Thursday, November 3, 2011

Author Insides - Sara Elizabeth Grossman


Sara Elizabeth Grossman has an MFA from The New School and works as a freelance copywriter and social media manager. She has work published in or forthcoming from The New York Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, The Nashville Review, and Narrative Magazine.  Her story “11 Stops” was also chosen as a top 25 finalist for Glimmer Train’s New Writers Award and was published in the Autumn 2011 issue of The Battered Suitcase. 

Sara, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

In ninth grade, I began to write really awful poetry.  At that point, I thought I was a writer.  Now I know better.

Why do you write? 

The reason has evolved over the years.  I remember saying “revenge” when I was 19 or 20.  Now I write because I absolutely need to get the words out. I love telling stories.

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?  

It’s not as romantic or glamorous.  And people are always asking me what I do with an MFA in creative writing, as if the answer isn’t obvious? I tell them I’m going to be a unicorn trainer one day.

What do you think makes a good story?  

A compelling voice and an interesting plot are most important to me.

What's your favorite genre to read?  

Not sure of a genre. I like anything that keeps me interested.  I’m more of a comedy than a tragedy type of gal.

Who is your favorite author or poet? 

I really like Jodi Picoult, even though she stole my thunder and produced a commercially sold book about lesbians.  I also really enjoy Lorrie Moore, Mary Gaitskill, Susan Shapiro, Lydia Davis, David Levithan, Jennifer Weiner, and Chuck Klosterman.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?  

The Giving Tree.  Since I was young, that book has made me cry every time I read it.  I want to be able to do that to people.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?  

Probably all the books I read as a child, honestly.  It’s so important for parents to make sure kids read.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?  

I write nonfiction, so real life.

What does your family think of your writing? 

It’s a mixed bag because of the topics.  I think at the end of the day, they’re very proud of my accomplishments.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

I don’t have a schedule.  I know a lot of people do, but I can’t do that.  When it comes to me, I sit down and bang out a bunch of pages at a time.  Sometimes, though, I go months without writing a thing.  It’s difficult because I write for a living – I do social media and copywriting for a few different companies.  It’s tiring trying to write my own stuff at the end of the day.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals? 

No, but I wish I did.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Doing it, period. Also, making sure characters are whole.  Since the people I write about are people I actually know, it is tricky to convey them to other people sometimes.

What are your current projects?  

I’m actually trying to write a children’s book right now.

What are you planning for future projects?  

Well I’m planning on moving out of New York.  That in of itself is a project.  As far as writing goes, I’d like to expand the memoir I wrote for my thesis into a full-length thing.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Keep on submitting.  I’ve submitted to over 100 places and have gotten 6 acceptances.  You have to take the rejections with a big grain of salt and move on.

Where else can we find your work?  

I have two short stories published through Untreed Reads.  You can get them anywhere ebooks are sold.  I also have two personal essays in the New York Press.  I am part of the world’s largest exquisite corpse in The Nashville Review.  And a chapter from my memoir is in Narrative Magazine as of July.