Since May and the publication of the paperback edition of The Conditions of Love, I’ve been on the road visiting bookstores and talking to readers. Book tours are not without stress—Will it rain? Will the fine weather keep people away? Who will show up? Will the book sell?—but no matter how these external circumstances play out, without fail I personally have been touched by every audience, even the reader who told me she threw the book across the room because she was so angry with Mern in her outrageous mother incarnation. I took the reader’s response as a compliment (which it was!) since it means I must have created a believable world in fiction.
I hope to write more about my encounters with readers and the experience of being a private person who assumes a public life, but at the moment I still am on tour, about to head up to the Wisconsin’s Cape Cod , the Door County peninsula for several book events. I expect that once again I’ll be engaged in thought-provoking discussions about TCOL and about the writing life. Just for fun, I came up with this list of the Five Best Questions to Ask a Writer. Every writer will, of course, have different preferences, but here are some of mine.
The Five Best Questions to Ask a Writer
1. What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work?
2. How does writing change the writer?
3. What books have fortified you as a writer?
4. Why is the unconscious mind a writer’s best friend?
5. What are you working on now?
This leads me to wonder if you’ve ever received a surprising answer when you asked a writer a question. I’d love to hear about it.
[This has been such a popular post that I wrote a follow-up to it with “the four questions I’d like to ask myself” in the post “What Do We Really Want to Know About a Writer?“]