Today I'm lucky enough to introduce you to Devan Sipher, author of The Wedding Beat. Devan has been the writer for the Vows column for The New York Times for five years. Let's get to know
The Five W's of Devan Sipher
WHO? Who are you? The man behind the book.
Well, the man behind the book has much in common with the leading man within it. The Wedding Beat is loosely based on my experience as a single guy writing the Vows wedding column at The New York Times (always the wedding columnist, never the groom). I’m also a native Californian who grew up in the Midwest and considers New York my home. And they have yet to invent a flavor of ice cream that I would not eat at any hour of the day.
WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
I enjoy running along the Hudson River. Living in New York, I find it really important to remind myself regularly that I live on an island. I also take long walks (on the sunny side of the street). I spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter. I admit to watching “American Idol” (but only the top 10). I’m currently studying Italian. And I’m a big reader. I try to get through the Times every day, and I’m currently reading one book on my phone and have another on my nightstand.
WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school. I remember writing a thriller when I was in fifth grade. It was probably only twenty pages, but it seemed like a full-length novel at the time. I continued writing through college (though mostly shifted to playwriting), but I decided not to pursue it as a career and instead went to medical school at the University of Michigan. However, I found myself jealous of people who weren’t afraid to do what they were most passionate about. So I took a leave of absence from medical school. For two years. As Gavin, the protagonist of The Wedding Beat, says: “If you leave a door open long enough, you start to feel a draft.” So I officially resigned from medical school and got a Master of Fine Arts at New York University. At the time, my degree combined with a buck-fifty would buy me a subway token. And rent in New York isn’t cheap. So I took a detour again, doing work over the years in information technology, computer graphics, advertising and book editing, and all along I wrote on the side. Until one day, I decided I didn’t want to live a bifurcated life anymore. I was either going to earn money as a writer, or I wasn’t. So I quit my job, and four months later I started working at The New York Times. It was mostly luck, but I’d like to think it also had something to do with knowing what I wanted.
WHERE? Where do you write?
I write in what is theoretically the dining room of my apartment. However, it’s a Manhattan-sized dining room, which means it’s about the size of a walk-in closet (and not a particularly large walk-in closet). However, it’s large enough for spinning in my chair and staring at the walls. When I’m stuck, I take a shower. On bad writing days, I take a lot of showers. There’s something about being in the shower that eliminates my mental inhibitions. I’ll let the Freudians analyze it. All I can say is that it works.
WHY? Why do you write?
When I took my first writing course in college, my professor said you should only be a writer if you have to be. If there was anything else you could be happy doing, then you should do it. At the time I thought that was rather glib advice. But now I repeat it regularly. While there are many things I enjoy doing (and have done). There’s nothing that makes me happier—or torments me more. In my book, I quote Thomas Mann’s line “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Writing’s a compulsion. An addiction. Both malady and cure. But when it’s going well, it makes me feel the euphoric sensation that I’m living my life to my full potential.
Thank-you so much for joining us here at A Novel Review, Devan! I really enjoyed your responses and found the quotes you mentioned very inspirational. I've written them down and hung them in my makeshift office/dining room.
Here is a taste of Devan's book The Wedding Beat (taken from Goodreads)
Sometimes the best man isn't even in the wedding party...
Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic. He's also a professional one: He writes the wedding column for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, covering A-list parties from coast to coast. But there's a thin line between being a hotshot reporter on assignment...and being a single guy alone on a Saturday night at someone else's wedding.
Everything changes on New Year's when Gavin meets Melinda, a travel writer with an adventurous spirit. A moonlit stroll across a Manhattan rooftop seems to seal the deal. But she slips away.
Gavin crisscrosses New York City to find her again, navigating stressed-out brides, gossip blogs, a budget-cutting boss and his daft but well-meaning parents. Along the way, he learns that there's something worse than losing the woman of his dreams: having to write an article about her wedding.
Sounds like a really great read, doesn't it! Well here's your chance to win a copy!
- This giveaway is for US only, sorry!
- No PO Boxes
- Leave me a comment telling me a favorite memory of a wedding (yours, some one elses, or even from a book/movie)
- Leave your email address so I can let you know if you win
- I'd love for you to follow me here, on twitter and/or facebook, but you don't have to!
- I'd love your vote (if you enjoy the content of my blog) for the Independent Book Blogger Awards if your a goodreads member (NOT A REQUIREMENT) there is a link to vote at the top of the page :)
The giveaway ends April 25 midnight EST. Good-luck!