Zibby was recently joined by three-time guest Elyssa Friedland on IG Live to talk about her latest novel, Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, set during a pre-COVID summer at the last remaining resort in the Catskills. Elyssa tells Zibby about how she drew just as much inspiration from her own experiences in the Catskills as she did from Dirty Dancing, why she enjoys creating female characters that surprise readers, and offers a sneak preview about her upcoming novel, Most Likely.


Zibby Owens: Hi, Elyssa.

Elyssa Friedland: Hi, Zibby. How are you?

Zibby: Thanks for coming back on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.” I feel like you might have been on more than anybody. This is your third time.

Elyssa: Yes, that’s true because I came for the joint project that I did. Wow, I’m a three-peat. That’s an honor. Thank you.

Zibby: Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, this book was so good, really immersive, amazing. I don’t know how you developed all these characters well enough that I have a visual of everybody in my head. I didn’t see the plot twist coming. Seriously, I often feel like a moron when I talk about books because I’m like, I didn’t see that. Maybe I should have.

Elyssa: It just means that we’re doing our job well.

Zibby: I guess so. I’m totally in it. Tell listeners what Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is about and then how you came up with this plot. I know it’s in the note and everything.

Elyssa: Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is really about a hotel. The Golden Hotel is a resort in the Catskills very similar to Kellerman’s from Dirty Dancing. I am certain that 99.9 percent of your listeners have seen Dirty Dancing probably at least twice, maybe more like ten times.

Zibby: I think I saw it in the theater like eight times. Obsessed.

Elyssa: Of course. It’s really stood the test of time as the best movie ever. The Golden Hotel is very similar to Kellerman’s and also the Steiner Resort in season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, another fictional Catskills hotel. In real life, there were thousands of them in the area for decades. These hotels were the most glamorous, the place to see and be seen. There was a definitely a concentration of Jewish people that went to the Catskills, but there were other ethnic groups that had places in the Catskills also. There was a Greek area. There was an Italian area. It was basically a refuge for people who lived in the city to get out of the city and have fresh air and just have fun in the summertime. It wasn’t an era of twenty-four/seven connectedness with a smart phone, obviously. Families would go for weeks at a time. Usually, the mother and children would go for the entire summer. The husbands would drive up on the weekends, really old school. It was, I would say, good, clean family fun, but there’s a lot of not-clean things also that happen up in the Catskills. It’s kind of like a “what happens in the Catskills stays in the Catskills,” if you will. Anyway, The Golden was really the preeminent resort for decades. The book opens in present times, 2019. I set it pre-COVID just to sidestep that whole issue. The hotel’s the last one in the region standing. The guestbook is half full only. The furniture is duct taped together. The pool is full of goose poop. The grounds are just impossible to maintain. Really, the writing is on the wall that the hotel should be shuttered.

An attractive offer comes from a casino developer that wants to buy the hotel and convert it into a casino, which really means just buy the property and raise the buildings and put up a casino in its place. This brings the two families that co-own the hotel together back to campus for a week to decide whether they should sell the hotel or whether they should try to modernize and try one last-ditch effort to keep the hotel standing. Both families arrive with three generations in tow. You’ve got the founders who built the hotel with their bare hands, practically. They’re very attached to the place. You have millennial grandchildren who are totally disengaged from the hotel but then the minute they get there decide that they’re the experts on how to fix it. Simply, you need artisanal cheese and goat yoga and a cryotherapy tank. As long as it becomes a hipster paradise, it’ll all be saved. Then you have the middle generation that I probably identify with the most. They’re just like, I don’t care what happens to the hotel, but I’m right now dealing with my parents and my children at the same time. They all just want to run away. It’s a big cast of characters. I liked that because the Catskills was this very robust place that touched a lot of lives. I liked being able to show what the hotel meant to a lot of people. Obviously, I will not give away what happens in the end except to say that I’ve received a lot of emails that people were very satisfied by the ending, which was a nice feeling.

Zibby: I liked the ending too.

Elyssa: Thank you.

Zibby: I liked it. I liked how you tied everything up. I could see where every character was going. I could see a part two, perhaps. Have you thought about it?

Elyssa: We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m mostly hoping that this goes to screen. I do have a film agent. So far, I have not sold the option rights. I’ve just gotten so many emails from people begging to see this on screen. For me, that would be the dream. I don’t love sequels so much in terms of writing because when I’m done, I’m done. I’m onto the next. I love these characters, but then I fall in love with my new set of characters.

