Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Freebie: Thrill-Bent by Jan Richman

Congratulations to Sophia Anzaroot, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: The Cove by Ron Rash.

This week's book giveaway is a signed copy of Thrill-Bent, the new novel from poet Jan Richman.  This work of fiction is narrated by a character named Jan Richman, a journalist and armchair thrill-seeker who gets a freelance assignment to write about the nation's antique wooden roller coasters.  She takes off across the U.S. to report on a fanatical sub-culture and her research also happens to dovetail with the wedding of her Tourette's-riddled father, whom she hasn't seen in years.  The real-life Richman's friend Beth Lisick recently interviewed her for Bitch magazine.  Here's part of their lively conversation:
BL: I've heard you read parts of Thrill-Bent out loud at readings over the years, and I saw a pretty early draft, but one big surprise is that you eventually decided to name the narrator of your novel Jan Richman. Bold choice, woman.

JR: It's a common name. Kidding. Years ago, on the advice of our mutual friend Jeanne, I started writing about growing up with my dad, who has Tourette's syndrome. I was writing little essays, stories, memories. I wasn't thinking about a bigger project; I was trying to figure something out that was very personal, something about bodies that lurch out of control. It was only later that I decided to incorporate the present-tense chapters about roller coasters, which are told in a more travelogue-y style.  This was around the same time David Foster Wallace published his book of long essays, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, which gave me a whole new genre to obsessively aspire to. I mean, I was making shit up, I knew it was fiction, but I loved his super-smart observational humor combined with a really intimate, almost confessional voice. You know, like a gonzo Plath or something....So by the time I figured out that I had a novel on my hands, it seemed disingenuous to change the character's name to Jane Richardson or something. I mean, it's me. It's a version of me, residing in this fictional universe that I created. My editor strongly suggested I change the name, but I think it's important to maintain that confidential feel. I didn't want any distance between the author and the narrator. I want Jan to be accessible and vulnerable, unclothed, as it were.
If you'd like a chance at winning the naked fiction of Thrill-Bent, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Jan. 31at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 1.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

1 comment:

  1. Ms. Richman's writing makes me feel I'm comfortably on the couch--either in a dear friend's home or my therapist's office. Either way the conversation is easy and inclusive, and emotion and self-awareness arise alongside the narrative in the most lovely and unexpected ways.