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Thursday, February 14, 2013

#48 Nicole Audrey Spector

20 Questions with Mourning Goats
Nicole Audrey Spector

I've known Nicole for a while now and when I heard she was getting this mash-up, Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray, published, I knew that she would be the perfect interview for Valentine's Day. So boys, go pick up this book for your girl (you should read it too), help out a friend of the goat, and check out her answers below!

1. What comes to mind when you hear, "Mourning Goats”?

Porn, obviously.

2. You were almost named Goat? Please explain! 

Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't really.  I was just making a bad joke.  See?  I'm a great humorist.

3. What was it like working with The Picture of Dorian Gray?   

In a geeky fan sense, it was terrific. I've loved Wilde since I first heard his fairytales as a child, and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is one of my favorite novels. It's shocking, irreverent, and naturally hilarious, which makes it a prime vehicle for parodying the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy.  I think Wilde would have been all over the mash-up genre – anything to laugh in society's face and show them how idiotic they are.  Now, while I of course wanted to poke fun at the Fifty Shades books, I also aimed to appeal to its audience, which meant taking the sexual themes already present in Wilde's original text, and exploiting them for a heterosexual readership in a way that was genuinely erotic.

4. You described this book as humrotica, what is that and tell me you have more?

I'm glad someone caught on to my stunning neologism!  Basically, it's humor with steamy sex stuffed in.  Sometimes the sex scenes themselves have laughable moments, and sometimes the scenes are straight-faced. Do I have more humrotic? I guess if I write a memoir... 

5. Are you doing any kind of touring for the book? Around NYC?

I do readings here and there, but there's no official tour.  Would you like to send me somewhere?  Can I bring my dog?

6. How did you get a blurb from Fred Armisen?

Fred and I have been buddies for a while.  He's awesome and just as funny as you'd imagine him to be. 

7. What's it been like working with Skyhorse Publishing?

I love Skyhorse.  The book's editor, Jennifer McCartney is so intelligent and discerning.  Oleg Lyubner, my publicist (ha, he hates when I call him that, as technically he is the book's publicist) is a deadly shark of skill and know how!  And he's read Chekhov in Russian. 

8. Guerrilla Lit Reading Series? What's that all about?

Me and some writer friends (Marco Rafala, Dani Grammerstorf French, and Lee Goldberg) formed that years ago here in NYC.  The idea was to curate a prose-centered reading series that would promote upcoming as well as established talent.  We've come a tremendous way since then, largely thanks to Marco, Dani, and Lee. We're now featured pretty regularly in TimeOut NY, and have a full calendar of stellar readers to look forward to meeting.  You can find us every last Wednesday of the month at Jimmy's No. 43 in the east village. 

9. You had a reading last week, do you do a lot? Excited? Nervous?

I'm the biggest ham around, so I love reading.  Plus, it was with my Guerrilla homies so I felt greatly supported. I read a funny scene where the protagonist of FSODG, Rosemary Hall gets her period.  During the Victorian era, “the curse” wasn't exactly the commercial coming of age experience we now see in tampon ads, so it was a lot of fun.    

10. You're working on multiple novels and a short story collection. Where else can we read your work?

I'm still tying the loose ends up on that, but I promise to keep you updated when all is said and done!  

11. Your book came out in print, e-book, and audible, what are your thoughts on books? Remember when they were just books?

There are some annoying attributes to e-books. 
1.   You really should not read them soaking in your own filth, aka in the bathtub, which is my reading space of choice.
2.   Authors can't sign them
3.   Footnotes are a disaster
4.   They die

Other than that, they're excellent and boast their own convenience and readability.  I support everything about audio books.  They're great while driving, or cleaning, or for those who dislike music, whoever such a people may be. Also, if you have really bad vision or no vision at all, audio books are the way to go. It really pisses me off that all books are not automatically converted to audio for the visually-impaired – and that audio books are so expensive.

12. How did you get the contract for this book? Is it something you wanted to write from the beginning?

Jennifer McCartney, a senior editor at Skyhorse saw a reading of mine and thought I'd be a great candidate for the project. She gave me a lot of freedom with it so I was able to really create my own thing.

13. A writer for the New Yorker, as well? What do you write for them?

I'm still so star struck by that fact. I moved to NYC at 17, basically thinking only about how one day I must write for The New Yorker. Twelve years later I got my chance. Right now, I write blurbs for the “Goings On About Town” nightlife section.

14. Who's your audience? Especially for Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray?

Hilarious feminists, diehard Wilde fans, and just sexy beasts in general.  Oh, and Mourning Goat readers.

15. Do you have any more mash-ups in the works?

No, but I do have insomnia, which leads to a lot of whacky ideas.

16. You were in Huffington Post, how awesome was that?

Exceptionally!  You can see some of my off the wall mashup novel ideas in that article. 

17. Do you have an agent? Do you think new authors need one?

I don't have one yet.  I guess I'm in the process of getting one.  I don't think new authors need agents, but they do need a terrific team like the one I had at Skyhorse to whip them into shape.  Discipline is always the hardest part, and that's the part an editor and a publicist help you hone. 

18. Who are you reading, now?

I actually am re-reading “Dog Soldiers” by Robert Stone right now, because I think I read it too quickly when I was younger. What an incredible book! On my nightstand is also Didion's “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and James Salter's “Dusk”.  I suppose I should mention that I am also reading, albeit slowly, “The Red and the Black” by Stendhal because I put it off too long and I need to be put in check. Oh, there's another perk about e-books.  That shit is free, and you don't have to settle for tiny font.  You can make it big and couchy.

19. Other than Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray, what would you recommend for a good Valentine's Day read? 

The Romance of Lust--its anonymous author of the Victorian era makes Henry Miller look like a prude. 

20. What's next for Nicole Audrey Spector?

Hopefully, a day job with health benefits: Setting the bar real high. 

Thank you!

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