Zibby: And, by the way, you already have your new book in here. I was like, good for you. Most Likely is coming out in 2022?

Elyssa: Yeah, next fall.

Zibby: Tell everybody about that book.

Elyssa: Most Likely came out of a story that my mother told me which was really funny which she tells to my kids when they come home from school and they’re having a bad day. Now you’re going to tell your kids this story. My mom, in high school, had a big crush on this guy, Lewis. She’s like, “He never looked at me. I was nerdy. I was poor. He didn’t even know my name, probably, until one time he wanted me to write a paper for him, which I did. He was so handsome, so gorgeous, and popular and an athlete.” They graduate high school, obviously don’t expect to ever see each other again. My mom goes to college. She meets my father shortly after college. They get married. They buy their first house, a small house in Staten Island. They, for the first time, call and arrange to have their windows cleaned. Who shows up to clean the windows but Lewis, my mom’s major, major crush. Not only is he the window washer, he fell off the ladder. He fell from the second floor into the bushes. Totally fine. Here’s this guy who my mom worshipped. She’s pulling him out of pine needles. That story has stuck with me forever. It’s a great story for when your kids come home and they’re like, I have no friends, or I feel stupid, or this or that.

Who we are and what we are in high school and what we turn into twenty, twenty-five years later, sometimes it’s a straight trajectory, and sometimes it’s really anything but. Most Likely is about four women who reunite at their twenty-fifth high school reunion. They’ve stayed friends, but they’re spread across the country. They chat, but they’re not seeing each other all that often. They get drunk. They start going through the yearbook on the first night of the reunion. They come across their high school superlatives, which are nothing like what they’ve turned into. They have a bit of a moment of reckoning. They’re each like, is this really where I want to be with my life? All but one of them who seems absolutely to have it all. She really seems to have reached her superlative. The other three are nowhere near what was expected of them or what they were voted to become. They decide to give each other until the end of the schoolyear to try to actualize their dreams. They support each other. They hit many bumps along the way. It really, in a comical way, in a heartfelt way, addresses, what does it mean for a woman to have it all?

Zibby: Wow. By the way, may I just commend you on how well you talk about all your books.

Elyssa: Thank you. I feel like I tend to be longwinded.

Zibby: No, it’s great. What were you most likely to be when you were in high school?

Elyssa: Thankfully, we didn’t have any superlatives. I probably didn’t deviate that much from — I was the valedictorian in my high school. I then went to Yale. I then went to Columbia Law School. I’m such a type-A nerd. While I’m now in a creative field, I’m still ambitious. I’m checking my Amazon ranking every thirty seconds. The girl who went to the science teacher and said, “You said you’d post the grades. You said you’d post the grades,” is still the same girl that’s refreshing Amazon and checking how many reviews I have. I really haven’t changed that much other than to say that I’m a lot more confident. I had no confidence in high school. I definitely never felt good about myself, never thought I’d have a boyfriend. In that, I’ve grown into my skin. I’m about to turn forty. I feel so much better about myself. I might look worse than I did then, but I feel a lot better about myself.

Zibby: I’m sure you don’t look worse.

Elyssa: Not everyone is totally different than who they were in high school. We have people from my graduating class who are brain surgeons now, and they were in the bottom, bottom classes. Either they’re terrible brain surgeons and no one should go to them or they just blossomed later. I think it’s such an important lesson. That’s really if you’re talking about in the professional track. Even just the girl who was mean, but everyone followed her around, she was such a queen bee, she’s kind of a loser now. I’m sure you have some similar stories.

Zibby: Yes. I’m debating what I would say out loud on this podcast, but yes. There’s this whole thing, peaked in seventh grade. We always used to talk in high school, that guy peaked in seventh grade. That was his era. That was her era. I feel like it’s inversely correlated, your status ranking in seventh grade to your middle-aged success or something.

Elyssa: Your husband would have an interesting take on this because I know he’s a competitive tennis player, or he was. I have heard that in Europe, they actually don’t allow kids to compete until a certain very mature age, much older than they start in the United States because if they do, they peak too early. It apparently really diminishes your chances for long-term success if you’re a six-year-old out on the court competing. There’s some statistics also about, Olympic medalists typically start their sport later than other very good people who don’t medal.

Zibby: Actually, Kyle didn’t start out playing tennis. He started playing tennis to improve his football skills.

