August 16, 2011

Exclusive Q&A with Author Krissy Gasbarre

Although her publishing debut is just hitting shelves today, author Krissy Gasbarre already has plenty of buzz surrounding How to Love an American Man (like here, here and here).

Author Krissy Gasbarre

Centering around her relationship with her grandmother, Gasbarre shares her real-life experience of travel, family and the search for true love. Despite being so busy with its debut, Gasbarre took the time to answer some questions from A Blog About on her memoir. At what point did you decided, "I'm going to write a book!"?

Gasbarre: When I was in high school, I really really REALLY liked boys -- one in particular, for a very long time. I read a lot of self-help books like Mars & Venus and grew super interested in psychology. I decided when I was about 16 or so that I wanted to be a psychologist who had a radio show and wrote books, but when I interned in college at the Cleveland Clinic, I found the field of psychology to be a little too clinical to hold my interest -- I wanted to explore emotions and the female psyche more. Still, I knew women like me needed insight about love and how we operate in relationships, and so for about a decade and a half I'd wanted to connect with an audience of women about the topic we all care about, no matter how different our backgrounds are: Love.

Which came first; The idea for the book, or the idea that you wanted to write a book?

The idea that I wanted to write a book. The book idea came about very naturally when I was spending a lot of time with my grandma after my grandpa passed away. I'm so fortunate the idea hit me when it did, because it was so obviously something women needed -- love advice from a grandmother who was married for 60 years and held such a different approach toward relationships -- that it would have been easy to miss.

Who exactly is your book written for?

I wrote it with women in their twenties and thirties in mind, because women in my generation need a reason to believe that love really does exist. But a friend of mine -- actually my friend Joelle, the photographer who took my author photo -- said when she closed the book, she wanted to call her grandma and share the book with her. Just maybe this story really is something that women across generations can share to bond closer together and understand each other better. I really discovered who I was as a woman through this bond with my grandma.

What's the biggest piece of knowledge you took away from the time you spent with your grandma?

That there is such thing as true love, but that no relationship is perfect. I'd never known how much my grandma sacrificed in her marriage to my grandfather until she revealed it all to me. He moved her and their five kids around to build his business, and she jokes, "Oh, he had a mistress, alright: It was his work." I really had been looking at my relationships and asking, "What can he do for me?" In real love, so much joy comes from giving. I really believe it's our feminine nature to be nurturers and carers, and love brought that out of me really softly and naturally, same as it did for 59 years in my grandma.

How to Love an American Man is getting a lot of comparison to Eat, Pray, Love. How do you feel about being compared to such a well-known work?

I love Elizabeth Gilbert and I have told her how much that book affected me (I actually read it in spring of 2006, right before I traveled to Italy for the first time). I admired her courage in that book, but most of all I appreciate how she knew she had a message that would inspire women to live their lives more consciously. She certainly inspired my work and I hope the genre of women's memoir just continues to grow. I've argued that the adventures and the lessons we experience in real life are so much better than what we read in novels. The trick is living a life that's as interesting as fiction.

What do you think about all of the recent hoopla surrounding the book being turned into a film? And who may or may not be starring in it?

I have two answers to this: first, How freaking exciting is this? And second, I was really nervous for that cat to leap out of the bag because the last thing I wanted to do was alienate or offend any of the actresses who'd been named to possibly play the lead. Hopefully though, this is a role that would be a great opportunity for an actress to gain depth and an ability to play both a fun but introspective character. If they don't want to star in it, heck, I wish I could. It was a really self-aware experience to write myself as a character.

So, what can we expect from your next book?

Well, I'll definitely be addressing what happened after How to Love an American Man left off... and then, what it's really like when a woman finds true love. The formula I lived by in my twenties has been completely reframed, and today life is so happy... and so easy.

How to Love an American Man is available now, and you can read an extended excerpt at