Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Abbi Waxman

Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. Her latest novel is Other People’s Houses.

Recently I asked Waxman about what she was reading. Her reply:
Most of the time I'm reading crime fiction. I don't write crime fiction, but my mother did, and it's what I grew up on. I tend to favor Golden Age writers, ranging from Christie to Wentworth to Marsh, with a generous helping of Rex Stout, who isn't strictly speaking GA, but is probably my favorite. I think Nero and Archie knock Holmes and Watson off their pedestal with ease, and I've read every book in the series at least a dozen times, literally.

If I'm writing a book I can't read contemporary fiction, as either I become deeply depressed because I'll never write anything as good as what I'm reading, or I worry that I will steal the best bits without noticing (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it). I also read a lot of non-fiction, because it feels like quality food for my brain, whereas the fiction is delicious but possibly less nutritious fare. Having said that, I tend to read popular non-fiction that is a pleasure to read, like Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks (may he rest in eternal peace) and writers like that. I truly believe Michael Lewis is one of the best writers currently working; his ability to simplify concepts and information without writing 'down' to his readers is enviable and doubtless a lot harder than he makes it look.

Even though I've been a working writer all my life, (first advertising, then novels) I still get totally lost in a book. I have friends in the film business, and it ruins their ability to watch movies. They notice too much. Maybe I'm just a bad reader, but I get swept along and bewitched. Books are cheaper than cocaine, just as delightful, and far less damaging to the nasal passages.
Visit Abbi Waxman's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Abbi Waxman & Daisy, Jasper, and Wilbur.

--Marshal Zeringue