Elyssa: Well, so there you go. That kind of proves it. It’s interesting, this whole idea of not wanting to peak too early.

Zibby: Then look at all the pressure. Naomi Osaka, I don’t know if you’ve been following with the French Open and the effect of your mental health when you — I wonder if there’s some social corollary when you peak and you can’t deal with the pressure, these queen bee girls maybe. I don’t know.

Elyssa: Or just as we mature, we’re like, actually, it’s not so great to hang around with a mean person. I see it. Even when I see my daughter come home upset, I’m like, I wish you could just have the crystal ball I have. That mean girl, no one’s going to be following her around soon enough.

Zibby: It’s so true. I know. Especially, it’s so weird having kids. I have two kids who are just finishing seventh grade. I feel like I was just in seventh grade. My most likely, by the way, and ours were all jokes, but mine was most likely to teach driver’s ed because I failed my road test so many times. I got in so many car accidents.

Elyssa: Are you a good driver now?

Zibby: As long as I don’t have to park.

Elyssa: Fair enough.

Zibby: I feel like I’m doing a lot better. Let’s talk about this book a little bit more because there was so much in here. Part of what you wrote about the rise and fall of the Catskills hotel was based on the three As of why the Jews even had gone and why they are no longer going. You talked about the advent of air conditioning, assimilation, that now there’s lots of other places that Jews and other groups can go. What was the third one?

Elyssa: Airfare, which is probably the biggest. You hear it at the end. Max Kellerman in Dirty Dancing actually says the line, I think when he’s talking about Dr. Houseman, he’s like, “It feels like it’s all slipping away. These kids don’t want to come and take foxtrot lessons with their parents. They want thirteen cities in ten days.” Dirty Dancing was actually made in the eighties meant to show the sixties, so the hotels were already starting to decline. I went to the Catskills with my family in the nineties. We used to stay at Kutsher’s. There’s actually an amazing documentary that I relied on called Welcome to Kutcher’s that’s available on Amazon Prime. It’s all about the Kutsher family and the decline of their hotel. It was the most treasured place for so many families, but they just couldn’t keep the lights on anymore. While people had the most fond memories of going there and having this peaceful time and being in nature, they’re like, except I just got an email that says I could fly to Iceland for $119. I could go back to Liberty, New York, for my thirtieth time, or I could see Iceland, cross something off my bucket list. The Catskills really did fall out of favor, but there is a revival now. It is of a more hipster variety. I just was interviewed on New York Public Radio. The host, Alison Stewart, she’s my age. She’s like, “I’m going to the Catskills this weekend.” I was like, “Oh, where are you going?” She tells me the name of the hotel. I look it up. It couldn’t be more hipster. Every room is some totally bizarre theme. It seems like the entire hotel was made for Instagram. That is definitely happening. I remember I went to Scribner’s Lodge for the weekend to do some research about the area. It’s like all of Brooklyn has gone to the Catskills now. It’s hip parents that are skinny and have tattoos. Their kids have cool strollers. That’s the new Catskills. It is not such a dead area anymore.

Zibby: Except I am not cool enough for the Catskills, it turns out.

Elyssa: I think you might not be. No offense.

Zibby: That’s okay. None taken. It’s all right.

Elyssa: I’m not either, for what it’s worth.

Zibby: I know. All the hipster places, I just have missed the — I’m just not hip. It’s okay. I love how often Phoebe is posting in her Instagram, as someone who is obsessed with Instagram. @ZibbyOwens, by the way. The way you poke fun basically at every character is what makes me smile, the way she’ll take a picture of whatever, and five seconds later, she’s posting. You had her climb that tree and take a picture from — or building. I don’t know. She was up high somewhere. This need to capture everything as you’re doing it and make everything a moment, tell me a little about that.

Elyssa: Phoebe has turned into, it seems like, the majority of people’s favorite character. Phoebe is this gorgeous millennial with a great body and long, blond hair. She’s beautiful. She doesn’t really seem to have a job because all she does is walk around with her phone. Actually, she makes quite a bit of money because she posts a T-shirt, and then that T-shirt is sold out ten minutes later. She’s hired by companies as a traditional influencer. Naturally, her grandparents are concerned. They would much prefer to see her in law school like her father. He’s an attorney. Instead, she’s totally not attracted to this traditional job. She’s making a ton of money and actually has terrific ideas. She’s plucky. I don’t even think of her as someone who’s so obsessed with Instagram because she’s really monetizing it. For her, it’s really more of a career. It’s not a mom who’s just desperate to show off her kids every two seconds or a person who has to show off where they are on vacation. She’s like, I’m showing off where I am on my vacation, and I’m laughing all the way to the bank. This hotel, I’m here for free.

