I had the pleasure to interview author and human rights advocate, Abby Fabiaschi. We talk about her book “I liked my life“, her experiences as an author, and Empower Her Network.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I just finished Ken Follett’s A COLUMN OF FIRE (amazing) and I am looking forward to digging into EDUCATED by Tara Westover. The most impactful read so far this year was HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi and my favorite contemporary writer is Elizabeth Strout, whose economy with words astounds me. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE is the shortest book I’ve read in since MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, and yet both books yield a huge amount of story.
Explain the upside down cover art on your Novel “I liked My Life”?
St. Martin’s team designed it and I hesitate to speak for someone else’s art, but I think it’s speaking to the fact that things in the Starling household are not as they seem. And I take the flowers flowing in the expected direction to represent growth the characters experience as they work to redefine their family after a loss. There are slivers of beauty and strength hidden in life’s most antagonizing moments.
How does it feel to have readers and critics tell you about how they feel about your book?
I’m still surprised there are readers who aren’t my sister! Publishing odds what they are, I never thought I’d be a published author and I certainly never thought I’d have a book translated into 6 other languages, so I try to keep perspective. It was thrilling to have the Associated Press call I LIKED MY LIFE “impossible-to-put-down” and to receive starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal— conversely, Publisher’s Weekly was decidedly unimpressed and don’t get me started on a woman named Rosemary who was so displeased she felt the need to send me a personal email. I try to remember I’ve traded my problems up. It’s an honor people are reading my work.
What advice would give that person that is thinking about leaving their day job and becoming an author like how you did?
Most writer’s don’t quit their day job until they are several books in because it’s not financially viable. My situation was unique because my desire to write was not the only consideration. At the time, my son was unwell (he’s better now) and my husband and I were struggling to balance our family’s needs with the realities of our respective careers. We decided to slice our income in half and take a chance, but I know how fortunate I am that it was even an option.
I will say this: when I first looked into getting published, I read a lot of negative stuff on writer’s forums, etc. Things like “agents don’t even read the slush pile” and “don’t even bother if your mom is not Judy Bloom.” That just wasn’t my experience. I had no connections, no MFA, no social media platform. It took years of rejection and two books that will never see the light of day, but In the end, agents, and editors cared only about the writing.
What is the “Empower Her Network” about?
Empower Her Network collaborates with ready survivors of human trafficking who find themselves in the same vulnerable circumstance that led to their initial exploitation by removing housing barriers, financing education, and uncovering employment opportunities. We currently offer services in New York, Tampa, and Atlanta, and are opening in Akron, Hartford, and Los Angeles by yearend. To learn more, please go to www.empowerhernetwork.org.
I find it incredibly noble of you to give 20% of your profits to charity, what made you and your husband perform such a generous act?
Oh, I am not deserving of that. We were VERY inward during our twenties. Now that we are in a comfortable spot and have children that we hope to raise with giant hearts, we decided to practice systematic giving so that looking outward is never an afterthought.
I feel “I Liked My Life” is just the beginning for you as a writer, what’s next?
I am about two years into a project that I hope to finish this fall called ANYTHING HELPS. My best guess is that it will be out in early 2020.
Abby Fabiaschi official Site