Comedian Karen Bergreen’s debut novel Following Polly stars Alice Teakle, who stalks her Harvard frenemy—the flawless and affected Polly—only to wind up as the prime suspect in her murder. We asked Bergreen, who will appear at this year’s Authors Night (August 13), who she would like to follow and what we would find by following her.
AMY MILLER GROSS: If you could follow any author at all who would it be?
KAREN BERGREEN: I would give anything to know J. K. Rowling. I would love to know what she’s like, if she’s a real person. I started reading Harry Potter with my kids. She’s a genius. The characters are amazing. Her principles come out in her books, and as far as the stories it’s like she hits every note perfectly. I’ve seen her on only one interview. She seems really nice, and I read that she gives a lot of her money to education. But she hates the media and she’s very private but boy, would I want to know what her day is like. She just seems so perfect. I want it to be what I hope it is. Like that will make me feel better about the world.
AMG: If we followed you around would we end up in the Hamptons?
KB: I spend time in the Hamptons for book signings. The Hamptons is very book-friendly. I just did something at BookHampton a couple months ago with Linda Fairstein. It was a thriller-fest kind of thing called Mayhem Weekend and it was really fun.
AMG: If we trailed you on a typical summer day what would we discover?
KB: You would find that like Alice [in Following Polly] I spend a lot of time watching television at home. I write. I’m a person that goes to the gym. I talk on the phone a lot. I’m a big baker. I run into people in my neighborhood who I know, and I stand on a street corner for a half an hour in a conversation and every other sentence I say, ‘I’ve got to go,’ but don’t because I can’t stop talking.
AMG: If we wanted to track you down at your favorite library where would we go?
KB: I love the public library on 42nd Street but I also like the new library right near me on 46th Street between Lexington and Third that looks like a café. I think that all libraries should have cafeterias in [them] and the money should go to keeping the libraries open more hours. They’ve had to shut down all these libraries and I think if you make the library more of an event, people will go to it more.
AMG: If we followed you to the beach this summer what would we see you reading?
KB: I love all those Shopaholic books. I think they’re adorable. Anything Susan Isaacs. I’m obsessed with her; I think she’s great. I would read anything Meg Wolitzer. Actually I would wait and go to the beach in October because I’m desperately awaiting the new Jeffrey Eugenides.
AMG: If we trailed you at the office what would we see you working on next?
KB: I’m working on book number three. I have another book coming out next spring that’s all done, about a mom who is overcoming postpartum depression. The way she overcomes it is by solving the murders of all the mothers in her preschool, in her kid’s preschool. The mothers are dead. But it’s comedy.
For the full interview with Karen Bergreen and Amy Miller Gross, visit insightthelines.com.