Monday, January 19, 2009

Guest Appearance: Diana Spechler, Author

I had not planned on asking author Diana Spechler for an interview, but the more I read her book, Who By Fire, the more I wanted to know about the author behind the book. She graciously agreed to an interview--even while in the middle moving.

Please welcome author Diana Spechler to Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

Literary Feline: How did you get your start writing?

Diana Spechler: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. But if I had to name the moment when it dawned on me, “Wow, I’m going to be a fiction writer; this thing is going to be my whole life,” it was probably when I won the creative writing award that my home town gives annually to a high school student. I was a terrible student in high school. I failed at lots of things, like gym and chemistry and going to class consistently. And then I wrote this story about a teenage girl with all these angsty, teenagey problems, and I won this award and got all this attention that was usually reserved for the kids who did extracurricular activities and took the SAT seven times, and I thought, Writing is the thing I love best. And I’m actually good at it. How about that.

LF: Where do your story ideas come from?

DS: It’s so hard to say. Sometimes I meet someone who interests me in a very specific way. For example, I know a guy who rolls his eyes back into his head many times a day because he thinks it feels good. When something about someone interests me, I have so many questions, but I don’t always ask them. Often, instead, I start making up answers, and then a character is born. Other times, a line will just pop into my head. For example, one day I thought to myself, “Our father is a weak man.” Then I thought, “Huh?” I mean, my father isn’t a weak man. But that’s now a line in Who By Fire.

LF: How much of your own experiences and life, if at all, played a part in your novel?

DS: The range of human emotions is pretty small. We’ve all felt everything, to varying degrees, and in a variety of situations. So I attributed emotions I’ve had to my characters, but created lives for them that I’ve never lived. I think my novel has a lot of emotional truth, even though the plot is mostly made up.

LF: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

DS: I hope they will be entertained. I hope they will want to read more of my writing. I hope they will want to go to Israel.

LF: Who or what inspires you?

DS: People inspire me, especially the ones who are completely unique, unaffected, somehow uninfluenced by the things by which everyone else seems to be influenced. For example, I have a very good friend who has been one of my very good friends for years, but she still tells me stories about her life that I’ve never heard. She’s completely unpredictable, yet totally dependable. She feels genuinely happy for other people. At least one person is always staying at her house. Sometimes she packs up and goes to live in Russia for a year. Or Germany. People like that, I want to put them in a glass case so no one gets them dirty.

LF: Is there a question you have not yet been asked by anyone that you wish someone would ask?

DS: Yes: “Would you like a massage?”

[LF: Why doesn't anyone ever ask me that either?]

LF: What is one of the more memorable experiences you've had on a book tour?

DS: At the Book Group Expo in California, I was on a panel with the author Andre Dubus III. He looks like a movie star. And, as far as authors goes, he is sort of a movie star. Our panel drew a huge crowd because…well, because he’s Andre Dubus III. Before we started, I told him, “I’m not used to this kind of crowd. I’m so nervous. They’re here to see you.” He said, “Maybe they’re here to see you in your purple dress.” I was wearing a purple dress that I had been thinking was a little bit ugly. But then he said that and I relaxed.

LF: Some authors have a designated work space in their home where they spend hours writing while others prefer to settle in at a local cafe. A few authors swear by writing with pen and paper and yet others prefer the modern technology of the computer. Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

DS: If you had asked me last week, I would have said yes. But this week, I just packed up everything and moved to a new apartment, so I will need to form new rituals. But there are certain things that my living space doesn’t change: I write on a laptop, never by hand. I do my best writing if I get a good night’s sleep, wake up early, and start my morning with a yoga class.

LF: Are you reading anything at the moment?

DS: I’m finishing up the novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown. I met Janelle during my book tour and liked her so much. Her novel is amazing. So is the title. I highly recommend it.

Thank you, Diana, for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can learn more about Diana Spechler on the author's website. Please stop in tomorrow for my review of Who By Fire!


  1. Wendy, great interview! She sounds like a very cool lady. I think probably 75% of bloggers secretly want to be writers, so it is through interviews such as these that you can live vicariously!

  2. Great interview! Now, I'm interested in both Spechler and Janelle Brown!

  3. Wendy - Great interview! I am almost finished with Who By Fire now. Can't wait to read your review!

  4. Great interview. I have Who By Fire and hope to get to it soon.

  5. Thanks for posting such a great interview with Diana! She seems really nice, too - I got an e-mail from her after I posted my review of Who By Fire, and will be participating in an online book club discussing it next week.

  6. I don't get asked often enough if I want a massage either. Odd.

    Great interview! I had to order the book based on the interview (okay, and a synopsis of the book).

  7. Wow what a lady! I certainly wouldn't be able to juggle moving and interviews lol. Great interview!

  8. Thanks, everyone! If you want to feature Who By Fire on your blog, please email me: I'd love to hear from you!

  9. Great interview, Wendy!
    I can't wait to read your review on Diana's book.

  10. I love this new feature of your blog. Getting to hear the author is fantastic and it made me want to read her book even more!!


  11. Thanks for the great interview - I'm bumping this up on my wishlist!

  12. Thank you everyone for stopping by and to those who took the time to comment!

    Thank you especially to Diana for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions.

  13. Really good questions, Wendy. I always shy away from author interviews because I have such a hard time thinking of questions. Yours helped us get to know Diana and like her. I can't wait to read her book, which I hadn't heard of until this interview.

  14. Thanks for the great interview, Wendy! I'm glad you approached the author. I'm putting this book into my wishlist after reading your review.

  15. Booklogged - Thank you! I have a hard time thinking of questions too. I actually spend too much time stressing over what to ask, which isn't good. I now, more often than not, use the same questions for each interview, changing them up a little as appropriate. It takes the pressure off of me, at least. I just end up worrying that the questions are too generic.

    Alice - I am glad I approached her for the interview too. :-) I hope you enjoy the book!

  16. I really enjoyed this! Her book was really great and I think it'd be a perfect book for a book discussion don't you? All those characters to analyze :)

    And, will be looking out for the book she's reading too!

  17. Iliana - I agree! This book would make a great discussion book for a book club.

  18. Great interview, Wendy! I so want to read this book!

  19. Avis - Thank you! I hope you get the chance to read it.

  20. wonderful interview. I love that she wants to put her friend in a glass case to keep her from getting dirty.

  21. Great interview! I've seen Diana making the rounds lately, and I've enjoyed getting to know a little about her.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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