JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Carol Conn, author of Mascara Saturday
(Park Press International)
A leisurely morning abed with husband and coffee, a quick stop at Bloomingdale’s, and then the movies. What could go wrong?
By day’s end, Rachel Holtner’s been arrested for felonious assault, inciting a riot, hospitalized for acute allergy attack (by perfume). Even worse, she’s suffering from a newly discovered genetic disease: Shopping Impairment Syndrome (S.I.S.).
The symptoms: claustrophobia, impatience and an inability to tolerate delays or inefficiencies — in department stores and shopping malls, hence the name.
S.I.S. is the invention of Dr. Now, a brilliant opportunist who uses his findings to terrify the Retail Federation of America. Maximizing fears of an S.I.S. epidemic, Dr. Now extorts millions in research grants. Rachel is his Shopper Zero. Along with six other women arrested on Mascara Saturday, Rachel is forced to attend Dr. Now’s lame rehab. (“My name is Rachel, and I hate to shop.”)
Muscling in on Rachel’s criminal and civil travails is the legendary litigator Catherine “Madcat” Bingleigh, a lawyer who proves just as manipulative and narcissistic as Dr. Now.
Can Rachel and the rest of the Shopping Seven finesse a victory over Dr. Now? Is there life after tabloids? The answers are revealed in Carol Conn’s novel, “Mascara Saturday”.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Mascara Saturday”?
Carol Conn: “Mascara Saturday” started with a newspaper article about pharmaceutical companies scrambling to invent new uses for their drugs so they could extend the patents. They manipulated such annoyances as shyness, hot flashes and restless leg syndrome into diseases that could be treated with an antidepressant.
So I started wondering what other aversions could be reclassified as diseases. I hate to shop in crowded stores so why not invent a new designer disease: S.I.S. (Shopping Impairment Syndrome)? Once I had the disease, the story took on a life of its own.
JP: What sets “Mascara Saturday” apart from other books in the same genre?
CC: “Mascara Saturday” is a screwball comedy about the collision of a designer disease and a woman in free fall — a contemporary blend of Franz Kafka and Jane Austen. To my knowledge, no other book has quite the same approach.
Everyone wants a piece of Rachel. Thanks to the media and bloggers, her life is bloated beyond recognition. Mascara Saturday also plays with the dichotomy between outward behavior and stream-of-conscious internal dialog inside all of us.
As one reviewer kindly said, “It’s exactly the book you’ll want to read when you need to disconnect for awhile and watch someone else’s life spin out of control…and hilariously so.”
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Mascara Saturday” getting out to the public?
CC: Working with the indie book critics and blogs reaches a very targeted audience. And social media is a must these days.
It helps to work counter-intuitively by contacting web sites that are oriented towards art, fashion and cosmetics. They have columns on recently published books.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Mascara Saturday”?
CC: For better or worse, I have a day job so writing has to be squeezed in. It took me several years to write and rewrite Mascara Saturday. Really, I think of it as rewriting a novel instead of writing. I was fortunate to have some very good criticism along the way which helped me hone the narrative.
I learned to jot down notes, ideas and random thoughts. I also have a huge file of bizarre news articles which are inspirational. Then as my outline took shape, I drew on these bits and pieces to shape the story.
JP: What’s next for Carol Conn?
CC: I’m now working on a related novel. This one is about Rachel’s cousin Sarah who’s just returned to New York after living in Europe for several years. Like Rachel, nutty trouble stalks Sarah and she gets into some very crazy situations.
“Sometimes a book comes from left field and turns out to be a really fun surprise. Laughed my butt off…definitely man friendly.”
5.0 out of 5 stars, November 9, 2012
By lloydg – Amazon.com review