Ben: The inner critic, usually it comes from a good place, which is an instinct for self-preservation. That's really useful. The problem is that you can't be safe your whole life or else you don't have any life. Part of the process of maturation is figuring out which of those things is right for you and which of those is wrong for you. When you think of the world as dangerous, then you can't be creative. You can't play. You can't explore. Most doors are two-way doors. You could walk in and walk out.
Heather: For twenty years, I've defended doctors and hospitals when they get sued. While it’s been a privilege and an honor, it’s also very stressful and hard in that trials are a zero-sum game. Someone wins. Someone loses. That means that sometimes it can get quite aggressive. I was finding that during those times of trial, I wanted to maintain who I was and be true to the choices that I've made about who I was, even when things get hard and were at the height of the conflict. I’ve found that some of the ways that I could do that in the courtroom also applied outside the courtroom. We are all our strongest advocates and the best person to protect and champion ourselves. If you can take the tools of a trial lawyer and apply them to life so that you can do those things, I think it would be helpful. I wrote the book to help people be able to do that.
Elissa: I actually recently described Motherland to someone as a story of what would happen if Anna Wintour gave birth to the Susie character from Mrs. Maisel and the latter had to come back and be the caregiver for Anna. Please forgive me, Anna. I doubt that you will hear me saying these words, but you who knows? I don't know. Motherland is a memoir of moral obligation and certainly a memoir of love. It’s a story about what happens when we are called to make a decision about coming back to the fray, coming back into a relationship from which we have painstakingly extricated ourselves after a very long, arduous and difficult relationship. Do we do it? Do we not do it?
Candace: To me [Is There Still Sex in the City?] it’s really about a journey that I had in my fifties. My fifties were not anything like I thought they were going to look. For one thing, I got divorced . I really didn’t want to live in New York all the time anymore. Something was happening in my brain. My brain was changing. I really spent three years pretty much alone. I rode horses. I didn't date. I really just wrote all the time. That actually is a phase of what I would call middle age madness.
Mary Laura: I Miss You When I Blink is a memoir told in essays. You could pick it up and put it down at any point, and any single essay would make sense on its own. They're arranged in such a way that if you read it from start to finish in order, there's a narrative arch to how these stories stack up. You see it in beginning, how I became a baby perfectionistic as a child and then quickly how I took those tendencies into adulthood and tried to apply them to real life, as if there's any such thing as getting a right answer to anything in adulthood. You see me trying again and again to get things right, to be the best student, the best worker, the best friend, the best artist, the best parent, everything.
William: A decade prior, I had pretended to be somebody I was not to my wife, to my daughters, and to myself. I was a gay man in a straight marriage. That experience caused me to take a look at what we do when we put on these false identities and become someone we’re not. It forced me to take a look not just at my actions, but how my actions affected everybody else. It’s a book about what we do with all of that pain and lost hope when our supposed truths are unmasked for lies.
Lori: I wasn’t originally supposed to be writing this book. I was supposed to be writing a book about happiness. Ironically, the happiness book was making me miserable and depressed. Eventually, I cancelled that book contract. I didn't think I would write another book. I had no idea what I would write. Then one day I started writing about what was going on in my own therapy and what was going on with me as a clinician. I decided to bring people behind the scenes into the therapy room. That is what became Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. We follow the stories of four very different patients as they're going through various struggles in their lives. Then I'm going through an upheaval in my own life. I become the fifth patient. We see me go through my own therapy.
Michael: What I wanted to do was to be more rigorous about the science of human development and how it applies to male development in particular and to make the connection between the outcomes we’re not happy with, the broken outcomes, and violations of boys’ fundamental human natures. That's really the thrust of the book that I wrote.