AGE: 68 GIG: Bestselling author & screenwriter INDY BOUND: On Oct. 24, Ephron opens the Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts with a talk on her latest novel, The Lion Is In.
My parents were both screenwriters. At the dinner table, we would play word games. If I said something funny, my dad would say, “That’s a great line; write it down.” The unspoken message was that we would all be writers.
The unspoken messages are as powerful as any.
Ideas come in from all over the place. The really strange thing about The Lion Is In is that I dreamt it.
It took place in North Carolina, in my dream. I had never been. There’s a moment [in the book] when Rita wants the lion to have a tree. So she is riding down this country road and she sees this tree that looks like it’s been struck by lightning, in the middle of a field. [When I went to N.C.], I put “Take Backroads” into the GPS and picked a random destination. I’m driving down a road, and there is the tree, sitting in the field, exactly as I dreamed it.
It can only be described as magic.
I get very happy when I write. But that’s not the way it was when I began. Then, I neither had craft nor work habits, which are just critical.
If you ask women about their clothes, they tell you about their lives. I never do anything important without wearing silver earrings.
You know what I hate the most? “Having it all.” I think it’s so stupid. “Having it all” is when what you want and what you have is the same. And that happens at different times of your life.
Part of figuring out who we are is figuring out what it is that makes us happy.
I only have one enormous regret: that I didn’t have dogs my whole life. I got my first dog when I was a stepmother. Every stepmother should have a dog, because it’s really important to have someone in the house who loves you.
—as told to Amanda Heckert
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images
This article appeared in the October 2012 issue.