What has being a writer taught you about rejection?
Well my first novel, Forgetting Elena wasn’t really my first novel. It was about my fifth novel, but I had submitted maybe three of them, they had all been rejected, and then this one, Forgetting Elena, which I thought was actually good was rejected by 22 publishers. In those days you couldn’t multiple submit, you had to wait until one person rejected it until you submitted it again. Anyway one of our best publishers Knopf was considering that book for maybe six months, and then they finally rejected it.
I was living in Rome, and I remember going to American Express and getting my mail, and reading the rejection letter, and I just sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. I was walking along through the forum, and I was saying, “I can’t speak, I can’t speak, they won’t let me speak.” I was sobbing away, and then I decided although I’m in atheist, I always make bargains with God, and so I made bargain God that if he sent me a beautiful angel, or a man, that I would not commit suicide.
The next thing you know this really handsome blonde Venetian came up to me and said, “Oh why are you crying? Can I help you?” We went to bed, we had a little affair, I was 29, but what did I learn from it? I guess I learned from it that God exists although I’m an atheist.