Category Archives: Paperback Proust

>Author Deanna Raybourn takes the Paperback Proust…and giveaway!


It’s always a pleasure to welcome Deanna Raybourn to the Dollhouse, she was after all, one of our very first guests and she does write an awesome series with a fabulous heroine and one BadAss hero.

Her latest book, the fifth in the Julia Grey series – The Dark Enquiry(read Noa’s review here) will be out tomorrow, and since, horror of horrors! Ms. Raybourn has never taken the Paperback Proust we decided it was about time to do something to change that…enjoy!

What are you reading at the moment?

DR: Justine Picardie’s biography of Coco Chanel.

Most recent splurge?

Dark Road to Darjeeling (Lady Julia Grey)DR: I literally ordered shoes online about five minutes ago—butter yellow and gray heels to go with a dress I bought for RWA. When I was first published, I always made a point of wearing interesting shoes and now readers always want me to show my feet! I have even had readers identify me at conferences because of my shoes, so now I feel I have to up my game every time. I fear this is going to get costly…

What you appreciate the most in your friends?

DR: Loyalty and a lack of drama. I like people who are funny and intelligent and kind with a slightly warped sense of irony.

Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?

DR: Atticus Finch, Frederick Wentworth, Rochester, Darcy, Julian Kestrel.

Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?

DR: Flora Poste, Amelia Peabody, Elizabeth Bennet, Precious Ramotswe, the Provincial Lady.

What characters in history do you most dislike?

Silent On The Moor (A Lady Julia Grey Novel)DR: I used to adore Mary, Queen of Scots, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten progressively more annoyed by he r stupidity. I’m Team Elizabeth now. I have issues with quite a few Renaissance popes and most dictators. I also have a fairly active loathing for Henry VIII.

Who are your heroines in World history?

DR: Elizabeth I, Grace O’Malley, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katherine Swynford. I should point out that I am slightly biased with regards to Katherine Swynford—she is my 17th great grandmother.

What is your present state of mind? Focused.

DR: I am immersed in research for my next project and loving every minute of it, but I am also learning how to put it down and focus on my family when they need to be the priority. Being an author calls for a very different skill set than being a writer, and after five years of being published I am finally learning to pull them all together!

What is your motto?

DR: “Specto subitus.” Expect the unexpected. The last time I was in Las Vegas I very nearly got it tattooed on my wrist because it shows itself almost every day in my life.

What is your greatest extravagance?

DR: I am a pragmatic hedonist. I would rather buy a peony with my last dollar than something practical, but I never let things get too far out of hand. I do like to travel, so if I’m going to splash out on something, it will usually be a trip. I also think it’s important to treat yourself on a daily basis—flowers, good tea, nice chocolates, fabulous perfume—whatever makes you happy.

Silent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey MysteryWhat is your favorite journey?

DR: Life. It’s very easy to think of travel only in terms of journeys, but I think life is utterly wasted if you don’t stop and take a look around and figure out where you’re going and if that’s really where you want to end up. That life philosophy is courtesy of Ferris Bueller.

On what occasion do you lie?

DR: I don’t. I never want to hurt someone’s feelings, so I may only tell a small part of the truth, but whatever I tell will be the truth. Life is vastly simpler that way.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

DR: Imperfection. I think being content with uncertainty or loose ends or the little messes that life tends to throw at you is the secret to it all. If there is no such thing as perfection—and I don’t think there is—then you are free to be happy anytime with the imperfection of it all. You can’t live your life on the premise that you’ll be happy when X happens or when Y is over. Life is now, it’s here, it’s untidy. Be happy with that, and you can be happy always.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

DR: Something with wings—a butterfly or a showy little bird with some fascinating plumage.

What is your greatest regret?

Silent in the GraveDR: I don’t believe in regret. I think every choice brings you to where you are. If it’s a choice you wouldn’t make again, then you learned something and that is not a thing to be regretted. If it’s a choice you’re happy with, then there’s certainly nothing to regret there either.

When and where were you happiest?

DR: Any given moment. Many times I’ll be puttering away at work or hanging out with my family or even tidying up the house and it hits me that this is happiness, those quiet everyday moments that don’t come with a trumpet fanfare. It just tiptoes in and sits with you and waits for you to notice sometimes. A good meal and a nice glass of wine in a lovely setting don’t hurt either…

Which talent would you most like to have?

