Thursday, September 09, 2010

A tale of how I got published

It's The White Road and Other Stories' 2nd birthday of  this week, time really has flown by. And to commemorate, How Publishing Really Works has posted my "tale" of how I got published. I thought I'd tell it a little differently this time (I wrote it a few months ago...):
1. The girl reads everything. She reads books through every meal. She finishes the entire section in the library for 8 year olds and moves on. One day, she thinks, she will hold a book with her name on it.
2. The girl doesn’t find her English classes very inspiring, but she loves maths. She gets steered by her teachers towards science and away from literature, and ends up studying maths and physics and University. But words are her medium, not bunsen burners. She writes for the University newspaper and then discovers there is such a thing as a science journalist. Ah, she thinks.
3. She studies philosophy of science, then a diploma in journalism, and moves to Israel, where she interviews excited inventors and scientists for American and British magazines for over a decade. But a little voice in her head is saying “You’re reporting on their creativity. Where’s yours? Where’s yours?”

I am very very lucky that, two years later, my book - which has just had its 15th print run -  is still getting reviews, not something I ever dreamed of when I dreamt of having a book. There are so many amazing things that have happened over the past 24 months that I would never have dreamed of!  Alison Wells and Jim Murdoch have shared their thoughts on their blogs recently, Jim's is almost an essay rather than a review, with footnotes. I am very grateful to them both for taking the time to think about and then write about my stories. A writer cannot ask for more!

I have just finished reading Kasia Boddy's excellent The American Short Story Since 1950, and will write more abuot that on the Short Review blog soon. There's so much in there, I felt like I learned an enormous amount about the history of the short story, and it is filled with wonderful quotes from many writers about the form. I met Kasia when she interviewed Lydia Davis at the London Review Bookshop a few weeks ago - a thrilling night it was! I am delighted that Lydia agreed to be interviewed for the Short Review and sent me her answers to my questions yesterday. Now I need to review her 250-story Collected Stories, a mammoth task! I've read it through once already, there is so much in there to delight and provoke. Highly recommended!


Marisa Birns said...

Congratulations! Love reading about writers and their journeys.

There are many roads to where one needs to end up. :)

Brigid said...

Great post and inspiring for us female writers.

Sue Guiney said...

Wow. 2 years and 15 printings. What an accomplishment! Huge congrats.

Tania Hershman said...

Marisa, it's so true, there is no one path to anything, is there? Sometimes we wend our way and it takes 20 years to get to where we had wanted to be.

Brigid, best wishes for your writing too!

Sue, I know, never imagined this in a million years.

Lauri said...

15th print run? Whowza!!
Congrats and happy birthday White Road.

Tania Hershman said...

Lauri - I try not to think about that too much, makes my head spin... bit freaky, really. They are small print runs!

Rachel Fenton said...

You have a lot to be proud of and yet you are very humble.

It's fascinating how our lives are pinged off in certain directions and we make decisions which seem at opposite ends but which are actually part of a connected path and when the paths converge it is both startling and yet unsurprising in its homeliness.

Forgive my ramblyness and probablly bad's almost 1am - been at a creative collaboration-me-bob but I wanted to comment on this all day!....must sleep now!

Tania Hershman said...

Rachel, I feel like so much of it was not my doing, out of my control! But it is interesting to look back and see the winding path that ended up here. No ramblyness at all!!

Words A Day said...

I enjoyed reading about your writing journey from young girl to published writer - I think its still so common for people to separate the arts from the sciences as if you can't be good at both. In my own schooling, art and science were always in the same time slot as if no one could possibly have potential in both areas. My loss was physics which I loved, it was the sacrifice I made to take art class...I think those false divisions start too early. I loved how you took inspiration from science in your stories. Thanks for the link, I think you've a real knack for knowing what emerging writers love to read about other writers journeys - so glad yours has been happy.

shruti said...

Dear Tania,

I just read your story in Pank and I had to write to right away. I utterly, absolutely loved it. I was working on a very similar theme for a story just two days ago, and while mine hasn't proceeded beyond its half page, I was just so swushed and thrilled to read your story. I Love it that its entirely in conversation! In many ways, I found it just right, all the silences are right, you say just enough...oh, I'm so happy!The joy of good writing.
I'll stare with gloom at my keyboard later:)
I read your blog sometimes but have never written. Today, I'm so glad I had a reason to.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. I can really identify with your point 1 on the way to becoming a writer. When I was young my Mum told me to read everything. I took her too literarally and I remember her telling me off for reading the back of the cornflakes box instead of finishing my breakfast. The library was a wonderful part of my growing up.

That your book has had so many print runs is a testimony to the fact that your stories click with people, endure in the imagination. Although I don't really have the brain for it, I think science, and for me particularly physics is the single most inspiring element for my writing. Here is a link to someone who makes sense of physics and makes us delight in the marvellousness of the ordinary, the extraordinary man and scientist Richard Feynman just as your stories delight when you make the ordinary other.