Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Q&A with author Daniella Brodsky


Bio:
Daniella Brodsky is the author of six novels published by Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, one of which has been adapted by Disney as the film, Beauty & The Briefcase, starring Hilary Duff. Daniella teaches at ANU’s CCE and and at her Captain Cook Studio. A native New Yorker, she lives in Canberra, where she is writing her next novel, The Book Code, which has been awarded a 2012 Varuna fellowship.

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A.  I am fascinated by just about everything, and in my writing these days (a long way from Park Avenue!) this seems to come out in two main themes:  what makes us who we are, and the many ways in which stories affect our lives.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A.  I couldn’t be anything else.  Even when the writing doesn’t come easy (this happens sometimes!), it all feels right.  It’s the constant learning—about both life and the craft of writing—that makes the whole endeavor fascinating.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A.  The business of selling books via agents and publishers.  The whole thing is offensively outdated and tipped against the interests of the authors.  But the amazing news is that people like you—who are democratizing the book industry—are changing the face of everything to strike a more natural balance.  It really is becoming about the most important thing:  the books that readers want.

Q.  If you could not be an author, what would you do/be?

A.   I teach a lot of writing courses, but I couldn’t do that without writing.  It really is a chosen calling.  If I had to go off and make some cash, I’d do something, anything, but I’d still wake up in the morning and write.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  Wow that’s a difficult question!!!  The Unexpected, most likely.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.  Impossible to answer.  I love so many books and read all the time—of all types and by all different authors.  Some of my current favorites are Lorrie Moore, Malcolm Knox, and Jennifer Egan.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  I wouldn’t say I’m too much like any character, reason being that characters are composites, most often, and as soon as they come alive, they’re as individual as we are.  But I will say this:  when Bridget Jones’s Diary first came out, back in the nineties, I remember being blown away by finally reading an adult book that seemed to be so truly and authentically about people like me.  The fact that readers found that kind of character and story fascinating certainly had an effect on my writing.

Q.  What character from all of your book(s) are you most like?

A.  None, truly.  You may start with a personal feeling or conflict and filter their experiences through the lens of our own, but the truth is, us real folks don’t actually make for compelling fiction, and even if we did, our character—once we’ve fleshed her out—wouldn’t want us interfering.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A.  Summer!  And thankfully, I now get to live in Australia, where that lasts a lot longer.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).

A.   I’ll never forget my first book reading.  My whole family came, and all my friends.  Krispy Kreme sponsored it (yum!!), and I couldn’t have been more nervous/excited.  I had just published the book, but there was already one reader who had emailed me and told me she was a fan.  She came to the event.  And so the whole night my family kept going up to me and saying, “Have you seen your fan?”  It was so funny—having only the one!!!  Times have changed, and for that I’m so grateful—especially to her!  She was the first.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes.  It’s called The Book Code, and combining those two themes I mention above, this is the story of a family matriarch who decides to stop speaking.  Instead, she will only communicate with her daughter through a cherished storybook they had spent so much time reading together years before.  Everyone wants to know why, and in the process we learn about the power of language, of story, and just what it is that makes it so personally evocative to each of us.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Good on you for investigating what books are out there—and not simply relying on paid promotions on amazon, or the highly-publicized books (about one in a thousand—non-scientific figure) that actually get covered in the mainstream media.  It is YOU who will change the face of fiction offerings, and that will have a wonderful impact on the kind of artistic freedom novelists can finally enjoy.  Thank you!



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