Here's a bit about the book:
When successful twenty-nine-year-old Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby ends her happy relationship just as her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing, she can’t explain to even her closest friends why she did it. Somewhere beneath her sense of fun, her bravado, and her independent exterior, Emily knows that her breakup with Andrew has less to do with him and more to do with...her. “You’re your own worst enemy,” her best friend Jess tells her. “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.”
As the holiday season looms and Emily contemplates whether she made a huge mistake, the rest of her world begins to unravel: she is assigned to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit where she must defend the very values she detests by a boss who can’t keep his hands to himself; her Grandpa Jack, a charming, feisty octogenarian and the person she cares most about in the world, is losing it, while her emotionally distant father has left her to cope with this alone; and underneath it all, fading memories of her deceased mother continue to remind her that love doesn’t last forever. How this brave, original young heroine finally decides to take control of her life and face the fears that have long haunted her is the great achievement of Julie Buxbaum’s marvelous first novel.
And here are Julie's answers to my questions:
1) You quit your job as a lawyer to become a writer. Have you always dreamt of being a writer and the law just side-tracked you for a few years?
I had always dreamed of one day writing a book, but for some reason didn't really consider novelist as a potential "career" choice. It took feeling completely unfulfilled as a lawyer to think seriously about how I wanted to spend all of that time--that 90% of my waking life--that was currently being wasted at a job I hated. As soon as I realized that there was nothing stopping me from pursuing my dream other than my own fear, I decided to take the leap. I have to admit that looking back, it was a crazy thing to do--just quitting cold turkey to write, when I hadn't really written anything before--but somehow, it turned out to be the best decision I've ever made.
2) When you quit, did you have a Plan B? If so, how long did you give yourself to succeed?
I didn't really have a Plan B. But I did decide when I quit the law that I had to be okay with the possibility that I could spend a year writing a book that would end up just being a pile of paper that lived in my drawer for the rest of my life. I figured regardless of what happened, the experience of writing my first novel itself would be worth it. Once I started writing, though, I became completely hooked, so I think even if I hadn't sold the THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE as quickly as I did, I would have found a way to feed the habit. I probably would have started temping as a lawyer, or maybe found some sort of part time gig, so that I could keep writing. I can't imagine a life now that didn't include finding time to write.
3) Tell me how you went about writing the book…did you quit your job, then sit down the next day and, voila, a novel?
My last day of work was a Friday, and I started working on the book that Monday. Sadly, it wasn't voila, novel, though that would have been great. My writing experience had lots of fits and starts: some great writing days, some days where I thought I should just give up and go back to my life as a lawyer, some tears, and every once in a great while that wonderful feeling that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.
4) Do you outline your plot and the book? I know a lot of writers do this…and I don't, because I like to let my characters take me where they want to take me. But part of me wonders if I'm missing out on this huge breakthrough because I neglect the outline!
I outlined for about two weeks, when I first started writing, but I was off outline within three days. The only thing that remained standing from my original conception of the novel was the opening scene and the ending. I am not formally outlining the second book because I agree with you. If you feel beholden to an outline, then your characters can't take you where they want to go, and for me that has been the most fun (and the biggest surprise) of novel writing!
5) Your book is everywhere! (Including a huge poster in the Barnes and Noble by me!) Have you been actively involved in the promotion or did Dial mostly come up with the promotional/advertising plan for you?
Thanks! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear that you have been seeing it around. One of these days you'll probably catch me shamelessly taking a picture of that Barnes & Noble window! I have to say I've been incredibly lucky to have the support of Dial behind me. They've done a great job with the promotional/advertising side of things. At the same time, I think it's important to do my best to get out there and promote THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE. Admittedly, that's scary and often outside my comfort zone, but I don't want to later regret not giving my book every opportunity. It sort of feels like having a child in a way.
6) A lot of writers, myself included, have found that the actual publication of the book to be the most nerve-wracking of the entire experience. Have you found this to be true? How do you deal with the pressure?
Absolutely! I didn't realize until recently how it is both utterly terrifying and thrilling to release a book out into the world. My New Year's resolution was to not ruin this experience for myself by stressing out too much. But the truth is some days I feel intense pressure, which I realize is silly and entirely self-created because I am not even sure I could articulate what I feel pressure about. On the other hand, I've been making time to just sit back and enjoy and revel in the excitement of it all. This is a once in a lifetime thing--a literal dream come true--and I'd hate to look back and kick myself for only dwelling on the nerve-wracking parts.
7) I know that you're working on book #2…we've been talking about improving your work and evolving as a writer a lot on the blog…are you doing anything differently this time around?
I fully agree with what you've been saying about making sure you are constantly evolving as a writer. I am very proud of THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE, but I sincerely hope I look back on it years from now and think about how far I've come. With my second novel, I'm trying to be more ambitious and less scared of taking risks as a writer. My process hasn't changed, but I find I am much tougher on myself this time around, which I think is a good thing.