An interview with Quinn Cummings, Author

Thursday, July 16, 2009


When I was a kid, I adored Quinn Cummings because I imagined her to be just like the characters I saw her play on screen.  I thought she was quirky and sarcastic, bookish and wise beyond her years. In sum, I thought she was just like me as a kid.  Quinn Cummings and Melissa Gilbert were my imaginary BFF's. Now that I have discovered her blog (The QC Report) and her new book, Notes from the Underwire, I realize that she is quirky and funny and bookish and wise. She is also an entertaining and witty writer with a prolific vocabulary.  Those are traits I always admire in a person. I can still imagine us as good albeit clumsy friends.  

Notes from the Underwire is a collection of non-fiction, funny and poignant essays about Cumming's everyday life.  It is a great read for us Moms because you can read a chapter at a time in your stolen moments of freedom. 

Quinn (oh yes~we are on a first name basis now:-)  graciously allowed me to e-mail her some questions to post here on the blog. Here they are...

One of the things I really like about your blog is that your posts  
range from commentaries on Jon and Kate to an analysis of the Lily  
Pulitzer catalog and Instyle magazine to the history of the Spanish  
influenza and excessive gift giving during the holidays (which is a  
personal favorite of mine). So, I am curious how you decide each week  
what to write about (and what not to write about) and who you envision  
your readers to be.
The nice thing about it being my blog is that I don't have to answer to anyone. If I feel as if the cat needs to be a topic three weeks in a row, she is. If Kate Gosselin appalls me, I wait around for a few days asking myself "Yes, but what exactly do I find so maddening about her?" and I can rest easy knowing that if I can't finish it by Tuesday (the ideal publishing day for me), I send her and the rest of her benighted family up on Wednesday or Thursday. Sometimes, it's just a phrase and I have to wait around and see if it leads anywhere or is just a weird little stand-alone. And some weeks my mother's cat bites me and I have to go to the ER and even in the middle of my pain I'm thinking "Well, THAT'S the blog for the week." My reader? GOOD question. I've never thought exactly about it before, but I think she's something like my friend Veronica. Veronica knows me well and loves me anyway. When I was in the final throes of getting the book in, I cut my bangs in a moment of weakness. When I told her, she hooted "What are you, twelve?" and then offered to help me figure out how to hide them. I like to think my readers would help hide weird bangs.

I loved the chapter in the book on summer camps! I laughed so hard.   
Since it is summer and my boys happened to return from "Camp Utopia"  
this weekend, I was wondering what you and Alice have planned for the  

Not nearly enough, because I thought I might be travelling for the book and I was going to arrange for her to go with me any time I went anywhere. Only it's 2009 and no one is doing book tours and I'm doing the blog book tour, which I love. But a blog book tour means I'm at home a lot, begging for quiet from a child who has the same need for exercise as an Arabian horse. Cobbling this summer together even as we speak. 

I read your explanation in the book about why you never wanted to get  
married but I am wondering if after all of these years with Consort,  
your fears have changed at all?

Every couple of years, I'll hear about some friend of a friend who had been with her boyfriend for many years-- complete with offspring and a house--who decide to get married, only to get divorced within a year. I get chills and shout inwardly, "Ah-HA!!!" and continue in my shacked-up way. We're not married not because I take what we have lightly, but because I take it so seriously that I'm loathe to do anything which make shake the dynamic. In short, my phobia rages unabated, thanks for asking.

You have had some fun and difficult jobs, which has been your favorite  
thus far?
Mom. Never had a job before where I wake up to learn someone has vomited, and both their bedding and their person are expected to be cleaned by me. And I think nothing stronger than, "Should have picked up some extra fitted sheets at Target last week." I love this job. 

One of the things I found most appealing about your book is that you  
are so willing to make fun of yourself and I could totally identify  
with that.  I walk into doors too.  I am seriously craft challenged  
and I often say exactly the wrong thing.  So, although I was hugely  
entertained by your self-effacing humor, now I want to know what you  
are really good at (aside from writing)?

Gosh. All manner of homeless animals know to come find me. I'm very punctual. I'm a good friend in a crisis. I remember random science stuff. And I can make exactly one thing well; a caramelized onion, tomato and basil frittata. The kid despises it but trust me, it's delicious.

Any more books in the works? I hope so.
Sure. Oh, no. Maybe. Probably. Possibly. 

Thank you so much Quinn. It has been a delight! If you are reading this, I must tell you that I sustained an injury while purchasing your book.  A Barefoot Contessa cookbook leapt off the shelf at me slicing my ankle and dripping blood all over the bookstore carpet. I am fine but I knew you would appreciate the irony:)  It is catchy!

