Interview with Abbi Waxman

3 min read

Abbi Waxman was born in England in 1970, the oldest child of two copywriters who never should have been together in the first place. Once her father ran off to buy cigarettes and never came back, her mother began a highly successful career writing crime fiction. She encouraged Abbi and her sister Emily to read anything and everything they could pull down from the shelves, and they did. Naturally lazy and disinclined to dress up, Abbi went into advertising, working as a copywriter and then a creative director at various advertising agencies in London and New York. Eventually she quit advertising, had three kids and started writing books, TV shows and screenplays, largely in order to get a moment’s peace. Abbi lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, three dogs, three cats, a gecko, two mice and six chickens. Every one of these additions made sense at the time, it’s only in retrospect that it seems foolhardy.

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“I’m an Abbi Waxman fan. I read The Garden of Small Beginnings a few years back and her voice really spoke to me. I forgot how much I liked her until I picked up The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and I wasn’t 5 pages in when I first laughed out loud. I don’t lol very often… So this is a special book,” says GBC Founder, Erin Woodward. We recently had the chance to get to know Abbi with our Q&A below and let us say, she’s brilliant and hilarious and we really, truly want to be her best friend after this chat!

Girly Book Club: How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?

Abbi Waxman: I got into writing because it was what my parents did (my dad was a creative director in advertising, my mother was a crime novelist) so I thought that was what grownups did. Everything else looked like hard work, and still does. I’m constitutionally incapable of doing anything else.

GBC: What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess?

AW: A great book is the one that scratches the itch you need scratching at that moment. The book that hits the spot. Everyone enjoys something different, which is one of the great things about life — there are plenty of books, so you’re bound to find one you love. I reject book snobbery, it’s bullshit.

GBC: What are you doing if you’re not writing?

AW: Napping, or wishing I was napping.

GBC: Name your favourite bookshop in the world.

AW: Chevalier’s, on Larchmont (in LA). It’s the book featured — somewhat thinly disguised — in Nina Hill.

GBC: Physical book, e-book, or audiobook? – and why.

AW: Yes, yes, and yes, because a story doesn’t care.

GBC: What was your favourite book as a child?

AW: All of them. I was a childish book slut, I read mysteries, romances, ‘proper’ kids fiction, adult fiction, science fiction… I have very fond memories of reading and re-reading Mr. Small. I loved it when he got stuck in the matchbox, and then in the end there was that great plot twist, that the right job was being in the book you were reading right at that minute. It’s my first clear memory of being totally surprised by an ending, and I’ve been chasing that high ever since.

GBC: We’re always on the hunt for our next great read. Recommend us a book to add to our TBR pile!

AW: I am reading the Ronan Farrow book about Weinstein et al right now, and it’s awesome. Total page turner, despite having an enormous number of pages.

GBC: What is one movie, TV series, or podcast that you’re loving right now?

AW: I’m still recovering from Fleabag. The second series is completely and utterly brilliant.

GBC: What’s the last thing you bought online?

AW: It’s not even 10am and I already bought socks for the kids and dog food (not for the kids). I am a terrible, compulsive online shopper. I hate shopping, except grocery shopping, which I like doing, so Amazon is my second home.

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