DR: Singing or drawing. I think either would give me immense pleasure and I am rubbish at both.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

DR: Raising an extraordinary daughter. She will be seventeen this year and she’s an absolute delight to be around—funny, smart, and kind. Being her parent has taught me everything I know about kindness and patience and empathy and gentleness. I’m also extremely proud of sticking it out and writing novels for fourteen years before I got published, but that kind of perseverance still doesn’t compare to raising a child!

More about Deanna: A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.

Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.

Thank you so much to Deanna Raybourn for those wonderful answers!
You can find out more about Deanna and her books on her website
*~*~*Dark Enquiry Giveaway*~*~*
A chance to win a brand new copy of The Dark Enquiry is just one step away… 
We asked Deanna to tell us what her most recent splurge was and what her greatest extravagance was (read more about her answer on her Blog
The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia Grey Novel)
Now share in the comments – what is your most recent splurge and your greatest extravagance? 
We would also appreciate if you share the link on twitter! 
A random winner will be selected on July 2nd winner to be announced on Sunday the 3rd in the Week in Review post! 
Giveaway is International

>Paperback Proust Q & A with Author Kelly Keaton (aka Kelly Gay)!


I’m just your average bookworm who likes to spend an embarrassing amount of time in make-believe places.
I’ve had many jobs from construction (I can drive a backhoe, tar and shingle a roof, and frame out a house) to waiting on tables, threading film through a projector, managing horse farms, and selling men’s underwear (a talent, I tell you!).

In the writing world, I’m a 2010 double RITA finalist, a three-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and a recipient of an NC Arts Council Fellowship grant in Literature

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? Losing my children.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND? Pretty relaxed. It’s morning and it’s a business day for me (answering emails, interview Qs, updating website, etc).




WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? The books handed down to me from my grandparents.

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST? Riding my horse when I was a kid.


WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF? Stressing over things I can’t change.


WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? Hmmm. Obviously I’m not a big spender since I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to think of something! I tend to spend money on my kids or books or things that are needed. I don’t think I’ve ever dropped a lot of money on an extravagant item. Maybe I should. But can’t think of anything, LOL!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY? The one that takes me upstairs to my bed. 🙂

WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? The new wrinkles that have popped up the last couple years.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE? Can a true virtue be over-rated?

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? When I don’t ‘feel’ fine, but I say I am anyway.




WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE? Anywhere my family is. (But, if they were in a castle that would be great!)




WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? Their ability to not de-friend me when I go into Deadline Hermit mode. Their support and love.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE? I don’t want to die. I want to live forever. But I guess if I had to go it would be when I’m old and pass peacefully in my sleep.

IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE? I think I’d be just another woman trying again at this thing called life.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)? ‘Just when the catepillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly’. This reminds me that even in my darkest hours, there is always hope, and not to give up because what comes out of darkness can be beautiful and can make me a stronger person.


Check out Kelly’s WEBSITE for more information and follow her on FACEBOOK & TWITTER! Enter our Blogoversary Giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Kelly’s debut YA novel ‘Darkness Becomes Her’!

*The Better Part of Darkness (UF-November 2009) REVIEW
*Darkness Becomes Her (YA- February 2011) REVIEW

>Authors Ilona and Gordon Andrews take the Paperback Proust!…and Giveaway!


Ilona Andrews is the pen name used by urban fantasy novelist Ilona and her spouse Gordon. They write urban fantasy, an odd hybrid of a genre that includes elements of mystery, fantasy, and horror. Their stories are set in a modern setting that has a touch of paranormal to it: shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, necromancers, and an occasional pagan god. Right now they are working mainly on two different series: Kate Daniels, a modern sword-and-sorcery set in a post-apocalyptic world where magic came back in a big way and ruined things, and The Edge, a romantic urban fantasy set in a no-man’s land between our world and a parallel dimension of magic. Visit their website to find out more!

