Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with an author's spouse

(author and spouse will remain anonymous to protect their secret identities)

What's it like being married to me-- I mean--an author?

Spouse: Rollercoaster, because at first she wants conversation to get the idea formulated, and there's lots of frustration for the writer because it takes time to get the ideas flowing. Sometimes irritability. So I'm dealing with many different emotions, lots of ups and downs.

(Hahaha, and you thought my pregnancies were rough on you!)

Then you have the first draft which involves a great push of energy and no contact with the outside world. We fix our own meals, make our own beds and leave a tray outside the door. (That last bit was just wishful thinking on my part lol).

The NaNoWriMo was a good thing, because it jump started you and you forced yourself to write regardless. Rather than writing a page or two and getting frustrated, you just forged ahead.

Author: (Don't say you, we're trying to be anonymous here.) And? What else?

Spouse: Once the first draft is done, there's even more anxiety because now the story has to be elaborated on and filled out. Lack of sleep, periods of reclusiveness and isolation, the thrill of ideas and characters coming to life alternating with "this is crap, who will read it?" and "get me out of this stupid house."

Author: (Awww, he really has been paying attention.) Go on, tell me more

Eventually comes a draft worth submitting, and more anxiety waiting to hear from publishers. Haunting the mailbox, wondering what took so long, wondering how the submission will be received. And no distraction seems to relieve the pressure of wondering, "Was it any good? Should I have waited? Should I have worked on it further?"

(This author sounds like a basket case with no self-confidence whatsoever!)

Finally a letter comes, the great day of reckoning, another rejection. Despair, anguish seem limitless. Self-worth plummets. "What was I thinking? What made me think I had anything to say that would interest anyone?" A week for recovery, mail it off again, and the cycle continues.

Author: (Oh, my poor long-suffering husband. He thinks this is bad, wait til menopause.) How do you feel about all this?

It's exciting to see this work developed, honed, refined to where it can be accepted by a publisher. It's just like training up a child, you train up your little creation, your story, your book, and watch it go through all these steps. And I don't do laundry no matter what. I'm not much help there. Don't know why, I just can't bring myself to it. I should be willing to do that. (Clearly a guilty conscience at work here.)

Author: What about after it's published?

To finally see the book in print is like the birth of a baby. It's new and wonderful and you want everyone to love it as much as you do. Your author/spouse is totally consumed by it, by the interest in its welfare, will it sell, will people like it? Wanting to tell people about it. Feeling like it's a personal affront when a bad review shows up, even by some illiterate no-nothing on Amazon. I feel like a new father.

Author: Thank you, Spouse, for an insightful interview into what it's like living with a writer in the house. You deserve a medal.


  1. Hi

    Aw! Dear Spouse of the Fabulous KarenG (I mean of the anonymous author!)

    Doing the laundry would be a very nice thing to do.


    You sound very calm and patient and I hope you continue being a huge and lovely support to your author wife because we love her - the anonymous author that is - too!


    Take care
    p.s. my Farm Girl should be arriving anytime next week (according to Amazon), can't wait!!!!

  2. Love it! Great interview - made me laugh.

  3. What a great interview from you two... ahem, I mean, an unknown author and his wife. I wonder what my husband would say about me...


  4. Can you hear the laughing in recognition from your fellow bloggers? I think we see ourselves in much of this! You have a very understanding and insightful spouse. And hey, I'm liking that idea of a tray outside the door ... if only ...

  5. Joanne, I think I remember reading somewhere about Stephen King's wife putting a tray outside his door. Was that in his biography? Or was it, again, entirely wishful thinking on his part lol?

    Ann, Whatever your husband would say you'd probably be surprised that he paid so much attention. They noticed much more than we give them credit for, don't you think?

    Marsha, Thanks! I think I could hear you laughing all the way from London!

    Kitty, I could say so much about the doing or the not-doing of the laundry, but I won't because clearly it's not for want of *intent*.

  6. I was smiling through the whole interview. Too funny and nice job;)

    I left you an award on my blog:)

  7. Christine,

    Oh goody! an award! I'll pop right over and pick it up, does it involve chocolate?

  8. What a great post! I'm still laughing.

  9. The poor, overlooked spouse of someone consumed by an idea. They all deserve their own medal, whatever they like. I think the anonymous spouse should get to pick one present a month for suffering with anonymous writer. Actually, I think every spouse suffering vicariously deserves presents. When do I get mine?

  10. When he graduates from nursing school? Or maybe when he passes the next exam? No, not then, because there's always the next exam, til it's graduation time.

  11. "They notice much more than we give them credit for."

    yeah.... about that. Don't get too excited.
    The amount of stuff that we notice that you don't think we notice is in very close proportion to the stuff that you expect us to notice that goes right over our heads.

  12. Nathan, thank you for pulling me out of my slump. I was having a "poor me" moment. You made me laugh. I give you an award. You can pick it up when you come to California.

  13. But.... Kung Fu Panda says that there IS no award for awesomeness... or attractiveness.

  14. Aha! Now we know where that author's ideas come from. No wonder the author wants to remain anonymous :)