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An Interview with Andrea Barrett

Andrea Barrett is a renowned author who has written several critically acclaimed books, including The Voyage of the Narwhal and Ship Fever. Her works have earned her numerous awards, including the National Book Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction.

In this exclusive interview, Barrett talks about her creative process and her thoughts on the publishing industry. She shares her advice for aspiring writers and gives insight into her writing journey, from her early days as an aspiring author to her current success. With her unique perspective and brilliant insights, Andrea Barrett offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of writing and publishing.

Andrea Barrett’s Writing Journey

Andrea Barrett began her career as a writer in the mid-1980s. She published a number of short stories in literary magazines and anthologies. In 1988, her short story “The Voyage of the Narwhal” was selected for the O. Henry Prize Stories anthology.

The following year, it was published as a stand-alone story in The New Yorker. The Voyage of the Narwhal is one of Barrett’s most famous works, and it made her a successful author. At the time, she was teaching at Harvard University, but she left her job to pursue a career as a full-time writer. She published her first book, Ship Fever, in 1995. Since then, she has published six other books.

Creative Process

Barrett’s creative process changes from book to book. “I never know what’s going to come out of a book until I’m almost at the end of it,” she says. “It’s like being on a voyage and you don’t know where it’s going to go.”

Her writing process is somewhat obsessive, and she often writes for 16 hours a day. For her, writing is “a compulsion, almost like a sort of mental disorder.” She writes in a small private office in her house, and she does not allow herself to be interrupted.

Barrett writes on an old computer that she keeps in the office and uses a pen and paper to take notes. She usually writes her books in order, without knowing where the story is going or how it will end.

Advice for Aspiring Writers

Barrett is a successful and prolific writer, but she understands that not all aspiring writers are successful or prolific. Success and prolificacy are not the same, and they are not guaranteed.

“Those things are really hard to predict,” she says. “There’s no reliable way to become a writer.”

Barrett’s advice for aspiring writers is to enjoy the process of writing itself. “I think you can have a good time if you’re not being too ambitious about what you’re trying to do,” she says. “If you’re trying to write something that you think is going to be the next Great American Novel, you’re going to get frustrated.”

She believes that even if a writer is not particularly gifted, he or she can enjoy the process of writing and produce good work.

Publishing Industry

Barrett has published six books over the course of 30 years. She has also seen many changes in the publishing industry over this time. When she first published her work, she only had one book. “I didn’t have to decide what to do with my time,” she says. Now, as a successful author with six books, she does have to decide what to do with her time.

She uses social media as a way to stay connected to her readers, but she doesn’t like to make book promotion a major part of her schedule. “If you make it your life’s work to promote your own books, it can get very tiresome,” she says. “You have to have another life as well.”

Barrett has a family and a full-time job teaching creative writing, so she has to manage her time. She has no plans to stop writing any time soon, but she knows that she can only publish one book every two years.

Reflection on Success

Barrett has been successful as a writer, but she has never been able to decide what makes a writer successful. “I don’t know what it is that makes someone a success,” she says. “It’s so mysterious.” Success is not easily quantified or predicted.

Even the most prolific and well-known writers have books that fail and others that succeed. Barrett has never been able to predict what her next book will be like, and she has never been able to predict which book will be her next one.

Final Thoughts

Barrett’s work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the National Book Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction.

In this exclusive interview, Barrett talks about her creative process and her thoughts on the publishing industry. She shares her advice for aspiring writers and gives insight into her writing journey, from her early days as an aspiring author to her current success.

With her unique perspective and brilliant insights, Andrea Barrett offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of writing and publishing.

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