Zibby: She does a lot of good, it turns out.

Elyssa: She does a lot of good. She’s a really likable character. I did this in my last book, The Floating Feldmans, as well. I love to write about women who are easily dismissed but who are surprising. You walk in with a certain body and a certain look and being of a certain age, and it’s very easy to dismiss. There’s nothing I love more than the Elle Woods story. What? It’s hard? You got into Harvard Law School? I love that, a cute, little, blond Barbie with a 180 on the LSAT. To me, that’s the best. Writing about those women makes me so happy. Phoebe’s one of them. People have really responded to her.

Zibby: Is this a real account, by the way? I meant to go on and look.

Elyssa: No, but I should because that would be such a perfect —

Zibby: — You have to do it. @FreeToBePhoebe, you should totally do that.

Elyssa: That would be such a great Easter egg, like when people put those in the books.

Zibby: Before you leave today, you’re going to sign up for that.

Elyssa: I’m doing it. That’s so smart. When I did a podcast the other day, the woman who interviewed me was like, “You have to make T-shirts for The Five B.” The people who have not read this book who are listening, when the hotel is failing and word gets out, there are thousands and thousands of people who are devasted. They might not be showing up there anymore to book hotel rooms, but they can’t imagine that this institution won’t be around anymore. They start a GoFundMe. It’s called The Five B: Bring Back the Borscht Belt Baby. This person who interviewed me was like, “You need merch. You need Bring Back the Borscht Belt Baby T-shirts.”

Zibby: That’s true. There’s a lot of merch you could do.

Elyssa: Maybe some merch. Not a bad idea.

Zibby: First, you have to go back and post the things that she posts in the book. Start with that.

Elyssa: You’re so smart.

Zibby: Thanks.

Elyssa: You guys already know that. I already knew that.

Zibby: It’s not smart. It’s just, these are fun ideas. You also have this great intergenerational — how do we deal with when a son is obviously gay and hasn’t come out to his family? You have this whole scene, which was hilarious, by the way. One of my favorite scenes in the whole book. It’s pride month or whatever it is now. Talk about that relationship and how the older generation, they just didn’t want to see it.

Elyssa: One of the main purposes of going to the Catskills wasn’t just to get out of the city. It was also to marry off your children. If you remember Robbie from Dirty Dancing, he went to Yale. The waiters and the busboys and the bellman, these were highly educated people who were there either to make connections for their jobs, which was huge. You might be serving a table one summer. Then you’re at Goldman Sachs working for the person you served when you graduate college. It was a great way to network. Also, many marriages came out of the Catskills. There weren’t too many grandparents walking around with a grandson saying, do you know any nice boys for my grandson? It just wasn’t out there. Of course, I hint at it in the book. It’s not to say that same-sex stuff wasn’t happening. It just certainly wasn’t out in the open. Naturally, I really wanted this book to be modern. The idea of everyone being straight is ridiculous in these times. If I really wanted to show the differences between the generations, having Michael be gay was just perfect. It let me explore the themes of modern versus tradition, and acceptance, and the changing nature of even the Jewish community and what’s accepted. His grandparents really just don’t want to see it. They can’t even imagine it. They don’t really know people who are out. They live in a bubble. Michael’s parents see it, but they’re just completely consumed and busy. They don’t have the relationship with him where he’s officially come out. Sure, they suspect it. It also is just about, the hotel brings them closer. The hotel and being away from phones and work and slowing down and having a chance to actually go for a long walk and talk gives Michael the chance to have a heart-to-heart with his parents about his sexuality, though he’s outed, not in the way that he might have wanted to be.

Zibby: I also really liked Aimee. Is that how you pronounce that?

Elyssa: Aimee.

Zibby: How she had to deal with a husband who ends up making a mistake very early on in the book and how she then has to deal with it with both her kids and her husband and whatever. Then I was thinking it would be so cool if there was some sort of meeting of Aimee and — I don’t know if you’ve read Lauren Weisberger’s new book, Where the Grass Is Green and The Girls Are Pretty.

