Wonder Woman

Author Melissa Bank is sick of her own voice. "It's just, at a certain point on a book tour you get so tired of talking about yourself and your book. Just the sound of your voice makes you want to retch."

Hmm…

Thankfully for us, the next sounds she makes are those of explosive laughter rather than, well, explosive vomit.

It's hard to blame her, though; no sooner had 1999's The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing hit the shelves than Bank found herself spokesperson for growing hordes of chick-lit enthusiasts who figured she had all the answers when it came to family dynamics, career goals and finding perfect love in an imperfect world.

But still, Bank says that "it's a huge chunk of luck that anyone is asking me anything."

About ten years ago, she was involved in a bike accident that left her in the hospital with brain damage. "I had problems with my short-term memory for about a year," she recalls. "I lost for a while what the neurologist called 'sequential thinking.' I couldn't give any directions or tell a joke. Or say, 'I got up today and I got dressed and I walked out the door and hailed a cab.' In other words, I couldn't tell a story."

But Bank recovered and is now more than able to tell a story. Her new collection, The Wonder Spot, chronicles the misadventures of New York "outsider" Sophie Applebaum over a period of 25 years. It follows her through careers in publishing and advertising, as well as a litany of disappointing relationships. As Sophie gets older, one of the few things that doesn't change in her internal or external world is her love for Bob Dylan, whom the author praises as a "true poet" in real life.

As for the title, we know what you're thinking. That The Wonder Spot refers to a New York restaurant. How'd ya know?

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Julie Seabaugh
Contact: Julie Seabaugh