How did you become a writer? During my childhood in a tiny, rural village in Southern Ohio, it never occurred to me that writing books was a possibility. But when I arrived at college that fall and people asked what I wanted to do, I said, as if I’d always known, I want to be a writer. That desire never wavered.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.). I’ve been influenced by almost every writer I’ve read, but some have inspired in particular ways: Rebecca West, E.B. White, Norman Mailer, Upton Sinclair, Edith Wharton, Isaac B. Singer, Philip Roth and Laura Ingalls Wilder. George Dardess and Jesper Rosenmeir were influential teachers, as was Raymond Sokolov, my editor at The Wall Street Journal arts section for a decade.
When and where do you write? For first drafts, I keep “business hours,” force myself to sit in front of my computer pretty much 9-5, hoping a few hours of productivity will emerge (with breaks to walk the dog, pace, make cups of tea). I write on a PC perched on a big wooden desk in my office, which doubles as a guest room, in my apartment in New York City.
What are you working on now? I just finished “Cat in the City,” an illustrated novel for young readers (7-12), working again with the wonderful artist Jill Weber. Penguin’s Dial Press for Young Readers is publishing the book next fall.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Depends on how you define writer’s block. I’ve gone for stretches when I’ve hated everything I’ve written, but I always keep writing.
What’s your advice to new writers? Whenever you think something is finished, put it aside for a week or more, then take another look.
Julie Salamon has written a nine books in many genres, on the subjects of show business, the Holocaust, murder, charity and philanthropy, and life in a big city hospital. She was a reporter and the film critic for The Wall Street Journal for 16 years, and then a culture writer on the staff of the New York Times. She is a graduate of Tufts University and New York University School of Law. She is chair of the BRC, a social services organization in New York City that provides care for people who are homeless and may suffer from addiction or mental disease. She is co-president of The Village Temple, a Reform Jewish congregation in Greenwich Village, and a mentor with Girls Write Now, a writing and mentoring program for New York City public high school girls . Born in Cincinnati and raised in Seaman, Ohio, a rural town of 800; in 2008 she was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. New York City has long been home; she lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband Bill Abrams, executive director of Trickle Up. They have two children, Roxie and Eli, and a cat and dog, Kuro and Maggie.