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Emma Straub

Author of  "The Vacationers", "Other People We Married" & others

March 2015

 

As a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

 

For a little while, between the ages about 9 and 12, I wanted to be a movie star, but I probably would have settled for television. Apart from that brief delusion, it was always clear to me that making up stories was the best gig going. 

 

How did your family and loved ones react when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

 

My father is a writer, and so no one was remotely surprised and/or put off by my decision. I feel very lucky to have been brought up by parents who believed in the viability and importance of my creative endeavors. 

 

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far:

 

My son, now 19 months.  

 

What aspects of your job do you like best/least?

 

There’s really nothing I like the least—it’s hard work, but who wants to do easy work? I suppose what I find the most challenging is not knowing what’s supposed to happen next in a book, but luckily no one is peering over my shoulder, and eventually I figure it out. 

 

Who inspires you in the industry?

 

Too many people to name! Smart women. Lorrie Moore, Meg Wolitzer, Ann Patchett, Liz Gilbert. Those are just the first few beautiful geniuses to come to mind.

 

What are some of your favorite books?

 

See the list of writers above! Plus Jane Austen, the Brontes, Tom Perrotta, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Elizabeth McCracken…oh, so many. 

 

How did the idea behind your wonderful novel "The Vacationers" come about?

 

Slowly! I’d been writing about the Post family for several years, but it took me ages to figure out that I needed to send them on vacation. 

 

Do you have a specific writing habit? (wake up at a specific time... minimum numbers of pages per day...)

 

Alas, my writing time is very limited now (about 15 hours a week), and so I just write as quickly as I can in those hours. Nothing glamorous or sexy about it, but that’s the truth. You just sit down and do it. 

 

Describe yourself in 5 words:

 

A goofy tall blonde lady

 

What do you most value in others?

 

A sense of humor

 

What makes you happy?

 

My family. Going to the movies. Browsing at a bookstore. Cheese. 

 

What brings you the greatest satisfaction?

 

My son, chocolate cake, my husband’s smile, making people laugh. 

 

One thing you wish you had known as a child

 

I had excellent models as a kid—I saw my parents read and love books on a daily basis. I’m trying to do the same for my son—right now he licks the books a lot too, but why not? 

 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

 

Write as much as possible! Read as much as possible! Don’t be afraid!