How did you become a writer?
I think I’ve always written; my sister Delia embarrassingly recited a poem I wrote when I was four the other day in front of a crowd at a crowded bookstore. It rhymed. Writing was something I always did and was encouraged to do by my mother and father and also possibly something I compelled to do, because I liked it and…and I had stories in my head and sometimes I’d discover a story along the way.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
My parents were writers and I think they encouraged us to “tell stories,” either about our day at the dinner table or on paper. They certainly encouraged and enticed us to read I also felt that books were magical places when I was a kid, places I could get lost in, that the characters were real and the places they lived, even if they were fantasies, totally existed. I still feel that way. And it was a lovely place to get lost in.
When and where do you write?
I always say that, for me, books get written a sentence at a time…that you write in your head sometimes and then put it on paper, and having once been a single mother to three kids, I never quite had the kind of schedule where I could block hours, weeks, days…. Some people need to do that, to have a set time and place. But write best with the view though on a window…possibly essential element in my office which is why I often have a writing table in the middle (or corner) or the living room...if that’s the better view.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just published my first novel for children, I call it a modern day mash-up of an old-fashioned children’s book, “The Castle in the Mist.”
I’m on book tour, which is amazing and fascinating, as I’m visiting not only wonderful bookstores, cities, conference, but also doing a lot of school events and interfacing with young and amazing students 3-7th grade…so in a way, at the moment, I’m having a lot of fun teaching as the book is a little about believing in yourself, believing in magic, with a bit of wild astronomy and possible other-worldly-ness thrown in and the deep belief that wishes can come true. But secretly, I might be writing something.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Some things are harder to write than others but difficult to structure or to crack or to get right, but I’ve never quite had that “writer’s block” thing.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
That if more than one person gives you a note, there’s probably some thing you should look at. Not that the person who gave you the note necessarily gave you the right fix, but that if two or three people tag the same section or sentence, there’s probably something you look take a look at.
What’s your advice to new writers?
Find your own voice. And find the right voice for the piece you’re writing, whether it’s first person or a narrator, the voice a story is told in is an excellent place to start.
Amy Ephron (www.amyephron.com) is the author of several adult books, including A Cup of Tea, which was an international bestseller and won the 2005 Southern California Booksellers Association award for fiction. Her book One Sunday Morning received the Booklist Best Fiction of the Year and Best Historical Fiction of the Year Awards and was a Barnes & Noble Book Club selection. She is a contributor and contributing editor at Vogue and Vogue.com, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, House Beautiful, and the LA Times, among other publications. Amy was also the executive producer of Warner Brothers’ A Little Princess. The Castle in the Mist is her first book for children. Amy lives in Los Angeles with her husband; between them they have five children.