Where can I meet some of the people you write about?
It’s a complement that many readers believe my characters are real people. The truth is that while these characters are inspired by people I’ve known through my social work and in my personal life, they are made up. So, for better or for worse, you can’t meet them anywhere.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Between one and three years of writing about twenty hours a week.
What does E. R. stand for?
I never tell. I chose my pen name years ago for a variety of reasons, most of which don’t seem so relevant now. But I enjoy the false sense of importance I feel at having the pseudonym. And resuming use of my real name would be more nuisance than it’s worth, so E.R. Frank remains.
Why do you write about such intense situations all the time?
I’ve always been touched by how every day people navigate life’s intense ups and downs. It’s exactly this which compels me to write.
How did you get the ideas for your book covers?
I don’t think many authors design their book covers. Usually the publishing houses use an in-house designer or hire a freelance artist. That’s how my covers were created.
Will you read the book I’ve written and help me get it published?
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read all of your manuscripts. But I encourage you to find somebody in your family, group of friends, school, or community to read your work and give you feedback. You can research agents, publishers, and the publishing industry. After you’ve received comments from your readers and completed a rewrite (or five) you will be ready to submit a polished manuscript.
Where do you get your ideas from?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with my kids and husband, read, email, text, talk on the phone, eat, sleep, watch T.V., go to the movies, listen to music, drive, grocery shop, clean, ride my bike, schlep my kids to their activities, make big plans to travel and to resume roller skating and playing some kind of sport and to learn to sew and play guitar and speak Spanish, shower, cook badly, hang out with friends and family, fail to exercise, make more big plans, and go to work seeing psychotherapy patients.
Who is your favorite writer and what is your favorite book?
It’s difficult to pick favorites. I’ve created an evolving list, in no particular order, of books and authors I enjoy. Click here to see the list.
Do you like the movie version of AMERICA, made by Rosie O’Donnell and Lifetime TV?
I do. Even though it’s difficult to accept all that had to be left out and changed, the spirit of the book is captured well. Rosie O’Donnell was smart, kind and committed to representing the novel as accurately as possible. I thought she and Lifetime did an excellent job.
Have you ever written anything that didn’t get published?
Yes. I spent a year writing a nonfiction book that sits like a doorstop on the floor of my closet, another three years working on an overly ambitious novel which keeps the former company, and two more years on a novel somebody else asked me to write and then rejected.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I was seven years old.
Have you ever written anything other than novels?
I published a short story called Cousins in a collection, Rush Hour, edited by Michael Cart. I wrote several original screenplays when I was in my twenties. Nothing ever came of them, but I learned a lot during the process. I also did a treatment for Rosie O’Donnell, based on an idea she had for a film. And I created a TV series and wrote the accompanying pilot script for The-N. As far as I know those last two projects are still pending.
Do any of your therapy clients know you’re also a writer?
Some do and some don’t. I don’t generally share that information with clients, since therapy is meant to focus on the client and not on the therapist. Some know because they have been told by a colleague who has referred them to me.
How do you manage two careers at once?
Encouragement from friends and family, hard work, determination, a love for both careers, and freakishly good organizational skills.