They’ve managed to escape it for over a year, but no more! With the release of the latest (book 5) in the Kate Daniels Series, Magic Slays just around the corner – mark your calendars May 31 – we finally managed to get Ilona and Gordon to go through the ringer – The Paperback Proust *insert dramatic music here* and in honor of the occasion there’s also a giveaway – one brand new copy of Magic Slays for one lucky follower! So, lets get to it!

What are your favorite qualities in a man?

On the Edge (The Edge, Book 1)I: My favorite quality in a man is dependability. I want someone that I can rely on and someone who want run away when we’re in trouble.

The quality you desire in a man?

I: Sense of humor would be great.

What is your favorite quality in a woman?

G: Sense of humor and intelligence; the first is required to put up with me, the second to compensate for my own lack thereof. Also I have no common sense, so it’s better if she does.

The quality you desire in a woman?

G: When I was younger, they just needed to say yes. Lucky for me Ilona did, to the whole life together thing. Ilona is serious, smart and hard working, things I did not know I wanted before we met but now know I desperately needed.

What is your main fault?

I: I have a terrible tempter.

G: I am lazy, stubborn and think that I am always right. Also, I fear I may not be as funny as I think I am.

What is your favorite occupation?

I: Writer.

Bayou Moon (The Edge, Book 2)G: Sailor, soldier or student, those all were fun.

What is your idea of happiness?

I: A happy healthy family, a fulfilling career, and no dog accidents in the house. 🙂

G: Being able to have enough and not worry about things. Also when our kids are older we want to be able to help them, life is tough when you’re young and on your own. We don’t want them to struggle as much as we did.

What is your chief characteristic?

G: I think that I am kind and funny but also lazy and stubborn.

What you appreciate the most in your friends?

G: Loyalty, honesty and discretion. We are not perfect and if you hang around with us for any period of time you will see some strange stuff, and I don’t want to see any of it blogged about. We also need to be told when were out of line or going too far. Friends should be able to tell you when you’re full of crap or agree to disagree about things.

What is your idea of misery?

G: Working a job you hate for all your life and then wondering what might have been if you had tried something else. Maybe it is the same as staying in a relationship that you know isn’t right.

I: Gordon pretty much said it.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)What would be your greatest misfortune?

G: Losing Ilona or the girls, that would be awful. I would just move to Thailand and drink myself to death like Nic Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas” except with nicer beaches.

If not yourself, who would you be?

G: OMG I would be Gerard Butler, that guys is amazing. He is handsome, can act and sing as well. It is not fair.

Where would you like to live?

G: Somewhere warm and exotic like Tahiti or Greece. Have you seen “Mama Mia”, somewhere like that.

Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction?

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)G: Flash Gordon, Conan, Thudarr, Kamandi, John Stark, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, David Gemmell’s Nogusta and Druss. Steve Perry’s (not the Journey guy) Emile Khadaji who I admire immensely. Perry’s Matador series is as amazing as it is underrated.

Who are your heroes/heroines in real life?

G: Johnny Cash, Clint Eastwood, my Uncle Gene, who raised me and reminds me of both of the previously mentioned individuals. The late Pat Tillman who quit the NFL to join the military after 9/11.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

G: I have two honorable discharges from two branches of the military and most of my bits and pieces. Seriously though, I am most proud of my daughters who are so smart, funny and pretty that is scares me a little. Plus, we make an ok living doing what we like and that ain’t bad.

Thank you so much Ilona and Gordon! 
Magic Slays will be hitting a bookstore shelf near you on 
May 31 2011!
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)
Now for our followers – want a chance to win a copy of Magic Slays? 
Just answer this question: You are in a life threatening apocalypse type situation and you can choose two characters from the Edge or Kate Daniels series to be with you as you try to save yourself… who do you choose? Make it interesting! 
Winner will be chosen randomly on June 4th and announced in our June 5th Week in Review Post
Giveaway is open to international followers

>Tangled Threads blog tour: Paperback Proust with Jennifer Estep + GIVEAWAY


Jennifer Estep is an author, prowling the streets of her imagi nation in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the ele ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fic tional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

What is your current state of mind?
JE: Busy. Every time I turn around, it seems like there’s something else that I need to take care of.

What is your favorite occupation (way of spending time)?
JE: It’s a tie between reading and watching TV/movies. I’m a sucker for all forms of entertainment. LOL.

Which living person do you most admire?
JE: My mom. She’s the strongest person I know.

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1)Who is your favorite fictional hero? Heroine?
JE: James Bond is my favorite hero. There’s something just so cool about Bond, who’s the ultimate spy. For heroine, I’ll say Beauty from the book Beauty by Robin McKinley because she manages to be strong in a very difficult situation.

Who are your real-life heroes?
JE: My mom and my grandma, who are the epitome of strong, Southern women.

What is your most treasured possession?
JE: When my first book, Karma Girl, was released, my significant other had a silver pendant shaped like a book made for me. That’s definitely one of my most treasured possessions.

What is your most obvious characteristic?
JE: My determination. I’m definitely an anal-retentive, overachiever type. LOL.

What is your greatest extravagance?
JE: It’s a tie between food and books. I love dark chocolate, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and going to the bookstore and buying a book that I’ve been dying to read – even though I already have ten books to read in my TBR pile at home. 😉

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin, Book 2)What is your favorite journey?
JE: Coming home after being away. There’s no place like home – and nothing better than getting to sleep in my own bed.

On what occasion do you lie?
JE: To save someone’s feelings from being hurt or to make things a little easier on myself.

What is your greatest fear?
JE: To have regrets about roads not taken.

Which words or phrases do you most over-use?
JE: Really, like, totally, cool … sometimes, I sound like a total valley girl. 😉

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)JE: Getting published. I wrote seven books over the course of about seven years and racked up hundreds and hundreds of rejections before I sold. But I kept writing and submitting, and it finally happened for me. The whole experience definitely taught me to go after what I want and to never give up.

Where would you like to live?
JE: I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, so I’ll say there, although I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t take that much cold and snow year in and year out. LOL. Basically, anywhere with mountains, fall colors, and beautiful views.

What is the quality you most admire in a man? In a woman?
JE: A sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself.

What do you value most in your friends?
JE: A sense of humor, being on time, honesty, and keeping the promises they make.

If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be?
JE: Hmm. Hopefully, my karma would be good enough that I wouldn’t come back as a bug! I’ll say a wolf since wolves are some of my favorite animals. Although, really, I’d probably end up as a shy little bunny rabbit instead of a big, bad wolf.
Venom (Elemental Assassin, Book 3)
Who has been the greatest influence on you?
JE: My mom. When I was a kid, she used to take me to the local library every Saturday, which is how I fell in love with reading and books in the first place. She’s the reason I’m a writer today.

What is your motto (words you live by or that mean a lot to you)?
JE: Never give up, never surrender! It’s a quote from the movie Galaxy Quest and one that means a lot to me as a writer, since being a writer is so full of rejections and heartache and second-guessing yourself. But you just have to keep writing and keep going, no matter what happens. I think it’s a great quote for everyone who has a goal that seems like it’s unattainable.

The Dolls would like to thank Jennifer Estep for taking the time out of her very busy schedule and visiting us today!
For more about Jennifer Estep and her books visit her Website


Jennifer Estep has been kind enough to offer one copy of Tangled Threads to a lucky follower – What do you have to do? Just comment! 
Giveaway is for US/Canada residents

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)

Giveaway ends May 7th, winner to be announced in Week in Review feature on May 8th

And remember – Tangled Threads (Book 4 in the Elemental Assassins series) hits a bookstore shelf near you on April 26th!

>Passport: Ireland- Special interview with O.R.Melling + GIVEAWAY


O.R. Melling, also known as G.V. Whelan, is an author of several fantasy novels. Melling’s novels are aimed at young adults and contain stories mostly written around Irish and Celtic folklore, faeries in particular.

Melling was born in Ireland and was brought up in Toronto with seven sisters and two brothers.When she was eighteen years old she hitched-hiked across Canada and through California. Melling travelled extensively in her youth, straying as far from Toronto, Ontario, as Malaysia and northern Borneo.

With a B.A. in philosophy and Celtic Studies from Trinity College in the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Mediaeval History, Melling has written film scripts, papers and become a literary critic under her real name, G.V. Whelan.

Currently living in her hometown of Bray, CO, Wicklow, Melling is still writing and has a teenaged daughter, Findabhair. Many of Melling’s books have been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Slovenian and Czech.

Growing old and destitute.


Besides writing? Gardening. I work as a gardener as well as a writer.

It’s a toss up between Queen Elizabeth I and Aspasia of Athens.

Nelson Mandela

Robin Hood

Nelson Mandela, Christina Noble, Veronica Guerin, Mahatma Gandhi, Julian Assange, Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Mary Robinson, Mother Amma, Albert Einstein

“Things” don’t mean a lot to me. I don’t think of anything I own as a ‘treasure.’ My daughter is the treasure of my life, but she is not a possession.

This year, the month of July which I spent in Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre, Co. Cavan, Ireland. I was working as the gardener in their walled garden, looking after vegetables and flowers, for half the day, then writing my new novel in the afternoons. I was also attending pujas and meditations, eating and working with the other members and visitors, learning from the lama and his chief student, an older nun, reading books about Buddhism. Every morning I woke up happy to be alive and excited about the day ahead. Every evening I went to bed happy to have lived and worked. It doesn’t get better than that.

Intellectual acumen




Into ‘inner space’ as Doris Lessing called it in Briefing for a Descent into Hell.

Crooked teeth.


When asked my age, lol.

“In truth” and “as a matter of fact! – lol

The amount of money I have.

Rearing a healthy happy daughter.

In Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre, Co. Cavan. I shall eventually.



I abhor cruelty to children and animals.


Outside under the stars, preferably under the Northern Lights

A bird.

A mountain, preferably in the Himalayas.

A bird flies home in the evening.

CS Lewis

Olwen Mellory — main character in my adult novel called People of the Great Journey, which is almost finished!

*Paperback Dolls wish to thank O.R. Melling for contributing to our feature. We encourage you all to follow her personal BLOG her FACEBOOK page and WEBSITE  for more information and to find out about her recent sojourn to India!

(this contest is now closed)

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of TWO posters of The Chronicles of Faerie. Two winners will be randomly selected on Saturday, January 29th and announced in our Week in Review post January 30th. This Giveaway is international. You do not have to follow Paperback Dolls to enter and win, though it is appreciated:). Good Luck!    

>Passport New York: Author Jeremy Blachman shares his NY experience


Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer (Henry Holt, 2006), a novel satirizing life at a large corporate law firm. The book was called “wickedly amusing” by USA Today and “not too long” by his grandmother. Besides the U.S. editions, the book has been published in Israel, Italy, Korea, Poland, Thailand, and the UK — and, coming soon, Russia. Blachman, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, is currently writing a second novel, and living with his wife in New York City. More information about the book — and a few podcasts (are podcasts even things anymore?) — at

New York’s a big place. I grew up in a part of Brooklyn called Bergen Beach, a twenty-minute drive past where the subway lines end. Drive to the bus, take the bus to the subway, take the subway into Manhattan. Ninety minutes door to door. Or take the “express bus,” that took two hours each way. We called Manhattan “the city,” because where we lived didn’t feel like a city at all. Even other parts of Brooklyn were thought of as “the city.” You know, parts the subway reached, or parts where people would actually choose to visit. We never went into Manhattan. Ever. Before age 10, I think I was in Manhattan for two school trips– the Broadway production of “Me and My Girl” and a trip to the Museum of Natural History — and a one-time-only adventure into Chinatown for dinner when a guy who my mom had gone on a couple of dates with wanted to really impress her. That’s it. I grew up believing that the part of the city that everyone thought of when they thought of the city was dangerous, dirty, and to be avoided at all costs. Can’t drive there (too much traffic, nowhere to park, and carjackers waiting on every corner), can’t walk there (kidnappers, murderers, and pickpockets), and, really, there’s nothing good about it at all. Full of rats, food’s expensive, and who needs to see a Broadway show when we have the television. These were the lessons taught.

Of course, sometimes the city couldn’t be avoided. I went to high school in Manhattan. There was a van service that picked people up from the far reaches of the city to bring us to school. I was the second pickup, waiting in the kitchen and staring out the window for the van to come at 6:20 in the morning, watching reruns of television shows from the 1950s and 60s on Nick and Nite — I am perhaps the only person of my generation who has seen every episode of Mr. Ed — while eating a barely-unfrozen waffle for breakfast and wishing that the public high schools in my neighborhood had been ever-so-slightly better (the one closest to my house was closed a few years later after what the news called a “stabbing incident”) so I wouldn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night and incur an impossible sleep deficit that I am still trying to pay back.

