Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anne Crossman Interview

1. Balancing a social life and keeping a good gpa is hard. When you were in high school and college, did you ever have trouble keeping both?

If we're being honest--and I mean really honest--no, I didn't do both well.  In fact, that is part of what made me want to write this book.  I was a hardworking student, becoming valedictorian and student-body vice president and overloading my extracurriculars to get into Stanford just like every other high school student with ambitions of life after graduation.  But, I took my calculus book to basketball games (the few times I actually attended them) and spent far more time at my desk than I did with my friends.  Students tend to err in extremes on the question of social live versus scholastic acheivement, and if they have to do so--again, being super honest here--they're better off aiming for the library instead of the local pizza joint on Friday night.  That being said, it doesn't have to be an either/or scenario.  I am a recovering Unperfected Perfectionist (full details on that in the book) but hopefully once students read STUDY SMART, STUDY LESS they will be Brain Trainers, having their pizza and eating it too.

2. Publishing is hard now-a-days. How was your journey on becoming a published author? Easy or hard?

I would say my author journey thus far has been providential.  The publishing world is intense; there are a lot of hard-working writers who never get published and some who do.  One of my professors once told me, "If what you are writing is truly good, it will get published."  I believed her and spent less time on submitting my work for the first decade or so and more time on honing my craft, so that once the opportunity presented itself, I was ready.  And, she was right.  Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Madeleine L'Engle are two of my heros for their stories of perseverance despite a looming stack of rejection letters.

3. When did you first realize that you wanted to become an author?

I have a journal dating back from when I was six years old and writing poetry.  Really awful poetry.  The kind where I rhymed Glue and True and thought I was doing something that had never been done before.  I can't say I have always wanted to be a writer, but I do know that I've always enjoyed writing.  Well, almost.  Let's just say I've never looked for an excuse to write research papers.  I do love poetry, though, and I'm pretty sure I've moved past the Glue stage.

4. Your book, STUDY SMART, STUDY LESS is hilarious. Plus it had so much helpful information. How were you able to put all that information down and not drive a student off the wall trying to memorize everything?

 Thanks!  I still laugh at some of my favorite parts in the book, and I love what Chris Kalb did with the illustrations.  From the very beginning with this project I was determined that the book had to stay small and precise.  If a student needs help in the study departement, it's because she had studying to do (and, thus, little time to read my book).  Plus, I remember teaching English and offering my students two book choices and you know which one they always chose?  The shorter one.  Because I wrote the foundation of the book as a gift to the students I was currently teaching, I think I was able to focus on the major points and leave all the other stuff for another book.  I remember what it was as a student; to be stressed and behind and lost and overwhelmed, and to the extent I am able to help out students who find themselves in a similar jam, I am thrilled.

5. What other book do you have planned for in the future? Can you tell?

So many books, so little time.  I would love to get back to my poetry at some point.  I recently published a poetry memoir on Alzheimer's, TRYING TO REMEMBER, as a response to my grandmother's struggle with the disease for 15 years.  (You can check out samples of the poems on my site--I promise, they are very readable and don't require a degree in English to understand them.)  I also have a second edition of GETTING THE BEST OUT OF COLLEGE I am working on with my colleagues, and that's due out in April.  Depending on how STUDY SMART, STUDY LESS fares in the marketplace, there may more similar work on the way...but, that's all very hush hush still.

6. Can you tell us three things no one may know about you?

Hmm, three unknowns about Anne Crossman... I love to ride the subway, I am a horrific speller, and I have a serious obsession with chocolate-covered-anything.  (Well, that last one may not be all that secret, given my chocolate references in the book.)

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