Monday, February 25, 2008

Julie Buxbaum, The Opposite of Love

I was looking for author Julie Buxbaum's website when I ran across this little article with the title of Harvard Hottie. Hmmm, I don't know what to make of that.

Harvard Law School grad Julie left the world of law to write a fabulous debut novel called The Opposite of Love. I began reading the day the book arrived on my doorstep and didn't put it down until I was finished. It's the kind of well written, modern and thoughtful book I was in the mood for. If you have ever been in love and have lost that love and wanted it back so badly that it's all you can think of, then you MUST READ THIS. So you can bypass any other Harvard Hottie references, Julie's website is here.

Its really interesting that someone so smart like Julie can be a lawyer and then turn around and write a brilliant debut novel. Some people just have bucket loads of talent!

I like to know where titles of books come from. How did you settle on The Opposite of Love?
As soon as the phrase popped into my head I knew it was the perfect title for the novel. I was writing an important scene where my main character hits bottom; Emily is stuck in what she calls a “couch vortex,” and in the midst of a week-long soap opera marathon. And as she sits alone in her apartment, it occurs to her that what she is feeling is the opposite of love: a complete emptiness and numbness of self. As soon as I formulated the thought for Emily, I realized that the expression not only speaks to how she feels at that moment, but how she has felt for much of the fifteen years since her mother’s death. Emily’s journey is about what happens when we delay grief, and the numbness that denial can leave in its wake.

It's a love story, isn't it? Are you a big romantic?

I’ve always been a sucker for a good love story. With Emily, though, I created a character who isn’t a big romantic, and who is her own worst enemy when it comes to love. I wanted to explore the idea that it takes courage to love someone, and that though we’ve all been indoctrinated with a million novels and movies that suggest that love is simple and straightforward and obvious, it doesn’t seem to happen that way in real life. Emily is forced to tackle the complexities of all sorts of love, and its attendant ambiguities. I think that is something a lot of us can relate to.
You were a lawyer and now you're a novelist. That's not uncommon, I know many writers with law experience. Is law and writing connected somehow?

I think in order to be a lawyer or a writer you have to be in love with the written word. Much of my time as a lawyer was spent spinning language and making arguments. As a writer, I get to do much the same thing, but with full creative license. As a lawyer, sadly, (and contrary to the reputation of the profession) I never got the pleasure of making stuff up.

How would you describe the main character of your book? Tell me about her in five words.

Five words! I am a novelist; I need about three hundred pages to answer that one. Okay, here goes: Confused about love, loss, life.

Imagine that you have an unlimited credit card to use in any one store you please but you only get two hours to shop. Where would you go and what would you buy? I'd totally head to Nordstrom. (although after reading your answer I'll change mine to the Apple store too- we all need new computers in this house!)

Since I am a terribly indecisive clothing shopper, and with only two hours I’d be lucky to pick out a pair of socks, I’d have to say the Apple store. Dorky, I know, but it’s the truth. I’d grab a backup laptop (maybe one of the cool new Macbook Airs), a flat screen monitor, extra batteries, music for my ipod, an iphone, and the list goes on and on. No doubt about it, I’d clean the place out with twenty minutes to spare.

What are you most proud of in your life?
I feel incredible pride every time I see THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE in a bookstore. It is nothing short of a dream come true. A cliché yes, but I’m not sure there is a better way to say it.
What's on your ipod? If you have one.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of folk tunes and more moody pop. Right now, I’m enjoying the goofy soundtrack to Dan in Real Life, followed by the mournful longing of the music from Once, both for some reason, on endless repeat.

Do you listen to music while you write? I need complete silence or else I cannot concentrate but a lot of people like music to inspire them.

Since I live and work in a small one-bedroom apartment, and write at my dining room table, I use music as a way to delineate my space. As soon as I put on classical music in the background, I know it’s time to sit down and start writing. Unfortunately, I can’t concentrate when the music playing has lyrics. My brain can’t hear my own sentences.

What genres do you like to read?

I read anything I can get my hands on, and like to juggle a bunch of different genres at once. Right now I am in the middle of three novels (one commercial, one more literary, the third a blending of the two) and two non-fiction. I do find that I tend to read much more fiction than non-fiction; the latter ends up sitting on my nightstand longer, and gets started much more often than it gets finished.

I think the writing community is so supportive and wonderful. Have you found this to be true?

Absolutely! I had trouble keeping the acknowledgements section of my book under control because of all the generous people who lent help and advice while I wrote THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I’ve received from the writing community.
I'm sure you've started on another book - tell me what it's about?

I am currently working through the rough draft of my next novel. Unfortunately, I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet. I feel like if I say too much I may jinx it! I am a bizarrely superstitious that way.

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Blogger Manic Mom said...
Once again Cindy, you and I are both right on track with the books we love! Check out my blog and the posts I wrote about Julie too!

Wasn't it an amazing novel!?!?!? @ 12:36 AM  
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