We had the good fortune of connecting with Bill Konigsberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bill, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is scary and entirely necessary. At 31, firmly entrenched in a career as a sportswriter, I looked at my life and decided that if I was ever going to become a novelist, I was going to need schooling and time to write. I risked my career for a dream, and had I not done that, I would not have gotten the thing I wanted most. Now I have six novels out in the world. Could this have failed? Absolutely. In fact, it probably should have, and then I would have had to pick up the pieces and move forward. But the thing I learned from this is that desire is meaningless if we aren’t willing to take a risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the thing that sets my novels apart most is probably authenticity. That in every manuscript I’ve written, there has been an epic struggle to figure out who I am and what it is I have to say, and that I tend to say it even if it is not self-flattering. Figuring out Truth has been a huge part of my creative process thus far. What I’m most excited about currently is my most recent novel, THE BRIDGE. It’s the story of two teens who meet atop the George Washington Bridge in New York. They are both there to jump, and they interrupt each other. Based on what happens the moment they are sitting 100 feet apart, both with one leg over the railing, the world splits into four different realities: one in which she jumps, one in which he jumps, one where they both jump, and one where neither jumps. It’s a story about those moments when we who suffer from depression think our lives are meaningless and there are no options. I am proud of this novel because I believe it has the potential to save lives.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Phoenix Botanical Garden would be a stop, definitely. Possibly one of the special events like Luminarias. We’d take in a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and also the Gilbert Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. A hike in Papago Park would be involved, too. For dining, we’d hit Lo Lo’s Chicken and Waffles for sure. Also Persepshen, which has the most delicious farm-to-table food in the valley. And brunch at Brunch and Sip in Arcadia.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The MFA Program in Creative Writing at Arizona State University helped me get where I am. When I enrolled in 2002, I thought I had a pretty good sense of what it meant to be a good writer. I knew so little! The program helped me find the discipline to write and helped me learn the craft of fiction writing. Without it I am certain my career would not have gone as it has.
Krystina Moran Sam Wylie