Writing Bloc is happy to announce the release of its first full length novel, Celia at 39 by Jason Pomerance. The book is a fun, fast paced romp through a woman’s journey to 40 and the surprises she finds along the way. Just like his beloved first novel, Women Like Us, the book features delectable food descriptions and poignant family moments. Barbara Abercrombie, author of A Year Of Writing Dangerously, calls Celia at 39 “wild, funny, and tender.”
We spoke to Pomerance about his new release!
What inspired your new book, Celia at 39?
A few years ago we were visiting my stepmother, who lives out by the beach at the tip of Long Island. Every year the little town library holds a book sale, and while perusing the stacks I found an old copy of The Gourmet Cookbook, which I know my mother had but the book had disappeared somehow. Anyway, I bought the library copy, and later when I leafed through it I noticed all these notations about recipes the former owner had written in the margins. But the bigger thing was the note in an envelope tucked into the pages, from a daughter to her mom. I sort of obsessed about this note for a while and wondered about these two women, and somewhere around that time I read about a package that was mailed, got lost and then arrived at its destination like 40 years later. So somehow the two elements came together and became Celia At 39!
What kind of audience will it appeal to?
I think women will take to it. But also hopefully men. The book is very much a romantic comedy, along the lines of something like Sweet Home Alabama or even Moonstruck (two movies I love) so if you liked those movies, I think you’ll like this book.
How does this book compare to Women Like Us?
Women Like Us was a bit more of a serious book. It dealt with life and and death issues in some ways and this one doesn’t. On the other hand, both are very much about family relationships. While the romantic stuff in Celia At 39 is important, so too is Celia’s relationship with her mom and two sisters. I think anybody can relate to family members driving them nuts at times, and that’s what happens here — Celia’s sisters and mom and make her crazy but she knows she’s stuck with them for life.
Why did you decide to publish this book with Writing Bloc?
I had such great experiences with both the Escape! and Deception Anthologies that it just seemed logical to continue the relationship. And, frankly, I was humbled and honored that they wanted to publish it! Everything about the process has been so great. Becca, Cari and Kendra were remarkably astute editors, and while it took us a while to get to the final cover, when I got the galley and held it in my hands for the first time, I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Highly recommend Writing Bloc!
How was the process of writing a second novel different from that of writing a first?
For me the process was pretty much the same — think about the story and characters endlessly until I can’t take it anymore and I just sit down and start writing. I’m not a big outliner but more of a seat-of-the-pants style writer. I like to be surprised, and there were a few of them in this book, plot twists that even I didn’t even see coming And then I’m a huge re-writer. I like to tinker endlessly until the book is finally ripped out of my hands and I’m told, “Stop! Enough!”
What advice do you have for people writing a second book?
I guess same advice to somebody writing a first book: write the story you want to tell. Don’t worry about anything else. Don’t worry if anybody else is going to like it, because there will always be some readers who like your work and some who don’t. And just persist. Writing, as we all pretty much know, can be heartbreaking and thankless, but somehow you just find a way to keep pushing forward. So that would be my best advice. Push forward and never give up.