YAPC would like to welcome Iris Dorbian to the blog today. She is here to share some info about herself and her book Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go pick up a copy!
YAPC: How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?
Iris: Edie comes to the big city to experience adventure. But what she finds turns out to be more than she bargained for!
YAPC: How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?
Iris: Intelligent, inquisitive, funny, honest and a seeker of justice and the truth.
YAPC: Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Iris: Right now, Paris.
YAPC: What’s your current guilty pleasure?
Iris: This is awful but sometimes I like to unwind by watching really bad reality TV, the kind that kills your brain cells. My current favorites are “Real Housewives of New York City” and the Beverly Hills counterpart. I used to love to watch “Mob Wives.” And once upon a time, I was an avid fan of “America’s Next Top Model.” Horrible, I know. My graduate alma mater would be very appalled.
YAPC: How long did it take you to write your current book?
Iris: I wrote the first draft (which is very different from the current version) ten years ago! I put it aside to work on a book project. Then I went back to it and did a revision. Unfortunately, the second draft lost a lot of the original urgency and momentum. But I didn’t immediately make the necessary tweaks. Life intervened and I got involved with other things. Last year I went back to it and read it with clear eyes. I made notes as to what worked and what didn’t. The current version is the result.
YAPC: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Iris: The main character Edie is my alter ego but she’s a very streamlined version of me as a young woman. She’s much smarter than I was when I was in college and certainly more level-headed even when she makes ill-advised decisions.
YAPC: How did you come up with your premise for your books?
Iris: I had been waiting to write a fictionalized book inspired by my experiences attending college in New York City in the early 1980s for some time. It was an insane and chaotic time, very turbulent but also very exciting, at least for this sheltered girl from the ‘burbs.
YAPC: What book is currently on your nightstand?
Iris: “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan
YAPC: Do you have an all-time favorite book?
Iris: “The Great Gatsby.” This book has its detractors and I don’t understand why because it is perfect from beginning to end. Fitzgerald was a consummate wordsmith and a shrewd and canny observer of the frailties and foibles of human nature. The way he uses language, poetic and fierce, to describe these characters, particularly Jay Gatsby, the self-made man who has fabricated a gleaming façade of a life while erasing his past, is simply exquisite.
YAPC: Where can your fans find you?
Iris: I’m on Twitter at @IrisDorbian, Facebook, LinkedIn and I have a website (www.irisdorbian.com).
YAPC: Morning person or night owl?
Iris: Morning person but that’s only because I have to get up early for my job. When I was Edie’s age, I was DEFINITELY a night owl, no question about it.
YAPC: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Iris: I love Miami. When I was a child, it was the first place that my parents took me to on vacation that wasn’t Israel, where my mother is from. From then on, it has always occupied a very tender place in my heart. Every time I’m there I can’t stop smiling even when it’s 200 degrees outside.
YAPC: What projects are you currently working on right now? Would you mind sharing them with us??
Iris: 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.
It’s the early 1980s, MTV is in its infancy, the Internet does not exist, Ronald Reagan is president and yuppies are ruling Wall Street. 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.
Content Warnings: Profanity, drug use, adult and sexual content
Buy Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl:
Looking like a cross between Keith Richards right before his descent into unregenerate drug addiction and a homeless vagrant with a permanent 10 o’clock shadow, Peter flashed a confident smile at me, revealing two rows of jagged, yellowing teeth. Wearing a snug black shirt with a V-neck that showed generous tufts of dark chest hair, a Free Sid button referring to the arrest nearly a year ago of Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols’ bassist for the murder of his girlfriend and skin tight blue jeans, I recoiled at the sight of Peter but also couldn’t turn away. He was that perversely transfixing.
“Edie, this is my roommate Peter. Peter, this is Edie,” said George whom I had practically forgotten at that point.
Peter duly nodded back at me. “So, what do you think of Professor Jackson’s class?” he asked, gazing back at me with his Rasputin eyes.
I was flustered. His freaky eyes and sexy caveman aura threw me off balance. On one level, I was grossed out by his teeth and he seemed really hairy. But on the other hand, I liked his feathery dark straight Beatle mop, his trim, cute body and his softly masculine deep voice. He was short though—only slightly taller than me and I’m barely 5’7.
“What are you interested in doing when you get out?” I said, the words rushing out of my mouth before I could clog them. What a heavy-handed question to ask someone I just met. I should be muzzled.
“I want to be an English professor,” Peter said forcefully, the leering gleam in his eyes temporarily dissipating. “And write.”
While Peter talked, I continued to eyeball him even though my better Emily Post instincts kept telling me I shouldn’t. It wasn’t polite but I couldn’t help it.
My nose noticed, much to my delight, that Peter reeked of pot, which I soon learned he smoked nonstop. I hadn’t smoked pot in a long while—not since my stint with the misfit crowd I briefly hung out with in high school. My nostrils flared a bit as I tried to inhale more of that familiar sticky-sweet scent.
About the Author: Iris Dorbian is a business journalist/blogger who covers a wide range of topics that include small business, media, private equity/venture capital and theater/the arts. Among the outlets she’s written for are Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Media Industry Newsletter, PRNews and Stage Directions (where she served as editor-in-chief for eight years). 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 in 2015. Her personal essays and short stories have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Gothesque Magazine and Jewish Literary Journal. And she has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
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