Late Bloomers, Listen Up: She’s Publishing Her First Novel at 60

February 16, 2012 at 10:00 am , by

Meredith Maran (at right) has been a working writer for more than 40 years, turning out ten nonfiction books and scores of magazine articles (including a fair share for Ladies’ Home Journal). But this week marks a brand-new milestone for the brand-new grandmother: the publication of her first novel, A Theory of Small Earthquakes. Set in the countercultures of Oberlin College in the 1980s and Berkeley, California in the late ‘90s and onward, this “deliciously messy love story” (to quote from one of the blurbs on the book’s cover) is about a protagonist, Alison, caught in a love triangle with her former (female) lover and her husband—and about the son all three of them come together to raise.

Here, Maran chats about the book with her friend and fellow novelist, Caroline Leavitt (at left), author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller Pictures of You, as well as eight previous novels.

Caroline Leavitt: What sparked the idea for A Theory of Small Earthquakes

Meredith Maran: A decade ago, a friend told me a true story about such an untraditional family, whose existence required so much daily forgiveness on the part of all involved, I thought, “If only I were a novelist, that would make a great plot.”

As I watched the story unfold in real time in my friend’s real life, the itch to write it finally overcame my fear of attempting a novel. After a lifetime of writing only nonfiction, that fear was epic—and, as it turned out, well founded. The novel took two years to write, five years to rewrite, and many gnawed fingernails to sell to a publisher. And it’s been the most thrilling writing experience of my life.

CL: I love the title [a theory of small earthquakes refers to the idea that the occurrence of many earthquakes of lesser intensity offsets the possibility of a single catastrophic one]. Can you talk about it? 

MM: Over the eons it took to bring this book from concept to publication, the novel had at least five working titles, starting with The Surrogate and ending with Boy Girl Boy Girl, which came in a close second. Early on, the phrase “A Theory of Small Earthquakes” came to me in a flash, and I loved it. But there were so many factors to consider, and such a big job the title had to do.

My dad was a true Mad Man—a Madison Avenue ad executive. I grew up naming products at the dinner table, so considering the impact of the title on marketing the book came naturally.

CL: Tell us about your writing life. Do you outline or is it more intuitive? Do you keep a schedule? 

MM: I have a very simple schedule, as follows. Wake up before the sun. Work happily until bedtime or “Homeland,” whichever comes first. Eat at desk around 8AM and again around 2PM. Break for 1.5 hours for perspective-restoring hike with writer friend. Go to sleep worrying book won’t sell. Wake up worrying book won’t sell. Repeat.

P.S. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. I’ve proved that by refusing to trade this life for anything, including a living wage.

CL: What’s obsessing you now?

MM: See “book won’t sell,” above. The thing about book sales, these days, is that they determine one’s ability to publish another book. And that’s all I really want to do: publish another book. Oh, and another one.

CL:  Anything I forgot to ask?

MM: The question no writer wants to be asked. “What’s next?” Answer:  Another novel.

It’s official: I’m a born-again novelist; a convert to the truth that lies in fiction. And I’m knee-deep into my next novel, about which I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m madly in love with the characters, each one of whom is as twisted and complicated as the characters in Earthquakes. I’m dreaming of the day I’ll have time to get back to them, which I take as the best sign of all. If I can’t wait to hang out with these people I’ve invented, I figure there’s a decent chance that at least a few readers might feel the same way.

83 Responses to “Late Bloomers, Listen Up: She’s Publishing Her First Novel at 60”

  1. Thanks for the blog submit.Thanks Once again. Awesome.

  2. I keep listening to the rumor lecture about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

  3. It seems like pleasant put up, on the other hand it just one side of your medal. Good reading through anyway, I generally appreciated fantastic brain teaser and solid amount of money of great information and facts.

  4. I do not understand what that crash truck is, but I am aware I had a dinky toy version of it while in the 1970s! I do think it absolutely was created by Tomy.

