Nine years later, Kuper begins writing career
August 3, 2005
It took nine years and a move to a remote cabin in Maine for Daniela Kuper to finish her first novel, “Hunger and Thirst.” It started as a conversation about nightstands with Snowmass Village-based real estate broker BJ Adams – a friend and collaborator – and mushroomed into an unexpected journey that delved into Kuper’s childhood in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago, and led to rave reviews, critical acclaim from prominent authors and several award nominations. And now, the journey may come full circle when Kuper moves back to Colorado.”I’m coming home,” says the author from Snowmass, where she and Adams are working together on projects. “I’m so longing for Colorado, I can’t be away any longer.”
Kuper is signing books at Explore booksellers on Friday starting at 4 p.m. Meeting readers and taking long creative walks in Aspen is quite a different pace than she had in Boulder, where Kuper started and ran a successful advertising company for 25 years before making the leap to writing fiction. And it’s another leap to imagine her childhood in 1950s Rogers Park, in a Jewish neighborhood, whose characters and scenes are the foundation of “Hunger and Thirst.”But the book can appeal to anyone with an appreciation of thoughtful writing, colorful characters and the trials and tribulations of family life.
“It’s not written in any sense for a certain market or with a formula,” said Kuper. “It’s a voyeuristic look at family, where we can never normally see behind those doors.””Hunger and Thirst” follows Buddy and Irwina Trout and their daughter, Joan, who attempts to patch her parents’ unraveling marriage. But its the sights, smells and sounds of the working class neighborhood, and its cast of colorful characters, that give the book its flavor. There are the gossipy “women-in-the-building,” who envy yet detest Irwina Trout, and the aptly named Miss Fitt, an eccentric loner who takes Joan under her wing.
Author Terry Tempest Williams called Kuper’s novel “A powerful rendering of family with honesty, warmth, wit.” The Rocky Mountain News noted that “It’s clear that meticulous attention has been given to each word.”But for Kuper, “Hunger and Thirst” is just the first peak of a fulfilling second career. Besides working on her second novel, which she’ll only say is “about faith,” she’s preparing for a fall book tour through the southwest with two other women authors – a baker and a former war journalist – who are also finding success in their second careers. Kuper also continues to write ad copy with BJ Adams, which she’s been doing for more than a dozen years and whom she credits with giving her the initial opportunity to let her writing flow into the fictional realm.
So, really, the chasm between advertising executive, ad copy writer and novelist (or any other professions, for that matter) is not so huge.”We both find that if you create in one way it feeds into other work as well,” said Kuper. “My work allows me to go deeper into her work. There’s no definitive line between the different types of work that you do.”