“Today will be different,” Maria Semple‘s latest novel, begins the way we might hope to begin a new day, with the words: “Today I will be present. Today, anyone I’m speaking to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply. . . . Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m capable of being. Today will be different.”
From this compelling opening manifesto we’re launched into the fraught life of Eleanor Flood, Semple’s protagonist, who is dealing with some serious self-loathing. As well as being endearingly judgmental, Eleanor may be the most hilarious character to grace a novel in a long time. I hope you get a sense of how much fun this book is to read by listening to Maria on the show. She was a delight to talk to you, and I know you’ll be aching to start reading her book after hearing this conversation.
Buy Today Will Be Different at your local independent bookstore or on Amazon here.
Maria Semple spent her early years traveling around Europe with her bohemian parents, but that ended abruptly when her father, Lorenzo Semple, Jr., finished a pilot for Batman while living in Torremolinos, Spain. He airmailed it in, they shot it, and the family moved to LA. After the Batman TV series and feature, Lorenzo went on to write a bunch of movies. Once he was established, the family moved to Aspen, Colorado.
Maria attended boarding school at Choate Rosemary and college at Barnard, where she majored in English.
Maria moved to LA shortly after graduating Barnard and wrote screenplays which never got made, and then TV shows. 90210, Mad About You, Arrested Development and others. She quit to give fiction a try.
This One Is Mine was published by Little, Brown in 2008.
In 2008 Maria, George Meyer and their little daughter moved to Seattle just because. It was a difficult adjustment for Maria, which became the basis for Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The novel came out in 2012 and became an instant bestseller. Today Will Be Different is her latest.