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'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' author Maria Semple talks about her new book

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What I liked about ["Mad About You"] was being able to use stuff from real life. There were other TV shows that had a lot of weird, stilted jokes, and with "Mad About You," it was much more observational. The humor was much more about being a couple, and I really liked that. I feel like that was the most fun, to be in a room with writers and just kind of tell stories about a fight that you had that morning with your spouse – and to all of their horrors, it would end up in an episode.

That, to me, comes more naturally to me than a much more stilted type of comedy.
Q: How do you feel about the fandom that's sprung up around "Arrested Development"?

I think it makes sense, because it was a show that was almost perversely not meant to be understood the first time you watched it. I think that has a lot to do with why it was canceled. It almost dared you to try to understand the show the first time around, and it was very intricate and there were a lot of jokes that would play out over several episodes and it worked much better as this whole.

There were so many winks to the real fans, and it was very self-referential, and that type of thing really works well with repeated viewings. It makes sense to me that that's how it's found a second life. It's more appropriate.

Q: Your first book, "This One Is Mine," was set in Los Angeles, while "Bernadette" is set in Seattle. Is there anything particular about the places you have lived that draws you to use them as settings?

I think because I try to keep things as real as I can, or I try to start from a place of reality, I almost don't have the imagination to write a book that's not set where I am. It's smarter for me to set the books where I am physically because I'll have a lot of interesting observations. There'll be a lot of details from life that'll pop up for me.

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