  5. I have really learned some new things by your website. One other thing I would really like to say is newer personal computer os’s are inclined to allow more memory to use, but they furthermore demand more ram simply to function. If your computer could not handle much more memory and the newest software requires that memory increase, it might be the time to shop for a new Computer system. Thanks

  6. Wonderful website. Lots of useful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you in your effort!

  7. It’s been a while since a book review has put me on the edge of my seat. Literally! (Okay, figuratively.) I can’t imagine a scenario where controlled complexity, interaction, problem-solving, and panels that look like spaghetti could add up to anything but a surefire win. Thanks for the review.

  8. Right now it appears like Movable Type is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  9. Предлагаем вам дорогие женщины, принять участие в программе. Заявки на участие вы можете оставить на сайте.

  10. Hey There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. That is a very neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  11. I and my pals were reading the excellent tips located on your site and instantly came up with a terrible feeling I had not thanked the site owner for those tips. All of the men appeared to be stimulated to read all of them and have now in truth been making the most of these things. We appreciate you genuinely so accommodating and then for picking certain marvelous tips most people are really needing to discover. Our own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  12. A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little analysis on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If doable, as you change into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with more particulars? It’s highly useful for me. Big thumb up for this weblog put up!

  13. Good day! I simply want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice information you may have right here on this post. I might be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  14. I really like and appreciate your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  15. Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your web site rather a lot up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  16. I truly wanted to jot down a small message to appreciate you for these precious tips and tricks you are giving at this site. My prolonged internet look up has finally been compensated with beneficial facts and strategies to go over with my companions. I would assert that many of us visitors are really fortunate to be in a magnificent community with many lovely professionals with interesting tips. I feel very grateful to have discovered your website and look forward to plenty of more exciting times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

  17. I got what you will, thanks for placing. Woh We are gladsome to understand this site through yahoo and google. Thanks Regarding Share Khmer Karaoke Celebrities » Somnangblogs.

  18. Hello, nice places. Can you help me? I got question.

  19. Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was searching for! “Some people don’t get it when I’m being sarcastic.” by Leonardo DiCaprio.

  20. You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thing that I believe I’d by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very huge for me. I am taking a look forward to your subsequent publish, I¡¦ll try to get the cling of it!

  21. As I have expected, the writer blurted out..!

  22. Sorry for my bad English.Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  23. I really like reading an article that can make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  24. Alteril Rest Aid All Natural Lemon Teas Fast Operating Liquid ShotsIt includes the four best-known, clinically proven all-natural sleep aids in to one hassle-free capsule, that helps to regulate your circadian sleep period and incrase alpha relaxation brain waves for FAST advancements in the full volume of therapeutic sleep you feel nightly!It present fast acting triple motion to help you get enough proper sleep tonight along with help you is catagorized asleep faster and stay in bed. Alteril Shots prolong deeper slumber stages and lower nighttime awakenings.

  25. Zeta clear triggers the particular breaking down with the with regard to less complicated cotton wool swab.

  26. hello i discovered your post and thought it was really informational likewise i suggest this website about repairing lap tops Click Here

  27. I for all time emailed this blog post page to all my friends, because if like to read it next my links will too.

  28. Hello to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this webpage; this blog consists of amazing and genuinely fine data for readers.

  29. Hello to every one, it’s genuinely a fastidious for me to pay a quick visit this web page, it contains precious Information.

  30. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  31. The best applies to look for competitively priced prom dresses are generally art shops, outlet center shopping malls, deck shelving and / or department shops or perhaps even individual you’ll fully understand.

  32. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is one thing that not sufficient people are talking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something regarding this.

  33. Sharing some thing is superior than keeping up-to our self, thus the YouTube video that is posted at this place I am going to share by means of my family and friends.

  34. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the idea of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it. Thus that’s why this article is perfect. Thanks!

  35. I’m glad I came across this blog.

  36. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  37. In my home when I get bored, afterward I just ON my laptop and open YouTube web page to watch the YouTube video tutorials.

  38. I are an inttrernet examiner and I mostly glare to have specific and superb data. I are cheerful you have putted such a tiring effects common good approach that a first-timers could understand it widout ny difiuclty. I genuinely welcome your effort. Maintain the vast work

  39. click here

  40. Wow, superb weblog structure! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging glance easy. The whole look of your site is great, let alone the content!

  41. I would love to add when you do not already have got an insurance policy or maybe you do not belong to any group insurance, you might well benefit from seeking the help of a health insurance agent. Self-employed or those with medical conditions commonly seek the help of an health insurance dealer. Thanks for your text.

