Hi, I’m Anna.
THE CLIFFSNOTES VERSION:
Born in Ohio, attended the University of Notre Dame, moved to NYC in 2006 for my MFA. Worked in the NYC publishing industry for approximately five years as a literary agent’s assistant and later a book editor. Lived in India for a year and a half and now live in Paris. Primary loves: writing, reading, exploring the world, and bonding with my dog. Secondary loves: wine, cheese, thrift stores, lattes, paper products, good conversation.
THE NOVELLA VERSION:
I was born in Ohio, the youngest of four siblings and the only girl.
Like many other writers I know, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, or wanting to write, or thinking about writing. (I also liked calculus, unlike many other writers I know, but that is neither here nor there.) So in college, I took all the creative writing courses I could. I also tutored at the campus writing center and interned at the affiliated publishing house. I pretty much begged and haggled my way into any type of writing/editorial endeavor that existed—not to pad my resume (at the time, I planned to be a lawyer)—but for fun.
When I was a senior in college and filling out law school apps and generally feeling out-of-sorts about my future (I was dealing with the aftermath of a bad breakup and also dreading law school with a passion), I had a lunch date that changed my life. My friend and I chatted about lots of stuff, almost none of which I remember. Probably guys or something. The part of our conversation I do remember went like this:
Me: ‘What are you doing after this?”
Friend: “I dunno, maybe an MFA or maybe a PhD.”
Me: “What’s an MFA?”
Somehow I’d gone through almost all of college without ever having heard of an MFA. Probably because many people in my life were conspiring against me. Or more likely because I hadn’t done my research.
Well, thank god for that lunch, because that night I phoned my parents, signed up for the GRE, and changed my future. (It’s a good thing, too, because I bombed the LSAT. The GRE is way easier than the LSAT, for the record.) I felt lucky that my resume was pretty much perfect for applying to MFA programs, given all my writing-related extracurriculars. (That said, it is not really “luck” when you do what you want to do and things fall in line, as long as your interests are consistent.)
So, fast forward: I’m sitting in a famous psychologist’s office. We have just met. She was on Oprah and published a couple of bestsellers about girls who “win.” She spends an hour trying to convince me to go to law school, because writing books is really, really hard, and according to her I probably can’t do it. I see red. Then I point my magic finger at her. (Just kidding, that was a Roald Dahl reference.)
Fast forward again: I’m in grad school for my MFA (full-time, nights, in New York City). It’s awesome, but I’m also working full-time—at a fitness equipment company that’s being run out of someone’s walkup apartment. While at work, I mostly just walk the owner’s dog and pick up poop and maybe pick up her groceries; and then one day a Brazilian jujitsu master who is staying at the apartment while the owner is away offers me a bowl of cherries (red flag) and then tries to kiss me,* and I run away (to Bryant Park). My soul shrivels closer and closer to a walnut.
Then one of my profs in my MFA program, who is a well-known book editor in NYC, helps me get an interview at a literary agency. I interview, I get the job. It is GREAT (with the exception of the Mean Girl in the next cube). After about a year, I begin applying for editorial jobs, and I eventually get a job as an EA at a major publishing house in NYC, and am ecstatic (because aside from writing, this was my other big dream).
I do that for a while, finish grad school, meet a guy, get engaged in Florence after a year of dating, get married in city hall after three months of being engaged, move to India for fourteen months, write a couple of books, meet some amazing people who are still very close to my heart, obtain a floppy dog, move back to New York, get divorced, get another job as an editor at the same publishing house as before, and move to a gorgeous old brownstone in Brooklyn with two terrific housemates in a neighborhood where a bunch of my writer-friends also live.
Okay, phew. I did warn you. This pretty much brings us to the present.
So then I was there, editing amazing books for amazing authors for another year and a half, until I decided the time had come to spend more time writing. Serendipitously, I got an email one June afternoon from some old friends from New York who had since moved to Paris, and they offered me a part-time job as an au pair.
So here I am, in Paris! Writing books, eating cheese, dancing, drinking cheap wine, rummaging through thrift stores, botching my French, playing big sister to two cute girls, and ogling everything in this beautiful city.
That is all, at least for now.
*=times when I probably should have sued (kicking myself)