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Author Laura Huntt Foti joins BookGoodies podcast host Deborah Carney to talk about books, writing and current projects.
Laura Huntt Foti always thought she would write a book before she was 30. Now she knows better. It’s been almost 40 years since the events that inspired her debut novel, The Cusp of Everything, yet they are still fresh in her mind. She consoles herself about the long gestation period with the conviction that at least she brought to the book the wisdom of extreme hindsight.
Laura grew up in Westchester County, New York, where her novel is set, and earned a B.A. in journalism from New York University. Following graduation, she worked as a writer specializing in the then-new field of music video. As Billboard’s Video Editor, she organized the magazine’s Video Music Conference, including the 1983 Video Music Awards ceremony at which Mary Wilson of The Supremes—who play a pivotal role in the book—was a presenter.
She moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and joined the interactive software division of Philips Electronics, working as a senior executive in product development, marketing and business development before launching her own consulting firm, Sound Input LLC, in 1996. Projects range from curriculum development for Scholastic, Kaplan, Inc. and K-12 to marketing for Fox Mobile, Bertoli, Microsoft and Motorola, among others. She writes most of the content for her own long-running website HellishHolidays.com and previously ran a love and dating site for two years.
The Cusp of Everything might still be unfinished if not for an accident in the summer of 2009. Crossing Pacific Coast Highway in a crosswalk in Laguna Beach, California, an impatient driver whipped around a waiting car and knocked Laura to the ground. She came to in the middle of the road, surrounded by lifeguards, bemoaning her potential book-free obituary.
The book is a coming-of-age tale told from the viewpoint of Karen Walsh, the main character and narrator, who dreams that moving to Manhattan and finding love will solve all her teenage problems. Laura recreates the era of suburban New York in the mid-1970’s, best remembered as a time when sex and sexuality were no longer taboo subjects and change was a way of life. Karen and society were on “the cusp of everything.”
The Cusp of Everything is also a book with a soundtrack—perhaps the first of its kind—with the music of the time evoking the spirit of a world in transition. There are references to more than 200 songs throughout the text, setting the tone and the time frame. From “classic rock” before it was classic and “Old School” when it was still new, to Top 40 and the early days of disco, with a special helping of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Cusp’s music runs the gamut of what was in the air at the time. A playlist by chapter is available at cuspofeverything.com.
Laura lives in Los Angeles with her teenage son and is a dedicated volunteer, active in many local organizations, among them the Los Angeles Public Library, Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society and the Los Angeles Conservancy. She is on the Board of the Ebell of Los Angeles and serves as the Club’s Publications Chair, writing and editing a monthly magazine. She is also active in NYU Journalism’s alumni activities.
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