Thursday, September 10, 2015

Interview with new adult novelist Iris Dorbian

Author Iris Dorbian is in the hot seat today. She’s touring her new adult novel, Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Iris will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts DMNews,, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008; and Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl, which was published by Tablo in 2015. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt! Diverse Voices Quarterly and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Welcome, Iris. Please tell us about your current release.
Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl is a young adult coming of age story set in downtown New York City in the early 1980s. Edie is a naïve NYU student desperate to lose her virginity and to experience adventure that will finally make her worldly, setting her further apart from her bland suburban roots. But in her quest to mold herself into an ideal of urban sophistication, the New Jersey-born co-ed gets more than she bargained for, triggering a chain of events that will have lasting repercussions.

What inspired you to write this book?
The book is loosely based on my experiences as an NYU student in the early 1980s. It had been a very exciting but chaotic time, one that took me a long time to reconcile myself with long after it was over.

Excerpt from Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl:
From Chapter 8:

I was mesmerized by Chloe’s adventures but also a little jealous. My virginity was becoming a grievous burden and a source of shame. I wanted to get rid of it but how? I was not unattractive but I was timid when it came to my body and awkward with expressions of physicality. Outside of a peck during a game of spin the bottle when I was nine years old and an awkward smack on the lips during a bad date in high school, I had barely been kissed. I felt myself a walking embarrassment to myself, my peers, NYU and the sophisticated life I wanted to have and emulate. Would Anais Nin and Gloria Steinem be so mousy and maladroit? I don’t think so.
            Drugs might not have helped me unfasten this invisible chastity belt squelching my erotic existence but I did see them as a way of gaining insight into life’s true secrets. Except for pot, which I adored but never purchased, always relying on the kindness of strangers and friends to ply me with it, I never really developed a passion for narcotics. But I didn’t refrain from using them to satisfy my curiosity or to keep me up if I had to cram all night for a final the next day.
            Sometimes, it would backfire. Like one time, Chloe gave me a “caffeine pill,” when I told her I needed to stay up all night and finish an English history paper due the next afternoon. I took that “caffeine pill” alright—and then proceeded to clean and vacuum our dorm room—twice—before throwing on my mini gold lame dress and galloping off to Danceteria, a then popular club located nearby.          
But I had always been curious about LSD. My rock heroes, the Beatles and the Who, had taken LSD and had spoken at length about its effects. I wasn’t interested in taking the drug on a regular basis; I just wanted to see what the big deal was with the drug and take it just once. Even if I would remain a virgin always (the thought palled), at least I could gain experience in other areas to make me the quasi-rounded woman of my dreams.
“Acid is great, Edie,” Peter said to me over dinner when I told him I was interested in taking it. “It’s truly like no other drug. It’s like a truth serum—the way it clarifies your feelings—about everything. We should take it together.”
            Unfortunately, that never happened because Peter had always devised a string of barely plausible excuses for us not to do it together. We would plan to do it and yet again something would come up on Peter’s end to derail it.         
            Around this time, Chloe and I began going to the clubs on an almost nightly basis. Monday night it was Danceteria, Wednesday was the Pyramid, Friday was the Ritz and Saturday it was Danceteria again, (our favorite club) or another new hotspot. For me, those nights were bathed with a perfume of sweetness so airy and intoxicating I felt like I was floating in my own cloud. Pot and Quaaludes only deepened the pleasure. As the strobe lights poured over our bodies and everyone else in the club, limbs writhing, conjoined in a human tangle, I would look at Chloe and smile. I had never felt so alive. This was the reason why I came to New York. To feel like this. Always.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I just finished writing a draft of a novella. The story is very loosely based on my father’s experiences in a displaced persons’ camp in Germany after World War II. He was a child survivor of the Holocaust who lived in the d.p. camp for four years after being liberated by British troops in May 1945.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got paid for it! My first published byline appeared in the English edition of the Forward newspaper. It was a book review of W.G. Sebald’s “The Emigrants.” It was a few hundred dollars, not a lot. But I was so excited and thrilled that I made a copy of that check and pasted it on my mirror so I could look at it every day and get motivated.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m a journalist and blogger so the answer is yes. My work day starts with my getting up after 6 am and logging onto my computer. I’ll take a short break after I finish the first of my duties and then resume work. Much of what I do is post breaking news briefs/stories and I’ll try to compile as much as I can because I’m constantly on deadline. I’ll work until 4ish when the work flow begins to ebb.

As a creative writer, I’ll work in the evening and on the weekends but only when I have something to say. That goes for my personal essays, short stories and my current book, Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Other than a red Kabbalah bracelet that I always like to keep on me for good luck, I can’t think of any. Sorry.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was 6 or 7 years old, I fantasied about growing up and being a singer/frontwoman of a rock band. My stage name was Lilac Crusade. I have no idea how I came up with that name. I had a very busy inner life.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you are interested in reading an engaging and engrossing young adult coming of age story set in the greatest city in the world and during one of the most fascinating, event-filled periods of the modern era, then you should read my book!


Thanks, Iris!


ANON said...

Thanks so much for hosting!! Greetings from Berlin!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Mai T. said...

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

MomJane said...

This really sounds like a fascinating story of a young girl.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Great interview, thank you!

Nikolina said...

Really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

ANON said...

Sorry for the delayed response to your comments. (Just came back from Germany last night and still very jet-lagged).

Thank you all so much for your positive feedback on the interview and the excerpt! And yes, Mai, I do think having a good or evocative cover is far more enticing to a potential buyer (even if it's an ebook) than having a bad or amateurish looking cover.

Thanks again everyone for your support!!