“Antic, sexy, satirically deft, and of course funny, this novel is also, on both the personal and political levels, smart about the bottomlessness of our capacities for self-sabotage, and moving about the fierceness of our yearning to make good.” – Jim Shepard
What is the title of your book? Why?
The title is I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. It’s a long title, to be sure, and one I had to fervently convince the team to keep. The title alludes to the mind state of a depressed person in denial as to the reasons for their sadness. It’s about that moment, post-break-up, at 2am in some bar when you realize that the game face you’ve had on all evening is coming off. The title also preps people for the novel’s dark humor. If you don’t like the title, you probably won’t like the book!
What sentence (or phrase, or idea, or innovation) in this book are you most proud of?
I have a favorite paragraph from the end of Chapter 4:
“But no one tells you what you start doing to each other when you wed. People talk about the stability and the comfort of knowing that you have someone who will always have your back; they speak of the convenience of pooled assets and tax benefits and the joy of raising children, but no one explains that six years into it, a simple request to Pick up a half pound of ground turkey and maybe some organic leeks? on your way home is going to send the free, blue sky crashing down like a pillory around your neck, see you clutching your paper number at the butcher’s, ashamed to be just another sucker bringing white meat home.”
When did you first know you were a writer?
When I was seven. I started putting my short stories in these stapled, laminated books with an “About the Author” section at the end. That kind of inflated belief in my own self-importance definitely set me up for the writing life, a mostly one-sided endeavor in which you have to say ‘yes’ to yourself against decades of other people’s ‘no’s.’
Which writers (or books) have made you think about your own writing in new ways?
The first time I read Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth, I specifically remember thinking, holy crap, you can do that in a novel? I had the same experience when I read This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M Holmes. Female writers do funny really well: I’m thinking specifically of Lorrie Moore, Deborah Eisenberg, Nora Ephron, and Lynne Tillman. But Homes does funny without too much neuroticism, and Unferth is just…there’s so much joyful despair in what she writes. You just want to sit all of her work down on your couch and hug it and feed it soup and then have too much whiskey with it.
If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be? Put another way, what else fills your life besides writing (and how does this influence your writing, in practical or ephemeral ways)?
I work as a brand strategist and corporate namer for several different agencies on the side of my own personal writing, and I really love this work. If I wasn’t doing any of these things, I think I could have had a nice run as a hair stylist. I love cutting hair.
More About Courtney Maum
Courtney Maum is the humor columnist behind the “Celebrity Book Review” series on Electric Literature, an advice columnist for Tin House, and the author of the chapbook “Notes from Mexico,” from The Cupboard Press. She splits her time among the Berkshires, New York City, and Paris, working as a creative brand strategist, corporate namer, and humor columnist. Visit her at her Tumblr or on Twitter, and, in lieu of a book trailer, check out the marriage proposal video her French husband made for her ten years ago, which encompasses many of the same themes as the novel.
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On Maum’s Twitter feed, she claims to be a “friend” to chocolate milk. What’s your favorite beverage and what do you love about it?
One winner will win one signed copy of Courtney Maum’s novel I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. Limit one entry per IP address. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the United States, who are the age of 18 or older. Deadline for entry is 8:00 P.M. ET on May 1st, 2014. Read the complete rules.