Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Deborah Schupack

Deborah Schupack is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, as well as numerous short stories and newspaper and magazine articles. She runs a copywriting firm, King Street Creative, and lives in the Lower Hudson Valley. Her new novel is Sylvan Street.

From a Q & A at her publisher's website:

Q. Sylvan Street has an entire neighborhood of protagonists. What challenges came with writing about so many central characters? Which characters were easiest to write, and which were the most difficult?

Once I came up with the idea for Sylvan Street and a neighborhood modeled on my own, households started to flourish in my head (although they are very different from my neighbors). My routine—and it was a pretty idyllic one, surely one I’ll never be able to duplicate—was to go on a midday bike ride around the hills and reservoirs of the Hudson Valley, and just let my mind write a scene. I often had a nugget in mind, and biking in the midst of my beloved scenery, the old rock walls, the neat idiosyncratic houses up here, was amazingly generative.

Many characters, and whole sets of characteristics, came to me pretty round and full. Sally, for instance. I heard her voice perfectly. I could listen closely to her and write a whole scene that way. Keith, too. His voice, his stance. I felt I could just write and write whenever Keith was around.

In the early part of the writing, I felt I knew a lot about Maggie and Billy’s relationship, but less about each character. In paying attention to developing them, I became more and more charmed by Billy. I fell not for his obvious charms but more for the humility and genuine talent I saw behind that pretty-boy exterior. He really grew on me. Shoshanna and Maggie were the most difficult to write—oddly, although maybe tellingly, because they are the ones closest to me, at least in terms of age and gender (though not, mercifully, circumstances).

The greatest challenge was to keep all the characters’ complexities and interactions within a tightly structured, lean story line. I ended up cutting some scenes that I’m really proud of but that slackened the plot. With the wonder of the internet, I’m able to “preserve” some of those scenes on my website and offer them to the reader in a different venue—adding to the reading experience, I hope, while not...[read on]
Read an excerpt from Sylvan Street.

Visit Deborah Schupack's website.

--Marshal Zeringue