We are major-league fans of Melissa Kantor and of her new novel Confessions of a Not It Girl, even though its cover features a person with words on her butt (perhaps the most heinous of fashion felonies, in our opinion). So we asked Melissa to shimmy on over here and sit down for the famous burger pop quiz. To our deep astonishment, she agreed!
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of?
Norma Klein--I actually don't know if people have never heard of her, but so many of her books are out of print that these days, it's hard to find them. To me this is completely tragic. If you can get your hands on a copy of It's Okay if You Don't Love Me or Love is One of the Choices, hold onto it like grim death!
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up?
Norma Klein's books, natch. And Judy Blume. I loved Harriet the Spy when I was younger and was utterly addicted to Nancy Drew the summer I was nine, but recently I recommended the Nancy Drew books to a student of mine and was informed, "These are totally boring." Maybe the character doesn't (time) travel well. Two thumbs up for Marjorie Morningstar and Gone with the Wind.
Describe your ideal place to write.
I love writing at the desk in my bedroom, which (if my husband and son aren't home) is wonderfully quiet and which has a great view over the backyards and treetops of my neighborhood in Brooklyn. There's also a great cafe near me called Coco Bar, and I did some very serious editing of my third book there. I'm kind of a vagabond in that I've written all over the place (other cafes, the local public library, my mom's house in Salt Lake City). So I CAN write anywhere, but where I LIKE to write is sort of quirky--I think there are places that are "good" to write (quiet, well lit, etc.) that have bad associations or bad karma or whatever, and I can't write there. Maybe that's why I like Coco bar so much--it's full of distractions, but it's got a great vibe.
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the "best of" episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel.
Best of episode: I wish this didn't involve a boy, but maybe all "Best of" episodes do. When I was a
sophomore in college, I was seeing this guy--it was very tenuous, like he was definitely not my BOYFRIEND, but I was completely into him. He was a senior and stayed at school during his spring break. I was home in New York over vacation, but my parents were out of town and I took the car and drove up to school and surprised him. We had one of those perfect nights--he was COMPLETELY psyched to see me, we drank a bottle of champagne, the whole nine yeards. About a week later
he totally dumped me, which, as you can imagine, sucked, but I'll never forget that sense of excitement as I turned my mom's Saab 900 onto 95 north and started my drive not knowing what I'd find at the other end..
Bloopers: Sadly, much of my life has probably been one big blooper as I spend most days with my foot deep in my mouth. A typical one took place the first day of camp when I was a teenager and the guy I had a total crush on but who wasn't into me romantically (are you sensing a theme here?) came over to say hello. I'd been planning this moment for months (I'd spent most of the winter thinking about him), but when it actually happened, I was so nervous that as soon as he spoke to me I just blurted out, "How'd you do on the SAT?" He was like, "Um, okay." You could tell he was thinking, What a freak.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please!
I worked as a waitress at a golf and country club and I had to wear a HORRIBLE uniform. Polyester white shirt and black pants and awful white shoes. WHITE SHOES, people. Like a nurse, only I wasn't saving people's lives, I was serving them little butter balls. It was the worst.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should it have?
Could you call mine "The Sassy"? Or is that too lame? I think it would have melted blue cheese on it and then tomatoes and lettuce and onions on the side. And it would come with a complimentary pack of "Trident Blue" so you could eat all the onions.