I live in “the city” now. Midtown Manhattan, although that makes it sound busier than it is. A relatively quiet street a couple of blocks from the United Nations, convenient for my wife to walk to work. I never thought I would end up back in the city — any city — as an adult. I just saw the bad stuff. And took the good stuff for granted. My parents are still afraid. Parking’s so expensive. There are so many taxicabs. The avenues are so long. I don’t know, there’s always a reason. We meet them halfway when we see them — somewhere in Park Slope or another area of Brooklyn that isn’t quite so frightening in their minds. And even though I still don’t feel comfortable driving in Manhattan — fortunately, we don’t need a car — and my parents were right that food is ridiculously expensive — I’ve grown to appreciate a few things. Or at least the existence of them, even if I don’t take full-enough advantage. Cheap theater tickets, ethnic supermarkets, independent movies. Even the subway. Sort of.

Jeremy thank you for taking part in Passport: New York and sharing your NY experience! 
Now, lets get to know Jeremy Blachman! 

Dolls: What made you decide to start the Anonymous Lawyer Blog?

JB: I was a second-year law student at Harvard when I started the blog. I initially decided to go to law school mostly because I didn’t know what else to do, which is not a great reason to go. After college I was working in marketing for a software company, and even though the job was fine I pretty quickly realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I had written in college — mostly sketches and songs for a theater group — but had no idea how to turn that into a career. I figured law school would give me three years to figure out how to find a way to be a writer — but at the same time give me a backup plan in case the writing didn’t work out. I knew I was good at school, and I liked the idea that there was a useful degree at the end of it, so even if I accomplished nothing else while I was there, I wouldn’t feel like the three years had been a waste.

I’d started blogging under my own name right at the beginning of law school — initially as a way to force myself to write something every day. I had built up a decent-sized audience, but had started thinking about what else I could do with the blog form. I’d started a group blog with some other law students I’d met in the blogosphere, and was trying to think of some other outlets for blog-related experimentation. At the same time, I’d started interviewing for summer jobs at law firms and felt pretty conflicted about the process. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to work at a big firm after graduation — I’d gone to law school not realizing that most people ended up at places like these, and in fact had no idea what a big law firm was before starting school — but I also felt like I shouldn’t reject the possibility without giving it a chance, plus the pay was pretty crazy ($2500/week for 13 weeks — would basically pay for that final year of law school). I knew that I wasn’t a perfect candidate. My resume was filled with things that were not terribly related to the practice of law. I’d spent the summer after the first year of law school working for a publishing company and doing some editing and ghostwriting. I’d written a musical. I was working on the law school newspaper and in the law school’s a cappella singing group.

And I was bad at pretending that I desperately wanted to be a lawyer. I’d have these interviews and feel like a bit of a fraud, trying to say the right things about being passionate about corporate restructuring and being excited to work for a firm that was [whatever adjectives the firm had used to describe themselves on their website]. But at the same time, I felt like the people interviewing me were being no more forthcoming than I was. They were all selling the same fantasy — exciting work, tremendous opportunities, work/life balance, a perfect career. And yet the stories we would hear from people who were working there were not quite so perfect. Incredibly long hours, mind-numbing work, and very little in the way of satisfaction. I started to think about what these partners who were interviewing me were really thinking — “you clearly don’t want to work here,” “I am just going through the motions,” “all that matters anyway are your grades” — and, on a whim, decided to see what would happen if I tried to blog in the voice of one of these hiring partners.

I started Anonymous Lawyer before I’d even spent a day working at a law firm. I didn’t expect I’d have enough to say to last a week, that anyone would read it, or that I’d necessarily even stay interested in writing it. But as soon as I started, I felt like I found a character and found his voice. And the posts were very, very easy to write. Very quickly, the audience for Anonymous Lawyer surpassed what I was getting on my personal blog. I was hearing from readers at law firms who said I was describing their lives — and the more over-the-top I thought I was getting — partners throwing staplers at associates, handcuffing them to their desks, in one case someone trying to abort a fetus on his desk in the office because he couldn’t stand the idea of his associate taking maternity leave — the more I would hear from readers who identified. Which was scary more than anything else — I don’t think I realized how dissatisfied a lot of attorneys were, and how much the blog would strike a chord with people. Law students starting sending me actual resumes, wanting to work for my fictional firm. Which was baffling in part because I was fictional, but mostly because if I hadn’t been fictional, this was clearly a terrible, terrible place to work and I couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever want to be offered a job by my character.

