Q: What made you first pick up a pen and say, Hey, I think I might just be a writer?
A: I don’t really consider myself a writer as much as I do a storyteller who sometimes does it through writing. When I read beautiful, poetic prose, I realize I’m not much of a writer. I do think I’m able to spin a pretty good story, though, and have competent use of the language (and a good editor).
Q: How did the idea for We’ll Always Have Paris come about?
A: My mother and I were having lunch on Christmas Eve in Coronado and I was telling her about the time my daughter, Katie, and I sang Korean folk songs with tourists from Seoul while visiting the Alhambra in Spain. I told her about the time Katie and I spent the night at Shakespeare & Co Booksellers in Paris and about how we were almost arrested for jumping a playground fence in Luxembourg Gardens. She told me I should write a travel memoir, an idea I immediately rejected because a) it came from my mother, and b) I couldn’t imagine who would care about my travels. She encouraged me to put together a proposal and once I got started with the writing, I was hooked. Memoir writing is like five years of therapy!
Q: What muppet do you most relate to and why?
A: No question, Cookie Monster. He is one of the only living creatures on Earth who truly understands how important cookies are. Shit, just writing this makes me want a cookie.
Q: If you have any top 3 big pieces of “don’t do that” or “watch out for that” advice for new writers, what would they be?
A: Always write your emotional truth and detach from concerns of people judging you for it. Own your shit if for no other reason than it’s liberating.
Don’t clean up other people’s messes in your writing. Maybe change their names to protect their privacy, but once you start tap dancing, making excuses, and prettying things up, you are no longer serving the truth. Memoir is all about creating an authentic connection with readers by sharing universal truths that play out through your unique experience.
Don’t overthink things. Yes, take classes and read books on the elements of good memoir writing. But there is a point to put your ass in a chair and start writing. That time is typically sooner rather than later.
Q: And finally, where oh where can we get the book?