5 from 35: Author Q & A with Barbara Scoblic

barbara+scoblic+author+of+lost+without+the+-+riverBarbara Scoblic, 79, publishes her first book, LOST WITHOUT A RIVER, today.

How long did it take you to write your first (published) book, start to finish?

Somewhere between four and forty years. The last four years have been full of intense writing, revising, and editing. However, many of the stories that are now in the book have existed in some form for years; others, decades. Some of the references are direct quotes from notes I have from conversations with my father in 1981.

What kind of work did you do to earn money while writing your first book? 

Retirement savings

What compelled you to write your story?

The idea for this memoir of my family came after a conversation I had with one of my nieces, who always butted heads with my father, her grandfather. She became easily frustrated by his chauvinism. In trying to explain to her the circumstances of his upbringing, and the world he grew up in, it became clear to me that the younger generation has very little understanding of how hard life was for those who survived the years of the Great Drought and Depression on the northern plains.

Did you ever want to quit?

Yes, several times. At my lowest points, I’d pledge, “I’m going to burn or bury it!” Fortunately, I live in Manhattan where there are few viable options for this crime of passion. Family members and friends would say, “Oh no, you can’t do that. I want to read your book.” Also, I wanted to ensure that my siblings, who are all older than I, would be able to enjoy it.

What are you reading right now?

A Gentleman in Moscowby Amor Towles; listening to; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens