I love the image of a writer anxiously awaiting her babysitter to come so she can get to her computer… and her words. That’s the image Lucina Rosenfeld gave me when she answered one of my interview questions below. I loved Lucina’s honest responses and take on writing. I know you will, too.
You’ve also got to check out her website. It’s fun, very different, and should give you lots of ideas if you’re considering starting your own site.
Enjoy this interview!
Tell us about your book I’m So Happy for You. What kind of response have you received so far?
I’m So Happy for You is about two competitive best friends. More generally, it’s about envy – the dark side of friendship. It’s also a comedy, if a dark one. . . . By and large, the reviews have been terrific. I’ve gotten great responses from readers, too. Many tell me they read the book in one or two sittings, which seems like a good sign! And then, of course, I’ve gotten some negative responses. As with my two others novels (What She Saw . . .and Why She Went Home), readers have accused me of “painting” unsympathetic heroines (and then asking the readers to care what happens to them). I can’t argue with this charge—only ask you to consider that, in real life, we all have our loving sides and our selfish sides. No one is perfectly good.
Has writing this book (or the previous essays you penned on the subject of friendship) changed your own friendships?
Believe it or not, my friendships are very strong—maybe stronger than they’ve ever been. Now that I’m on the cusp of 40 I think I’ve finally managed to rid my life of the kind of negative friendships that I depict in the book. The women I call my close friends are all wonderful supportive people (though I don’t begrudge anyone the occasional biting comment behind the back). I’m sure I’m annoying sometimes, just as I sometimes annoy them. J
Why do you think women can sometimes be prone to envy in a friendship? Or worse, have an ongoing “frenemy” type of relationship?
Some of the cause, I suspect, is that we live in a very materialistic and acquisitive culture. So it’s hard not to feel competitive when one of our friends attains far more than we do. I also think that frenemy-type behavior is the flip side of women being SO close. We make ourselves so vulnerable around each other. And those confessional movements we share can just as easily lead to intimacy as to discomfort.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’m trying to start a new novel and possibly also develop I’m So Happy for You for film or TV adaptation. But it’s been hard to find time! I write a weekly friendship advice column on doublex.com—and I have two children under four. So I have my hands full.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
I guess my favorite book ever—if that’s the question—is Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. It’s slow starting, and definitely “wordy,” but the precision of the emotional responses that James attributes to his characters is just mind-blowing.
Again, James. Also I love Jane Austen and George Eliot. As for contemporary authors, I really like Lorrie Moore. Though I was not blown away by her recent book, A Gate at the Stairs —which I just finished. The book is in the first person, and the narrator is supposed to be a farm girl who’s just arrived at college. But the voice was so sophisticated. . . . I found it confusing.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Yes, run to the computer as soon as the babysitter arrives! Of course, email and breakfast take up the first hour and a half. But at least I’m at my computer, I figure. . . .
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
Writer’s block is definitely real. Though when I’m getting nothing done I tend to give myself the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s some great idea brewing in my brain! (I just haven’t thought of it yet.)
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
If you don’t give up. As my first editor once said, real writers have long careers. There are hits and misses. You just have to persevere.
Where can we learn more about you?
I have a website: imsohappyforyou.com. I also enjoy hearing from other writers! (There’s a page on my site for reader comments.)
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you have a great idea for a new novel, please email me! (Just kidding—sort of.)