Q and A with Author Julie Buxbaum

julie-buxbaumWith great pleasure, I had the great opportunity to talk to Julie on her latest book After You, about the upcoming movie based on her book The Opposite of Love, and what she is working on now.  So have fun reading. Thank you Julie for taking the time out of your schedule to answer my questions, a delight.

  • Which person living or dead do  you most admire and why? – Wow, I need to pick just one?  I guess I’ll go the personal route:  I’ve always admired my maternal grandmother, who unfortunately passed away about a decade ago.  She went to college at a time when few women did, worked during a time when few woman did (even though she didn’t have to), and was just an all around amazing person.  I have a collection of her writings–she published poems and stories in the twenties–and that scrapbook is by far my most prized possession.  She taught me to love books.  If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t know that I would have ended up a writer.
  • Which talent would you most like to have besides writing? – I would love to be able to draw.  I find that I am not a terribly visual thinker, and have absolutely no sense of design.  It’s amazing to me that I can get dressed in the morning.
  • Who are your favourite writers? – There are so many.  Both Richard Powers and Marilynne Robinson are writers who continually inspire and wow me.  Although it’s cliche, I do love to sit down with a Jane Austen novel at least once a year.  Really enjoy Martin Amis.  Sometimes, on a Sunday afternoon, I like nothing more than to curl up with Anna Quindlen’s latest or Elizabeth Berg.
  • Who are your heroes in real life? – This is a tough one.  Hero is such a strong word, and I find that the more you dig too deeply into anyone’s life, it becomes clear they too are flawed and human.  I guess there are a ton of people whom I admire, but not sure if I have any heroes.  I hope that doesn’t sound too cynical.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? – There is nothing sadder than feeling unloved, which is a very unique form of loneliness or emptiness or maybe purposelessness.  Fortunately, I haven’t felt that way that often, but to me it’s the lowest depth of misery.
  • When you wrote The Opposite of Love and it was accepted for publication, what was the first thing you did? – My husband (then boyfriend) took me out to dinner around the corner from our apartment, and we spent the whole meal just staring at each other.  I was completely overwhelmed.  I think for the first time in my life I was actually speechless.
  • Did you have any say as to the script for The Opposite of Love, the people who would be portraying the different characters? – I’ve chosen not to be part of the screenwriting for The Opposite of Love.  Film is such a different medium, and one in which I have no experience; I thought it would be better to leave it to the professionals. That being said, I can’t wait to see what they do with the book.  Anne Hathaway has been cast as the leading role of Emily, which I think is an inspired choice.  She is absolutely perfect for the role.
  • When writing do you take aspects from your real life and incorporate them into the book you are currently writing? – I never directly borrow from aspects of my real life and incorporate them into my books, but the subconscious works in mysterious ways.  With AFTER YOU, I was suddenly interested in looking at how well we really know the people we love.  As a result, I created my main character, Ellie, who gets this unique opportunity to step into the life of her best friend and see behind that opaque curtain.  Only later, on reflection, do I realize I was so consumed by this theme, because of what was going on in my own life at the time.  My husband and I had just gotten engaged, a very natural time to start asking those sorts of questions.
  • What was it about writing that you try to convey to whomever is reading your work, and why? – In AFTER YOU, I very much wanted the reader to see novels as a form of therapy.  Both Ellie and Sophie–who are suffering from an immense loss–turn to the children’s classic, THE SECRET GARDEN, to deal with their grief.  For those of us who are real readers, there is no better form of escape and healing than a good book.
  • Do you have any other projects that you are working on now, that you would like to tell us about? – I am currently working on my third novel, but unfortunately not quite ready to talk about it.  I’m one of those superstitious writers who feels like sharing an idea before it’s fully formed will somehow jinx the process.  Crazy, I know.

Julie’s Website

Penguin

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