Successful humor memoirist Jen Lancaster may have a self-proclaimed “flat Chicago” accent, but she can’t get enough of that elastic Southern twang. And according to the best-selling author, her barbed wit -- and these barbs tickle -- strikes a chord with Atlanta ladies.
The Buckhead Barnes & Noble expects throngs of them when Lancaster stops in to sign copies of her latest true-life tome “Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development, or Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops are Not Dinner,” which arrives May 1.
“Atlanta women are the most enthusiastic and seem to get me the most,” Lancaster said during a recent phone conversation. “I love looking out and seeing an audience in pink and green and pearls.”
Q: You poke some fun at Sarah Palin in the promotional video for your new book. Your hair even looks like hers.
A: I Googled all of these pictures of Sarah Palin’s hair. I brought them to the hairdresser and said, “I want you to do this.” And then he started to do it, and he did it very conservatively. And I said, “No, I need you to make it look crazy.” I went in asking for this very ridiculous hair. And when he did it, [it felt] so very right. I think it’s my conservative roots that are showing. I think that’s just how my hair wants to go. ...If I could [style it like that] myself, I absolutely would.
Q: You started as a blogger years ago. How important do you think it is for an aspiring author to have a blog?
A: First of all, the act of blogging, especially if you’re someone who is fairly prolific, gets you writing every single day. Being able to write is a muscle, and you need to continue to work it if you want it to get stronger. It also helps build an audience, and it’s an immediate source of feedback. So if you start to write in a way that people don’t like and you’re starting to cover topics that aren’t that popular, you have immediate traffic statistics you can look at and evaluate. ...Yes, what I do is a form of art, but it’s also kind of a commodity. So I have to make sure I’m delivering what it is people want. And it’s also a great way to attract people in the business. All sorts of bloggers have gotten book deals.
Q: What do you do to exercise your humor skills?
A: I do a lot observational humor. I’d like to say it’s because I pay attention, but the truth is it’s because I’m nosy, and I’m always minding everyone else’s business. And I think that I see things that other people don’t see that are funny. The example I always use is one time I was in the checkout line at Target on Valentine’s Day. The guy in front of me had chocolates and a Valentine’s Day card. And he also had a massive bottle of vodka and an even larger bottle of Kaopectate anti-diarrheal medicine. I was looking at the conveyor belt and crying, because it was so funny. My thoughts were “Oh, somebody’s a lucky girl today.” And nobody else thought it was funny or was paying attention to it.
Q: So why do you think Atlanta women understand you the most?
A: I think the women in Atlanta are particularly strong women who know their mind. But they have that whole polite thing that you don’t even know you’re being railroaded until it’s already happened. They’re so nice that you don’t have any idea that you’ve just been shoved in a corner. And that’s something that I really try to do in my own life.
7 p.m. May 2. Free. Barnes & Noble, 2900 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-261-7747, www.jennsylvania.com.
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