Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Generally Horrible Questions: Suzy Spencer

(Gianna:) What’s that, you’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed, and you just finished Jeffrey Toobin’s incredibly sexy book about the Supreme Court? You’re ready for more?  I mean a lot more? I mean are you ready for the real story? If Fifty Shades made you blush, stop reading here and don’t pick up Suzy Spencer’s Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American can’t handle the truth. Not this truth anyway.

Suzy Spencer spent nearly eight years researching Secret Sex Lives, from Craigslist encounters to swing clubs to SMBD to phone sex (Is that right, SMBD? I don’t know. Ask Liz, she’s totally into all that). [I prefer BDSM, but whatever.]  Sort of hard to believe that a nice, Christian girl from Texas spent eight years talking to strangers about sex and going to swing parties….Wait.  No, that actually seems about right. I really did love this juicy read; in fact, I devoured it in one day. Let me say it this way: I have never dog-eared a book so much in my life.

Suzy Spencer is a New York Times bestselling writer who has really outdone herself with Secret Sex Lives. It's brave, it's smart, and it's absolutely filthy. Well done.  Let's ask her some horrible questions and see who blushes first! 

1. What book changed your life (and don’t say the book you just wrote, because anyone who reads it will see that it changed your life…we mean someone else’s book!)?
I HATE this question because the book that changed my life wasn’t a book, it was the Dennis the Menace comics. Does that mean I was ahead of my time? Into graphic novels before graphic novels were trendy? Because I’m not talking about those little thin Dennis the Menace comic books. I’m talking about the big, thick ones – Dennis the Menace in Hollywood, Dennis the Menace in Hawaii. Oh, gee, why did I have to use the phrase “big, thick ones?" [If you weren't going to point it out, you have to know that we would.]

Okay, a book book – Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. That book was so vivid that my skin felt the melting silver when it spilled. 
Suzy leather.

2. What books did you read while doing research for Secret Sex Lives?
Indecent by Sarah Katherine Lewis (great book), How to … Make Love Like A Porn Star by Jenna Jameson (not what the title insinuates – I learned nothing about making love like a porn star, dang it), The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry by Legs McNeil & Jennifer Osborne (great info!), and The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt. (Have you read that one, Gianna? – hint, hint.) [Hint taken!]

Gee, that’s not very many books for a nearly eight year project. Okay, after going the porn route I went the memoir route. (Obviously, I’m not counting Jenna Jameson’s bestseller as a memoir, even though that’s what it was.) Some Didion, Jeannette Walls, Megan K. Stack, Patti Smith, (Stack should have beaten Smith for the National Book Award), etc.

3. Liz and I both have a connection with you through your true crime book Fortune Hunter--Liz, because it’s about her former BookPeople boss who was convicted of murder, and me because it was one of the first books I read when I moved to Austin. Can you give us a quick update on Tracey and Celeste?
Tracey is out of prison and living in Houston where she’s a frequent shopper at Brazos Bookstore. Celeste is still in prison and writing books. Her most “famous” is a cookbook collaboration called From the Big House to Your House. By the way, Celeste is looking for dates via (Gianna?) [First of all, it's Liz we are trying to set up through the justice system, and second of all, she’s into dudes so Celeste won’t work…does she have a brother?]

You didn’t ask, but Stephanie Martin from Wages of Sin is also seeking generous dates via Meet-An-Inmate. (Gianna?) And I’ve been told that Stephanie has a pet rat that she carries around in her bra. (I’m refraining from doing any more Gianna references. I figure they’re getting old by now.) [Gianna loves Wages of Sin and is proud of it.  And Gianna quite possibly has rodents in her undergarments.]

4. Which of these Ryans would you most want to spank (they have been very naughty): Ryan Gosling, Nolan Ryan, Ryan Seacrest, Ryan O’Neal, Meg Ryan, or Ryan Lochte?
Can I have another choice, please? [No, you may not have another choice. We choose Ryan O’Neal.]

5. I’ve read _______ and I am so ashamed.
Jackie Collins. I mean, I’ve read and read and read many Jackie Collins novels. Oh, my! [You don’t sound as much ashamed as you do…proud.]

6. At what point did you realize this book was going to take a turn from cultural studies to more of a memoir?
When my editor DEMANDED it. 

7. Liz or Gianna?
May I have another choice, please? Oh, all right, Ryan Lochte because that paddle would bounce right off his tight … oh, wait, Liz. I’ll take Liz. But will Liz take me? [Depends--how tall are you?]

8.  You really could have left some of the very personal accounts of your life out of the book; it was brave to include them. Why did you make that choice?
My editor DEMANDED it.

I know, I know, I’m laying (no pun intended) the blame on my beautiful editor and not taking responsibility for my own actions.

Seriously, though, she’s an amazing editor who encouraged me to include things that I preferred not to. And I tried writing the book without those things. But it just didn’t work without them, because it wasn’t honest. And the book is supposed to be about truth and honesty.
[We think it's brave!]

9. I have never read ________ and I am so ashamed.
Oh, golly, gee, the list is embarrassingly long. How about we go with one obvious one? Gone with the Wind. No, To Kill a Mockingbird. No, Lonesome Dove. Oh, gee, see what I mean? But I’ve read Jackie Collins. [Well we always hear comparisons of Jackie Collins to Larry McMurtry, so it’s a wash.]

10. You’ve taped a segment for the new Katie Couric show which aired on October 18th. What kind of filthy words were you not allowed to say? …Because you’ve got a lot of filthy words in this book, Suzy.
Katie does not want to talk about "drip lists."
And Liz does not want to know what
they are.
There are? Okay, I learned that I can’t say “drip list” on TV. (See Secret Sex Lives, Chapter 3.) “Emily,” a swinger from the book who was on the show with me, learned that she can’t say “vagina” on TV. But I learned (and I promise you that that “but” isn’t intended as a pun) that a Kinsey researcher can say “anal sex” on TV. Go figure. [Yeah, don’t say ‘drip list’ again.]

11. What’s your purity test score? What do you think Gianna’s score is? Liz’s?
Gosh, I haven’t taken that test since high school when I didn’t know what half the questions meant and I lied to improve my score. And is high good? Or is high bad? On second thought, don’t answer that question. Let me Google that.

Okay, I’ve now Googled “purity test.” There’s something called the Libertarian Purity Test. Is that what you’re talking about? Dang, that thing’s too long to take. I think I flunked. I mean, I’m not even sure I understand the test questions. For example, “Should the law itself be privatized?” What the heck does that mean? Am I back in high school?
By the way, Liz flunked with me. Gianna passed. I mean, Gianna passed out. Is that good or bad? [Liz and I actually took this test and guess what? Turns out, Liz is the kinky one. I know, we all thought it would be me.  And Liz is pleading the fifth in explaining her score. How is it she's still single?]

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