Today on the blog I am very honoured to have Hannah Beckerman, author of The Dead Wife’s Handbook answering a few questions.
Tell us a little about The Dead Wife’s Handbook
The Dead Wife’s Handbook is the story of 36-year old Rachel, who’s died unexpectedly and is now watching the lives of her loved ones as they come to terms with her death. It’s a story about love, loss and how you measure a life well-lived.
What inspired you to write The Dead Wife’s Handbook?
The story evolved from a conversation with a friend about her ex-husband and how she felt uncomfortable about the possibility of him telling his new partner her secrets. I started thinking about how that probably makes many of us feel uncomfortable and that the most extreme version of that would be if you were dead. Suddenly there was this dead woman – Rachel – in my head, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how she felt.
Are you a plan it all first or a sit down and write as it comes kind of writer?
I’m a huge planner. To the point of mild OCD. I write a synopsis, then a broad outline. Then I do a ton of research and make a mountain of notes (as though I’m back at university), and then I copy ALL of my notes into the outline so that I have a c.25k word plan of the book, all divided into chapters and every idea / conversation / thought bullet pointed. And then I finally start writing. The research and planning often takes longer than writing draft one of the book.
Which is more nerve-wracking, submitting your manuscript to an agent/publisher or it actually being published?
I think whichever stage you’re at feels like the most anxiety-inducing! But when I look back, I think I was possibly most nervous after my agent had submitted it to publishers and we were waiting to see if anyone wanted it. Although publication week is stressful at least the book’s out there and it’s down to readers now to decide whether they like it!
Any tips for would be authors?
Write, write and write some more. There’s simply no quick way to becoming a good writer (or, at least, one you’re happy being). You just have to write a lot of rubbish until you find a voice that feels authentic. Oh, and read everything you can get your hands on.
What are your favourite reads?
Some favourite all-time reads: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Grace Paley’s Collected Short Stories, Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead. Also pretty much anything by Nicole Krauss, Sarah Waters, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Paul Auster and Philip Roth.
You must have answered a few of these Q&As. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Would you like a glass of fizz now?
I think you can probably guess the answer…
The Dead Wife’s Handbook is in shops now or available on line http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Wifes-Handbook-Hannah-Beckerman/dp/0718178149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392973218&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dead+wife%27s+handbook