Elyssa: Not yet, but I have it.

Zibby: It wasn’t necessarily her husband, but there’s a transgression that happens that’s sort of similar. Anyway, I thought it would be so great to have those characters go out for coffee, like in The Jeffersons or something where people would cross over into different stories.

Elyssa: That was the best.

Zibby: I feel like the two of you need to get together and see what would happen when Aimee gets coffee with —

Elyssa: — You know us both.

Zibby: I’ll put it together.

Elyssa: Set it up. We’ll write a little script.

Zibby: This is what happens. I spend too much of my life now in books. Now I’m like, ooh, I need that character to meet this other character.

Elyssa: As long as you don’t start inviting these people to your house for dinner, I think it’s okay. Then we know you’ve crossed the line.

Zibby: I’m like, Elijah and Aimee are sitting here next to each other. Oh, my gosh. Even aging, you talked about so beautifully with Louise.

Elyssa: My grandma was really beautiful. When she started to lose her looks, it was really hard for her. I remember it. I would go stay with her in Florida. Of course, she lived in Florida. I would stay with her in her apartment. We used to share a bed when I went to stay with her. No matter what time I woke up, she was already out of bed because she was doing her face and doing her hair. I think I could wake up at four and she’d still be gone. She’d start a half an hour before I ever woke up because putting on her face was so important to her. She talked about feeling invisible sometimes. She worked as a receptionist at Salomon Brothers which then merged with Lehman Brothers. She was the receptionist. They don’t put the ugly people as the receptionist. She was beautiful. Back in the day, men came in and they loved to flirt with her and talk to her because she was beautiful. She got on in age. It stops. The looks stop. She had a tough time. Louise is like that in the book. Louise is beautiful and glamorous and coming to terms with aging.

Zibby: It’s so funny. My grandmother who recently passed away, when she was ninety-seven, she was like, “You know, I’ve never looked better than when I turned ninety. No one ever used to tell me I looked amazing. Now, every day.”

Elyssa: That’s amazing. I like that.

Zibby: She loved it.

Elyssa: One of my friends told me, he’s like, “I just want to tell people that I’m ten years older than I am. Then everyone just says, you look amazing. You’re sixty? You look amazing for sixty.” It’s a great way to get a lift.

Zibby: How to trick a compliment out of everybody, that’s so funny. So you’ve already written your next book. Completely or what?

Elyssa: No. Oh, my god, I wish. Having the kids this whole year with COVID, it was just a nightmare. My son, my oldest, was home three days a week. He only went to school twice a week. I felt every other day the cohorts were quarantined. It was such a crazy year. My job is to finish it this summer. All three of my kids are going to sleepaway camp June 26th. If I could just throw them out the window, get them there today, I would go, helicopter please. Please put them there. I have spent so much time with them. You know how it is. It’s just been nonstop, constant for so long since last March. Of course, they didn’t go to camp last summer. I love them so much, but I don’t feel that I’ve been able to really think clearly in over a year. When they leave, when they are in camp — I’ve never had all three gone before. This will be the first time. Even when I’m down one or two, it feels like a drawer in my brain got organized. It frees up space almost like you delete on your phone and you have more memory. That’s how I feel. I’m no longer like, what time is Lila’s pickup? Oh, Charlie, dentist. Shoot, they never got the cavity drilled. Just that running cycle in my head.

Zibby: Try getting divorced. I’m kidding.

Elyssa: What about that fifty percent of the time where you don’t have them? Is that glorious, or not really?

Zibby: No, no, it’s terrible.

Elyssa: You miss them.

Zibby: It’s not fifty percent. The weekends that I don’t have them, every other weekend, I have what you’re talking about. I have the reset. That’s how I’m able to be a functional human being.

Elyssa: You do so much, so it makes sense that you do have a couple days where you don’t have them. I don’t know how you could do it otherwise.

Zibby: I wasn’t doing it otherwise. I wasn’t doing it before.

Elyssa: It feels like my brain — I don’t necessarily even feel smarter. I feel clearer. There’s just more space because I don’t have to deal with the logistics. There’s just so many logistics.

Zibby: I’m still dealing with logistics even if the kids are not in front of me.

Elyssa: By the way, I’ll still be dealing with some of it when they’re in camp. I am telling you, it’s like the school is trying to mess with us. June 26th, they will get on the bus and leave for camp. Then by June 30th, there will be, the medical forms are due at your child’s school.

