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February 28, 2012

20 Questions: A Day in the Life of… Amber Dermont

Posted by tbrmaureen

Amber Dermont is the author of the recently released novel THE STARBOARD SEA, a coming-of-age story set in 1987 at a New England prep school. We can't stop raving about this book at our office, so we asked Amber to answer our 20 Questions survey, to give our readers some insight into A Day in the Life of...Amber Dermont. Click here to read a review.

What time did you wake up?
Ask me when I went to sleep. I can stay up all night, which I’m convinced is as noble and productive as waking up at dawn. I write late into the evening and only succumb to sleep around 4:30am.

Did you make your bed?

Yes! My greatest indulgence is my hand made double pillow-top Queen-sized. I take good care of her.

Where did you spend your day?
I teach creative writing at Agnes Scott College, a gem of a liberal arts school. On Mondays and Wednesdays I’m in class while Tuesdays and Thursdays are spent in committee meetings and student conferences. I serve on three committees with very similar names and acronyms: The Strategic Planning Committee, The Strategic Academic Planning Committee, and The Strategic Affairs Committee. Sometimes I feel like I might be trapped inside Don DeLillo’s WHITE NOISE. We actually have a Committee on Committees. Can’t wait to serve on that one. My first order of business will be to disband all committees.

Who did you see/call?
I admired the photo of my beautiful nephew Jasper that I just saved on my cellphone and missed early morning phone calls from my friends Tanya and Laurie because --- full disclosure --- I slept until 11:30am. Both friends apologized for calling so early. They know me too well. I eventually made my way out into the world and enjoyed lunch at my favorite restaurant, Cakes & Ale, in Decatur, Georgia. I had meetings all afternoon with my students at Agnes Scott. I oversee a brilliant group of artists and writers who help design and produce the magazine we publish for the annual Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival. In the early evening, I called my amazing parents then went out to dinner with my friend Laurie --- she’d called this morning --- and her son Paris. We went to Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais’s gourmet hot dog restaurant HD1. Paris, who’s just earned his Learner’s Permit drove us in his Honda Accord. 

Did you check Facebook or Twitter today?
Not yet. 

Did you respond to reader mail?
Today, I was lucky enough to receive a postcard from a wonderful writer and former student Tony Press and a letter from another brilliant student,  Kerry Hill. Tony wrote to congratulate me on receiving a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and Kerry wrote to thank me for writing her a letter of recommendation. She’s just been accepted to an MFA program. I send both great love and cheers.

What did you do on a book project today?
I wrote last night and I’ll write tonight. I’m working on a novel tentatively titled, The Laughing Girl. The book is inspired by actual events. In 1962, a plane crash outside of Paris, France took the lives of over a hundred of Atlanta's most dedicated art patrons. The crash had a lasting impact on the Atlanta art world and serves as the backdrop for my new project.

How did you procrastinate?
I answered this Q&A, listened to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, vacuumed ladybugs from my kitchen floor, listened to Todd Glass’s podcast, watched The Real Housewives of Orange County (out of the corner of my right eye).

What did you accomplish?
Accomplished may be too strong of a word. 

What did you want to accomplish?
World domination.

What was the weather?
Unseasonably warm and bright.

What were you wearing?
My Rick Owens fleece, asymmetrical neckline dress, London Fly black patent leather boots.

What did you read?
I’m enthralled by Eleanor Henderson’s TEN THOUSAND SAINTS and savoring the final eighty pages. Like my novel, THE STARBOARD SEA,  Henderson’s TEN THOUSAND SAINTS is set in 1987 and takes place in both New England and New York. Both of our books are told largely from the point of view of young men, but where my novel is about over-privileged prep school kids, Eleanor’s takes on the late 80’s straight edge punk rock movement. Her writing is sharp, funny and true. I can’t recommend this novel enough.

Did you listen to music, if so what?
I listened to Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” over and over again. Danced to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” Fitz & The Tantrums’s “MoneyGrabber.” Sang along with Spike Jones’s “You Always Hurt The One You Love.”

What was the healthiest and unhealthiest thing you ate?
Healthiest: Coconut milk yogurt. A roasted vegetable plate with purple carrots, parsnips, chickpeas and bok choy. Celery soup with fennel cream. Lobster roll. Chocolate macaroons (trust me, they are good for you).

Unhealthiest: Waffle fries with maple syrup, Adobo chicken wings. 

Did you exercise?
I walked three-miles --- in heels.

What was the best part of the day?
Riding in the backseat as my friend Laurie’s son Paris navigated the mean streets of Decatur, Georgia.

What was the worst part of the day?
Waking up with terrible allergies

Any surprises today? 
My best friend Maribel called with the wonderful news that she’ll be meeting me in Chicago for the AWP conference to celebrate the publication of my novel, The Starboard Sea.

What device did you use to answer these questions?
My loyal MacBook Pro. I call her Steve.