B.A. Shapiro

How did you become a writer?

After working high-pressure jobs for many years and having two children, I decided I didn’t want to be superwoman anymore. I quit my job but didn’t know what else I wanted to be. I asked my mother what I should do now that I wasn’t superwoman anymore, and she answered with a question: if you had one year to live, what would you do? My answer: write and novel and spend more time with my children. That’s when I became a writer.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

I have three degrees in sociology so I don’t have any of the classical influences most novelists have. I’d say my influences are the thousands of novels I’ve read over my lifetime. I believe that reading gave me an innate knowledge of and appreciation for story. That and thousands of hours at the keyboard.

When and where do you write?

I have a study in my home in Boston, Massachusetts. My desk is pushed into a bay window and I watch the world go by as I write.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a novel – working title, The Collector’s Assistant – about post-Impressionist and early modern art and I’m completely taken with the work of Matisse, Renoir, Picasso, etc. The book is set in Philadelphia and Paris between 1920 and 1936, so I’m also deep into research about that time and those places. But mostly I’m obsessed with my main character, a deeply damaged and flawed woman who does what she has to do to right the wrongs against her.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I don’t believe in writers’ block. Do plumbers get plumbers block? I don’t believe it’s a choice – it’s my job. So I force myself to write it wrong, to write crap, but to keep writing every day. Just like a plumber gets up in the morning and goes to work whether he feels like it or not.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Get your butt in the chair and stay there.

B.A. Shapiro is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of THE ART FORGER, THE SAFE ROOM, BLIND SPOT, SEE NO EVIL, BLAMELESS and SHATTERED ECHOES. She has also written four screenplays and the non-fiction book, THE BIG SQUEEZE. THE ART FORGER has been on many bestseller lists including the NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Amazon and Kindle, and it won many awards including The 2013 New England Book Award for Fiction. Her new novel, THE MURALIST, released by Algonquin Books in November 2015 is a #1 IndieNext Pick, a LibraryReads Pick and an Amazon Best of the Month.