I was so excited when Stephanie agreed to my request to write a guest blog for indieBRAG. When I looked at her list of suggested topics, one caught my eye immediately: interview my significant other about my writing career.
It seemed like a great idea at the time, so I walked down the hall—Paul was in his home office, where he works as a commercial illustrator and website designer. (He designs all my book covers.) I broached the question. He gave me that “there is no good answer here” look. Like I’d just asked what he really thought about my new haircut.
But he’s also a great sport, so he agreed. Here’s what resulted.
Well, you married a writer. How’s it going so far? How many times have you wanted to run away screaming?
We’ve been together for almost thirty years, so I’ll characterize it as “a work in progress.” Screaming? Seventeen.
Does Laurie let you read what she wrote?
Yes. She lets me beta-read her novels. With great power comes great responsibility. While reading, I have pictures of guillotines above my head. Then I realize I’m not in nineteenth century Paris, so I keep reading.
How has Laurie’s writing changed since you met her?
She’s better at parsing out descriptions using more compact language.
If she could do one thing to make her more successful, what would you suggest?
Make a viral, non-embarrassing YouTube video.
She doesn’t put you in her stories, does she?
I’m not entirely sure. I suspect not “all” of me. Though I’m sure some of her characters possess a few of my personality quirks. God knows there are enough to choose from!
Though I’d probably be the last person in the world to recognize myself in one of my wife’s characters. Besides, Laurie’s books do come with disclaimers, so if I did think that she unfairly poured my personality into one or more of her characters I couldn’t take her to court. All I could do is whine. And she’s become immune to that.
Is there anything you wish she’d write about that she hasn’t yet?
An upbeat, unpredictable romantic comedy, with quirky characters and dialogue!
Her novels are usually inhabited by characters and plot lines containing a lot of dark conflict. So I would like to see something a bit lighter and airier. A “When Harry Met Sally” type of book. Something with really quotable dialogue.
Also – a good murder mystery novel would be spiffy! I think she could really do a good job with that. Again – quirky characters and dialogue! Like “The Thin Man” movies. Nick and Nora Charles dialogue.
How do you think she feels about having access to a fantastic book cover designer?
“How did I get so lucky?! I’ve died and gone to print publishing heaven!”
Which of Laurie’s characters is your favorite so far?
A character from her first novel – Frankie Goldberg – from The Joke’s on Me. Because (like me) Frankie is sarcastic and ironic.
Other than running away screaming or purchasing body armor, what’s the best advice you could give to someone who is thinking about living with a writer?
Living with a professional author is a lot like living with a lawyer, or doctor, or any high- powered professional – their careers require copious hours of attention so you’re going to have to be content to take a back seat.
If you’re a therapist, or psychologist, you’ll have an advantage because you’ll be able to figure out what the hell is going on!
Seriously though – before making any commitment to live with an author, make a really honest assessment about yourself – your personality, your needs. If you’re unable to do that, ask a brave friend to make an honest assessment.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a lot of alone time, has a passionate hobby, or, if you’re happy spending a lot of socializing time without the company of the prospective spouse or significant other, then you’ll be perfectly situated.
If you’re the kind of person who’s in need of a decent amount of attention, then look to live with someone who comes equipped with a “normal” nine-to-five job. Someone who’s happy to get home and leave the day’s work behind.
Anything I didn’t ask that you want to talk about?
Being in a creative profession provides me with a bit more understanding about living with an author. So I’ll tell you this: Living with a professional author is a bit like warfare – endlessly quiet hours, punctuated by a few moments of sheer doom and elation.
The doom and elation are what make being creative professional such a worthy pursuit. When things go right – you know what it means to be alive.
And let’s leave the rest to my therapist.