Emma Straub is the author of The Vacationers, Modern Love, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures and Other People We Married. Her latest novel, All Adults Here, was published by Michael Joseph on 16 July 2020.
Emma kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about All Adults Here.
All Adults Here is a novel about three generations of a family—it’s about making mistakes, making amends, being true to yourself, and how we sometimes let down the people we love the most. It’s about being in a family, and having good intentions, and hopefully it will make people both laugh and cry.
2. What inspired the book?
Well, it’s funny how these things go—I don’t know if other writers feel this way, but for me, what inspires books often ends up having very little to do with the finished product. This book started out as a book about cheese, because I wanted to write a romantic book about cheese. Is there romance in here? Yes. Is there cheese? Yes. Is it really about those things, per se? No.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I love to plan plan plan, but then I also love to abandon abandon abandon. I think plans are important to trick yourself into thinking you know what’s going to happen, because otherwise the blank page can be too scary. If you pretend you know what’s going to happen, then you can always change course up ahead.
4. Is there anything about writing and publishing a book that still surprises you?
It’s all still surprising—how words accumulate to make a book, how ideas come together, how real fictional characters become to you after spending so many hours with them. I think that if there were no surprises, it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable a job.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
Well, at this moment, of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and I have two small children, and so there is no relaxing, or writing, or getting away. When I have childcare again, I imagine that writing will be the most satisfying escape of all.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Oh lord, that is an impossible one. Middlemarch? Something long and with lots of characters, for sure, so that there would always be something new to pay attention to.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Do you need help taking care of your children, and can I come over? And the answer is yes.
About the Book
Coming of age isn’t just for kids.
Astrid Strick has always tried to do her best for her three children. Now, they’re finally grown up – but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
Elliott doesn’t have any idea who he really is, or how to communicate with his own sons. Porter is, at last, pregnant – but feels incapable of rising to the challenge. Nicky has fled to distant New Mexico, where he’s living the bohemian dream.
And Astrid herself is up to things that would make her children’s hair curl.
Until now, the family have managed to hide their true selves from each other. But when Nicky’s incorrigibly curious daughter Cecelia comes to stay, her arrival threatens to upturn everything . . .
About the Author
Emma Straub is the New York Times bestselling author of three other novels, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.