Ask the Author: Andrea Rothman
What would you like readers to know about you?
The DNA of You and Me is my first published novel. Prior to this I wrote a memoir and a novel which I workshopped but never seriously thought to try and publish. I wrote many short stories, and several of them were published. They are on my website if you’d like to take a look! With stories I usually allow my imagination to run wild but with novels I keep it real, I don’t know why. I’ve thought of writing a Sci-Fi novel (I love science fiction) and maybe I will one day but for now there’s plenty of stuff going on in the real world to keep me engaged and asking questions.
What is The DNA of You and Me about for those who haven’t read it?
It’s many things in one. It’s a novel about love and choice and destiny and ambition and science. Simply put, it’s the story between a young woman and a young man working in the same research lab where they end up falling in love,but their relationship is complicated by their circumstances in the lab and by their very different life experiences and personalities.
What has been your inspiration for writing The DNA of You and Me?
Prior to writing fiction, I was a research scientist, and so I know that world intimately, every aspect of it. I wanted to write about that, science and research and what it takes to make a discovery, any discovery at all, and the sacrifices people make to stay in science. But I also wanted to write about love and about destiny and about being a woman in science and making it big in that very challenging and competitive world.
What was your favorite scene or part of The DNA of You and Me to write?
Every scene where Emily Apell (the protagonist of the novel, in whose voice the novel is written) wants something, desires something, was a pleasure to write. Those scenes in which I knew what she wanted came easily to me, what was hard at the beginning was discovering what she wanted. My novel is a character-driven novel, and so everything about it (voice, plot, story-line, narrative construction, symbolism and theme) is driven by Emily’s state of desire, what she wanted then, when she was in the lab, and what she wants now, twelve years later, about to receive a prestigious award for the work she carried out in the lab. Her voice conveys her desire throughout the story, as she attempts to tie theloose ends of a murky past and make sense of it all in the present moment.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
So many books and so many writers, the list is so long I wouldn’t know where to begin. From the moment I picked up The Lover, by Marguerite Duras, I fell in love with fiction. Then, shortly after this, I read The Catcher in the Rye and I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t real, that the story wasn’t based on the story of an actual person. That’s when I came to understand that there’s magic in fiction. But it wasn’t until years later, after having gone through a small library of books and written short stories and written a novel, that I realized I wanted to be a writer myself.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
-Read like there’s no tomorrow.
-Write every day like it’s the last day you will live.
-Pay close attention to your voice, try to go inside yourself as though you were sinking slowly to the bottom of a pool where everything is quiet and you can hear yourself breathe. Visit that place daily. Pay attention to the details of that world. Don’t shun anything. Everything that comes to you in that state is important.
-Don’t listen to criticism, especially when you’re writing your first draft of a story or a novel, avoid showing it to anyone. The second draft you can show, and only to those closest to you, whose judgement you trust.
-There’s a book by Stephen King that I would recommend to every aspiring author. It’s called “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.” In my opinion it says it all. If you want to write, you should start there.