Zibby: I’m already getting the medical forms email.

Elyssa: Magnus Health is already after me.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh, Magnus. I can’t even.

Elyssa: Then you start getting the full activities, will start emailing you over the summer, early-bird specials, space is limited.

Zibby: Try out for this team and blah, blah, blah. I’m like, I’ve already missed the tryouts. What if she wants to be on this team? It’s too late.

Elyssa: It’s such a treadmill. It is such, such a treadmill.

Zibby: At least we know you’ll be writing this book.

Elyssa: I will finish the book this summer. Actually, I also teach. I hired one of my students to help me this summer. I wouldn’t call her a research assistant because it’s not such a research-heavy book. Every time I write something, it’s checking for the inconsistencies. I think this scene is supposed to take place in December in Connecticut, and you have her in a tank top outside. Catching those types of little inconsistencies.

Zibby: As you go? Oh, my god, that would stress me out.

Elyssa: I don’t look at them. I’ll do another chunk. She’s working through it because that’s the hardest thing for me. I’ll have big, big, big ideas. I get super excited about my ideas and my plot developments. Then I will change someone’s name in the middle of the book and then forget. I’ll have something that just doesn’t make sense. You said that she is a senior in high school, the daughter. You have to mention college then. She’s picking up those types of things. It’s even just like, you talk about her eating breakfast, and then the next scene, you haven’t accounted for the day. That type of thing I find really helpful. I’ve never had anyone like that before. This student was super promising, a really incredible writer, and so she’s helping me. She’s organized.

Zibby: You should have her write an essay for Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.

Elyssa: Maybe I will. She’s really incredible. By the way, talent is not distributed equally. I had office hours with her the first time I really got to know her. She’s a brilliant writer. We were meeting about her midterm. I asked her a little bit about her life and when she’s graduating and this and that. She’s like, “Well, I’m in a little bit of an untraditional path at Yale because I’m also in Dear Evan Hansen.”

Zibby: Stop.

Elyssa: Yep.

Zibby: Okay, she’s definitely writing. Get her to start writing her own book.

Elyssa: She’s so talented. I’m sure she will. I was like, “So you write that well and you sing and dance? Come again?”

Zibby: It’s not fair.

Elyssa: She’s the understudy for the sister character. That’s huge.

Zibby: That’s a huge part, wow.

Elyssa: Some people have a little more talent than others.

Zibby: Or she could just come over and sing for my kids.

Elyssa: That too. She’s amazing. It’s been fun. The only research in the book is that these particular women were in high school in the nineties. So I was, actually, but I don’t remember everything.

Zibby: There’s a new Instagram account. You have to check it out.

Elyssa: What?

Zibby: I have to find it. It’s something like @NewYorkCityInThe90s, or 1990s. It’s all the pictures from when we were all in high school.

Elyssa: I want to get the hairstyles right.

Zibby: I’m going to send it to you.

Elyssa: I know by the end of the nineties, we did have smartphones. Not smartphones, but we had cell phones. Was it the StarTAC? I need those details to be correct. How much was a Happy Meal at McDonald’s?

Zibby: That, I don’t have.

Elyssa: That kind of thing, she’ll be helpful with. I like to do these inspiration boards in my office, so even just printing out pictures so that when I walk in, I’m like, I’m in the nineties.

Zibby: That is so cool.

Elyssa: I don’t know how I feel about the nineties as a decade.

Zibby: Yeah, I don’t know.

Elyssa: It doesn’t have much of a personality, I don’t think.

Zibby: Time for a rebrand.

Elyssa: I agree.

Zibby: Awesome. Advice to aspiring authors? I feel like you might have new advice because you keep cranking out some awesome content.

Elyssa: Aspiring writers, I teach writing, and I believe in the value in taking writing classes. I had done a lot of writing when I was in undergrad. I think that you certainly don’t have to go back to full-time school. I did classes at Gotham Writers Workshop even here in New York when I decided to switch from being a lawyer to being a full-time writer. I think that, of course, talent plays a role, but a lot can be learned. Take a writing class. If nothing else, it’s a workshop environment. It forces you to write. You have to do the assignments. You have to read other people’s writing and critique their writing. You have to turn in your own work. I’m sure I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to say, read. Just read as much as you can. You will pick up a little writing tip from every book you read.

Zibby: Awesome. Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, everybody go pick it up. Thank you.

Elyssa: Thank you.



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