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Meet the WritersImage of Paula Fox
Paula Fox
Paula Fox is the author of one previous memoir, Borrowed Finery, and six novels, including Desperate Characters, The Widow's Children, and Poor George. She is also a Newbery Award–winning children's book author. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Author biography courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

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Good to Know
In our interview, Fox shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was working in a dress shop in Los Angeles in 1940, for $7 a week."

"I like to cook; it is, for me, a happy combination of mindlessness and purpose."

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In the winter of 2005, Paula Fox took some time out to answer a few of our questions:

What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer?
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence. I read it at 15, and loved it then. Now, I admire and respect it for its language and insight and generosity.

What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?

  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust -- It's is about everything in contemporary life.

  • The Burning Bush by Cesare Pavese -- A diary, modern thoughts by a master.

  • War and Peace and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy -- for the same reason I love Proust, and they are philosophically a wonder.

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot -- A 19th-century marvel of depth and wisdom and art.

  • Anything by Chekov

  • Thomas Hardy's novels and poetry

  • Death Comes to the Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather

    What are some of your favorite films, and what makes them unforgettable to you?
    Les Enfants du Paradis and The Leopard; they both cinematically explore two eras with marvelous attention to background and foreground, story,and enactment of story. Also, all Marx Brothers movies. They're so crazy!

    What types of music do you like? Is there any particular kind you like to listen to when you're writing?
    Mozart and Schubert. I don't like to listen to music while I'm working.

    What are your favorite kinds of books to give -- and get -- as gifts?
    Books on nature, art, and science, both to give and to get.

    Do you have any special writing rituals? For example, what do you have on your desk when you're writing?
    Legal pads, fresh typing paper, pencils and pens.

    Many writers are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?
    It's been 45 years for novels and literature for young people, with my first book, Maurice's Room published in the ‘60s.

    If you could choose one new writer to be "discovered," who would it be?
    James Lasdun -- he is unique without pretentiousness.

    What tips or advice do you have for writers still looking to be discovered?<.b>
    Don't look.

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  • About the Writer
    *Paula Fox Home
    * Biography
    * Good to Know
    * Interview
    In Our Other Stores
    * Signed, First Editions by Paula Fox
    *Poor George, 1967
    *Desperate Characters, 1970
    *Western Coast, 1972
    *Widow's Children, 1976
    *A Servant's Tale, 1984
    *The God of Nightmares, 1990
    *Borrowed Finery: A Memoir, 1999
    *The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe, 2005