Welcome to “My First Time,” a new video series where writers discuss the trials of writing and publishing that first novel, that first play, that first book of poems. This is a chance to see how successful authors got their start, in their own words—it’s the portrait of the artist as a beginner and a look at the creative process, in all its joy, abjection, delusion, and euphoria.
Kicking off the series today is J. Robert Lennon, who discusses his 1997 debut novel, The Light of Falling Stars. He explores the perils of reading one’s Amazon reviews, the process of finding an agent, and the experience of seeing the book’s cover for the first time. “Your first book is a thing that your entire life has gone up to creating,” he says. “You can’t preemptively decide upon the correct way for your book to be. You have to kind of discover it.”
Tomorrow we’ll feature Gabrielle Bell—and later this week will come Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Christine Schutt. You can see a trailer with writers from future installments of “My First Time” here.
This series is made by the filmmakers Tom Bean, Casey Brooks, and Luke Poling; we’re delighted to collaborate with them.