Abbi Waxman is the author of the new novel Other People's Houses. She also has written the novel The Garden of Small Beginnings. She has worked in advertising as a copywriter and creative director, and she lives in Los Angeles.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Other People's Houses?
A: I knew when I was writing The Garden of Small Beginnings that I wanted to write a book about a mom with older kids. I had written the opening chapter much earlier, and then got back into Garden, so it was always sitting there.
I live in Larchmont, the neighborhood both books are set in, and there's always so much going on under the surface.
Q: You tell the story from various characters' perspectives. Did you know going into the writing who would end up being your primary point-of-view characters?
A: I knew I wanted to center the story around a middle aged, slightly overweight woman who was doing her best to just get it all done. Much like myself and many of my friends.
Q: You bring back a character from your previous novel, The Garden of Small Beginnings. Did you always plan to do that, or was it more spontaneous?
A: I'd always planned it, because I love it when other writers do it. Characters from both Garden and Other People's Houses appear in the third book, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, which comes out early next summer. All three books are about the neighborhood, and all these people know each other in different ways.
Q: These books take place in Los Angeles. How important is setting to you in your writing?
A: It's very important, but only because it's important to the characters.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Well, I just finished Nina Hill, which I'm very happy with. It's more like Garden than it is like Other People's Houses, more of a romance. It's about a young woman who works in the bookstore on Larchmont Boulevard.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: The next book, which doesn't have a name yet, is set in Manhattan and has nothing to do with Los Angeles at all. It's a romantic comedy; I love them, I love rom-com movies, and I feel we all need a laugh right now.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Abbi Waxman.