I’m proud this time you can read an interview with the successful American writer, Lori Nelson Spielman, on my blog Anneke Schrijft. And I am delighted to have a The Life Lift giveaway! First of all, I would like to thank the successful writer Lori Nelson Spielman from Michigan America for giving me an opportunity for this interview. I’m a big fan since i’ve read her debut novel, that sold more then 1 miljoen copy’s,The Life Lift. That’s way it makes me very proud Lori took the time to answer my questions. Among other things i asked lori Where did she came on the idea for The life list. And if there would be made a movie from The life list Which actress Lori would she like to see playing the lead character? Following is the interview in its entirety.
Sinds ik de debuut roman van de Amerikaanse schrijfster, Lori Nelson Spielman, Een bijzonder jaar (Amerikaanse titel The Life Lift) heb gelezen behoort zij tot mijn favoriete schrijvers. Hier kun je mijn review over deze bijzondere roman terug lezen waarvan er al meer dan 1 miljoen zijn verkocht! Het maakt mij trots dat Lori de tijd wilde nemen voor een interview en mij ter woord wilde staan. Ik vroeg Lori o.a. als haar boek verfilmd gaat worden wie zij graag de hoofdrol ziet vertolken. En hoe zij op het idee voor de roman kwam. Wil je het interview in het Nederlands lezen? Klik dan op de vertaal button, de Engelse vlag, aan de linkerkant. Ik ben er tevens trots op een Een bijzonder jaar winactie te mogen houden! Hoe je kans kunt maken op dit boek lees je verderop! Lori zal de winnaar kiezen.
Lori tell us a little about yourself and your background?
First, Anneke, please let me thank you for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I’m honored. Now, on to the question…
I’m often asked if becoming an author was on my life list. I’d love to say yes—what a story that would make. But in fact, I was an adult before I dreamed of becoming an author. I grew up in a working class family, the first of four siblings to attend a university. I never knew a single author. When I went off to college, my practical mother asked, “A teacher or a nurse, which would you prefer?” I got really crazy and became a speech pathologist! Haha. But I have no regrets. I love the time I spent working in the public school system and I learned so much from my students. For the final twelve years of my career, I was a home bound teacher, teaching mentally or physically ill students in their homes or at the hospital. My students were typically from single-parent households living below the poverty level. It was a privilege to enter their homes and get to know their families. It was also eye opening and often bittersweet. When I write about pregnant teens or mental illness, homeless shelters or subsidized housing, I try very hard to deliver these scenes with truth and respect.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I hope very much to continue writing more novels, but I also want to grow and improve as a novelist. Like any profession, there is so much to learn! I am constantly reading books and articles on the craft of writing, attending workshops and conferences, in hopes of becoming a better writer with each novel. And though I love writing women’s fiction, I would like to try writing a mystery, and also a screenplay.
Which writers inspire you?
Every writer inspires me. I know that sounds simple, but I now realize how much work and patience and perseverance goes into writing a book. Some of my favorite novels are John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Kathryn Stockett’sThe Help, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, The Kite Runner by KhaledHosseini, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, and most anything by Maeve Binchey and Elizabeth Berg.
What have you written?
The Life List was my first published book, but it wasn’t the first I’d written. I’ve got about three manuscripts in my closet that are complete rubbish! I call them my practice novels.My second novel, Sweet Forgiveness, released last spring in the U.S.,Germany, and France. And I’ve just finished the first draft of my third novel, which I’m really excited about.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I honestly thought writing would be my hobby, one that I loved. Things changed when the book sold, but even then, I kept my teaching job. After the success of The Life List, and selling my second novel, I finally gave up teaching. I feel extremely grateful that I am able to write full time.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
That’s a great question. My first “practice novel” was for middle grade children. It was a story I used to tell when I was a teenager, babysitting the neighbor children. The kids loved the story, and would ask me to tell it to them again and again. So years later, I wanted to get it down on paper, and as I wrote, I became obsessed! I realized writing was my passion. It’s so much fun to surround yourself in a make-believe world with interesting characters and problems that must be solved.
Where did you came on the idea for The life list?
The Life List was inspired by a life list I had written when I was somewhere between twelve and fourteen years old. Many of the goals on Brett’s list were also on mine.
If there would be made a movie from The life list Which actress would you like to see playing the lead character?
I would be thrilled to see anyone in the role, but I could definitely envision Emma Stone, Emily VanCamp,Carey Mulligan or Jennifer Garner. It’s so much fun to think about this! I’ll be at the theater watching a film, and I’ll whisper to my husband, “She would make a perfect Brett!” or “That guy would be terrific as Brad!”
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
When I get an idea for a story, I let it incubate for a few days. It usually bends and twists into something different than what I’d first imagined. I watch the story unfold visually, much like a film. I envision many of the scenes and I know the ending. I write notes, but I don’t necessarily write a detailed outline. Instead, I write madly and badly—yes, I allow myself to write a horrible first draft. In places where I need to do research, I simply make two X’s and continue, knowing I’ll go back to it later and fill in those gaps. Lucky for me, I enjoy the rewriting stage, which is where the bulk of the work occurs.
What was the hardest thing about writing The life list?
Honestly, the book was a complete joy to write, and that’s not always the case! Because I wasn’t published, I had no pressure whatsoever. The hardest part was probably the research of South Chicago, where much of the book is set. My husband and I were actually visiting Chicago when the book sold. I told him, “We need to take another look at those neighborhoods—someone is actually going to be reading this book!” After touring some of the locations, I made quite a few changes.
For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
My favorite reading experience is when I’m holding a real, tangible book, either hardcover or paperback. I love the feel of the pages, being able to write in the margins or make notes. But when I’m traveling, I do love my Kindle!
I’m proud to announce a The Life List Giveaway on my blog Anneke Schrijft! Not only for the Dutch readers but also for the American readers of Anneke Schrijft! Lori will choose the winner of this giveaway.