As kids head back to school and the leaves start to turn, that means one thing for Thurber House: our Fall Evenings with Authors series begins! Last night we kicked off the series with bestselling author Mona Simpson – a fantastic event! Simpson shared from her most recent novel My Hollywood. The story shares Hollywood from two perspectives – that of a family and that of the caretakers of those families, and the relationships and dynamics that form between the two.
During the event, Simpson talked about her writing process, character development and life experiences that inspired the story behind the book.
The storyline for this novel emerged from observations she made when taking her children to a nearby park. Simpson noticed several very different groups of women gathered. She would see the stay-at-home mothers together in one area, and then groups of nannies and caretakers grouped by ethnicity in another. Simpson explained how “… the voices of those women became imprinted on me.” It was from those observations and interactions that the idea for My Hollywood began to take shape.
The book took her 10+ years to develop and write as the characters evolved over time. Simpson shared that when she initially wrote the two main characters, Claire and Lola, she struggled with making each sound authentic. After many re-writes and collecting feedback from mothers and caretakers, Simpson felt more satisfied with how the characters had developed.
Simpson’s thoughtful words and quick wit had the audience relating to her and laughing throughout the evening. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the first Evenings with Authors event. If you missed it, don’t worry: We have four more authors joining us this fall. Hope to see you there!