Gossip Woman creator and hilariously observant author Cecily von Ziegesar is welcoming you to her neighborhood, Cobble Hill, in her newest novel, a extremely entertaining portrait of a brand new group of New York characters. And this time, they’re all grown up. Cobble Hill is a unusual, tender examine a bunch of prosperous dad and mom on this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood—and everyone seems to be hiding one thing. There’s a struggling, well-known writer, a faculty nurse, an growing older rock star, an introverted inventor of kinds, and all of their kids, which makes for a e-book crammed with an explosive mixture of egos and secrets and techniques inside these well-known brownstones.
“It’s at all times been actually vital for me to have an actual sense of place in my writing, whether or not it’s the Higher East Facet or Cobble Hill,” von Zeigesar, who has lived in Brooklyn since 1998, says. “The neighborhood is as a lot a personality throughout the e-book because the characters themselves. Now, I’ll stroll up Kane Road, and I look to the fitting and go, “Oh, there’s the place Stuart and Mandy dwell.” And two blocks away, “There’s the place Roy and Wendy dwell.”
We spoke with von Ziegesar concerning the problem in writing one thing new, the books that impressed her most well-known sequence and what’s on her studying record proper now.
You’ve created some actually dynamic characters in your novels over time, and particularly in Cobble Hill. How do you go about character growth in a novel with so many entertaining ones at play?
, it’s humorous as a result of individuals have not too long ago have requested me if these characters are based mostly on people who I do know. They usually’re actually not. I imply, I positively don’t know anybody like Mandy, who has pretended to have a really grave sickness and stolen individuals’s meals containers.
However this is without doubt one of the hardest questions I reply as a result of I begin with one thing after which they simply come alive in my thoughts. Cobble Hill took me a few years to lastly get finished. And it type of originated with two issues that occurred at my kids’s elementary faculty a few years in the past. One was my full paranoia about having lice as a result of the nurse would ship out these letters, and I’d go in and discuss to her and fully freak out that they’re throughout me. So conversations with the nurse, after which there was truly a fireplace within the schoolyard, and there was this rumor that it had been began by the “personal faculty youngsters” as a result of this was the general public faculty. In order that was a type of germ of one thing.
Do you relate to any of those characters?
Roy is type of the closest to me (however in no way, actually, as a result of he’s like this 55-year-old English man). I’ve been resisting, till now, writing about writing or having a writer-character in my books. However you’ll see in Roy my battle with writing one thing after having had some success—the battle with that when everybody expects you to regurgitate the identical materials.
That advanced into Roy’s battle with writing one thing new and the inventive course of he goes by—whenever you consider one thing that may appear fully ludicrous after which committing to it. In his case, he’s dedicated to writing about youngsters on Mars.
How did you strategy writing Cobble Hill? Have been these characters’ tales ones that you just at all times wished to inform?
With all the pieces I write, I’m making an attempt to do one thing actually new. I used to be hopefully making an attempt to simply write one thing that I hadn’t learn earlier than and that doesn’t exist. And I’m additionally actually aware about what I learn once I’m actively writing. Once I was scripting this, I just about averted studying something model new or present fiction. Often, in my head, I’m simply making an attempt to jot down the form of e-book that I’d wish to learn, if it doesn’t exist.
After the success of Gossip Woman, do you end up contemplating whether or not the e-book you’re writing can be good for TV? Or do you attempt to maintain these ideas separate?
I don’t take into consideration that in any respect. I imply, once I was writing Gossip Woman, I didn’t assume anybody was going to learn the books, not to mention that it was going to be a really profitable TV present. I believe Cobble Hill positively lends itself to one thing like a TV present, however I’m not fascinated by it once I write. Though, I do write in a type of telegenic manner—I would like the reader to really feel like they’re there right here, in Cobble Hill.
Wanting again on the portrayal of Gossip Woman, the present, in comparison with the books, is there something you would like was finished in another way?
The largest distinction between the TV present Gossip Woman and the books is that they gave the grownup characters their very own storylines. And that was a really aware factor they have been doing to open up the viewers, however I wouldn’t try this in another way. You at all times have these “Why did they do it this fashion?” questions, however I don’t actually have any misgivings concerning the present in any respect. It was wonderful, an unbelievable factor. I by no means thought that Gossip Woman would change into the enduring factor that it turned, and it was actually because of the present.
Which books or characters have stayed with you all through the years? Any classics that you just return to?
In Cobble Hill, there’s this type of Mrs. Dalloway factor occurring. And I used to be fascinated by her once I was writing Wendy. So I reread Mrs. Dalloway, and it’s humorous as a result of I needed to type of rein it in, however the first draft of Cobble Hill had no chapters and was simply more durable to observe. And that’s how it’s with Mrs. Dalloway. You’re like, “The place are we now? Is that this a reminiscence?” It was enjoyable to return and browse it. And I even included a line, which individuals can have enjoyable discovering in Cobble Hill.
The Age of Innocence can be one other one. For Gossip Woman, that was a leaping off level for me, rereading The Age of Innocence. And it was a few of the inspiration for the story: Serena getting back from boarding faculty and getting rejected by her previous pals and the story of Madame Olenska coming again to New York society and being rejected.
What are you studying, watching, streaming now?
I’m trying ahead to studying are His Solely Spouse by Peace Adzo Medie. And I simply completed studying Americanah. I’m simply catching as much as all people else as a result of they’ve all already learn that e-book. However the particulars of American life from the viewpoint of an African author are so apt, and he or she’s additionally actually humorous.
I’ll in all probability save this for when the climate will get extra moody and chilly, however The Searcher by Tana French is on my record. These days, if I can’t sleep, I’ll begin watching one thing on Netflix on my cellphone—and I used to get after my youngsters for watching TV on their telephones, and look, now I’m doing it. I used to be simply streaming Name the Midwife. It’s all set in Hackney, in East London within the ’50s. And it’s truly actually attention-grabbing, until you’re squeamish about beginning. And I’m not a mushy individual, however I cry and really feel exhausted after each single one. I don’t know if it’s as a result of I miss England, we did dwell there for a short while, however now I’m so curious to learn her memoirs, as a result of it’s all based mostly on the memoirs of Jennifer Value, who was a midwife. So I simply ordered the primary one.
Are there any books that you just’ve learn over time that you just assume would make an amazing film or tv sequence?
I’ve had this fascination with the e-book The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer. It’s a regency romance. She’s answering an advert for a nanny, however will get picked up on the practice station and brought to the mistaken place the place they’re in search of somebody to marry the unhealthy brother. I really feel prefer it must be redone ultimately, there’s one thing there.
What’s a e-book that folks will probably be stunned to see in your shelf?
OK, I’m going to disclose myself right here. My daughter and I’ve learn all the Twilight books.
That’s my go-to once I really feel actually terrible. I’ll eat soup and a grilled cheese and watch Twilight. And so I’ve to see what she did with this Edward point-of-view e-book. Perhaps if there’s a day when the climate’s terrible and I really feel crappy, I’ll say, “All proper, I’m cracking open Midnight Sun.”
Cobble Hill is out now.
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