Life Stories #4: Tim Anderson

In this installment of Life Stories, my series of podcast interviews with memoir writers about their lives and the art of memoir writing, I talk to Tim Anderson, the author of Tune In Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, his account of leaving Raleigh, North Carolina, to teach conversational English in Japan. Anybody who’s given some thought to self-publishing should pay particular attention to the second half of this conversation, as Tim discusses why, after a number of rejections, he decided to put this book out himself, and how it wound up catching the eye of Amazon Encore, an Amazon.com publishing imprint that specializes in finding self-published books that are on the cusp of a commercial breakthrough and signing them up, then giving them that extra push.

Listen to Life Stories #4: Tim Anderson (MP3 file); or download the file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click).

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31 March 2012 | life stories |

Michelle Haimoff & The Return of 2002

I was recently introduced to Michelle Haimoff at a party to celebrate the publication of her debut novel, These Days Are Ours. It turned out, as she explains below, that the bar where the party was held also appeared in the novel, which is set in New York City in early 2002 and the emotional aftershocks of 9/11. Haimoff and several of her friends commented that it had been about a decade since they’d last been in this bar—in her case, because she’d moved to Los Angeles; coincidentally, I’d met people there a few times in 2000 and 2001, when I first moved to New York, and I hadn’t been back since then, either. As I talked about this with Haimoff, I got the idea that she might want to do a guest essay for Beatrice about revisiting her past and the novel’s settings at the same time… and here we are!

These Days Are Ours is set in New York City six months after September 11th. The first scene in the novel describes a group of kids hanging out at an Upper West Side apartment talking about the Oscars. They refer to Tom Cruise’s Oscar speech where he questions whether or not it’s okay to have an awards ceremony in light of recent events. His conclusion: “More than ever.” The Oscars are what people were talking about once again, ten years later, the week my book came out.

It was surreal to be back in New York City promoting my novel a decade after it takes place. One of the book events was at Belmont Lounge, a bar mentioned in the novel. I gave the DJ a playlist of songs from that scene as well as other songs from March 2002. Songs like “Someday” by The Strokes and “The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side” by the Magnetic Fields. Being in that bar with that music playing with so many friends that had inspired the book was like being in the book. My friends and I had traveled back in time.

Later that night, as I was walking with my husband on a New York street in the same unseasonably warm weather in which the book takes place, some drunk guy a block away yelled, “Hey Hailey!” which is the main character’s name. I know he wasn’t addressing me but it messed with my head. “I feel like I’m in Adaptation,” I said to my husband.

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30 March 2012 | guest authors |

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