Drinks with Teddy Wayne, Author of "The Love Song of Jonny Valentine"


A new interview series in which Amazon Editors meet authors at their favorite bars

The bar Angel's Share is hard to find. But hidden behind an unmarked door on the second floor of an unassuming sushi restaurant in the East Village is an elegant bar with a few cozy, dark-wood booths and a long menu of delicious specialty cocktails.

This was the bar that Teddy Wayne picked. He's the author of the novels Kapitoil and, most recently, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, which is a fictionalized take on the life of a pop star who closely resembles teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.

Over cocktails, I spoke with Wayne about the bar, Jonny Valentine, and the future of Justin Bieber.

Why did you pick this bar?

I've come here a lot over the years, sporadically. It has a really beautiful interior, the environment is carefully controlled and cultivated, and as I get older, I like loud places less and less and appreciate quiet atmospheres where you can actually talk. And there's no obnoxious noises or behavior around you. It appeals to me as I age, which is a good or bad sign.

Also the drinks are incredible--creative confections that are mixtures of strange and unique ingredients that are always delicious.

So what are you drinking?

It's called the Old Folks. It's a whiskey with a dusting of some kind of dry molasses, something on the rim, and some other stuff that's very tasty.

What inspired The Love Song of Jonny Valentine?

There's a direct inspiration: I used to tutor kids after school once a week, and in the fall of 2010, I saw a girl I was tutoring reading Miley Cyrus's book, Miles To Go, which is sold by Amazon. It's mostly pictures with a couple sentences per page. A friend a week later asked me, "Do you have an idea for a humor book we could collaborate on together?" And I suggested parodying Miles To Go or a similar a pop-star biography. Soon after I said that, I realized that this might make an interesting novel.

So, I started writing it as a novel. [My friend and I] abandoned the parody idea, but I kept on writing. And six months later, I was finishing the first draft.

So, why did you decide to do Justin Bieber instead of Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga. Is Justin Bieber special?

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Comments (1)

I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. I love that Teddy was inspired by a book one of the kids he tutored was reading. I write for a young adult audience, and staying in touch with actual teens has inspired my writing more times than I can count. Nothing like going to the foul-mouthed but lovable source!

Posted by: Kristen Pham | Wednesday March 27, 2013 at 9:14 PM

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