Tuesday, July 19, 2022

# 20 Questions

20 Questions with Emily Wolf, Author of 'My Thirty-First Year (and Other Calamities)' @emilywolfauthor #20Questions

Today's guest is Emily Wolf, author of the novel, My Thirty-First Year (and Other Calamities). Emily is here today to answer 20 questions about her life, writing and goals.

1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer? 

Both! I’m a working mom, so I have to write whenever I can. What’s that saying, “if you have something you need done, give it to a busy woman?” I think that applies to me. I don’t have the luxury of procrastination.

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster? 

I’m a recovering lawyer so I can’t help but outline. But, I’ve learned that I need to keep outlines loose so that I can go wherever the story takes me. It’s impossible to outline every novel from beginning to end because writing novels, at least for me, is such a dynamic process. I feel like I’m in conversation with my characters the whole time about what should happen next.

3. Which comes first – plot or character? 

Ooh, such a tough question. For me, plot and character are so intertwined. Once I really know a character, it’s clear what plot points will be most authentic to her. At the same time, plot points can inform a character’s development. My writing process is so messy and multifaceted that I’d have to say both plot and character come to me in one great big snowball.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript? 

Quiet or white noise. Which is too bad, because I listen to U2 for inspiration for most things. When I started writing, I tried putting U2 on in the background, but found myself looking out the window or closing my eyes and singing along instead of focusing on the blinking cursor in front of me. 

5. Favorite TV show? 

Better Things. I’m still appreciating it and mourning its end. I am a devoted Pamela Adlon fan.

6. Favorite type of music? 

I can get really specific here: U2. Their music is pure magic to me.

7. Favorite craft besides writing? 

Martha Stewart-type crafting gives me hives. If I expand the definition of “craft,” then yoga is my favorite. I love how it makes my mind go to a meditative place and my blood circulate all throughout my body. And I’ll forever admire talented musicians, vocalists, actors, chefs, and fine artists. (My mom and brother are brilliant fine artists but, sadly, that gene totally passed me by.)

8. Do you play a musical instrument? 

I played piano, cello, and a little guitar. Once my kids leave the nest, I plan to take proper guitar lessons and dive back into it. I would LOVE to learn how to really shred. #Goals

9. Single or married? 

I am married to a deeply good man.

10. Children or no? 

I marvel at my two very different and equally amazing kids. I had assumed that kids developed mostly due to nurture, not nature, but I swear that mine had different personalities in the womb and were born who they are. I think my job as their parent is to try to understand them and support them as they become fully and wholly themselves…I fail every day, but try my best and hopefully get enough right that they won’t need too much therapy. The whole gig is fascinating. Tiring and gray-hair inducing, but fascinating, and a privilege.

11. Pets? 

Always! I have two dogs and cannot imagine being sane or happy without pets. To me, they’re an integral part of what makes a home. And I must really love my husband, because I had to give away my beloved cat due to his severe allergy. If I had my druthers (plus major coin and good pet insurance), I’d have two dogs and two cats. 

12. Favorite place to write? 

My favorite place to write is definitely our lake house in Michigan. Something about being in nature calms me and lets whatever needs to come out come out. 

13. Favorite restaurant? 

The original Portillo’s in Chicago. You can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl. Heaven is a jumbo char dog with mustard, relish, onion, and pickle with a side of cheese fries. 

14. Do you work outside the home? 

Yep! I’m beyond fortunate to have the world’s best boss. She’s one of my professional and personal idols; she is brilliant, hard-working, caring, supportive, and a natural-born patriarchy crusher. I write for a children’s hospital and am over-the-top proud that the scientists and clinicians with whom I’ve had the privilege to work are as kind as they are smart.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw? 

Fantastic Fungi. It gave me hope, which is in short supply these days. Fungi have the power to save the planet and heal humans in ways I’d never imagined. I’ll never look at the toadstools in my yard the same way again!

16. Favorite outdoor activity? 

Swimming in Lake Michigan. That lake is such a gift; give me that fresh, cool water and I will emerge feeling both totally calm and totally alive. Libra is my sun sign but I swear I must have a water sign in my astrological chart somewhere. 

17. Pet peeve? 

People who aren’t curious or engaged. Do you know those people? They’re the ones who make tepid conversation about things like which diet they’re on while the world is on fire. This always bewilders me—there are limitless important and interesting questions to ask and things to explore. 

18. Your goal in life? 

Gulp! I have several. The one that comes to mind at the current moment is to raise two feminist sons. 

19. Your most exciting moment? 

It is cliché, but seeing each of my babies—and my brother, and his baby—for the first time. They really are miracles. I fell in love with my baby brother immediately. With my own kids, I’ll never forget seeing perfect little people and thinking, “they grew in my belly. That’s wild!” With my nephew, I marveled at how I got to hold and connect with such a magic soul out of pure luck.

20. The love of your life?

I’m lucky to have several. The primary one is my family. Home is wherever they are.

Emily Wolf is an ardent feminist, U2 fan, and native Chicagoan. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Emily now lives in Houston with her husband, children, and dogs. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and with her synagogue’s Board of Trustees and Social Justice Core Team. Emily has published several essays in the Houston Chronicle and regularly shares new writing at emilyvwolf.medium.com.

Her latest book is My Thirty-First Year (and Other Calamities).

Visit her website at www.emilywolfbooks.com or connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.  


On her 30th birthday, Zoe Greene was supposed to be married to her high-school sweetheart, pregnant with their first baby, and practicing law in Chicago. Instead, she’s planning an abortion and filing for divorce. Zoe wants to understand why her plans failed—to move on, have sex, and date while there’s still time. As she navigates dysfunctional penises, a paucity of grammatical online dating profiles, and her paralyzing fear of aging alone, she grapples with the pressure women feel to put others first. Her family, friends, incomparable therapist, and diary of never-to-be-sent letters to her first loves, the rock band, U2, help Zoe learn to let go—of society’s constructs of female happiness, and of her own.

Book Information

Release Date: August 3, 2022

Publisher:  She Writes Press

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1647420826; 416 pages; $17.95; E-Book, $9.95; Audio CD $22.9

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ttf1ip

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