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Author Lily Koppel talks to us about writing, living in the city, and her NY Times bestseller, The Astronaut Wives Club.


Lily Koppel

Current Location:

New York City



Where were you born?


How would the first sentence of your autobiography read?

When I was little, I saw the days of the week as different colors: Monday was red, Tuesday orange, Wednesday a blizzard of yellow Zs, Thursday bright blue, Friday was a very cool looking girl with black rock-n-roll hair over her eyes wearing a red blouse …

What are you working on right now?

A novel. Perhaps unusual for someone who has written two non-fiction books, I love the Harry Potters and books of that ilk. This time I’ve found an untold, extraordinary women’s story like the Astrowives and the red diary, but it is fiction. It gives me goose bumps just to think about it.

How would you define your writing style?

Sophisticated casual. I want to whisper in your ear, squeeze your hand, and make you laugh, be your best friend for an hour.

What was the most rewarding part of writing The Astronaut Wives Club?

Seeing the superwomen in the background finally being recognized as heroes in their own right. Shooting their story to the Moon!

What is the most challenging part of your process?

Editing. Trying to polish, but not strip down too much, because once you upset the original inspired feng shui, it is difficult to rebuild.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere. In clothes. In shop windows. In magazines. In movies, walking down the street, music, thinking of old friends, new loves, who I might want to become (like an actress taking on a new role) for the next few years …

Best advice someone ever gave you?

Actually the best advice turned out to be the worst advice. My first job was as a news assistant at the New York Times. An older woman reporter had gone to my alma mater, Barnard, and I cornered her for some advice on “how to make it.” As I remember it, she dished it out with a very “Here’s looking at you kid” tone. “Get out of New York, go earn your writing chops at some small town paper.” Thankfully, this advice hit me as completely wrong and I stayed put, where I began contributing reporting on celebrities for the paper, which jumpstarted my professional writing career.

What's your idea of the perfect NYC day?

Waking up next to my adorable husband Tom Folsom, also a writer (his latest is the biography of Dennis Hopper, HOPPER: A Savage American Journey), taking our two rescue dogs (from Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico) to the dog park and watching them play and be silly. Then walking around downtown, grabbing a bite and coffee. Walking or taking a cab up to the Met, walking across the Park and coming home and watching a movie projected on our wall and snuggling.

What are you reading right now?

Too many to list here, but included The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Bad Monkey

All time favorite books?

We’ve Always Lived in the Castle, and all of the Harry Potter books

Favorite pastime?

I don’t knit. Reading. And like Andy Warhol said: Looking at pictures.

Favorite restaurant?

Momofuku Noodle Bar (I know, so original, but so delicious.)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Paris because it always inspires me. I think of a thousand stories when I am there.

What is your most treasured possession?

My gold Paloma Picasso gold heart-shaped wedding ring. No diamond. It is inscribed LOVE! Inside and can stand on its own like a little sculpture.

What does style mean to you?

Balance, feeling good in my skin and my clothes. Comfy. Hot but not trying too hard.

Favorite NY neighborhood?


3 things on your lifelong to do list:

Live in the country, master the art of French cooking, and go to space.

What's inside your handbag right now?

Sunglasses, lipstick (red or bright pink), mini green Moleskin notebook, iPhone, keys on hippie white horsehair keychain from Moab, assorted random clutter. I am mostly neat—but not in my handbag—an area to work on!

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

John Lennon.