Tales From A Hungry Life

January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing

By Maria Schulz

Last week, Darlene from http://5writers.com/ tagged me as part of a chain of authors called THE NEXT BIG THING.

Now, I am the kind of person who hates chain mail of any kind, but this was different. I was so amazed that someone was actually interested in what makes me tick as a writer that I decided to join the chain. Aren’t you all thrilled?  I’m supposed to provide some insight into my current projects. I added some questions because I just can’t leave well enough alone.

Once I’m done, I will pass on some info about other writers whose work I enjoy. I hope you’ll check out my tagged writers and maybe they’ll even share their thoughts too.

I like to think of this as my Frost/Nixon moment, except I don’t like the idea of being Richard Nixon. So consider this my Barbara Walters/Mariah Carey moment. There, that’s better.


So, here’s what I’ve been up to.

What is the working title of your project?

Eat Everything! Tales from a Hungry Life: A Memoir with Recipes

What genre does your project fall under?

Memoir with touches of humor and recipes. Not sure where they will shelve it. I think you will probably find it in either the cookbook section, the memoir section, or on the remainder table.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your project?

Large, insane family gets into lots of amusing scrapes, makes people laugh, eats a lot, and wants you to come along.

Will you self-publish or be represented by an agent? I will probably self-publish, unless an agent comes along and changes my mind.

If you found yourself in an elevator with a movie director you admire and had the chance to pitch your project to him, what would you say?

My grandmother’s blind sister once accidentally kissed a priest, and then laughed so hard she peed on the altar. And she was the quiet one.

Where did the idea come from for the story?

My mother lost her memory through Alzheimer’s disease. I wanted to remember our life together, and so I started writing my book.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh I love casting calls! I have done this several times on this blog.

Dad: Robert Loggia

Mom: Terri Garr

Jude: Steve Buscemi

Tony: Matthew Broderick

Louie: Robert Deniro

Paul: Robert Downey Jr.

Joe: Vince Vaughn

Chris: John Cusack

Maria: Angelina Jolie (hey! It’s my movie)

Nonnie: Olivia Dukakis

Uncle Don: George Hamilton

I hope the producers have a lot of cash!

john cusack

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took me a year—8 years ago. I feel like I’m now on the 115th draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Well, I was inspired to write it because of The Glass House by Jeannette Walls. The difference is that my parents were actually not as crazy as hers, and I can’t believe I’m saying that.

When I started writing this book, I read every memoir I could lay my hands on. Running with Scissors was a story that was light years away from my own experience with my family, but I enjoyed the way the author told his story with honesty and humor.

Last year, I read The Garner Files (James Garner’s memoir), This Time Together (Carol Burnett’s memoir) and Rob Lowe’s memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. My husband just bought me The Liar’s Club, another memoir I can’t wait to read.

What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

A fashion staple! NOT

A fashion staple! NOT

It’s a coming of age story. Six boys, one girl, two slightly eccentric parents, insane extended family, in-laws, dogs, a rock-n-roll band, friends, Catholic school, nuns, teachers, growing up in the 70s and 80s. Lots of laughs. Plus there’s all that food! What’s not to like?

What other kinds of writing do you like to do?

I love short stories and novellas. I want to spend this year trying my hand at a full-length novel. I also love writing poetry and of course blog posts.

What books are you reading right now?

I’m reading The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. My nephew gave it to me for Christmas and I’m really enjoying it. It talks about fighting resistance and approaching your craft—whether it’s writing, painting, or being an entrepreneur—like a pro.

the war of art

I also just started The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon and so far, so good. My book club is reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I can’t wait to start it too.

Every time I read a new book, it makes me want to write. And that’s a good thing.

Check out what these fellow writers are up to:

Lisa Safran is the kind of writer who will help you become a better writer, and approach your craft in a whole new way. She’s also a very talented middle school author who is currently shopping around a new book. Check out her latest blog at http://www.safrancreative.com/blog/2012/12/26/putting-your-two-cents-in.html

BGLou will get you thinking about life, love, the past, the future, music, politics, his life on “the hill” and more. Check out his blog at: http://bglou.blogspot.com

Joe Tura chose the name of his blog from one of my favorite movies ever: The Great Escape (And who stars in the G.E.? James Garner, of course). Discover his take on favorite movies, directors, Godzilla and more at: http://turafish.wordpress.com


Italian Skewers. Yum!

Italian Skewers. Yum!

One of the requirements for meeting with Barbara Walters would be a large paycheck and an equally large supply of delicious appetizers, because interviews make me hungry! I found a link at Southern Living that included 40 appetizer recipes, including Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Bread, and Stuffed Mushrooms with Pecans.


So Hungry Lifers…if you could ask me a question about my blogs or my book, what would it be? What kind of writing do you enjoy? Which recipe is your favorite? Let us all know by leaving a comment. Thanks, and Happy New Year!



  1. This is great! Thanks for playing along, Maria. And thanks for tagging Lisa! 🙂

    Comment by wordimprovisor177 — January 10, 2013 @ 2:49 am | Reply

  2. I’m sorry Maria I just don’t see Angelina Jolie as you. She has too many tattoos and she’s too tall. I can’t see her climbing up on the roof at school or selling sandwiches at a gas station. I’m going to keep replacing your face with hers when I see you just to get ready for the movie.This way it will be easier for me. Don’t suggest that to Gary. (Actually i might suggest that my husband do that to me.). Anyway, Maybe Jessica Lange could play the mean nun from school. She plays a great one in American Horror story. Just curious, when you wrote your book did you have a target audience in mind?( besides fat Italian girls who dress up on Halloween and taunt the neighborhood teenage girls)

    Comment by Suzanne Tavel — January 10, 2013 @ 8:19 am | Reply

    • Aw come on, I always wanted to be that tall and beautiful! My original casting suggestion was “half-way decent looking and not fat.” But then I figured, why not go big? I also remembered that I had to cast her since she must be there if Brad Pitt is going to play my husband in both Lagalante! The Musical and the movie version. That way, you can sit next to Jennifer Aniston at the opening of the play AND the movie! See how I’m always thinking of you? My target audience is people who came of age in the 70s and 80s, who love food, have a sense of humor, and will get a kick out of me. Come to think of it, those were my dating strategies too! LOL thanks for always commenting and playing along. P.S., please don’t stop taunting the teenagers. It’s great theater.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 10, 2013 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  3. Maria

    Can’t wait to read your upcoming book not to mention seeing your forthcoming film.

