I’m so honored to have been able to have a a little Q&A with Sally Koslow, author of the The Widow Waltz just released in paperback May 27th.
In comparison to your earlier books how is the process of writing, editing, and seeing your book out in the world different or the same?
Seeing my book baby out in the world is the same: thrilling. Since Little Pink Slips, my debut novel, was published in 2007, however, I’ve become far more critical of my own writing, setting a higher bar for character development, word choice, sentence structure, emotional depth and plot development that would keep a reader turning pages. This makes both writing and editing ultimately, more satisfying but I’m driving myself nuts.
You’ve written both fiction and non-fiction. Are you inclined to write more in both styles?
I expect to switchback between both genres for the rest of my life. Though The Widow Waltz is my fourth novel and Slouching Toward Adulthood is the only non-fiction book I’ve published, over my life I’ve written more non-fiction—essays and reported pieces for magazines, mostly; I got my start at Mademoiselle Magazine and for years was a magazine editor. Writing fiction has been like a hit and run accident after years of reporting and fact-finding; I am in shock that I can simply make things up.
How does the PB release of your book differ from the hardcover launch?
I feel fortunate that all of my five books have been released in both formats, as well as e-book and audiobook. While the launch of a paperback is quieter than an earlier hardcover release, which may come with a public reading or two, what’s particularly special about the paperback launch is that the book becomes accessible to a wider audience. Book clubs, for example, would find a lot to chew on in The Widow Waltz and I would be thrilled if clubs embraced it. I’d happily visit via FaceTime.
Can you share with us what your writing process is like? Outline? Do you know the end of your books before you begin?
Writer-architects who map out complete books in advance astonish me. How do they do that? I start with a general concept and work on developing characters. Next, plot blocks click in place like Legos. I always know where I want to end, but give myself the freedom to keep reimagining better ways to arrange those blocks.
Can you describe your writing space to us?
Officially, my “office” is a wee desk in the second bedroom that in our Manhattan apartment multitasks as a guest room/den. I prefer to park my laptop in the dining room, a sunnier space with a big table that, to my husband’s displeasure, I litter with clippings, lists, bills, recipes and printed out drafts. I’m a big believer in printing whatever I write because I’m convinced that I see it differently than on a screen. Unplanned word duplication and mediocre passages pop out in Technicolor. On the screen if you pick a good font, your work looks finished when it’s half-baked.
Tell me something that your readers wouldn’t know about you from your bio or recent interviews? Something funny or quirky?
My first paid job as a journalist was reporting and writing obituaries for The Forum, the newspaper in my hometown, Fargo. Every morning I’d call funeral directors in two-horse towns all over North Dakota to learn which Ole Knutson didn’t make it through the night.
What are you working on now?
A novel whose first 85 pages I keep tweaking. See question #1.
Thank you so much Sally for your time. I love getting to know more about your writing process, and background. Obits…such fun!
Sally Koslow artfully weaves a story of family secrets, midlife reinvention, and forgiveness in her inspiring fourth novel, THE WIDOW WALTZ (Plume; $16.00; ISBN: 978-0142180990; On sale: May 27th 2014), now in paperback from Plume. When her husband, Ben Silver, suffers a fatal heart attack while training in Central Park for the New York City Marathon, 50-year-old Georgia Waltz finds her perfect life perfectly disassembled. The tragedy exposes a shocking revelation: Ben left their family penniless! The lifestyle that Georgia has enjoyed suddenly vanishes when she discovers that their savings have been plundered and their homes in Manhattan and East Hampton are mortgaged to the hilt. While Georgia attempts to locate the family’s assets and understand who her husband really was, she is forced to find the grit to move forward, which means supporting herself for the first time—and helping her two twenty-something daughters do the same. As these three flounder, then gradually forge new and stronger bonds, they learn what they value most, a process that leads Georgia to discover new love when she least expected it.
Koslow is the author of three previous novels, The Late, Lamented Molly Marx, a Target Book Pick; With Friends Like These; and Little Pink Slips, inspired by her time as the editor-in-chief of McCall’s. She is also the author of Slouching Toward Adulthood, an amusing and insightful report from the parenting trenches. It is currently in development as a sitcom for NBC-TV. www.SallyKoslow.com
Thanks to Plume I have one paperback copy of The Widow Waltz to giveaway to one person. Open to US and Canadian addresses. Please fill out the form below to enter. Giveaway open until midnight Friday June 6, 2014. Comments are welcome but will not enter you in the drawing.
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