Friday, May 3, 2013

The Intern Diaries #2: Boston, Journey & Witches

by Rose Kahn

           Boston, is the perfect state of grace.”

So much has happened these last few weeks my head is spinning. All the things we were doing to promote What The Spell was so exciting—until the Boston tragedy occurred. I have family in Boston and have visited a few times, and have fallen in love with it. It’s a unique city with a long history. It’s not just a capital, not just a place. Boston, President Obama quoted, “is the perfect state of grace.” It is where the American Revolution began and as a New Yorker, where we have our biggest rivals (The Red Sox). But on that Monday we weren’t rivals anymore, we were all Americans, all human beings that were trying to overcome the darkness with good. The photos and stories of individuals lending helping hands really warmed my heart, and reaffirmed my belief in the goodness of mankind. Brittany was so kind as to check up on me and make sure I was dealing with tragedy okay. I told her it was awful and hurt my spirit, but that the best revenge is to be kinder, friendlier, more helpful, stronger and to go on living your life with gusto. Like 8-year-old Martin said (on a class project for school prior to tragically losing his life in the Boston bombing): “No more hurting people. Peace!” #BostonStrong 

“Don’t stop believin’!” –Journey

With that said, I’ve now turned my attention back to my intern duties with that same gusto. I need to catch you guys and gals up (like my own version of the water cooler) on what’s been happening on the publishing front! First is that What the Spell was on one of my favorite shows… “GLEE”! I was so excited when I heard the news that Brittany’s book would make a cameo in an episode titled “Guilty Pleasures.” I was literally jumping up and down. I mean, I sing all their songs all the time, in the shower, on the train (sorry homeless man on Canal Street)… I was just so excited and happy for Brittany. I truly think the book was a perfect fit for the show, as it portrays very similar themes. From Brooklyn’s deep need to fit in and her journey to love and accept her true self, these are the same ideas “Glee” touches on in each episode—complete with a Journey song in the background! They deal with body image, bullying and self acceptance. These are all issues that most young people deal with.

That night I sat on the edge of my fold out chair and did something I haven’t done in over three years: watched a live episode of TV, all the while texting Brittany every 10 seconds (sorry so annoying!) [EDITOR’S NOTE: Not annoying at all.] We finally saw a glimpse of the book when Tina Cohen-Chang held it in the macaroni art scene! As an avid macaroni artist back in summer camp in Staten Island, I totally appreciated the reference. But back to Tina holding What the Spell! When I saw it, I screamed in my Brooklyn apartment (half expecting someone to lean out of their window and yell, “Shut Up!”) and then quickly texted Brittany like a mad woman. All I could think about was that it had made it on “Glee!”

I watched the episode closely after that, searching for more cameos, and though there were others, they were less noticeable. Still, I was floating on air. I loved the rest of the episode and laughed through everyone’s guilty pleasures especially the Spice Girls moment. (“Oh tell me what you want, what you really really want…” hello 7th grade!) After Brittany found the perfect screen capture and we sent it along to an awesome Glee fansite, Glee-Fans.Org, we felt elated. Don’t stop believing, kids!

“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” --Love Story

So spring doesn’t just come with cherry blossoms and iced lattes (my addiction!), but holidays like Passover and Easter and fun events like book signings and WEDDINGS! Passover came and went, and for this “Jewish American Princess,” that meant I got to hang out with my whole loud, Jewish family, for a fun-filled 10 days that will be repeatedly retold to my therapist for years to come. The fun part was giving my sisters and nieces Brittany’s books to read, and then discussing and comparing notes. There were fights over who would read what first. My 15-year-old niece got first choice because she’s kind of awesome and will be a kick-ass lawyer one day (you go V!). She picked Life’s a Witch, (yup, Brittany gave me an advance copy, one of the perks of an unpaid intern. How do I afford the lattes you might ask…. …shhh…it’s magic ;) and she loved it!