Dolls: How did it end up becoming a book?

JB: After about eight months of blogging, the audience had grown to approximately 100K unique visitors/month, and I was getting a few dozen comments per post — including a number of people trying to use details from the blog to guess my identity. I hadn’t actually started the blog thinking that anyone would believe me to be a real law firm partner — at first I didn’t really keep it much of a secret and would tell friends about it, etc — but as the blog readership grew, it definitely felt like much of the appeal was the anonymity and trying to figure out if I was real and what firm I was blogging about.

Coincidentally, I’d been contacted by a New York Times reporter who had seen my personal blog — she was writing a story about a law professor at Harvard and wanted to see if I knew him and could offer a quote from a student’s perspective. I didn’t know the professor she was writing about, but I mentioned the Anonymous Lawyer blog to her just as an aside — I thought perhaps she’d know someone at The American Lawyer or another legal publication that could potentially be interested in writing about it. She took a look at the blog and got back to me and said she wanted to write a story about it, and reveal me as the person writing it. I certainly hadn’t expected that, but figured there could be no better publicity than a New York Times article. She interviewed me, and immediately when the article came out, I heard from dozens of agents and publishers who wanted to know if I’d thought about turning the blog into a book. I think I was very lucky that it just happened to hit at the right time — blogs were becoming mainstream enough that publishers were starting to be interested, but we weren’t so far down the curve that they had tried this a bunch of times already.

I ended up with an agent, we developed a proposal for a novel, and I met with a few publishers — and ended up with a great editor at Henry Holt, and a deal I was really happy with. The blog was very episodic — there wasn’t a plot that ran through it. So my first task was to figure out my character’s story for the novel — and then to develop a set of supporting characters, and a way to get their voices in the book (through e-mails that are interspersed with the blog posts). I did four complete drafts of the book, each time using less and less from the blog as the story in the book became richer — in the end, I think it was 80% new material and 20% pieces that I adapted from posts that had been on the blog.

 I’ve written more about the blog to book transition on my Anonymous Law Firm site here (there’s also a lot of fun stuff elsewhere on the site, parodying a typical law firm website).

Dolls: Growing up in NY – good experience or bad?

JB: Definitely a good experience in retrospect, but as I’ve written in my guest blog, at the time I wasn’t so sure. My family continues to be frightened by the city. But it has always felt — and will always feel — like home to me.

Dolls: What says NY to you more than anything else?

JB: I see a rat in the subway, and I think of New York. No, seriously, I don’t know — this is probably a silly answer, because there’s baseball teams everywhere, and once you’re inside the stadium you could really be anywhere — but when I go to a Mets game — and as a kid I went to a lot more than I go to now — I really feel like I’m in New York and a part of the city. Even just on the subway ride to the game — a train full of people wearing their hats and jerseys — you feel like part of something a little bigger than when you’re just sitting in your apartment staring at the computer screen.

Dolls: Favorite things/Things you hate about NY

JB: My favorite thing about New York is the diversity of options that I take far too little advantage of. It’s nice to know that I can get on the subway and find food from any of 18 regions of China just a few stops away in Flushing, or see any of 15 improv comedy shows at tiny basement theaters in the East Village. I love the notion that I’m in the place where important things happen — that I theoretically have access here to whoever I might want to talk to or whatever I might want to do. I talked to a writer a few weeks ago who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania and said there are no bookstores in her county, there is no writing community, she feels very much alone. I don’t know that I take the best advantage of living where lots of other creative people do, but it’s nice to know they exist here and there are outlets for the kinds of things I do.

The things I hate about New York are pretty trivial — how expensive the supermarkets are, how noisy it can be, and how hard it is to find clean, tranquil space.

Dolls: What’s next? New book? New blog? Become the lawyer from Anonymous Lawyer?

