I had the great good luck to find out about Anita Shreve‘s talk at RiverTree Center for the Arts last evening in time to actually go. What a good thing that my husband, unlike me, actually reads the newspaper we buy every Thursday.
I have had the opportunity to hear her talk once before, years ago, but this is the first time since I published my own book, so I was especially interested in hearing about her process.
I wasn’t disappointed. She talked about how inspiration for her novels comes together from different areas of her life and then explodes into an idea in her mind. It was fascinating to hear exactly how she turned this into The Weight of Water, perhaps her favorite of her own books. Many of you may know that this book also became a movie, and she told us about how exciting that was for her (even if they did change the ending!).
The experience of The Pilot’s Wife being an Oprah pick (and which also was made into a movie) was also discussed. Anita is very honest in giving her thoughts and feelings about her books and her writing and I’m certain this is just one thing that makes her such a wonderful writer.
But my favorite thing she talked about was how, at various times throughout her writing career, she has worried, “What would my kids think if they read this?” How validating for me to hear that I am in such good writer-ly company! My own book would have been published years ago if I hadn’t had that self-sabotaging thought.
No more worrying about what other people, family included, might think about my writing. I am taking Anita’s advice. I am writing for myself.
NOTE: Anita Shreve has written (I believe) at least 18 books. Her new book, The Stars are Fire, will be available in April, 2017. I can’t wait!