Update August 24, 2015, 3:12 p.m.: An earlier version of this story falsely reported that Edan Lepucki’s publisher was the Hatchet Book Group. In fact, the correct spelling is Hachette.
By all rights her first book should have been a financial failure after Amazon.com refused to sell her book on their website, but with the help of Stephen Colbert, her first novel soared to the number two spot on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Edan Lepucki read from her novel, “California,” and led a couple of workshops at SummerWords, a creative writing festival held at American River College.
“It was really fun,” Lepucki said on being a guest on The Colbert Report. “I was very nervous and scared, but once I got there I was just excited and I couldn’t believe I was going to be on it.”
Lepucki said that she found out that her novel was not going to be sold from Amazon up to eight weeks before the book came out. Amazon was going through a contract dispute with Lepucki’s publisher, Hachette Book Group.
“For some people, Amazon is the only bookstore available to them, so it felt like my book was invisible suddenly.”
Colbert’s books were also published by an imprint that is owned by Hachette Book Group.
“California” is an apocalyptic novel that differs from other books of its ilk by not portraying the end of the world be due from a single event.
“I didn’t set out to do it differently, I kind of just took everything that I was freaked out about in our present world and just made it worse and worse,” Lepucki said.“I guess I honestly believe that’s how it would go, anyway. It wouldn’t just be a singular event that happened, it will be kind of gradual, which is scarier to me because it feels more realistic.”
Lepucki said one of the major influences on her novel was “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a dystopian novel that is about a woman living in a theocratic society. Similar that title, “California” delves into gender issues as well.
“If you look at places where the economic climate are really horrible, it doesn’t look too good for women,” Lepucki said.
Christian Kiefer, an English professor at ARC who helped organize the SummerWords event, met Lepucki at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.
“I found her to be a super nice, awesome, rad human being,” said Kiefer. “We want super nice, awesome, rad human beings at SummerWords.”
Dominique Meija, a SummerWords attendee, participated in Lepucki’s workshop, The Art of Characterization.
“I always make a story, but never the characters, so I felt that it helped me flesh out my characters.”