Q&A With Amy Poeppel
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Q&A With Amy Poeppel
Today I have the honor of doing a Q&A with author and journalist Amy Poeppel. Amy’s novels are “Limelight,” “Musical Chairs,” “Small Admissions” and her new novel coming out on Valentine’s Day titled “The Sweet Spot”. Amy’s journal publications have appeared in The New York Times, LitHub, The Rumpus, Points In Case, Belladonna, and Working Mother. It’s all quite impressive.
Q: So Amy when in your life did you realize that writing was your calling?
A: I was always an avid reader, but I didn’t become a writer of fiction until fairly recently. About ten years ago, I had an idea for a story I wanted to write that was loosely based on my grandparents’ lives, so I spent a few years trying to write it. That novel—I’m sorry to say—wasn’t especially good and it was never published, but by writing it, I learned a lot about what a novel requires, such as well-developed characters, believable dialogue, and a well-paced storyline. After I finished writing my unpublished book, I got started right away on my next one, and I’ve been writing ever since. My first novel, Small Admissions, was published when I was fifty, and my fifth will be come out when I’m fifty-eight. It’s been wonderful to start a new career a little later in life.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write? What’s your advice to those who struggle with writers block?
A: I would say to any aspiring writers: think of a story you can’t wait to tell, a story that only you can tell. And then just start writing. Know that first drafts are always going to be terrible! And that’s okay. It’s later—during the editing process—that we can fix our mistakes, sharpen our voice, read our dialogue aloud, and cut anything that can possibly be cut. Writing fiction requires a lot of patience and work. It takes a long time, and publishing a book takes even longer. It’s important to keep at it!
When I get writer’s block I do three things: I go for long walks, I read (both in and out of my genre), and I write even when I don’t feel like it.
Q: Your essays have appeared in famous publications such as The New York Times, LitHub, The Rumpus, Points In Case, Belladonna, and Working Mother. It’s quite an impressive list. What advice would you give anyone wanting to send something to those famous publications?
A: I’m not much of an essayist, but the pieces I’ve gotten published are the ones I wrote when I had something I really desperately wanted to say. I write a lot of humor pieces because writing them gives me joy, and I love to write pieces that will give the reader a laugh. In submitting these shorter pieces, I have received more rejections than I can possibly count! So keep trying!
One important piece of advice I would give is to make sure you’re reading the publications you submit to. Understand the kinds of content each magazine or blog generally publishes, and—this is important—follow their submission guidelines very carefully!
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?
A: My novel Limelight has been optioned for film, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed ☺
Q: If you had to collaborate with another author, who would it be and why?
A: I am currently collaborating with a writing partner on an original script for a television series. She and I work very well together, and I’m enjoying having the chance to pass material back and forth. It’s been incredibly fun!
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so, can you spoil a little bit about it?
A: I’m currently writing a new novel in which two families, one from Texas and one from Germany, switch homes for a year. I have lived in both Dallas and Berlin, so I’m looking forward to showing how my characters adapt to these cities.