Edna In The Desert is Maddy Lederman’s first novel, released by Electio Publishing. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The LA Times and The Sun Runner, a magazine about California deserts. She has an MFA in Theater from Brooklyn College, lives in Brooklyn, NY and works in the art department for films and TV shows, recently on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and The Amazing Spiderman 2.
How long have you been a member of the WNBA-NYC? How did you get involved with the organization?
About a year. When my first novel, Edna In The Desert, was almost finished, I was looking for ways to learn about publishing.
Where did the idea for Edna come from and when can readers expect to purchase it?
It’s available now at electiopublishing.com and practically everywhere online as an e-book or paperback. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Mojave Desert and the idea for Edna In The Desert started out as a short film. I kept seeing this family in a car on a desert highway. Cars can be pressure cookers for intense situations (I’m working on a collection of micro-stories that take place in cars). In this story, a bratty, Los Angeles thirteen year-old finds out she’s going to be left with her grandparents for the summer. Her grandparents are like people I had interviewed for a local magazine. They had no cell phone service or internet and lived in the middle of nowhere. It was so remote, I wondered how a modern, city kid could stand it. Eventually Edna In The Desert became a short story (now chapter one of the book). I read it at Desert Stories, a spoken word event in Joshua Tree, CA, and then it was published in The Sun Runner, a magazine about California deserts. So many people wanted to know what was going to happen to Edna, it inspired me to write the book!
Tell us about your experience with Query Roulette. How did that help you with publishing Edna?
Query Roulette was terrific! I saw five agents that night, and I wished I had seen ten! I thought I had a unique story, but I found out it was not coming through in my query letter. It was great to get the agents’ (brutally) honest feedback, and have them suggest what would convey Edna In The Desert’s originality and charm. I’m sure it helped me. I got a response a few months later.
Does writing for Huffington Post and other publications influence your novel writing? What can be the benefit in blogging for publications when taking on writing a book?
I blog about popular culture on the Huffington Post and I think it’s the other way around: the fiction writing influences the blog, because it comes from what I happen to be thinking about. Since Edna In The Desert was just released on Sept. 9th, I will have to get back to you about the benefits!
You also work in the art department for films and TV – which sounds fascinating. What’s that like?
Most of the time it’s fun, but it can be hard work. Often we are helping to fill in the blanks about a person or place that is not learned through the dialogue, so there is a lot of storytelling in it.
Was writing fiction something you always wanted to do or is this a new path for you?
It was the first thing I ever wanted to do, at the age of nine, but writing involves a lot of sitting still and I don’t think I had the patience as a younger person. But I’ve always been involved in storytelling, either through acting, directing, editing or on the technical side, and I’m happy in the place I am now with writing.
What’s next for you? Any future books in the works?
Yes! A sequel to Edna In The Desert is underway. I have a new novel called The Real Emily (a screwball-romance at Cannes Film Festival) developing; there’s my untitled anthology of car stories, and too many more story ideas to list!
What’s on your to-read list?
I had a great time talking with Jessica Maria Tuccelli at our last event, and I just ordered her book Glow.