What do you create?
Novels. My first two books (The Opposite of Love and After You) were what people in publishing call “contemporary women’s fiction” and my most recent book (Tell Me Three Things) which just came out (!!!), is considered “young adult,” though I like to think my books are for everyone. But really what I create are characters who I come to love and know over the year (or years depending on the book) that I spend writing them. And from there comes plot and then ultimately (hopefully) words and eventually I create a pile of pages that somehow (hopefully) turns into a novel that people stay up too late reading.
Why do you create?
I ask myself this question every single day, because I feel like writing is one of those things you should only do if you have to. And I’m just one of those people who has to. I came to writing a little bit later than most (I had a short career as a lawyer first), but looking back even though I was too scared to declare myself a writer—was trying so hard to declare myself anything but a writer—I was always, always writing in my head. So I create because it makes me understand myself and the world around me and soothes me in a way that nothing else seems to do. I love it even when I hate it, and there is no better feeling in the world than nailing that perfect sentence or, if you are supremely lucky, that perfect paragraph.
What do you consume?
Pretty much anything that interests me and feeds my imagination. My consumption works in cycles somewhat related to where I am in my work life. If I’m in the thick of writing, I tend to stay away from anything that covers similar territory, and instead read and watch things to nourish my brain and to keep words swishing around in there. My favorite thing to consume is the stuff that makes me wish I had written it myself, the stuff that makes me question whether I’m good enough to keep going when there are people out there who do it all so much better. But that’s also the stuff that drives me to work harder, that makes me want to sit down each day and try again and again and again.
I also consume chocolate. And wine. And sometimes potato chips, because they are delicious.