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Q: When did you realize you wanted to add author to your list of accomplishments?
On October 27th, 2015, when Don’t Jump was published and I became one. Seriously, during all the years writing the book, I barely considered myself a writer, let alone an author. There’s something kind of weighty and serious about that title isn’t there?
Don’t Jump began as a two-page rant. I showed it to my writer husband and he encouraged me to continue. When I’d written about twenty pages I committed to seeing it through, having no idea it would be a thirteen-year journey.
I’d written a screenplay and some television treatments, one was even optioned, but, it wasn’t until I published my first column in The Huffington Post that I called myself a writer without looking over my shoulder to see if the authenticity police were about to haul me in for fraud.
Q: I love your cover. How hard was it to choose one?
Thank you. I do, too. It exceeds my highest imaginings. I’d had a few ideas over the years and had brainstormed them with smart, creative people.
Over a lunch with publisher, Lawrence O’Flahavan, we discussed the book, and some of the ideas which had been bandied about. After about an hour, Larry picked up a pencil and a scrap of paper and started sketching. I have no idea how he came up with the traffic signal, but as soon as he did, it became the perfect focal point. He continued to add elements and allowed me a couple… but, the genius of it, is his.
Q: Can you tell me more about your Literary Salon, “Women Who Write”?
My original intention was to transform the prose into a play. That was my ultimate goal from the get-go. When I began working with editor David Tabatsky on the revision of the first draft, I was new to Los Angeles and had no idea how to get stage time to workshop the thing. David suggested I start my own group––invite others to read with me, and local mommies to listen. I knew a few respected writers, and well-known performers who wrote, and used that as my hook, whilst slipping in a chapter of mine each month. When, six months in, Carol Leifer asked if her friend, Academy Award Winner, Marlee Matlin, could come read, that was the game-changer. With the help of introductions from friends, Facebook, and even Twitter, the readers and musicians who’ve read and performed for us rivals any talk show, and many of the women who attend are equally accomplished.
Over the eight years we’ve morphed into a solid community of support, friendship and fun. We have writing workshops, I coach individually, and we have a Facebook group where all are encouraged to promote their work, ask for help, guidance, and support. We have 30-Day Writing Challenges and many of us are accountable on the site, daily.
We support each other’s work and projects in the real world, collaborate, socialize and have become very much like family.
First-timers are welcomed into the fold as if old friends, and, we’ve opened the door to some special men.
Q: As you geared up for your Book Release of “Don’t Jump”, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?
A few months prior to publication I sent the manuscript out to people I respect and admire in hopes of gathering blurbs. Who the hell was I? I was the host, who wrote, they were the authors––accomplished celebrities. I was more than a tad terrified. Within two days, responses started coming in––beyond my wildest dreams. I hoped the book would resonate… I had moments over the years where I believed it was worthy… and, more, where I doubted it. Not a negative word came back. The reactions were effusive… thrilling. The books were available for order on pre-sale. Inadvertently, Amazon jumped the gun and sent out about a bunch of books before the launch. The gift of the error was discovering that not only were people ordering the book, they were reading it… for the most part in a couple of days, and have continued to. It’s been an extraordinary validation.
I had an amazing launch party, thanks to Annie and Jake Deptula (brother and sister producing partners), with incredible music from the Night Train Music Club and a stellar turn-out of amazing people. Selling and signing books for the first time was an absolute trip. Living the dream…
Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts, answering questions rather than asking them has been a “please pinch me so know this is real” continuing excitement.
Q: Does your character “Andi Stone” represent you or anyone you know?
Q: Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?
There are many authors who resonate with me. I’m not sure my style compares to any of them, specifically, but I’ve surely been influenced by many I admire.
Stephen King’s On Writing is my bible. Which, I’m certain, I’ve desecrated more than once. He was my “ideal reader” as I wrote. Unbeknownst to him.
Q: When do you typically write? Where do you write? Set this up for us…
I committed to writing at least five minutes a day 3,928 days ago. I’m accountable to a very generous woman from my NY writers group who’s received my daily emails for the past almost eleven years.
I’m at my computer all day and most of the night. Much of what I write most days I post on Facebook. It’s where I found my voice, and my audience. I hate the way that sounds. It’s a “grouptually” reciprocal arrangement.
I write Morning Pages daily, whenever the spirit moves me, oft late night… I take notes throughout the day/night for articles I’m working on, treatments I’m developing and the two books which loom ahead. My desk is in the kitchen… it’s open, has good light, and easy access to snacks. When I get serious, am ready to hammer out a final draft, I write with my computer on my lap, in bed. And I don’t get up, till I’m done.
Q: May I ask who your favorite authors are? Books?
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar transformed me. I adore Dostoyevsky, especially, The Brother’s Karamazov, Augusten Burroughs Dry and Running With Scissors, David Sedaris’ Naked, Stephen King’s The Shinning was one of my favorite books, ever, as was all of his work before it and what followed for many years after. I read a load of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and love them both. James Clavell’s Shogun and Tai-Pan have stayed with me, Love Erica Jong, John Grisham, and ate up bestsellers prior to starting Women Who Write, when memoir became my focus. Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies had profound effect on me as has Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Illuminata,
Q: Can we expect another book? If so, do you want to tell us a little bit about it?
I have two books I’ve been unofficially writing in spurts. It was essential to me for Don’t Jump to publish before I turned serious attention to them. One is my misadventures as a sober, single, now, sixty year old woman. WHAT?!? That’s just crazy to me. The other is how I went from being a housewife and mother to creating and hosting a renowned literary salon in less than a year… thanks to the Facebook. How Facebook has transformed my life in every way. How it can be used for good. Lord knows I abuse it, too.
I also have a compilation book I attempted to do outreach on last winter. I had zero credibility as an author and got little response from the lofty list I pursued. Perhaps on next attempt I’ll fair better.
Q: Lastly, Book or eBook??
I’m new school with just about everything. Books… I want to hold in my hand. With a cover, pages and a bookmark.
I read one book on my computer and iPhone Kindle. It was fun. I read at red lights, on line at the grocery store, everywhere. I get it. I may try another. I’m mostly iTune’ing these days… so, who knows .