Today we’d like to introduce you to Zoe Fishman.
Hi Zoe, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I began my writing career in the New York publishing industry. I was an editorial assistant at Penguin Random House, a Subrights Associate at Simon & Schuster and then an agent at a small boutique firm in Manhattan. Over the course of that thirteen-year span, I began to write on the side, I started small, with writer-for-hire work and then eventually landed a deal with Balancing Acts, my first novel. Once I got some traction, I was able to quit my day job and write full time. My sixth novel, The Fun Widow’s Book Tour, will be published by Morrow in March ’23.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve been a published author since 2010, and although I’m infinitely grateful that what I love is what I do for a living, it hasn’t been an easy ride. For a writer at my level, financial stability is always a struggle and especially so as a single parent. In 2017, my husband suffered a brain aneurysm and died, leaving me and our two young sons: 5 and 2 at the time, behind. Writing through that early heartbreak felt nearly impossible at the time, but it was also my salvation. Words have always healed me. I’ve since written two novels. Personal tragedy notwithstanding, the life of a creative is never easy and I’m no exception. Rejection is par for the course in this industry, and I’ve certainly experienced my fair share. The key has been to dust myself off and gets back out there – no matter what. I love writing, it’s the only thing that I know I’m good at, and I’m just not going to give it up.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m the bestselling author of five novels: Invisible As Air; Inheriting Edith; Driving Lessons; Saving Ruth and Balancing Acts, all published by Morrow, a division of Harper Collins. My sixth, The Fun Widow’s Book Tour will be published in March ’23.
I think the prevailing theme that runs through all of my books is friendship – how we pick the family outside of the one we’re born into. They’re about the struggles of everyday life and the ways in which we cope. They’re about laughter and conversation; about sometimes making the choice to see the beauty of the everyday and sometimes making the choice to crawl back into bed.
My greatest joy is writing dialogue. I’d like to think it reads well because I’m having so much fun writing it.
The characters I create are flawed; the situations in which they find themselves challenging, and yet my hope is that there are real moments of relatability for the reader. Moments where they feel like they’re being seen and appreciated. That kind of connection is unparalleled for me because it’s the reason I wanted to become a writer in the first place.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
If you consider yourself a writer but aren’t writing anything, take a class. The Atlanta Writers Club as well as Emory’s Continuing Education Program offer some great options. Going to class every week means writing every week.
If you’re a writer with a finished manuscript and you’re looking for an agent, check out the acknowledgments page of your favorite authors’ books. They’ll thank their agent. Give the agent a google and then follow their submission instructions. And be sure to flatter them. That’s a no-brainer.
Writing is such a solitary endeavor, but workshopping with other writers can be really helpful and fulfilling. Atlanta Writers Club and Emory are both great places to connect in that manner as well.
- Website: www.zoefishman.net
- Instagram: @zshacham
- Facebook: Zoe Fishman
- Twitter: @ZoeFishman76
Credit for my author photo (the first one in the purple sweater) goes to Karen Shacham.