Hi, Amy. Thanks for joining me today! What are your ambitions
for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
know my writing is hard—isn’t a “good time” per se but I think it’s part of a
larger dialogue women are having about what it means to be a good mother, a
good partner, an honorable woman. I want my characters to have a chance to be
part of that conversation. I can’t make people love them the way I love them or
care about them or empathize with them the way I do. I understand that. So for
me, my goal is to find a way to give my characters a voice, give them a chance
to be heard.Every time I’m able to do
that feels like a victory because a lot of mainstream editors and critics seem
to turn away. Sure, my characters aren’t always good people. Often they hurt
the people they love.But who hasn’t
been hurt or been hurt by love? So thank you for giving me the chance to speak
about them and about books and writing in general. I really appreciate it!
No problem! Which writers inspire you?
are so many writers that inspire me. I guess the writers that inspire me the
most are the honest writers, the ones who don’t/who aren’t scared to show the
worst parts of themselves in their work. Anna, my teenage daughter, really inspires
me. She writes with abandon – with a ferocity – a determination to seek and
articulate her truth…When I catch a glimpse of her sitting on her bed, laptop
on her lap, clinking away at the keys mining her thoughts and feelings I
remember why it is I became a writer in the first place. The purity of her
intention makes me feel like I’ve become calculating in my work –that I have
started to think about what will resonate and that’s not what it’s about —
certainly not what it should be about. The good news is every so often she will
ask me what so and so will think of something she’s written or if this essay is
as good as the last one and I think-well, see, she does care about other
peoples’ opinions which makes me feel slightly less jaded!
far as professional writers/novelists go well some of my favorite are:Carver, Yates, Bowles, Wharton, Petterson,
Salinger, Roth, Karr, Canin, Paley, Percy, and Styron. I have been trying to
learn a little about poetry. Right now I’m reading a book of poems by Zbigniew
Herbert that are blowing my mind.
And of course, there are the
playwrights: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’neil -- doesn’t get
better than that.
saw on your website that you are an advocate for women’s mental health. Does
that impact your writing?
consciously.I don’t write with a
message in mind.After (sometimes many
years after), I see that my subconscious knew what I wanted to say all along
but I’m never aware of it as I’m writing. Certainly not as I’m writing a first
Can you talk a little
bit about the process of adapting a book to screen?
I think the challenge of adaptation, particularly in my writing, is figuring
out how to show a character’s internal thought. Voice over is one way to do
that, but I haven’t had much luck implementing voice over into my scripts
(always reads a bit cheesy) so I try to create scenes (or flush out existing
scenes) to show what my character is thinking, feeling. I adapted I Smile Back
with my friend Paige Dylan and working with her was really helpful because I
was able to talk through things with her. I think that’s vital when adapting
your own work.
Give us an insight
into how you create your main characters.
don’t really have an answer to this question. I just write and write (sometimes
for over a year) without any clear idea as to what it is I’m writing about or
who I’m writing about -- but with faith that the characters will reveal
themselves to me. And they always do. The characters in Hesitation Wounds are
the closest to my heart. I miss them. I know it sounds strange but I really do.
And yet, like all memories, they are with me.
What are you working
on right now?
now I’m working on a multi-generational novel but that’s how I always start.
I’ll probably spend the next 7-9 years writing hundred’s of thousands or words
about this family and end up with a novella about a woman going through
What is the hardest
thing about writing?
funny that you should ask this because just the other day I renewed my
membership at the library.It’s time, I
thought, to buckle down and get back to work.I’ve spent the last several months pimping Hesitation Wounds which feels
really lousy and in addition I’m not very good at! (I think I would do a better
job selling an adult porta-potty!) Anyway, as I walked into the library I
thought geeze – you know the hardest thing about writing is actually having to
sit down and write. There’s no intonation on the computer but if you could see
me right now I’m smiling. Yes, with all the theories, talk of process,
characters, plot, and so forth the hardest part about writing – at least for me
– is actually having to write.
That's too funny! What book/s are you
reading at present?
