Anne-E Wood: People at Night


What is the working title of the book?

The title of the chapter is Celia the working title of the book is The Warblers.

Where did the idea come from the book?

The idea of the book came with insomnia. When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a hard time sleeping. So did my sister, so we would call each other up sometimes in the middle of the night. I thought about how odd it was: we had taken very different paths in life, but we shared this frustrating sleeplessness. We were up for separate reasons, but for those hours, we felt exactly the same way. So this idea of a novel about a family that can’t sleep came to me.  Night is a setting that reveals something about character that daylight hides. I didn’t invent this.

For this chapter…

I came across some photographs of my mother from the 70’s, when my siblings and I were small children. In all of them she’s engaged in a loving motherly action: you can see her silhouette pushing a child on a swing, her hands buttoning an infant’s coat. In many of them, her face is hidden, completely cut out of the picture or half-veiled with her long blond hair. So I wondered about her emotional state. What did the pictures show and what did they hide? What truths and lies were they telling? She had given up her career as a journalist to raise five children in the suburbs. Was she happy with how things turned out? Had she ever been happy?  So this character, Celia, started speaking to me. Celia isn’t my mother at all, but she might be some restless shadow of my mother. She’s also some aspect of me and a lot of other women and men I know. She’s in love with someone from the past, but maybe that memory is just something that sustains her in the present. I wanted her voice to capture a particular kind of loneliness. It’s not angst. It’s more terrifying. It’s the loneliness of missing something you never had and wanting something that might not exist. All the members of the family in my book suffer from that kind of desire, and besides blood and insomnia, this is what connects them.


It’s Contemporary Literary Fiction

Which Actors Would You Choose:

Walter: Tracy Letts

Celia:  Jennifer Connely, but she would have to gain some weight

Benjamin: Heath Ledger type

Dahlia: Scarlett Johansson

Noah: Patrick Wilson

One Sentence Synopsis of the Book 

The story of a father whose family abandons him, told through the family members’ voices at different nights of their lives.


An excerpt, “Celia,” will be published in the debut issue of No Tokens, a new Brooklyn magazine that will come out in the fall.

How Long Did it Take to Write the First Draft?


What might peak the reader’s interest?

The story  involves murder, betrayal, sex, drugs, and a dog, but I’m hoping the characters’ voices and conflicts with each other will pull the readers into the narrative.

One thought on “Anne-E Wood: People at Night

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