This weekend I’ll be attending Alumni Weekend at the University of Pennsylvania (lovingly referred to waaaay back when, as “Not Penn State”). In honor of our shared alma mater, I wanted to introduce you this week to Julie Buxbaum, author of three critically acclaimed novels. Her newest YA novel, TELL ME THREE THINGS was published last month, and is her most personal story yet. Meet Julie:
What have you learned from parenting, or from your own parents, that you bring to your work as a writer?
I think writing is an exercise in empathy, and so is parenting. Now that I have children and am writing at the same time, I feel like that muscle gets doubly used, and one side of it informs the other. The good thing about empathy is that it’s like love—we have an infinite supply of it.
Where do you write? What do you love about it?
For a very long time, I was a coffee shop writer, which worked out reasonably well except for the bathroom situation. There’s something demoralizing about using a public restroom day after day. In the past six months, though, a writer’s room has opened up shop a few blocks from my house, and it’s my version of heaven: desk with an outlet, free coffee and tea, WiFi and best of all, you guessed it: a clean bathroom! Joining has been the best gift I’ve ever given myself.
If you had a motto, what would it be?
Oh no! I’m sort of motto-less. But I guess I believe that the best things in life often come from the hardest work.
Who inspires you?
Every writer whose book I’ve read and thought, man I wish I had written that or I’ll never be this good. This happens all the time, and I’m so grateful for that feeling, because it pushes me to work harder, to do better every single day.
What charity or community service are you passionate about? Why?
Anything that involves children. Also literacy. Combine the two, and you’ve found my sweet spot.
What are you reading now, and/or what book do you recommend?
I’m about to start reading the YA novel You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison. It looks fantastic.
Julie Buxbaum is the author of the recently released YA novel TELL ME THREE THINGS and of the critically acclaimed novels THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE and AFTER YOU. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages and her writing has appeared in various publications, including the New York Times and Redbook. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Twitter: @juliebux Facebook: JulieBuxbaumNovelist Instagram: @JulieBuxbaum