Bestselling author, screenwriter Maria Semple makes Steamboat Springs debut Wednesday
If you go:
What: Library Author Series: Maria Semple, author of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" and "Today Will Be Different"
When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30
Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library's Library Hall, 1289 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs — The bestselling author of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” Maria Semple, will visit Steamboat Springs Wednesday to talk about her latest book.
The newest novel, “Today Will Be Different,” is set in Seattle like “Bernadette,” but this time, there’s also an interesting Colorado connection, which stems from her childhood home in Aspen.
“My father was a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a big screenwriting career and thought ‘why am I living here? I wanna move to a place that has seasons for the children. He picked Aspen quite randomly,” said Semple, who is also a noted screenwriter for her work on “Mad About You,” “Arrested Development” and “Saturday Night Live.”
“In fact he had seen an ad in the New York Review of Books that there was a bookstore for sale in Aspen, and he thought ‘oh that might be fun,’” Semple added.
So it’s no surprise that Aspen would eventually appear in one of Semple’s novels. In this case, Eleanor, her main character in “Today Will Be Different,” is a retired animator (think, My Little Pony famous), middle-aged mom and former New Yorker with a snarky attitude toward just about everyone in her adopted home of Seattle. Aspen comes into play as we learn about Eleanor’s unusual childhood with her estranged sister and alcoholic dad.
The infamous Galer Street School and the “civic-minded” parents that played a huge role in “Bernadette” also play a fun part in “Today Will Be Different.”
The book follows Eleanor through a day in her life where she’s determined to be a better person, mother and wife. Unfortunately, the same day also turns out to be the day her rather odd child, Timby — who was named by an Iphone — ditches school and demands her attention, while her always-steady husband takes a mysterious vacation from work without telling her.
No doubt local fans will be thrilled to hear from Semple during her first-ever visit to Steamboat.
“I’m embarrassed I’ve never been to Steamboat. Unfortunately, I’m a little bit Aspen-centric,” explained Semple, who returns to the Colorado mountains every year.
She remembers Aspen in the ‘70s the same way many old-timers remember Steamboat during the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“It was a beautiful place to live, and it was kind of felt like you were living in this secret world that nobody really knew about and I just found it very charming,” Semple said.
Though Semple is excited about sharing her new book with Steamboat fans and will probably get lots of questions about her television writing career, many people don’t realize the role she and her partner have played in the world of amphibians.
Yes, about 25 years ago, Semple and her long-time partner, TV writer and producer George Meyer, heard about a disappearing species of frogs. After a little research, they realized scientists involved in the Global Amphibian Assessment research were truly worried about why this was happening.
“We really did not have very much money, and we were just trying to give any extra money in our paycheck every week to the scientists,” Semple explained.
“It turns out a lot of the work they did was a lot of the groundwork for climate change.”
Semple and Meyer have been so passionate about their dedication to the Global Amphibian Assessment and its scientists that a previously undiscovered Sri Lankan moss frog was named after their daughter Poppy in honor of their support in 2007 —Philautus poppiae.
For those who want to talk frogs, novels, TV shows, Aspen and Seattle, Semple will be at Bud Werner Memorial Library’s Library Hall at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 as part of the library’s Author Series.
After the free presentation, books will be available for sale and author signing courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.
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