Welcome to the The Next Big Thing! Some people call it a “blog chain, and some folks call it a “blog hop.” Authors around the world take turns answering questions about their work, then pass the questions on to five more authors. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing comes out on April 14th and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Twenty years ago, I discovered a trunk of letters in the backyard of an old house I had just bought with my husband. The trunk was filled with hundreds of letters written by a boy to his mother from when he was about four years old, through his four years at Princeton from 1908 – 1912, and up until the death of his mother in 1937. I’ve always loved reading letters, and the discovery set me on a quest of understanding the unique qualities of letters that make them such forces for connection and remembrance.
What genre does your book fall under? Nonfiction.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
With one child off at college, and three more to go, joining their brother in places near or far but not home with me, I need to understand why a letter matters so much.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book is coming out from Simon & Schuster in April 2014. I am represented by the wonderful Esther Newberg of ICM, to whom I owe so much. Esther is a huge believer in the power of letter writing and supported my project from the get-go.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Many other books have explored the phenomenon of letters but mine is the first which tries to distill the exact qualities that make letters so special.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My family — the letters they have written to me, and the ones I wait for.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are so many fascinating stories to be found in old letters, along with great life advice. This, from a letter written by Pliny the Younger, in which he counsels a friend on how to live a long life: by following a regular schedule of long walks four times a day (and at least once a day in the nude, “if there happens to be no wind”), interspersed with reading and writing, riding out in a chariot, composing poetry, being read to while lounging on a couch, and enjoying “elegant yet frugal repast … served up in pure and antique plate.” Most wonderful of all, Pliny advises that every day, we should spend “a considerable time [playing] at tennis.”