1. What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
I think a lot of that depends on what exactly I’m writing. For a novel, the hardest thing is wrapping my head around the fact that I have to string together 80,000 words in an intelligent and interesting way and that they have to adhere to story-telling expectations. That’s hard. Another thing that’s hard for me is to choose only one topic to write about. My brain is constantly swirling with ideas. It doesn’t stop. It’s maddening and might actually drive me crazy one day! And, although you didn’t ask, I’ll tell you the best things: sitting down to my computer full of hope in a quiet, empty house; the abundant selection of words in our language; typing “the end.”
2. How do you break through a writing block?
I take a shower or a walk. It works every time. I’ll bring my phone on the walk so when I figure out what my characters should do next or what words to choose, I have a way to record my ideas. Not as easy in the shower.
3. Do you read/comment on reviews of your books?
I read them all. And, of course, like most authors I place way more weight on the bad ones. It’s amazing how one bad review can overshadow many amazing ones! It’s always reassuring, though, when I see highly-respected authors receiving bad reviews. It just shows you can’t appeal to everyone. I just get frustrated when the reviewer misunderstands something about what I wrote and bases the negative review on that. I want to scream, “That’s not what I meant!” I won’t comment on a bad review, though, because it never comes out sounding right. But, negative reviews are part of the business, and if the feedback is constructive it will only allow me to improve for the next time.
4. How do you choose the names for your characters?
That is so much fun. A lot of the female names are either names I wish were my name (I really don’t like my name!) or that I wish I could have named a daughter (I have 3 boys). Others are names that I love (i.e Cameron) or names that are just perfect for the character (i.e. Lorna).
5. If you could live a day in the life of a fictional character, who would it be?
Definitely a Jane Austen character. I want to wear those clothes, be courted by those men, live in one of those houses, and drink all that tea. I know there were downsides to those times, but the upsides are dreamy! Pretty obvious, but I’m a *huge* Downton Abbey fan.
6. What is your all-time favorite book?
This is such a hard question for me. Can’t name just one. So I’ll name a few: I love anything by Jeffrey Archer and Jane Austen. And then there are the more popular favorites like Eat Pray Love and The Help. I also loved Roots, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, and The Hunger Games series. My favorite women’s fiction writer is Emily Giffin.
7. What is the last book you’ve read?
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.
8. Aside from writing, what would your dream job be?
A back-up dancer for Beyonce. (really!)
9. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Michelle Obama, but only if she were required to take truth serum so she would tell me what her life is really like. I really admire her as a mom and as an intelligent and accomplished woman.
10. Which question do you hate hearing/answering most during interviews?
Having to pick “one” favorite book—notice how I avoided it above. It’s like picking my favorite child. I love my boys differently for different reasons, but I can’t pick just one (well, that’s not true, sometimes I can!).
11. What question do you wish you were asked more often? And what’s the answer?
Q. What makes your heart sing? A. Hiking.
Thank you Melissa for featuring On Grace on your blog!! So very much appreciated!!
Title: On Grace
Author: Susie Orman Schnall
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publication Date:April 8th 2014
Available Formats: Paperback, E-book
Find it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon| BN| The Book Depository
Grace May is truly excited about turning 40 in a few months. And now that her boys are both in school and she has a stimulating new writing job, the next chapter in her life can finally begin. She can’t wait to rediscover the intelligent and interesting woman deeply buried under the layers of mother and wife.
But when Grace loses her job and gets unexpected news from her husband and her best friend, life suddenly gets complicated. Grace stands to lose everything: her marriage, her best friend, and her sense of self. But by her 40th birthday party, Grace will realize who and what matter most. With laughter. With tears. With grace.
Originally from Los Angeles, Susie Orman Schnall graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Schnall has written for national and local publications about parenting and health.
She lives in New York with her husband and their three young boys. On Grace is her debut novel.
One Paperback Copy of On Grace