2008 Ohio Women's Hall of Fame inductee, Julie Salamon is an award winning author who's books include "Hospital" (2008), "Facing the Wind" (2001), "The Net of Dreams" (1996), and "Rambam's Ladder" (2003). Her book "The Devil Candy" (1991), is considered a Hollywood classic about film making gone awry. Her novella, "The Christmas Tree" (1996), was a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into eight languages. Julie was also a reporter and film critic for The Wall Street Journal and a culture writer on the staff of The New York Times. Her journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Bazaar, and The New Republic. She has been an adjunct professor at NYU's Tisch School for the Arts. For "Hospital," she became a Kaiser Media Fellow for 2006-2007.
When Julie is not writing, she focus' her time as the chair of BRC, a social services organization in New York City that provides care for people who are homeless and may suffer from addiction or mental disease. She is also on the board of Ninosdelaamazonia, a visual anthropology documenting the lives of the Kukuma Indians in the Peruvian Amazon.
Julie's latest book, "Wendy and the Lost Boys," the authorized biography of Pulitzer Prize-Winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, was just published by Penguin Press HC. To further her work on "Wendy and the Lost Boys," Julie was chosen as a MacDowell Colony Fellow in 2010.
For more on Julie be sure to visit http://www.juliesalamon.com!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer? The circumstances of my upbringing surely had a big influence. My parents were Holocaust survivors who ended up settling in rural southern Ohio in the 1950s. I was born there, raised in Seaman, Ohio, population 800, where my dad was the town doctor and we were the only Jewish family. Certainly the only family with Hungarian speaking parents! My sister and I had a Disney like childhood with a dog and puppies, a farm and a pet chicken named Penny. But the story of our parents’ past was always lurking in the shadows. From an early age I was obsessed by stories, and how people end up living the lives they lead.
2. Why did you choose to write about Wendy Wasserstein? This was an unusual book for me because I like to come up with my own ideas. This one, however, was suggested by Ann Godoff, my editor at The Penguin Press, who has published five of my eight books. Ann told me she thought this would be an intriguing subject for me, and (as usual) she was right.
3. How has Wendy's life influenced yours and your work? Writing about Wendy’s life has had a deep influence on me. She was a few years older than I, but we are both Baby Boomers, daughters of Jewish immigrants, participants in the history of the second half of the 20th century. As I became immersed in her story, I was required to consider the passage of time, the choices I’ve made (or not made) in my own life, the importance of small and large matters.
4. What do you hope readers get from reading "Wendy and The Lost Boys"? Many things. First, I hope they find the experience pleasurable. My favorite pastime has always been losing myself in a good story. I hope my book provides that pleasure for readers.
For readers of my generation, I hope the book helps them sort through their lives the way it has helped me sort through mine. For younger readers, I hope the book gives some insight into this period of time and the people who occupied Wendy’s world. I also hope younger readers embarking on a creative life take heart from reading Wendy’s story. I was fascinated by the way she found her voice as a writer, the obstacles she faced and how she overcame them.
It would be great if the book brings renewed attention to the work of Wendy Wasserstein. It’s worth considering.
5. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer? Oh, dear, I don’t think we have enough time—or your readers have enough patience—to hear the full answer to that! The short answer is: Everything.
6. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a book? My favorite part of writing a book is the moment when I can actually visualize the months and years of writing and research as a book. For me that tends to happen during the second draft. The first draft can be tough, even miserable labor. The second draft (or third) is, for me, when the fun begins. What do you enjoy most about going out on a book tour? I have to confess the most enjoyable part of book tour is settling into a nice hotel. There’s something very romantic and mysterious about being in a strange city in a room that isn’t your responsibility. I also truly enjoy meeting people on the road. It’s almost always an adventure.
7. Favorite place to write? I’m very boring in this regard. I like to be at my desk, in my office, staring at my computer screen.
8. Favorite way to spend your day off? Depends on where I am. In New York, walking or biking around the city. Elsewhere: well, now that I think of it, walking around there, wherever it is.
9. Favorite website? Weather.com.
10. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? Whoa, that’s loaded. A writer once called me a “Jewish Mary Richards,” so let’s split the difference.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Keep moving toward your destination.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Billy Abrams.