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Alice Hoffman: She Needs a Laptop ... and Time

Alice Hoffman is the author of 16 novels, most recently Skylight Confessions (coming in January '07); two collections of stories and several books for children and teens. Her novels have been named notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and Library Journal.

How She Writes: "I used to get up at five and work for several hours before I went to work, or before my kids woke up. Now I write wherever, whenever. I don't need an office anymore, or space, or a window. Just my laptop and time."

Writer's Block Remedies: "I didn't believe in writers' block until I had it. I worked on exercises -- outlines, words, character studies, then moved to stories, then the stories became linked stories, then a novel. Again, when I had writer's block after Sept. 11, I read some of my favorite books from childhood, and they reminded me why I wanted to write in the first place."

A Favorite Sentence: "The great sentence I'm going to write is my next one in my next piece of fiction. That's what keeps me writing. If I felt I'd already done it, I might not be so driven to continue to search for that one great sentence. If I had to pick one, I suppose it would be the last line of Practical Magic: 'Fall in love whenever you can.' "

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Melody Joy Kramer
Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.
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