Monday, July 18, 2005

Amy Krouse Rosenthal Q&A

I met Amy Krouse Rosenthal when she was a guest on "Writers on Writing" a couple of months ago to talk about her new book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.

Here she is, again:

BDB: Does a writer have an obligation to her readers?

AKR: I think the primary obligation a writer has is to herself. If she fulfills this obligation in the truest most thorough way she knows how, then she will have indirectly fulfilled any obligation she might have to her reader.

BDB: What is your writing routine?

AKR: I take the kids to school. Then I practice yoga. Then I come home and do house stuff, get things in order, tend to the business side of my work, you know, return e-mails, phone calls, things like that. And then around 2:00 I pack up my things, grab my laptop, and head over to my favorite coffeehouse to write for about three hours. If I can get three hours in, it’s a good day. That’s pretty much my routine Monday-Thursday. I am not a morning person so I never get up early to write, never. And while I am a night person and love staying up late, I never write at night either. Night is about couch hang time with my husband. When I’m really busy or in the midst of new book I will use the late evening hours to tackle e-mails and tasks like that, but never to write. I’d say 95 percent of my book was written between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.—for whatever reason, that’s my "on" mode.

BDB: Do you think your next book will brand you as a certain type of writer?

AKR: Not at the moment, no. But my last two books were about being a mom, so in writing this book, Encyclopedia, I knew I was intentionally and distinctly NOT writing (soley) about motherhood. I love being a mom, and I do often enjoy writing about, but I did not want that to be something that was expected of me. I kinda like writing about a lot of different stuff, so I guess the short answer here is that I’d like to be able to stretch myself and explore all sorts of topics and arenas and generally be brandless.

BDB: Any myths you see new writers entertaining?

AKR: Maybe there's this assumption that someone, a writer, can sort of "whip something up real quick." Sometimes getting one sentence to feel how i want it to feel can take days, or weeks. There's the act of getting the words out, and there's the subsequent act of crafting them. Both are time consuming and demanding, at least for me. But the reality check is this: I love words. I love the alphabet. I even love typing. The act of typing is a happy, comfortable thing for me—my fingers feel at home on a keyboard. So I think that is a strength, feeling tenderly about the tools of this trade. Maybe it’s not so much a strength—because I think “strength” implies that I had some role in it, that I worked to achieve that, to make that happen. I think I was just born with a fondness for words and sentences, and was predisposed to enjoy playing with them. It’s like a toddler who just loves balls, loves holding them, bouncing them, throwing them, is basically obsessed by them. So when that toddler becomes a child, it’s likely that he will be drawn to sports that involve a ball. Wherever there’s a ball is where the child wants to be.


dajwap said...

Hi Barbara,

In early June, I sent to queries to parenting magazines and I haven't yet heard back from either magazine. How long should I wait before following up? Any advice for how to follow up?

Wendy Jones

Lloyd Jeanty said...

I am looking forward to your posts.

Gilbert Fast said...

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