One of my sisters got What the Spell, and she thought it was adorable. She loved the high school setting, Brooklyn, and everything about it. They switched books and the rotation continued. My older sisters loved Life’s A Witch for its retelling of the Salem witch trials and the rest of my family just loved the books for the very fact that Brittany has worked so hard and come so far. They commended her for her resilience and perseverance and will read anything she writes from here on out.

After Passover (all that matza) and Easter (yes, I did buy a dozen chocolate bunnies on sale at Duane Read!) came Brittany’s wedding! She looked stunning! At first I thought that getting married at Disney World meant Mickey and Minnie came to your wedding (a little scary). But when I actually saw what her wedding was like, it made me want to change my mind about my own dream location (See, I’ve wanted to get married at the Plaza Hotel since I started planning my special day when I was 12 with my first wedding planner scrapbook—now a Pinterest board. Yes boys, girls really do this.).

Britt’s wedding pictures came flowing in and I gasped after each one. She looked like a princess, and Matt, her prince. This was a magical day for her indeed. From the gown to the ceremony, and the party favors of carved-out books to the wedding cake of books stacked on top of each other, the event looked magnificent—everything the bride and groom deserved. The love and warmth emanated through the photos and filled my heart with joy. (Getting mushy I know, it’s been a tough week y’all, let me have it.)

“Please do not feed the intern! She is on a strict diet of snark and sarcasm.

When Brittany and Matt came back from their honeymoon all tanned and with perma-smiles plastered on their faces, we attended a book reading/signing Brittany did at Books of Wonder. BOW is a fabulous independent bookstore in Manhattan’s Flatiron district (home of my favorite building). The store has book readings and a café inside with the best barstools (yes, I tested them out). Brittany and four other authors (Alaya Dawn Johnson, Jesse Karp, Nova Ren Suma and Suzzane Weyn) attended the Supernatural Young Adult reading together. They each took their seats at a long table and proceeded to wait for the bookish New Yorkers to fill the room. The authors’ magical stories varied from themes like an Amazonian dystopian future and ritual sacrifices to a girl who can see other missing girls in her dreams.

Then Brittany began to read her excerpt and I was riveted. It was the scene where Brooklyn and Asher first kiss; it was so fun and lovely to hear out loud from the creator herself. The audience gasped and cheered because they too could feel the magic of young love. It was short and brilliant and the crowd loved it. All the authors read their excerpts and then opened the floor to questions. Brittany had some fantastic answers about the writing process and how she found new avenues to get her writing out to the public.

They also discussed how they come up with ideas and what inspires them. Jesse Karp explained that he starts to think about “what if’s.” “What if everyone forgot I existed?” “What if my parents forgot me?” It was then that I wondered whether Jesse had read my 7th grade diary and began to panic over where I’d hid it all those years ago.

Brittany explained that she drew inspiration from stories that she loved, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She enjoyed how the magical and the mundane come together to make an extraordinary tale that is also relatable to everyone.

When the question segment ended they then proceed to sign books and I wanted them all. Being an intern and living in a big city, budgets are a necessary evil, so I could only choose one al la Sophie’s Choice. After some legit nail biting agony, I chose 17 and Gone, the mystery of missing teens intrigued me, as I often fantasized about running away when I was younger in order to get some quiet from my five siblings. The author signed my copy for me, and I added it to my growing collection of signed books currently piled on my bedroom floor. Brittany, her husband Matt, her publicist Siena (who is awesome, btw!) and myself finished our venti lattes and then proceeded to use all our leftover enthusiasm and adrenaline to go shopping (or it could have just been me.) It was a great event and a wonderful turnout. You should all come to the next one!

            It was a fun (yet somber) filled four weeks of family, wedded bliss and books galore. I could not ask for more. So much more to share, but you’re going to have to hang tight guys and gals—because the intern will return with more lattes, scoops and pop cultured-laced anecdotes about Brittany’s zany adventures. Until next time!


AKA The Intern

P.S. Follow me on Twitter @krazybklyngurl so you can see more updates on my crazy internship debacles in Brittany’s presence.