The Writer’s Handful with Elizabeth Earley


Mondays + Writers = Finally something to look forward to.

Today I am delighted to feature a conversation with Elizabeth Earley, a woman whose forthcoming debut novel, A Map of Everything, will draw you in and hold you (sometimes gently, sometimes with a tighter than-is- exactly-comfortable grip) in its narrative grasp from beginning to end. Watch for its release in early 2014.

Welcome Elizabeth!

Did you write today? If yes, what? If no, why not?

Yes. I wrote some crap for work (advertising) and fulfilled my daily word count with exposition about when my girlfriend first moved in with me. Nothing felt particularly inspired or inspiring today, which is why I discipline myself with a daily word count. If I do that, eventually, maybe, something worth keeping will sneak out. If I don’t, I’m guaranteed to have nothing.

What’s the first thing (story, poem, song, etc.) you remember writing, and how old were you when you wrote it?

The first thing I remember writing was either a poem or a song I wrote for Elton John. The poem was a trite, rhyming thing that I still remember, verbatim. The song is something I wish I remembered or kept a copy of. I actually mailed it to Elton believing it would be his next big hit. I was nine years old.

What are you reading right now?

A novel called Cha-Ching! by Ali Liebegott. It’s witty and funny and depressing and disturbing — one of my favorite combinations.
What’s the most important advice you ever received? (Writerly or otherwise.)

The most important writing advice I ever received was to write every day. Success, unfortunately, has little to do with talent and most to do with dogged persistence.

The most important advice in general I ever received was to take myself (and the world) less seriously. Keeping a light touch on it all and knowing that I don’t know makes it all more entertaining and less heartbreaking.

If your writing were an animal, what animal would it be? Because…

An owl. Because: It’s predatory; it wants to kill me. It’s nocturnal. It doesn’t come when I call it, just stares me down with spooky, fixed eyes. My writing has decorations that serve no function but are cute, like the tufts of feathers atop owls’ heads. My writing, like an owl, does more than just hoot — it creates many different vocalizations.


Elizabeth Earley holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her stories and essays have appeared in Time Out MagazineThe Chicago ReaderGeek MagazineOutside MagazineGnome Magazine, and Hypertext Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in The Windy City Times Literary SupplementHayden’s Ferry ReviewThe First Line MagazineFugueHair Trigger, and Glimmer Train among other publications. Her debut novel, A MAP OF EVERYTHING, is forthcoming in the spring of 2014 from Jaded Ibis Press. For more about Elizabeth, please visit her website:

→Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for taking the time to speak with us. Eagerly looking forward to A Map… . And thanks to all for reading! -PMc←

One Reply to “The Writer’s Handful with Elizabeth Earley”

  1. Dear Patty, This is a lovely feature, and I would be very glad to do one of these for my new book of poems coming out in October. I don’t know how far ahead you have these planned, but if you’d like for me to do one, I’d prefer to do it in mid-October. I hope all’s well with you and Philip. I’m sorry not to have seen you for a long time, but as you probably know, this last winter was taken up with chemo and radiation. I’m getting better, have had a pretty good summer. Best, Fleda

    Fleda Brown Professor Emerita, University of Delaware Faculty, Rainier Writing Workshop my website and this week’s blog post meditation group

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