It is with great pleasure – and more than a little excitement – that I bring to you my interview with renowned author, Delia Ephron. As you know, Ms. Ephron has applied her talent to journalism, essays, movies, novels, screenplays – to name some venues. I was thrilled to discover the author of The Lion Is In also co-wrote one of my all-time favourite movies, You’ve Got Mail.
If you haven’t already read my review of The Lion Is In, you can do so here.
Now to our interview –
Delia, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to my blog. Having just read and reviewed your new book, The Lion Is In, it is an honour to interview you. Thank you for graciously agreeing to this.
To begin, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?
My parents were screenwriters. My mother wanted all four of her daughters to be writers and she got her wish.
What an accomplishment! Who were/are your favourite authors or books?
My favorites are from childhood. Anne of Green Gables, the Betsy-Tacey books. I read them again and again and again while eating chocolate chip cookies.
Books and chocolate chip cookies sound like a delicious combination to me! Regarding writing, have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in yourself so you can say “I am a writer”?
Well, it’s a process. You have to develop writer muscles. This just means really good work habits. And then it’s exciting when you start to really have technique. But there are always moments where you want to quit. Being driven and brave is very important.
Good work habits, driven and brave, excellent advice. What do you remember about your very first time to be published, how did that happen?
I think my first piece was about basketball. I was living in Rhode Island and I wrote about Providence college basketball. They had a great team. Or maybe it was my crocheting book. My first book was called The Adventurous Crocheter. So either basketball or crocheting.
You have an impressive list of successes. Of all you have had published thus far, what means the most to you? What do or did you most enjoy writing?
I love novels the most. I love story telling and just being able to write things exactly the way I want. Movies are collaborations, so that is much more complicated. No control. I love control.
Freedom to write, control to write the way you want. Sounds good to me. How did you get into writing for the movies?
I married a screenwriter and he taught me how to do it. Also I had written a funny book called Teenage Romance, and there was interest in it for a television movie, and the network let me write it.
That must have been exciting. What method do you use to keep track of your writing ideas?
Idea files in the computer.
What process do you go through when writing and perfecting your work?
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And print it out and then rewrite it, retyping the whole thing. Don’t just edit on the computer.
That is a lot of work! It’s certainly a commitment and I can see that by doing it that way you’d get to thoroughly know your story and characters and what needs fine-tuning. This method obviously has had great results for you.
What inspired you to write The Lion Is In?
I had a dream about three women and a lion. I knew all about the women, their names, their relationship. I knew they were all on the run and they were in a bar on a highway in North Carolina. I knew the lion would change their lives, and when I woke up, I also knew it was my next novel.
Wow! I’m sure every writer would love to have worthwhile dreams like that! How long did it take you to write The Lion Is In? And how did you come up with that title?
Two years. When I woke up from the dream, I knew the title.
Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? Do you have a favourite?
I don’t have a favorite but I am in every character. I don’t think it’s possible to write a character that isn’t in some way personal.
Why did you decide to include some crude language and, shall I say, ‘delicate’ scenes? Was it simply a natural fit with the characters?
Yes. I don’t worry about that. The important thing is, are the relationships real, do I care about these characters, do I want to know what happens. Is it emotional?
Good tips there for writers, especially when dealing with dialogue. I can vouch for it being emotional as the reader gets to know your characters. What other interests do you have for a change from writing?
Cooking. Baking especially.
Yummy chocolate chip cookies, perhaps? Do you have another writing project in the works?
Yes, but it’s way too soon to talk about it.
I can certainly respect that. We now have something more to watch for from you. Finally, is being a writer/author all you had hoped or thought it would be? Do you have any advice for hopefuls?
Being able to earn a living from your imagination is a great gift. The important thing for all aspiring writers is believe in yourself, be driven and never give up.
“Be driven and never give up.” Thank you for this excellent advice, Delia, and thank you again for sharing with us a little about yourself and your creative gift. I wish you much continued success.
Now, my readers, I hope you enjoyed this interview. I’m sure there are things you can take away from it that will benefit you. Would you like a chance to receive from Delia Ephron’s publisher, Blue Rider Press, a copy of The Lion Is In? If so, please leave a comment and on Sunday, August 12 at 6:00 PM EST one name will be drawn out of the basket. This time there is one stipulation: you must live in Canada or the US to receive the book. But, if you live in another country I still want to read your comment. (Please tell me from what country you are writing if outside Canada and USA.)
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!