  42. Sorry for my English.Wow! Thank you! I constantly needed to write on my site something like that. Can I include a part of your post to my site?

  43. Hi there, just became alert to your weblog via Google, and located that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate for those who continue this in future. Many other folks can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

  44. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  45. After looking over a few of the blog posts on your site, I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know what you think.

  46. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  47. It’s hard to come by experienced people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  48. I sorry for bad English.Hello There. I found your blog using Google. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  49. Hello, I want to subscribe for this webpage to obtain most up-to-date updates, thus where can i do it please help out.

  50. Hi, just wanted to mention, I liked this blog post. This was helpful. Carry on publishing!

  51. |When I want to place gallery or LightBox or yet a slider on my site I every time attempt to use jQuery script in favor of that.

  52. May I simply just say what a relief to uncover someone who truly understands what they’re discussing over the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular given that you surely have the gift.|

  53. I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…

  54. Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, regards . “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.” by Steven Wright.

  55. Hey , I like your Amazing): site. Great content.

  56. I have recently started a website, the information you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  57. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!

  58. whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like studying your articles. Keep up the good work! You realize, many individuals are looking around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  59. Wow! Finally I got a weblog from where I know how to in fact take helpful information regarding my study and knowledge.|

  60. This is way too cool

  61. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not
    seeing very good results. If you know of any please share.
    Many thanks!

  62. I sorry for bad English.I have learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to create this sort of fantastic informative web site.

  63. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  64. Howdy administrator, I just wanted to give you a brief heads up that your
    Web link: is being flagged as a possibly harmful web site in my internet browser opera.
    I would highly recommend having somebody look into it. You could certainly lose
    a lot of site visitors due to this kind of issue.
    Very best of Luck.

  65. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or
    vice-versa? My website covers a lot of the same subjects as
    yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog
    by the way!

  66. Hey. I noticed your site title, “Late Bloomers, Listen Up: She’s Publishing Her First Novel at 60 | Ladies’ Home Journal Blogs”
    doesn’t really reflect the content of your internet site. When creating your website title, do you think it’s best to write it for Web optimization
    or for your audience? This is something I’ve been battling with because I want good search rankings but at the same time I want the best quality for my site visitors.

    my weblog … Learn More Here

  67. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would
    cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100%
    sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    My webpage – seo packages

  68. Grateful for a great piece on a area which I’m extremely enthralled. Can I enquire if there are any revisions coming up? I will place a reminder on this awesome website for readings in the future. Buangkok Jewel

  69. Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information it is very useful!I’m still waiting for some more interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks a lots!

  70. This is a appropriate blog for would like to locate out about this topic. You realize a good deal its almost challenging to argue along (not that I personally would want…HaHa). You actually put the latest spin with a subject thats been discussed for a long time. Fantastic stuff, just fantastic!

  71. I recently discovered the post and possess been studying together. I ought to show our enjoy of your generating expertise together with power to assist to create readers go via correct from the commence on the conclusion. I’ve to examine newer articles and to share our thoughts together with you.

  72. Currently it looks like Expression Engine is the
    preferred blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    My page: natural link building

  73. I don’t waste my free time in watching video clips but I go for to read articles on net and take updated from hottest technologies.

  74. I’m glad to envision that people are actually writing regarding this issue in such a smart means, showing us all different sides to it. you are a great blogger. Please keep it up. I cant wait to read whats next.

  75. One other issue issue is that video games are normally serious anyway with the main focus on learning rather than entertainment. Although, there’s an entertainment facet to keep children engaged, each game is frequently designed to work on a specific group of skills or area, such as numbers or research. Thanks for your publication.

  76. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  77. Its fastidious humorous YouTube video, I every time go to go to see YouTube web page in support of comic videos, because there is much more data available.

  78. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!

  79. I think that is among the so much important info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should statement on some basic issues, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is truly nice : D. Good job, cheers

  80. You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  81. Hi to all, the YouTube film that is posted at at this juncture has in fact fastidious quality beside with nice audio feature

  82. It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made at this place.

  83. I’m pretty pleased to find this page. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you book-marked to check out new stuff on your website.