Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz
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About the Author
Hyatt Bass wrote, directed, and produced the film 75 Degrees in July, which was released in 2006. She is the author of the novel The Embers.
A Conversation With the Author
Where are you from?
Ft. Worth, Texas
Who are your favorite writers?
Susan Minot, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Cunningham, Nicole Krauss, William Styron, Philip Roth, Carson McCullers, JD Salinger, Raymond Carver.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Again in no particular order:
Susan Minot's Evening and Monkeys
Michael Cunningham's The Hours
William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness
Joan Didion's Run River
Carson McCullers's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, JD Salinger's Franny and Zooey, Raymond Carver's Where I'm Calling From, all three of Marilynne Robinson's novels: Housekeeping, Gilead and Home. And a lesser-known book I just love: Stephen Raleigh Byler's Searching for Intruders.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
I am an exhausted mom of two adorable and rowdy young boys (and 2 mini-schnauzers), and a passionate advocate for sustainable economic security and justice (I serve on the board of The New York Women's Foundation). Outside of all this, and my writing, I sadly do not have enough time for all the other things I love-yoga, gardening, art, music, films, and books, books, books.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Ass to chair (when I was complaining about never having time to write).
What is your favorite quote?
I'm not the kind of person who has certain quotes I live by, but I do love the Van Gogh quote I use in the book, "One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul, and yet nobody ever come to sit by it."
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Why did you choose to structure the book the way you did, shifting between all family members and between past and present?
I think this is an example of how ignorance can breed confidence. If I'd had any idea how ambitious this was for a first book, or that the book would end up taking 7 years to write, I would have probably simplified things.
But I really wanted to give the reader the experience of constantly changing his or her mind about who these people are and what actually happened between them. And now that it's done, I'm really glad I wrote the book that way.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It wasn't working as a movie.
Where do you write?
I have a little office down the street from my apartment, where I work at an old wooden desk I bought in college. No kids, no dogs, no phone. If I'm reading and revising on paper, though, I often work in a café.