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Interview: Rose A. Valenta, Author of Sitting on Cold Porcelain

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As a nationally syndicated humor columnist for such publications as Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, and the WSJ Online, Rose A. Valenta knows a thing or two about making people laugh.  In addition to the above publications, Ms. Valenta is the author of Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog, which brings humor to day-to-day current events and politics — her way — rather than with the stretched out and twisted truths brought to people via politicians and news anchors.  

Rose A. Valenta is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) as well as a regular attendant of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton.  Ms. Valenta reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband.  She has three children and ten grandchildren.  

If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to check out Rose A. Valenta’s humor-filled book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain, and bring a little humor to your day!

Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

Sitting on Cold Porcelain is a compilation of humorous essays. It focuses on Murphy’s Law and situations that make you want to groan and laugh. It pokes fun at situations like dysfunctional family get-togethers, current events in the news, the dark side of politics, and cultural changes that impact our society.

My readers will relate to some of the stories and get a good laugh.

Who are your favorite characters in the story?

My writing has been inspired by reading great humorists like Mark Twain, Alan King, Erma Bombeck, Mel Brooks, Jean Parker Shepherd, and Dave Barry; so when you read my essays “2012 and Yo Homework” and “Who Moved my Mascarpone?” you laugh because you have been in those situations and they are perfect fodder for satire. Of course, the stories are exaggerated, but you can relate.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

Yes, the one about Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman:

“No, Virginia, I hate to break this to you, but CBS lies, the concepts are false. Snowmen can’t dance. They have no rhythm. They just stand there and succumb to the elements. Viagra won’t help.”

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

My book contains essays, so it would be a good candidate for a sitcom or comedy show like SNL. I’d like to see Tim Conway play my hairdresser in “Pitbulls Don’t Always Bite;” and Carol Burnett play the ghost of my grandmother in “Thanksgiving Plans – Remember the Titanic.”

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

I love crafting the story. I base it on a small fact and then have a wild time exaggerating everything. I actually laugh out-loud while I’m writing, so I’ve equipped family members with earmuffs and MP3 players with headphones.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

I like copyediting least, but it is a necessary evil. It feels like kitchen cleanup during the holidays after you have spent 24 hours cooking, your family consumed the meal in 10 minutes, and you are still faced with all the grunt work.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

I loved reading Help I’m a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery by Alan King; If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits by Erma Bombeck; Never Stand Behind a Loaded Horse by Gordon Kirkland; and Rebel Without a Mini-Van by Tracy Baron Beckerman. Recently, I’ve read America Libre by Raul Ramos y Sanchez, and A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m reading House Divided by Raul Ramos y Sanchez.

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?

I’d rent a vacation home on the Outer Banks and invite some of the best bloggers I know from the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop: Wanda Argersinger, Marti Lawrence, Dawn Weber, Jody Worsham, and Crystal Edwards. I’d turn the dinner party into a humor writers’ weekend.

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

Definitely Jean Parker Shepherd’s A Christmas Story. It is a classic holiday story and film that has captured millions of fans. Shepherd wrote the screenplay based on his own compilation of semi-autobiographical humor stories about his childhood in Indiana.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” Erma Bombeck.

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About April Pohren

  • April, Thank you so much for the interview. I noticed that it got picked up by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.


  • Wonderful interview! Thank you for considering me for your dinner party! All the best to you!

  • Great interview, Rose. You are really on a roll.

  • Thank you for the great answers, Rose! I can’t wait to get my hands on your book now! lol

  • The only thing funnier than the title, Sitting on Cold Porcelain, might be sitting on wet porcelain. (g)
    Great interview.

    Morgan Mandel