It’s like I’m a sophomore. It’s fascinating to me how a person can turn sixty and still feel, well, sophomoric. To write your debut novel in life’s third act means you’re trying many things for the very first time when people expect you to be fairly experienced. You’ve got wrinkles, for crying out loud. This makes you a doubly-awkward novice. Or at least that’s true for me.

I recently had the admittedly fantastic chance to be interviewed on camera by the amazing Ona Russell for her LitHub program, Authors In The Tent. Ona is a great interviewer, thoughtful, intellectual, funny and warm. So, though I began the interview nervous, Ona promptly made feel feel right to home. That was the problem.

She got me at ease so quickly that when she asked me about the origin of my series protagonist, Jane, I immediately thought of the iconic San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. Jane was supposed to be Herb. But then I took a very early excerpt of Copy Boy to be workshopped at the esteemed Community of Writers in the Sierra Nevadas and presented it to my workshop group.

In the picture above, you can see exactly the moment where I’m thinking, Should I really tell this story? Can I talk about my failure to convincingly describe a young man’s socially inappropriate erection on Authors In The Tent?

Dear reader, I did tell the story. Ona’s face was so open and welcoming. Just like a friend. So I settled in and did what I do when I talk to friends–said the weird parts. Sigh.

If you get past the video’s first few minutes, where I am a little saltier than I intended, you’ll also get to witness Ona’s skill at interviewing and my absolute pleasure in our conversation.

I’m still learning. Next time, I won’t relax so completely. By the time I’m sixty-one, maybe I’ll try not to say the embarrassing parts.

Watch the video on LitHub.

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