Elinor Lipman: Best-Selling Author at Ragdale

The author of “The Family Man” and “Then She Found Me” will be at Ragdale for a reading and discussion on May 12 at 10 a.m.

The discussion with the 2011 Hannah Judy Gretz Fellow is open to the public, but reservations are necessary. Please call Melissa at 847-234-1063 x201 or email m.ernst@ragdale.org

In anticipation of Lipman coming to Lake Forest, I had the opportunity to speak with the author about her life and her work.

MIB: What have you been working on and will we get a preview at Ragdale?

EL: I’m working on new novel, “The View From Penthouse B,” and I’ll be reading a short, short chapter from that and also talking about the writing process, which I call “dragging the words onto the page.”

MIB: Tell me about how you write.

EL: It’s not always easy, and in fact, it’s harder with each book. I feel like I’ve exhausted all possible names, characters, professions. We all go through the same thing as writers, so it helps to know that others struggle with developing the story and getting the sentences written.

MIB: Was there more pressure for you when writing “The Way Men Act” since “Then She Found Me” was such a big success?

EL: “Then She Found Me” took a long time to make it on The New York Times best-seller list. The hardcover was published in 1990, and the movie didn’t come out for 18 years—actually 19 years from when it was optioned—so the mass-market paperback version, which was released when the movie came out, was the “big success.”

MIB: You’re very patient.

EL: Well in this market, it’s such a struggle for so many. People are reading more, but not as many of the old, hardcover books. Even I have a Kindle!

MIB: Tell us what else you’re working on.

EL: Along with “A View From Penthouse B,” I’m releasing an essay collection, which will probably be called “A Mister and a Missus.” That was the name of one of the “Coupling” columns I wrote for The Boston Globe.

MIB: Your “Modern Love” column in The New York Times about your late husband’s illness and death still moves me every time I think about it.

EL: It was hard to do, but gratifying. To this day, I hear from people who were moved by it.

MIB: And when will these books be out?

EL: They’re both scheduled for Spring 2012. I’m working to finish both by Labor Day, before I start teaching at Smith. I have 11 days at Ragdale and I’ve set a lot of goals.

Fortunately for us, Lipman is willing to steal a little of that work time to talk about these upcoming works and the writing process.

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