Abbi Waxman is the author of the new novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. She also has written Other People's Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings. She lives in Los Angeles.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your character Nina Hill?
A: When I was touring for my last book, Other People’s Houses, I kept meeting all these cool young women who worked in the bookstores. They were cool, smart, dressed in funky clothes, and deeply, DEEPLY in love with books. I fell in love with all of them, and decided to write them a book where they were the hero.
Q: Nina is a bookworm who works in an independent bookstore. What do you think her experiences say about the world of bookselling these days?
A: I actually think independent bookstores are having A Moment, as the press like to say. I feel that although it’s still tough to run a bookstore, the internet has actually made it possible for booklovers to get enthusiastic and excited about books again. Who knew the internet would save the book?
Q: Nina also is a trivia expert. Do you know all the facts Nina knows, or did you have to look some of them up?
A: Some I knew, some I cheated.
Q: In this book, you've returned to the same part of Los Angeles that you wrote about in your first two books. What's it like to revisit to that same neighborhood (and some of the same characters) in your writing?
A: I love my neighborhood, and spend most of my time here. I love bringing back other characters, it feels like seeing old friends. Hopefully, readers feel the same way.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I just finished my fourth book, currently called The Itinerary, which is NOT a Larchmont book. It’s about a mom and teenage daughter who take an organized college tour on the East Coast, and the shenanigans that ensue. While it’s not a Larchmont book, they do live in Larchmont, it’s just that the action doesn’t take place there.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I’m considering writing a Nina Hill sequel, but I’m still at the pondering stage. I had so much fun writing her, and people seem to love her, so… but I have to come up with an idea that makes sense, obviously.
I have other ideas I want to write too, so she may have to wait until another book or two has come out. I feel incredibly fortunate that I have wonderful readers who share their thoughts… maybe one of them will come up with the perfect storyline!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Abbi Waxman.