JB: I spent two years in Los Angeles working with Sony and NBC on a television adaptation of Anonymous Lawyer that did not end up on the air — I’m now working on what I hope could become a movie version of the book, and I’m also working on a new book that has nothing to do with the law or lawyers or law firms. And there may or may not be an anonymous blog out there somewhere that’s helping me develop that material. 🙂 (But I’ll leave it to your readers to try and find it.) I’ve also written some other television scripts and had a short piece in McSweeney’s a few weeks ago satirizing the TV show House Hunters

And now….Paperback Proust:

Dolls: What is your greatest extravagance?

JB: Aside from high-speed Internet, probably the two very comfortable down pillows on my bed.

Dolls: What is your favorite journey?

JB: My wife and I visited friends in Prague in January, and despite the cold cold cold weather, it was a lot of fun.

Dolls: On what occasion do you lie?

JB: You mean aside from my anonymous fictional blogging habit? 🙂

Dolls: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

JB: Getting a kind and unexpected e-mail.

Dolls: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

JB: Worrying about the health of a loved one.

Dolls: When and where were you happiest?

JB: The moment my wife and I were married.

Dolls: Which talent would you most like to have?

JB: To more easily overcome my natural shyness and effortlessly reach out to strangers.

Dolls: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

JB: I’d like to say it’s whatever I’m writing on any given day, but that’s probably a more aspirational answer than the truth. I don’t know that I consider myself having achieved anything yet. But I’m certainly proud of having written Anonymous Lawyer, and would be delighted for your readers to check it out!

Jeremy – once again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing your Anonymous Lawyer Journey!

Want to find out more about Jeremy Blachman and the Anonymous Lawyer? Check out

>Fairy Tale Week: Shiloh Walker- Fairy Tale Q&A


The First Book of Grimm (Grimm's Circle)Once upon a mission…
Candy Houses
Now that Greta is a Grimm—guardian angel and official paranormal ass-kicker—romance is hard to find. There’s only one man who makes her heart race, a fact that scared her right out of his arms. But now she needs a hand.

The last woman Rip expected to see on this dangerous mission is the one who rejected his love. Faced with a danger neither of them saw coming, the question is which is the greater danger—the one threatening their lives, or their hearts?

No Prince Charming
With days spent trolling for demons and nights with a sometime lover, Elle thinks she’s finally gotten over her so-called Prince Charming. But now, on the eve of her most dangerous mission, he’s back—the man who broke her heart.

Michael jumped at the chance to become a Grimm, though he knew Elle would never forgive him. It looks like she’s doing just fine without him, but he’s ready to use every weapon in his not-so-charming arsenal to save her, if necessary. Kill for her, live for her, die for her…

Warning: Dark, sexy, a little bit scary—these twisted fairy tales are only for grownups and are best saved for bedtime.

We asked Shiloh to answer a few questions and being the awesome person she is, she agreed!
Beauty and the Beast (Special Platinum Edition)Favorite fairytale?
Beauty and the Beast…definitely.
Fairytale you never liked?
Hmmm… I don’t know, I tend to like most fairy tales. Snow White wasn’t ever one of my favorites, but I can’t say I hate it. There are some that are downright disturbing-again, can’t say I don’t like them, but they are disturbing, like The Girl Without Hands.

Chief characteristic in Fairy tale hero and heroine you most admire?

Snow White and the Seven DwarfsHe’s got to love his lady-in the end, if he doesn’t love his lady, he’s not much of a hero. And I always admired Beauty-heroine who saw past the monstrous exterior.

If you could choose to change one fairy tale which would it be and how?
Oh, I can’t choose just one-that’s the fun of what I do-I change them all-all the time. One that I’m going to be bastardizing down the road is an earlier version of Snow White so if just one, that, but I can’t say how.

Most evil fairytale character?
Hmmm, ever read the story of The Girl without Hands? The miller in that story? Pretty evil

You wake up in a fairytale – who are you and which fairytale is it?
With my luck, it would be The Girl Without Hands…and I’m the miller’s daughter. She’s the girl without hands.

Please check out Shiloh’s blog for more information and don’t forget to pick up a copy of The First Book of Grimm available NOW (great Christmas gift for booklovers)