I write I don’t read fiction because I don’t want to accidentally copy it so right
now I’m reading a lot of twitter. I love this site called Brainpickings.org.
And I’m trying to learn about poetry. At its best it’s the most distilled and
pure form of written emotion.
How can readers
discover more about you and you work?
have a website: www.amykoppelman.com.
I have some podcasts there and I think an essay or two. You can buy
Hesitation Wounds here.
“And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.” Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel/Memoir. Number of Pages: 233. Perspective: First. Location: Virginia. This graphic novel follows the author throughout her time as a young girl in the 1970s and her experiences losing her hearing from meningitis at the age of four. She learns how to make friends and accept herself. For a complete summary, you can go here. This was a beautiful story about someone who copes with becoming deaf. I took an American Sign Language course in college and we talked a lot about the deaf culture; it was interesting to learn about some of the daily challenges that someone who is deaf faces. This book explains those challenges in a way that children can understand and relate to. We have come a long way with accessibility since the 70s, but we all could use …
Many of you know that I hate book series. If at all possible, I try to stick to stand-alone novels. A few rare trilogies land on my bookshelf and an even rarer few get a good review. Here are my reasons why I hate trilogies:
1. The first book is perfected.
Authors have an unlimited amount of time to perfect the first book. They may have many rewrites and rejections before it is finally accepted by a publisher. By that point, the book should be pristine. The author may not have a deal with the publisher for a series yet, but once the first book proves its worth, the publisher will definitely ask for the rest of the series. Depending on the popularity, the author will be forced to get the next books out quickly—unless you are George R.R. Martin. There will be less time to perfect the story and it will be sent out without many rewrites, as to appease the fan-base. As a result, the rest of the series suffers in comparison to the debut. 2. The waiting is torture.
I have scoliosis. That is a fact and it is a part of my identity. I am on a continuous journey to correct my spinal curve. Part of this journey is educating myself and figuring out which approach I should take next. So I received and reviewed several books on scoliosis ( I will be adding more as time goes on). But before I can begin my reviews, I think it is important that I share my own personal journey with scoliosis. I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curve in my spine, when I was about eight years old. It was purely an accident. My mom was seeing a chiropractor for her own slight curvature, and I was playing around on the scales when the doctor noticed that when I stood on two scales, one foot on each, one side of my body weighed significantly more than the other. So he decided to give me an X-ray. My curve was noticeable at that time, but it became more severe as time went on. The worst was during puberty when I hit a growth spurt. In several years, my spinal curve increased almos…
“Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves." Genre: Horror. Number of Pages: 384. Perspective: Third. Location: New York. Hex is the story of a town that is cursed by a witch with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She shows up in houses and just stands and stares for days at a time. The people of the town can never leave and are plagued by the fear of what would happen if the witch’s eyes and mouth are ever opened. For a complete summary, you can go here. This book started off kind of funny and light-hearted. The middle starts to get a little creepy and suspenseful, and the end is downright strange. It was an enjoyable book, but you’ll have to wait a long time for the climax. The bulk of the action happens in the last 50 pages. For me, that felt rushed and left me with more questions than answers. Hex was originally written in Dutch and translated to English. With that in mind, I am utterly impressed with the flow and readability of the story. Th…
This is a guest post by Heather Weidner. I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who wants to write. Here’s my list… 1. Read. Read. Read.
Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about the genre. Learn about techniques and style. See what works and what doesn't.
2. Seek out writers like you.
Find a writers' group. I write mysteries, so Sisters in Crime was a perfect fit. I am also in the online community, Guppies. They have tons of resources and advice. And they are so supportive and helpful. 3. There are a lot of books out there on the craft of writing. My favorite is Stephen King's On Writing. Invest in books that help you. But use your library too. FREE is good.
4. If you are serious about writing, find a critique group. It's an investment in your time to read the submissions. Make sure that the feedback is helpful. Critiques need to be constructive and not personal. My critique group specializes in mysteries and crime fiction. And that works fo…