Sena Jeter Naslund describes the origins of Ahab’s Wife in “a vision and a voice.” Ann Patchett mourns the ways in which the reality of a novel may fail to live up to her conception of it. Andrea Barrett, a winner of the National Book Award and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, nevertheless characterizes herself as “a very clumsy writer” in her early drafts.
The seventeen women interviewed by Sarah Anne Johnson are some of the most popular and accomplished writers at work today—award winners, critically acclaimed, popular with book clubs. Steeped in a thorough knowledge of each writer’s work, Johnson’s questions range from technical issues of craft to the nurturing of fictional ideas to the daily practice of writing. The authors offer insights into their own works that will delight their fans and also provide practical advice that will be cherished by aspiring writers. From Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s reflections on her experience of immigration to Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s insights on the question of a character’s voice, these interviews combine the personal with the professional experience of the writing life.
Writers interviewed: Andrea Barrett, Aimee Bender, Amy Bloom, Elizabeth Cox, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Maria Flook, Lynn Freed, Gish Jen, Nora Okja Keller, Elizabeth McCracken, Jill McCorkle, Sue Miller, Sena Jeter Naslund, Ann Patchett, Jayne Anne Phillips, A.J. Verdelle, Lois-Ann Yamanaka.