9 in ’09 with Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky, NYT bestselling author, has graciously taken some time to answer a few questions.  I reviewed her book, While My Sister Sleeps here and the book is out in paperback just this week. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Barbara is a survivor and continues to fund research.  You can visit her website for more information about her books and her wonderful blog. 

Here’s the nine with Barbara…

1. While My Sister Sleeps is the story of a family in crisis and each of the characters travels a personal journey that leads the book full circle.  Which character do you think grew or changed the most?

I’d have to vote for Molly, partly because that’s how I conceived of this book.  I see it as a coming of age story about a 27-year-old who has always lived  in the shadow of her star sister and felt secondary in the eyes of her Type A mother.  Suddenly, with her sister comatose and the rest of the family unable to act, Molly rises to the occasion.  In speaking for her sister, she finds her own voice, helping even her mother grown in the process.

2. When I posted my review of this book, commenter Violet asked if it were a movie.  I know it’s not, but there are so many wonderful characters in this book that it would make a great one.  Who would be your dream cast if While My Sister Sleeps made it to the big screen?

Honestly?  I have no idea.  I’m so not a movie or TV person.  Given that I spend so much time writing, what free time I have is spent knitting, talking with friends, and doing things like laundry.  I’m always curious to know, though, who readers would choose.

3. You have a big presence online with a website, blog that you started in 2005, and many other social outlets.  How has your life as a writer changed over the years since the explosion of online social networking?

Oh my, a loaded question there.  I have to confess that at times I do pine for the old days, when all a writer had to do was write her books!  Today, I spend roughly one-third of my work time maintaining that online presence – website, blog, and now Facebook and Twitter – meaning that I have to work even longer hours to get each book done on time.

The plus side, of course, is that online social networking has given me a vehicle to communicate with my readers, which is – and always has been – hugely important to me.  My readers have put me where I am today.  Their enthusiasm and loyalty keeps me going.  I love communicating with them!

4. You are a breast cancer survivor and wrote the book Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors in 2001.  I love that all the proceeds from the sale of this book go to your own charitable foundation.  Can you tell us a little about the foundation?

From the very beginning, I knew that I didn’t want to personally pocket a single cent from the sales of Uplift, and was able to shamelessly shop it from publisher to publisher for this reason.  The entirety of my proceeds from Uplift go into the charitable foundation, which has, to date, funded four years of a breast research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Each May, I have the joy of meeting the fellow just finishing her year and hearing about the work she’s done.  How awesome is that?

5. Who or what inspires you?

People do.  I take a gesture here, a physical characteristic or manner of speech there, and create characters that interest me.  As for what those characters do?  My plots are almost always inspired by current events.  When I’m in the process of writing a book, I keep a file on my computer for “Next Book Ideas.”  Inevitably, the idea I pick is either the most recent one entered, or an idea based on news occurring since then.  My agent calls me a prescient, in that I write more about things that are about to happen, but it’s truly just being attuned to people’s concerns in the here and now.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

Here’s one from my father.  When faced with different people having different opinions or preferences, he always said, “That’s why there are menus in restaurants.”  I think of this often, when readers say that they loved my latest book but that their favorite is still – and then they name one of my other books.  Another thing my dad always said was, “Taxation is the price of civilization.”  I agree with him there, too.  Some folks don’t – but, hey, that’s why there are menus in restaurants.

7. What are you currently reading?

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper.  It’s a gem of a book about a blind cat.  Being a cat person, I’m loving every page.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?

Given that fictional characters have to experience some form of angst to keep the reader turning pages, I’ll opt out of this choice.  I have enough on my own plate, thank you!

9. What are you currently working on?

Just finished, actually.  Not my Daughter – not to be confused with an earlier book of mine, For My Daughters.  This new one, Not My Daughter, tells the story of three high school girls, all good students from good homes, who make a pact to become pregnant.  I know, I know, TV is currently loaded with shows about pregnant teens, but this book is different.  The heart of the story is the fallout of the pact, with accusing fingers pointing to the girls’ mothers.  Here is an exploration of what it takes to be a good mother, whether at 17, 35, or 45.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Barbara!