Ask the Author: Anne T. Donahue
What would you like readers to know about you?
That I think sparkling water at restaurants should be free! Also, I am terrible at answering questions like these. Two very important facts.
What is NOBODY CARES about for those who haven’t read it?
Me! Because I’m obsessed with myself. (Just kidding! Sort of.) It’s a book of essays about growing up and making mistakes and failing in your teens and twenties (and a little bit of early thirties), and how we’re all messy and brilliant and disastrous and flawed. Which was my favourite revelation, the older I got. There’s comfort in realizing we’re all in this misery marathon together, you know?
What has been your inspiration for writing NOBODY CARES?
A lot of my own mistakes! I like writing about what I’ve learned and what I’ve done because it helps me work through it. That’s why I started That’s What She Said, my newsletter, because I wanted a space I could write entirely like myself. Which is how the book came to be: Jen and Crissy at ECW followed it and approached me about writing a book form of the newsletter, and I passed away I was so happy. Then I rose from the dead, said I would absolutely love to, and then set to work.
What was your favourite scene or part of NOBODY CARES to write?
Oh man, that’s an impossible question! I love all my children and chapters equally. But it’s always so fun to write something funny — or in my case, to write about things I hate. I hate so many things! I hate the beach (most of the time) and I hate concerts without any seats and I hate flip-flops, and most of my best friendships have been forged over that kind of bond. I also think most of us are funnier when we’re venting about things, so I have a blast airing my grievances like a member of the Costanza family.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Cheryl Strayed, most definitely. She’s so honest and it’s so powerful and I only hope I can learn to be the same way. Hm. I loved Mindy Kaling’s books, too — she’s a beautiful writer, and also one of the funniest. Also, my friend Scaachi Koul is someone I fan over constantly — her book is incredible — and Catherine Gildner was one of the first memoirists I read that made me want to do the same thing. Or at least my version of it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
BE PATIENT. Be patient while you write it, be patient while you seek out agents, be patient while you’re pitching publishers. It is the longest process in the world, and it can also get very draining near the end. But all of this is normal! At one point, I cried editing my book because I didn’t want to do any of it anymore — I’d saved all the real work for the end, and I burned myself out, and I was a shell of a person. But then it was like, TOO BAD — contracts have been signed, and deals have been done! So maybe that’s my biggest piece of advice: pace yourself, work through the tediousness, keep chipping away at whatever point of writing/pitching/publishing you’re at. Everyone, at one point, felt exactly exhausted as you did or do.
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photo credit goes to Amy McNeil