London (the one across the pond) based author Kimberley Tait had an unusual path to publishing. After moving from her native Toronto to the U.S., she earned an MBA from Columbia University and began a career in the investment industry in New York. Taking what she'd learned of that glittering, high pressure world, Tait turned her eye to fiction. The result was her debut novel Fake Plastic Love (Flatiron Books). The story of an Odd Couple style friendship between an idealistic lifestyle blogger and a tough-minded investment banker, the book both is a send up of millennial Manhattan and a thoughtful examination of two young women trying to figure out what is real and worth holding onto. When a Gatsby-esque man comes into their orbit, both women find themselves faced with decision not just about what their lives will be, but who they are.
We're pleased to welcome Kimberley to Open Book today to take our Dirty Dozen challenge, where we ask authors to spill twelve unexpected and unknown facts about themselves. Kimberley tells us about a near miss with Michael Jackson, her nostalgic Blue Jays connection, and why she and her friend Ted are a package deal.
- At the tender age of five, I convinced my parents to take me to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” concert at the old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. (“Billie Jean” and its iconic bass line have always struck a deep chord in me.) Unfortunately, Michael was several hours late — Tito kept emerging from back-stage to apologize for his tardiness — so I fell asleep long before the King of Pop ever appeared.
- Wayne Gretzky once called me beautiful. He was 17 years old, I was a newborn baby in my crib, and he hadn’t yet been dubbed The Great One — but it still counts, doesn’t it? At the time, my Dad was working at Victoriaville, a hockey stick manufacturer, and Wayne came to our house to pick up some demo sticks. My Mom said she felt sorry for that very polite, skinny young man who was driving a rusty van.
- I moved to New York City to join the September 11th relief effort, working for an organization that helped expedite assistance to the people and families affected by the World Trade Center attacks.
- Growing up, my Dad used to take my brother and me to at least one Toronto Blue Jays home game per week during baseball season. I was there to watch Joe Carter hit his game-winning homerun off of Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams to clinch the first World Series on Canadian soil in 1993. I had an epic — and boy do I mean epic — crush on first baseman John Olerud.
- I learned to ski when I was three and was a little speed demon infamous for giving my Mom heart palpitations as I blazed past her down the mountain in her native Swiss Alps.
- My brother is a diplomat who speaks nine languages fluently and has lived in more than 10 countries. He does the most hilarious impersonations — I still deeply regret not ever sending a video of him to Lorne Michaels, which I’m convinced would have earned him a spot on Saturday Night Live.
- I have run four marathons. I never run to music, but do a lot of writing and editing in my head and sometimes need to stop to tap words or phrases or ideas into my iPhone Notes app so I won’t forget them. At my desk, I love writing to music, finding sparks of inspiration in song lyrics — from Cole Porter to Caro Emerald to Coldplay. The title for my debut novel, Fake Plastic Love, and one of its heroines Belle Bailey were inspired by the Radiohead song “Fake Plastic Trees.”
- I am a triple citizen: Canadian, American, and Swiss.
- My Mom was a flight attendant for 37 years with Air Canada. She is Swiss and was hired in Zurich in 1965 when North American airlines were on hiring sprees in Europe to source multilingual talent. A few years later, she met my Dad on one of her flights when he was heading to Austria to play and coach hockey in Graz.
- I have never had my ears pierced and am weirdly protective of what I call my “virgin lobes.”
- I once had a sailing accident on Lake Ontario and nearly lost three fingers — but thankfully, didn’t.
- I have a small pink bear companion named Ted. We were first introduced when I came home from the hospital as a newborn and he has traveled with me ever since. My husband was mystified by Ted at first but has grown quite accepting and fond of him.
Kimberley Tait was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and moved to the U.S. to attend Dartmouth College, where she wrote an Honours Thesis on life as a staged performance in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Kimberley earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and has worked at investment banks in New York and London, continuing to work with financial services and investment firms as a writer and marketing strategist. A Canadian, American, and Swiss citizen, Kimberley lives in London with her husband. Fake Plastic Love is her debut novel.