Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Julie Salamon

Julie Salamon is the author of Wendy and the Lost Boys, a biography of playwright Wendy Wasserstein, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for The Heidi Chronicles in 1989.

From Salamon's Q & A with Barbara Chai at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

Why did you pick Wasserstein as your subject?

I arrived at it in the easiest way I’ve ever arrived at a topic — usually that’s the hardest part about writing a book — my editor suggested it to me. I was just coming back from a publicity tour of my last book, “Hospital,” and Ann Godoff at Penguin called me up and said, “I have no idea if this is of interest to you but it’s gotten onto my radar as something I’d like to do, and I think you’d be perfect for it.” I have to say my first reaction wasn’t wild enthusiasm. A book about a playwright just seemed a little narrow to me. It was actually right before we were going to Maine in 2008. My husband and another good friend of mine, a movie director, both said this is great. I was Googling around and pretty early on I found that article Frank Rich had written not long after Wendy Wasserstein died. It talked about all these secrets, and I thought, that’s kind of interesting. It felt like there was something very intriguing.

How did you begin your research?

The next step was meeting Andre Bishop, Wendy Wasserstein’s literary executor. He wanted to have somebody write a biography of Wendy, and he didn’t care about having any control over the book, which is astonishing. He then read several of my books – it was like an audition – and liked them. We met and talked about what the process would be. My process is always the same: I’ve done several nonfiction narratives and it’s always, “I want you to give me complete access to everything and then I’ll let you read the book when it’s all finished.” So it’s a one-sided bargain to a certain extent, but ...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue