#83 Writing Your Way into An Engaging and Enthralling Story Featuring Abigail Thomas

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Abigail Thomas


Sitting and speaking with Abigail Thomas is life-changing and life-affirming. She is a revered memoirist with the most curious mind of anyone I’ve ever met, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many creative people in my career in publishing. As I told Abby, I felt as if we were sitting at a cafe having coffee together, and our conversation has extended far past this initial one. It is an honor to spend time in her presence, and I think you will also feel what I felt when you listen to this episode where she talks about what inspires, drives, informs and engages her, and how she transforms it into mesmerizing stories.

In This Episode

• Finding inspiration in unlikely places [4:13]
• The allure of getting older [10:49]
• Deciding on writing from a side door to deal with difficult material [18:18]
• Abigail’s go-to source for analyzing words [23:49]
• Tips for editing your work [28:29]
• Writing exercises she gives to her students [36:40]
• The requirement of ruthlessness in memoir [40:59]

Watch on YouTube

About Abigail Thomas

Abigail Thomas has four children,12 grandchildren, two great grandchildren, eleven books, and a high school education. She was asked to leave Bryn Mawr freshman year when she told the Dean she was pregnant, and she never went back.  She had always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time the closest she came was bopping around her kitchen to Paperback Writer, by the Beatles. When she was forty-eight, after an interesting adventure, when she got home, she left her ego outside, and began to write a story. It didn’t work, but instead of crumpling it up saying “who do you think you are?” sat in a different chair, and another, and at the end of the afternoon, she had written a story. It was published in the Columbia Journal of Poetry and Prose. She had learned you have to keep at it. Writing is work of the best kind.

She has written two short story collections, one novel and four works of non-fiction, including the memoirs Safekeeping; A Three Dog Life; What Comes Next and How to Like It; and a book about writing, Thinking about Memoir. Still Life at Eighty: The Next Interesting Thing is her latest memoir.

Connect with Abigail Thomas


Photo Credit : Jennifer Waddell

For another episode focused on a top memoirist, episode #81 The Art of Shaping a Compelling Story Featuring Maggie Smith 

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New Interview

I was interviewed for Hippocampus Magazine by Interviews editor Lara Lillibridge. I think she did a great job bringing forth my background and experience in publishing and the mission of my book.  Read it here.

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