About Amy Friedman:
Amy Friedman is an author and creative writing teacher whose books include Desperado's Wife: A Memoir, Kick the Dog and Shoot the Cat, and Nothing Sacred: A Conversation with Feminism. She also works as a ghostwriter and editor, and her articles, essays and stories have appeared in magazines, newspapers and numerous anthologies. Since 1992 Amy has written the internationally syndicated newspaper feature Tell Me A Story for Universal UClick, a column that has spawned two book collections and three audiobooks.
Amy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the teacher and writer Dennis Danziger with whom she recently created POPS the club.
What inspires you to write?
Pretty much everything inspires me to write. Since I was a young kid (with a writer dad) I've been drawn to reading and telling stories and to the sound of language, to the way books opened my mind, and eyes, and heart. And so I began to imitate my favorites, but it was when I landed a job as a newspaper columnist with a weekly deadline, I realized there is no waiting for the muse. Inspiration is sometimes there, but sometimes inspiration comes in the midst of working, thinking, sitting there and working out my ideas on a page.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I have so many favorite authors, it's difficult to know where to begin, but among them Donna Tartt, Sandra Cisneros, Luis J. Rodriguez, Ta-NeHisi Coates, Caroline Knapp, Rebecca Solnit, Jesmyn Ward, Joan Didion, Edna O'Brien, JoAnn Beard, E.B. White, Philip Roth, Tim O'Brien, James Baldwin, J.M. Coetzee … I could go on.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am not an outliner; I suppose I could be called a seat-of-the-pants writer, but that is only a first draft. I know that good writing is rewriting, and as a writing teacher and editor, working with adults and kids, I encourage them to recognize how vital the rewrites are, to take inspiration from those first drafts (whether outlined or not), but to work to find out what you didn't know you knew, or thought, or felt, draft by draft.
What advice would you give other writers?
To write. Write and Write. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, create a writing practice, much the way you might practice yoga, or batting, or learning a language. You'll get better, and smarter, and wiser as you write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
This has changed over time, and I have made mistakes over time. The beauty and virtue of publishing with a known publisher is the ego-boost inherent in knowing someone else loves what you've written, and the opportunity (and I've had many) to work with brilliant editors who are able sometimes to see and hear things I have missed, or I didn't understand. Always always work with editors, whether or not you self-publish. I once made a mistake and quickly self-published because I had an opportunity to appear on a national television show–and only later did I realize that people who watch television are not necessarily book readers (or buyers). But I think there are myriad ways to bring your book into the world, and that exploring every option and finding the right one for you makes most sense.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I live by the motto: Everything old is new again. Book publishing has suffered because attention spans seem to be diminishing, but I've discovered during Covid-19, that people seem to be beginning to read again, and I think there will be waves, surges and slow times. Just as podcasts are the hottest thing now (podcasts and Netflix), I suspect books will become things people newly "discover" and publishing will rise again. At least that's a dream. The people I know who read are the people I find who are the wisest, and kindest, and most resilient.
What genres do you write?: memoir, personal essay, fiction, children's
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.