You can order Quinn's new book on her website.  You can also get it at your local bookstore or on-line. You will laugh out loud!!!  You might even shed a tear or two during the chapter where you read about her fierce loyalty to her Mom.


  1. Dear Kim--Thank you so much for re-opening your blog--loved the new one but really missed my weekly dose of the 3 peanuts!!! In fact I was just going to write a question on the old blog about a dress you had on your little peanut--and I found that the 3 peanuts was open!!1YEA!!! sorry this does not pertain to your new post--but I have been searching my sources and can not find what I'm after and thought you may know---I'm looking for a smocked "back to school" dress--I recall Kate having one last year--I have tried Castles and Crowns, Windmills and Orient expressed--no luck--any other ideas of where I could search??? Sorry this is so long and I do not have a blog for you to respond back to--not sure if you can access my e-mail from this response??? I'm going crazy looking for a cute back to school smocked dress!!!!
    Thanks again for bringing the blog back!

  2. Barbara Ann,
    I bought Kate's dress from Orient Expressed over a year ago but check e-bay. What size are you looking for?


  3. I am so happy to be reading 3 peanuts once again! I cannot tell you how much I have learned from you- from writing letters to my kids on the birthdays to taking different supplements and I LOVE your recipes! I had just given up because I had no idea about private bogs/invitations and all that...So thanks so much!

  4. Kim,
    I'm SO GLAD to have you and the 3 Peanuts back!! You'll make a lot of people happy when they figure you are public again! Great Post!

  5. Dear Kim---Thanks for your quick reply--I tried Orient Expressed but did not see it--maybe I am a little "early" for back to school?!?! I'll def try them again and e-bay too! She is currently a size 5 but I like things generous so I was thinking I would need a 6 or 6x?
    Thanks again!!

  6. Kim, how exciting that you got to interview Quinn Cummings! I remember her also and so enjoyed this interview- she is so fun and witty! I can't wait to get to the bookstore to buy her book (I'll be carefull of Barefoot Contessa though) I'll have to check out her blog too (and I'd love it if she wrote about her cat- you know what a cat person I am)! Anyway, great interview & congrats!

    xoxo, Shana

  7. Oh, Kim, we watched the show Family regularly at my house growing up and I loved Quinn Cummings on that show. I so enjoyed your interview with her and followed your link to her blog. I'm off to order her book now.

    Thanks! You rock!

  8. Kim-
    So very happy to be able to visit your lovely blog again! Welcome back!

  9. GAH! I am so glad to hear from 3 Peanuts again. I hope your summer has been great. I looks like everyone is having a good time. Thanks for the interview....I will definitely be purchasing the book before we leave for vacation.

  10. I am so glad that you've re-opened 3 Peanuts! You've inspired me in so many ways--with my children, my husband, my hobbies, my diet, the list can go on and on. You are a true delight to read every couple of days! Please keep it open. : )

  11. Thanks for the post. I'd never heard of Quinn Cummings before, but I definitely want to check out her book.

  12. Okay so I can read it now. are you back public or did I make the private list? Either way It's good to hear from you. Everyone is getting so big. It's been a while since I tried to open 3 peanuts. wow how kids grow. Happy Summer!!

  13. Kim....funny story here. Quinn Cummings Mom was my son Kenny's Manager when Kenny did commercial work many years ago. And (I know Quinn will not remember this) I took Kenny to Quinn for an acting workshop so she could let us know if Kenny would be good for commercial work. I took Kenny to her apt.
    I didn't even realize she was writing books. : ) Great post!!!!

  14. I am SO glad you are back. I missed you TERRIBLY!!!

  15. Kim..I actually didn't know of Quinn...BUT now her book is on its way to me!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Great interview, Kim .. so fun! I will certainly be buying her new book :)

  17. I am not a real big reader (I know, shame on me)!!! I just have never been one, but I am trying!!! Sounds like a good read so I might just see if the Library has it. Thanks for the suggestion!!!

  18. Great interview!! I definitely need to check out her book. I'm so glad I got to checkback in with the peanuts!!

  19. Loved her in The Goodbye Girl -- had no idea she was all grown-up and a Mom now! Sounds like a great book -- will be putting it on my wish list at the library. Fun interview!

  20. You're gonna want to buy this book, guys - you can't just read it once. You're going to want to read particularly funny or heartfelt parts more than once. Hey, it's only $11.99 at Amazon - and if you have Amazon Prime or spend at least $25, shipping is free.

    Yes, a local bookstore is best, but if you're pinching pennies or cannot get out to a store, go the Amazon route. (I have Amazon Prime shared with another family member - and so ship books directly to friends as gifts.)

    I'll admit - I've already bought three copies. It's my new gift book. Worth every penny.

  21. Kim

    It very late but I have that same cold! uggghh
    Are you feeling better!
    I sure hope so!
    Love you


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