Please join me in welcoming Alice Eve Cohen, author of What I Thought I Knew (my review) to The Book Chick today! Ms. Cohen has kindly stopped by today to answer some of my questions. Be sure to enter to win a copy of this enthralling memoir at the end of this post.
The Book Chick: What I Thought I Knew is a very raw, honest book about parenting, especially about the pregnancy and birth of your daughter Eliana. Will you let her read it when she's old enough?
Alice Eve Cohen: My husband I struggled with this question before the book was published. Eliana was eight at the time, and originally we wanted her to wait till she was older before reading it. But she said, “It’s a book about my birth, and I want to read it before the public does.” We couldn’t argue with that, and Eliana already knew much of the story about her birth. We told her that she could read it on the condition that Mommy or Daddy was in the room with her while she was reading, so she could ask us questions. She had some questions—not too many. When she finished, she turned to me and said, “Good book, Mom. I really liked it.” That was the best review I could ever get!
TBC: How long did it take you to write What I Thought I Knew?
AEC: Hmm… Should I count the seven years I wanted to write it, but was too scared? I think not, although I believe that “writers block” can be an important part of the creative process—it’s like keeping farmland fallow, so it can replenish and bear fruit in the future. After seven years of not being able to write, I sat down one day, started writing and couldn’t stop. I wrote for exactly a year—September to September—until I had a draft that I was ready to show a few friends. When Penguin bought WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW six months later, my editor asked me to significantly expand it. I spent the following six months writing, expanding, editing, and polishing the book for publication. In total, it took me two years to write the book.
TBC: What was your journey to publication like?
AEC: It was a thrilling journey! I was very fortunate to find a phenomenal agent, Sally Wofford-Girand, who believed in my book and quickly found a perfect home for it at Penguin. I learned so much from my brilliant editor, Carole DeSanti, who guided me through the process; she helped me clarify themes in my book that I wasn’t even aware were in it. And I thoroughly enjoyed the publicity and media experience.
TBC: Do you plan to continue to write books, either fictional books or another memoir?
AEC: Yes! I’m in the thick of writing a new memoir (working title, MY LEFT EYE), and I want to work next on fiction.
TBC: What books are on your nightstand right now?
AEC: There’s a tower of books on my nightstand, including: GOING BOVINE, a remarkable new YA novel by Libba Bray, which I bought today; I just finished another YA novel, THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry; all of David Sedaris’ books—I love rereading his dark and hilarious stories, especially the collection ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY; Tony Kushner’s brilliant play, ANGELS IN AMERICA; WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, by Maurice Sendak, my favorite picture book; David Shields’ beautiful THE THING ABOUT LIFE IS THAT ONE DAY YOU’LL BE DEAD; Abigail Thomas’ gorgeous memoir, A THREE DOG LIFE; and THE HISTORY OF LOVE, by Nicole Krauss.
Thank-you so much to Alice Eve Cohen for stopping by! I'll definitely be reading her future memoir. You can also visit her at her website, her Twitter page, or her Facebook page.
Courtesy of BookSparks PR I have one copy of What I Thought I Knew available to give away! To enter:
1. *Mandatory Entry* Leave me a comment and tell me: what is your favourite memoir? If you don't read memoirs, just let me know in your comment. Please leave me an e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!
2. *Bonus Entry* Become a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect, and leave me a separate comment letting me know that you now follow. Already a GFC follower? Leave me a comment letting me know that you already follow.
3. *Bonus Entry* Spread the word about this contest in some way- blog about it, add it to your sidebar, Tweet about it, Facebook it, whatever! Let me know in a separate comment how you spread the word (1 bonus entry maximum for spreading the word).
That's three potential chances to win! This contest is open to US and Canadian mailing addresses only, and runs until November 24, 2010. I will be notifying the winner by e-mail, who will have 48 hours to respond. Good luck!