A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed

A Conversation with Aidan Donnelley Rowley, Author of Newly-Released Novel “The Ramblers”

April 22, 2016

I had the opportunity to interview Aidan Donnelley Rowley, the author of the popular novel The Ramblers. Here are some highlights.


AidanDonnelleyRowley_AuthorPhoto_creditElenaSeibertHow many days do you actually write, and how rigid you are about that schedule?

I go through periods of low productivity and periods of diligent, productive practice. Some weeks I write very little at all and other weeks, I work every day for several hours. This seems to be what works for me; toggling back and forth between freedom and ferocious focus tends to improve my writing – and my sense of well-being

While writing, what kind of relationship do you often form with your own writing self – a painful or a joyful one?

It depends on the day. Some writing days are light and joyful and others are dark and difficult. I’ve been at this long enough to appreciate that this is all par for the course; the contrast seems essential to the creative process and the hard days make the easy days that much more magical.

How do you recognize if you are on the wrong track?

I know that when I’m resisting my story and avoiding writing that something is not quite right and that my narrative is most likely on the wrong track. When this happens – and it does again and again! – I step away from the page and don’t force it. With time, I’m usually able to glimpse what’s not working and fix it (or trash it).

Are you affected by other people’s appraisal of your work? Have you ever been hurt by them?TheRamblers_BookCover

My skin has thickened over the years (thank goodness!), but of course there are still moments when I’m affected by others’ opinions of my work. I think learning to handle criticism is so important because there will always be criticism.

Do you lose yourself in your writing? The very fact that writing is a very lonely art, do you sometimes feel lonely?

I do have brilliant moments when I lose myself in my writing, when the world just falls away. Writing is indeed a solitary endeavor, but I don’t feel lonely too often. Perhaps because I allow myself to indulge in social media and the connections it affords and also because I make a point of spending time with friends and family and other writers.

What books are currently on your book stand?

I just finished Wallace Stegner’s beautiful Crossing to Safety and I’m now reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Next up: an ARC of Camille Perri’s forthcoming debut novel The Assistants.


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