As part of the ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.
Today, we’re continuing the series with a conversation with Andrea Rothman, author of THE DNA OF YOU AND ME, a literary romance releasing from Harper Collins on March 12th, 2019.
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Andrea’s novel, and it’s fantastic. You may know that I have a special interest in STEM related fiction, and the setting combined with the exquisite prose meant this novel is right in my sweet spot. Check this one out— it’s wonderful and well worth your time!
About the book:
Ambitious young scientist, Emily Apell, joins a renowned research lab in New York to study the sense of smell. There she meets Aeden Doherty, a senior colleague. Their relationship is complicated by external events. Eventually Emily will have to choose between her research and Aeden. Years later, about to receive a prestigious award for the work she carried out in the lab, Emily looks back upon that choice.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research about Anosmia, defined as a long-term inability to smell. The research in the lab, carried out by the characters in my novel, is about smell.
What did you remove from this book during the editing process?
Thankfully nothing. By the time my editor read the novel it had gone through so many revision nothing was lacking or in excess. The material flowed.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both: a pantser at the very beginning of the work and a plotter towards the end.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
As much as I like not knowing where I’m going (see my answer to previous question) I also sometimes find it a little nerve-racking when things seem to be going nowhere, and it happens all too often in the writing process, especially with fiction.
Can you share your writing routine?
I write creatively only in the morning, from around 8 to 12. I need absolute quiet and I usually write at my desk at home or in a quiet office space. It’s nearly impossible for me to write imaginatively in a Starbucks for instance.
Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
I’ve had writer’s block very often in my life, I think most writers experience this a lot. To overcome it I usually just lower my expectations and write whatever comes to my mind, just try to fill the page with words, trying to keep my ego out of it. I think most writer blocks are a problem of the ego and having high expectations about the words and the material before the work is even done. Beginning writers rarely have writer’s block.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Follow your heart and trust yourself. It will be okay. If you love the material enough, a book will eventually take shape.
What do you hope to achieve with your novel?
I hope to transport the reader to another place; different to anything they’ve ever known. And I hope that he or she will keep thinking about the characters, their drama, what they could or couldn’t have done and the choices they could have made, long after they’ve finished reading the book.
About the Author:
Before turning to fiction writing, Andrea Rothman was a research scientist at the Rockefeller University in New York. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and was fiction editor for the literary journal Hunger Mountain. Her first novel is “The DNA of You and Me.” Her short stories can be viewed at www.andrearothman.com.