    Always my best. Neil

    Comment by Neil Platt — January 10, 2013 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  4. First of all I hope your casting had many of them in mind at a younger age, I mean, Lou is a lot older than Dinero and Loggia is almost too far gone by now, he must be at least 79! So when will the book finally be in the form that is ready for printing? Drafting is fun but now is the the time to PRINT! And keep the humor! This country has so much pathos it needs laughs! I think you are a pretty talented writer, and I don’t have any underlying reason for saying that except you ARE, but if you don’t get the book into print many others will never know that.

    Comment by Bglou — January 10, 2013 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  5. I totally agree with all the actors ! Love your humor !

    Comment by Cindy-Byrnes-McDonnell — January 10, 2013 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  6. Hey Angelina, I’m really looking forward to the movie (after I read the book of course). Since I have some first hand experience with your rather “large insane family” I believe you have a true hit on your hands. But I have to say that although Cusack would likely do a serviceable job as Chris, I think only Chris can truly play Chris!

    Comment by John Wagner — January 10, 2013 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

    • John with a little make up I could play Chris wouldn’t you think? Bglou

      Comment by Bglou — January 10, 2013 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

    • Yes, you certainly do have experience with our rather “large insane family.” I think you may be right about Chris, but we’ll let John Cusack try out for the part anyway. 🙂

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 10, 2013 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  7. Sorry but Angelina is an anorexic ‘merican who does not have the chops to play you. I would suggest Marisa Tomei for the role. If Cusack is unavailable Jason Lee would be a decent second choice.

    I think Lou would have to play himself. As great as Loggia is I don’t think he can pull off a guinea tee wardrobe with the same authority.

    This was my favorite post to date. Loved the glimpse inside your head. I can’t wait for the day I can go to the counter and bark at the employees, “I have checked memoirs and the cook book section. Please get off your ass and find the book!”

    Comment by TC — January 12, 2013 @ 8:50 am | Reply

  8. Loved the post. I too what to hear more about the blind Aunt who kissed the priest and then peed herself. I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t cast me. After all I have been in this insane family for over 35 years. Tony has offfered a few suggestions, Judge Judy, Susie Orman or Molly Shannon. What do you think? Tony was also very flattered with your choice of Matthew Broderick. He thinks Matthew will be insulted though, not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker. I hope to see your book in print very soon. You are very talented and can’t wait to read the next one.

    Comment by Kathleen Lagalante — January 13, 2013 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

    • Kathie, there is no way I would ever cast Suze Orman OR Judge Judy in any of my films. Molly Shannon might work, if only because I would love to see the fireworks between her and Steve Buscemi. Matthew Broderick should not be insulted to be playing Tony, he should be thrilled to get in on this movie!!! As far as the print version of this book goes, don’t worry. I will let you know first and foremost. After all, I’m hoping you’ll buy a few hundred copies.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 15, 2013 @ 10:30 am | Reply

  9. Applaud! Applaud! Applaud! Always a pleasure!

    Comment by Anne — January 13, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  10. You are the best for tagging me in this chain, Maria – thank you. 🙂 (And thank you, Darlene, for starting the movement!) I think 2013 is going to be a great year for us writers!

    Comment by Lisa — January 14, 2013 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  11. Didn’t you get a GK Chesterton book to read this Christmas? Nice to see your enjoying it. Just remember, it’s the thought that counts! Not if you actually read it! Maybe you could mention it? I never saw the John Cusak thing. As a matter of fact I am insulted. I think Paul can play me, I can play Dad, Louie can play you, Joe can play Paul and Jude can be like “Thing” in the Adam’s Family, Himself! Clint Howard can always play cousin Tommy! Maybe Ron Howard would direct the film? He is always looking to get that guy into another film. Angelina Jollie could never play my twin sister and do her justice. Maybe for the film we shoot it like that MASH episode where the wounded guy gets hit in the throat and you see everything from his perspective? We never have to see you. We will start on the day you rolled out of the bunk bed and landed on your face. The camera walks into Mom & Dad’s room and they look into it and start screaming!!! Tony never liked to be up on stage. Keep this going, you have some momentum and pure honest raw material. I smell some mighty taste ingredients – RECIPE: …

    Comment by Chris — January 14, 2013 @ 12:31 am | Reply

    • I got a GK Chesterton book to read, but it said it was from Santa. Say, wait a minute…did it come FROM YOU? Don’t be all sad that I didn’t mention it, you got your big shout-out last year when you got me the Garner Files. I like the idea of starting when I fell out of the bunk bed and Mom and Dad took one look at me and started screaming. That could be any number of memories. Clint Howard for Tommy? No, please. It’s got to be Matt Dillon! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’ll get that GK Chesterton book report to you ASAP.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — January 14, 2013 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  12. Oh, I see what you did there, you sneaky you…. 🙂

    Comment by turafish — January 15, 2013 @ 12:00 am | Reply

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