#Writers@Work: An Interview with Lauren Fox by Rochelle Melander
18 August 2015
Note From Rochelle
I’m delighted to be back in the office! But, as you may guess, when I opened my email—there were hundreds of messages waiting for my attention. If you sent one of them, don’t fret—I’ll be in touch with you soon!
Today I have a special treat for you—an interview with Lauren Fox, author of Days of Awe, a gripping story and an emotional roller coaster ride through the landscape of loss, love, and loyalty. Read the interview and then enter to win one of five copies of the book!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
+I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Fox to the blog to talk about her new novel, Days of Awe. Welcome! Tell us about your new book, Days of Awe.
Thanks so much for asking me to do this. These questions were fun to answer, and gave me lots to think about. Days of Awe is the story of a woman whose best friend dies, and then, over the course of the following year, her marriage falls apart, her relationship with her grieving daughter becomes fraught and difficult, and her relationship with her aging mother changes and frays. It’s just a little upbeat beach read! I think this book is about grief, about the inevitable losses we all face as we get older – and about to you put yourself back together in the face of it.
+What books inspired you before and during the writing process?
As I was thinking about the book and the story I wanted to tell, I read Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann, which I found absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing. On the surface, it’s quite dissimilar in scope and tone to Days of Awe, but I admired it so much in part of McCann’s ambition, the way he took on disparate timelines and intersecting stories and how delicately they all came together in the end. Reading it, I felt like a world of possibility opened up for me in terms of how to tell a story. It felt serendipitous, reading that novel when I did.
I was also inspired by Falling to Earth, by Kate Southwood, a novel about a devastating tornado that strikes a small town in Illinois in 1925, and the one family it seems to spare. It’s a complicated and beautiful novel about sorrow and resentment and betrayal.
+One of the reviews praises Isabel’s wonderful voice—especially her use of surprising metaphors. Can you talk a bit about how you developed her voice?
I find so many things challenging about writing novels – plot, pace, setting, character development, to name a few! But voice is the one thing that tends to come fairly easily to me. I find I just get immersed in a character, and she sort of moves into my head. It’s definitely the most fun and magical part of the writing process for me – when a set of ideas and quirks and psychological traits and back stories alchemize into a character. Isabel’s voice fell into place for me when I recognized that the core of her struggle was about how to move through the changes and sadness in her life with the dark sense of humor that was already in place because of how she grew up.
+I write a lot about productivity and writing. One of my biggest challenges is juggling writing and parenting. What are some of your secrets to staying productive while parenting?
Oh, yes, that’s a good… wait, sorry, I had to unwrap a string cheese. What? Yes, juggling writing and parenting. I… oh, sorry, it’s three days later now. Where were we? Yep. It’s a tough one. I recommend having a partner with a flexible schedule, and absolutely devoted parents who live ten minutes away and are willing and eager to take your kids for as long as possible, whenever you want them to. Also, school. Truly, this is a constant juggling act, and I remind myself daily that it’s a good problem to have – a family I love and a job I love. But it’s not easy.
+What books are you reading and/or recommending to others right now?
Some of the books I’ve read and loved over the past few months are Jenny Offil’s Department of Speculation; Time Present and Time Past, by Deirdre Madden; Thunderstruck, by Elizabeth McCracken; and Euphoria, by Lily King. I adored each of these books, and each is really different in tone and style, from an experimental novel to a collection of short stories. I highly recommend them all!
About the author. Lauren Fox, who earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota, is the author of the novels Still Life with Husband, Friends Like Us, and Days of Awe. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Parenting, Psychology Today, The Rumpus, and Salon. She lives in Milwaukee with her family. Visit her online at: http://laurenfoxwriter.com