Interview with Elisabeth Egan, the author of A Window Opens
14 Oct 2015
A WINDOW OPENS is the story of Alice Pearse, thirtysomething mom of three who goes back to work after her husband loses his job. She’s a life-long bookworm, and feels like she’s won the jackpot when she’s hired by a company that wants to reinvent reading the way Starbucks invented bookstores—but Alice quickly realizes that her dream job might turn into a nightmare. Meanwhile, her dad gets sick, her husband has trouble getting back on his feet in his own career and her kids become needier than ever. Chaos ensues—and also some hilarity and heartbreak.
You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite anyone- alive or dead, fictional or real. Who’s coming to dinner?
Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, Anna Quindlen and a bunch of really good caterers (because I’m the worst cook).
Who are your literary heroes working today?
My literary heroes are bookstore owners who have had to adjust their sails (so to speak) in the past twenty years. They’ve changed with the times and in some cases re-imagined the way books are sold, but their essential service is the same and as crucial as ever: selling escape, beauty, instruction, adventure and peace.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Just Do It. I owe a debt of gratitude to Nike for this one.
Where is your happy place? Why does it bring you joy?
My happy place is on my front porch, preferably with a glass of white wine, surrounded by my family and good friends, or else in the company of a good book.
What’s rocking your world this month?
I’m loving Tracy Daugherty’s biography of Joan Didion, The Last Love Song. It’s a commitment at 752 pages, but i’m loving the texture and details. Up next—belatedly: Elena Ferrante.
Do you have a favorite quote or scene from A WINDOW OPENS?
I feel weird quoting myself, but I’m proud of the part where Alice writes a letter to her 25 year-old babysitter and says “Please don’t waste time wondering whether it’s possible to ‘have it all.’ Banish the expression from your vocabulary; make sure your friends do, too. A better question is, what do you really want. Diving headlong into the second quarter of you life without asking this question is like going grocery shopping without list. You’ll end up with a full cart but nothing to cook for dinner. Figure out what you feel like eating, and then come up with your own recipe for the whole messy, delicious enchilada.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” I agree.
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