in your own life or on observation of strangers?

Seeing as my sister is sitting right next to me as I type this, I should probably say that my fictional portrayal of the relationship is utterly and completely a product of my imagination. (Sister nods at this approvingly...) She isn't a polar opposite at all (though I'm wearing heels and she's wearing hiking shoes and I have on lip gloss while she wears chapstick...) We weren't as close when we were in high school, but we've become very close now.

2. While Mia certainly struggles in Cures for Heartbreak, I felt so sorry for dear old dad. Does he find happiness after such amazing loss? (I did read the "Afterword," so I know it can't have been long-lived, but in a fictional world perhaps?)

I think that both in fiction and in real life, the father found happiness. After my mother died, I was surprised by my father's amazing resilience--he went from the grief and depression after losing our mother to really being happy again.

3. One sentence on the final page of the novel is particularly moving. Mia thinks, while on the roof with her beau--"cancer boy" Sasha--"If grief had a permanence, then didn't also love?" Do you find both grief and love permanent, or do they both fade over time?

I think both are absolutely permanent. I'll never get over the grief I've felt for my parents, and will always love them. I've kept a journal almost daily since I was fifteen, and whenever I read back on old loves the feelings return--they haven’t gone away, they're just buried under new ones.

4.What can we look forward to next from Margo Rabb?

I'm about halfway done with a new novel...and I promise there is no one bearing any resemblance to my sister in it.

To learn more about Margo Rabb, check out her website. You can also drop her a comment or two (or five) at her MySpace page.

Thanks, Margo. It was great fun to interview you! To catch the rest of Margo's whirlwind tour, here's the itinerary:

3/19: Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray
3/20: Lizzie Skurnick at The Old Hag
3/21: Jen Robinson at Jen Robinson's Book Page
3/22: Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 Production
3/23: You are here
3/26: Liz Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
3/27: Jackie Parker at Interactive Reader
3/28: Little Willow at Bildungsroman
3/29: Leila Roy at Bookshelves of Doom
3/30: Mindy at

Editorial notes:

1) I was Alex. Heck, I'm still Alex.
2) That darn Shaun Cassidy. He was lousy with his fans. Hooray for Alice Munro!
3) Colleen Mondor wrote an amazing reaction to Cures for a Heartbreak.