FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIDN'T WIN, as well as those who did, HERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU! IT IS MY RECENT INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, HOPE EDELMAN. THE LINKS WILL HELP YOU FIND SOME OF HER OTHER WORK SINCE SO MANY OF YOU WANTED THIS BOOK AS WELL.
I’ve been writing and teaching nonfiction for twenty years, and this is my fifth book though my very first memoir. You can read more about it and about the journey that inspired the story at www.thepossibilityofeverything.com
Can you tell us what might be the next or current book you are working on?
I’m not sure what I’ll work on next, although I think in the interest of giving my family a break, I might try my hand at fiction!
What have you just finished reading?
I recently finished Perfection by Julie Metz, a memoir about a marriage that fell apart after the husband’s death. Very moving, and beautifully written. I’m about to start Dylan Landis’s novel Normal People Don’t Live Like This. It’s been getting terrific reviews. I was a big fan of her short story “Rana Fegrina,” and I heard the same characters are in the book.
What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?
I know this is going to sound a little strange and even morbid, but I devoured Holocaust memoirs as a child. I think I was looking for stories of human extremes, of deep emotion, of desperation and ultimate triumph over enormous adversity, since the authors survived to tell their tales. I wonder if, in some way, I was collecting stories to help me later survive the death of my own mother, which occurred when I was seventeen.
I can still remember the oddest details from those memoirs, like the moment in The Hiding Place when Corrie Ten Boom’s sister sent her letters in jail with secret messages written underneath the stamps. We were in the Netherlands on a family vacation this past spring and I literally stumbled upon the Ten Boom house in Harlem. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of the former home of my childhood heroine—the house that had contained the hiding place of the title. A few days later we visited Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, but the Ten Boom house remains the high point of my trip.
What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or….?
The first page has to really grab me. I’m an inveterate browser in bookstores, and if I find a first page compelling I’m likely to buy the book.
What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?
That’s a tough question for memoirists, since we rarely resist the impulse to tell everything to everyone! Let me see…most people don’t know that we have a pet tarantula in our house, and that getting him was my idea. I was down in Belize in 2008 to take a workshop in Maya healing, and a red-rump tarantula was living in a hole right at the bottom of my cabin’s steps. I was fascinated by it, and when I got back to LA I talked my kids into getting one for a pet. They named him Billy Bob Joe Bob Karen Robert Junior Senior Paul, but we just call him Billy Bob for short.
What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?
Stick with it. You really do get better over time.
What is something you would like to share with us about writing your favorite genre in general?
Most readers don’t realize that memoir writing is a highly selective process. An author is constantly making choices about what to put in and what to leave out. I had to edit out a lot of colorful and interesting scenes that occurred during the three-month period covered in my book because they weren’t relevant to my main story line. If I’d included all of them, I would have wound up with a 1,200-page manuscript that nobody would have wanted to read.
Hope's other books...
“Absorbing…insightful…In the moving and valuable treatment of a neglected subject, Ms. Edelman mingles her own denial and anger and yearning at the death of her mother with the stories of nearly two hundred women who have lost theirs.”
- New York Times Book Review
AMAZON: Click HERE!
This book is the one I usually recommend for teens, since it includes the voices of girls their age and may be a little more approachable for younger motherless daughters, especially those whose losses are still very recent.
AMAZON: CLICK HERE
“Edelman's voice, infused with fierce maternal love, joins the candid recollections from motherless mothers of all ages and backgrounds. She presents emotionally charged concepts in clear, memorable terms…to encourage frank, cathartic discussion.” - Publisher's Weekly
AMAZON: CLICK HERE
When writing Motherless Daughters, I’d met quite a few women who’d been raised by grandmothers after their mothers died, and I was interested in their stories. I also knew a number of women who’d been raised by mother-grandmother pairs following their parents’ divorces, and I was curious about how this had impacted them. Usually, I discovered, it was to their benefit to have had two maternal figures in the home. Grandmothers, I discovered, were lead players in many womens’ childhoods.
AMAZON: CLICK HERE