Katie’s bored stiff in her marriage. Wilson’s clawing the walls to stay sober. Can they survive January?
Katie Lavender’s life boomerangs between diapers and benzodiazepines, hot sex and married sex. A genuine earth mother, Katie is an anxious hippie with a PhD. She spends her afternoons leafing through People magazine, snacking on her kids’ cereal and seducing her young neighbor. She’s restless for something to change - fast. Katie’s fumbling husband Wilson is a sober alcoholic and professor of women’s studies, though he’s beginning to suspect he knows nothing about the other gender. With three children underfoot, Katie and Wilson each wonder if they’re meant to be together. The Lavender’s stagnant marriage is upended when Katie’s pregnant sister January arrives on their doorstep. Obsessed with her big-haired ex-lover - 80s rocker Stevie Flame - January is a free-spirited, wild child who drives Wilson crazy. January’s arrival unearths memories from Katie’s violent past, and a trauma she thought she’d overcome haunts her anew. Can Katie reclaim the love she deserves?
“Consistently funny and well-observed … the novel is a pleasure to read.” -- Andy Mozina, author of The Women Were Leaving the Men and Quality Snacks.
Kimberly Knutsen is a professor of English at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she holds a PhD in English from Western Michigan University and an MA from New Mexico State University. Her short stories have appeared in Cimarron Review and Hawai’i Review.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Difficult events in life, the beauty and horror of the natural world, my kids and pets, love, fury, silence. Caffeine and chocolate.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Sitting down at my desk with a hot latte and getting lost in another world—one that is more beautiful and less anxiety-producing than “reality.” In the fictional world, I feel as if I have some semblance of control, which is the opposite of how I feel in real life.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. Sitting still. Being inside when it’s nice out. Feeling frustrated. But these are minor annoyances.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would be a visual artist. I can’t imagine not creating. It would be like living on only one level, just skimming the surface of life. So, I would either be a painter or a bug.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. The Long, Undignified March of a West Coast Ding-Dong: A Cautionary Tale.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. I LOVED Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary. And of course Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. rocked my world. And a few years later, Forever blew me away. Thank you, Judy Blume! And what can I say about the Jackie Collins years? Wow! RIP, Jackie!
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Trying to be “good.” Failing.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. Katie, now. January is the girl I was before I had kids.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. The Borrowers. I always wanted to be very, very small.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Fall. In Portland now, the leaves are turning, and it’s cool and sunny—glorious!
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. I always liked Elizabeth Wurtzel’s cover of Prozac Nation. My plan was to be the hot young author on the cover of my book, but then I sort of aged out of that idea!
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I took author photos outdoors for two hours when it was nearly a hundred degrees out. I had a massive panic attack. It was a nightmare! Is that funny? It definitely wasn’t at the time, but when I look at the photo that made it onto the cover of the book, I can laugh, nervously, because it’s over with.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I’ve completed Violet, the sequel to The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath, and I’m currently working on The Amazing Daisy, the third installment in the Lavender family trilogy. I also have a novella, My Blue World, published in four parts on Novella T:
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Thank you for reading this. If you’re a writer, keep writing and never give up! It took me years to find the perfect home for The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath. Writing is 99.999 percent rejection, but who cares because you only need that one, little yes. I hope you enjoy the book!