“People who knew me really well knew — my boss knew — but not a lot of people beyond that,” says Walker, who eventually rose to the position of editor. Colleagues only learned of her literary ambitions last year, when the 32-year-old writer received a staggering seven-figure advance for her debut novel, The Age of Miracles.
“Until that book went out on submission, I had not told any of my colleagues that I was writing a book [or] that I had any interest in working on a book,” says Ebershoff, who has since published a collection of short stories and two more novels, including The 19th Wife. “I had kept that part of my life totally separate when I walked in the doors at Random House every morning.”
Robertson says his “solution, for years, was to go on retreat for four to six weeks, which had a built-in detox period before the writing could begin.”
Robertson agrees: “All those ashen faces among the glossy displays; all those unsold, unsaleable books; all that crushed hope underfoot. I try and see authors outside of the office when I can.”