Leah Hager Cohen is the author of nonfiction books, including Train Go Sorry and Glass, Paper, Beans, and four novels, most recently The Grief of Others.
From her Q & A with Noah Charney at The Daily Beast:
What’s the story behind the publication of your first book?The Page 69 Test: Train Go Sorry.
I had an extremely generous journalism professor who asked me to stay after class one day, a few months before graduation. I had at that time resolved not to try to find a job in journalism, indeed not to try to write for money or publication at all, but to make writing the thing I would do in private, on my own time, in the evenings after work. I had a very nice dream that I would keep at it, in private, and one day, when I was 80, I’d have a collection of short stories published. I can’t tell you how content I was with this dream.
Well, this impossibly kind and generous professor, Sam Freedman, himself a writer for The New York Times with several books out, asked me if he might show some of my work to his agent.
Within months, and under the excellent guidance of Sam and his agent, Barney Karpfinger, I was at work on the proposal for what would become my first book, Train Go Sorry.
What do you look for in a good book, as a reader and reviewer?
I look for clean, scrumptious sentences first, since sentences are stories’ main delivery system. The intention, the ambition, the sensibility behind a book may all be gorgeous, but will come to naught if...[read on]