We’re excited to once again be the official bookseller for the Austin Food & Wine Festival. Here’s what we’re looking forward to out at Butler Park on a beautiful April weekend.
I always tell kids when I go to schools, it’s like anything else, like sports or something. If you play a sport, you end up practicing twice a week, or three times a week or maybe more. And writing’s the same. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day. You get better as you do it more. That’s really the only secret.
I never knew or wanted to know so much about Craig Ferguson’s personal life.
Last night we had the pleasure of hosting a wonderful conversation with Elizabeth Strout and Amanda Eyre Ward about the writing life, Strout’s latest novel The Burgess Boys, and just how one goes about creating a Pulitzer Prize-winning work such as Strout’s story collection, Olive Kitteridge. Thanks to Liz, Amanda and everyone who came out (and asked some really good questions).
MYSTERYPEOPLE: Which came first, the story of Blood Always Tells or the way you decided to tell it?
HILARY DAVIDSON: The story came first, and it came about in a way that was very unusual for me. I was actually working on another book that featured Desmond Edgars in a relatively small but essential role. But he was such an intriguing, compelling character that he and his backstory started taking over that book. I realized I was more interested in Desmond and his world than the book I was writing, and I made the gut-wrenching decision to set aside the 40,000 words of it and work on Blood Always Tellsinstead.
The structure of Blood Always Tells evolved organically. Even though it was the character of Desmond that brought me to the book, I realized that it would never work if his sister, Dominique Monaghan, didn’t have as strong a voice as he did.
MP: What was the biggest difference between writing Blood Always Tells and the Lily Moore books?
HD: One major difference was that I went into this knowing so much more of the story than I ever did with any of the Lily Moore books. That was simply because substantial parts of it originated as Desmond’s backstory in that unfinished book I set aside. I can’t say that nothing changed — there were some major shifts from what I originally envisioned. But being more certain of the story I was telling meant that I felt freer to play with the narrative. I love writing from Lily’s point of view, but it means that there’s no way for scenes she’s not witnessing to make it into those books. Blood Always Tells is told in the close third person, so readers still get inside the characters’ heads, but because the perspective changes, it means the essential action is always onstage.
MP: Point of view is not only part of the structure, it also differentiates the characters by how they see the same thing or person differently. What did you want to explore with point of view?
HD: There were a couple of things. One is that I wanted each section of the book to be revealed through the eyes of the character who has the most to gain or lose. The stakes are incredibly high for each of the three characters who control the narrative. In some ways, they couldn’t be more different, and yet each character makes a major sacrifice at some point in the story.
I was also fascinated with questions of memory, and how what you hold in your mind shapes your identity. The characters in the book remember essential events and people in completely different ways. I dedicated the book to my grandmother for several reasons, one of them being that it was her death that made me think about how differently two people in the same family could interpret the same action so differently. My brothers and I all loved her, but we have such distinctly different memories of her. That led to conversations about other things from our childhood and how we remembered or interpreted things in completely opposite ways.
Monday, May 5 at 7:00pm
279 Harvard St.
Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00pm
In Conversation with Sari Botton
Community Bookstore of Park Slope
Co-sponsored by Vol. 1 Brooklyn
143 7th Ave.
NEW YORK, NY
Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00pm
In Conversation with Ruth Franklin
52 Prince Street
Thursday, May 8 at 7:00pm
Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Friday, May 9 at 8:00pm
With Joseph Riippi, Samantha Irby, Mike Young, and Tara Murtha
Tire Fire Reading Series
The Tattooed Mom
530 South Street
Monday, May 12 at 7:00pm ET
In conversation with Maud Newton
1521 Tenth Ave.
Tuesday, May 13 at 8:00pm
Books and Books
265 Aragon Ave in Coral Gables
Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00pm
The Book Cellar
4736 N. Lincoln Ave.
Thursday, May 15 at 7:00pm
2559 N Downer Ave.
Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18
Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Fly-By Writers Weekend
Monday, May 19 at 7:00pm
603 North Lamar
Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00pm
715 E Milwaukee St.
Thursday, May 22 at 7:30pm
3019 Oakland Dr.
LOS ANGELES, CA
Monday, June 2 at 7:30pm
1818 N. Vermont Ave.
Wednesday, June 4 at 7:30pm
Powell’s Books – Burnside
1005 W Burnside St.
Thursday, June 5 at 7:00pm
Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Ave.
SO EXCITED FOR THIS! An Untamed State is an incredible novel. Texas, we hope to see all of you here. Every. Single. One of you.
6 WRITING TIPS FROM JOHN STEINBECK
- Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
- Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
- Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
- If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.
- Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
- If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.
"If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story."
Hoen’s writing is terse, brutal, and rhythmic, driving the reader with the pace of a drum…Read while blasting some hardcore, noise, or jazz and prepare to feel very cool.
Andrew’s new release pick of the day: Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire by Philip Bailey, lead singer of Earth, Wind and Fire.
"Oh, hell yes."
Raul’s #newrelease pick of the day: THE STEADY RUNNING OF THE HOUR by Justin Go
"Go’s debut novel is a dynamic illustration of what people will do for love. Through Tristan’s European quest for the the truth behind his ancestor’s love story, we get a tale of love found and lost and found again that is compelling. Ashley’s and Imogen’s story has a powerful theme that is played out in the clues that Tristan comes across in his quest to find proof for his inheritance; additionally, slipping back to the actual events of the time gives the reader greater detail than Tristan can discover. It is the passions that burn brightest that flare the swiftest and we are reminded that with the passing of time, everything changes and the hopes one holds in one’s youth must be tempered by circumstances over which one has little control despite what one wishes. A remarkable debut that will engage and delight readers the world over." #novel #bookpeople
Meet Julie Wernersbach, a bookseller who truly rocks at BookPeople in Austin. Anyone who has “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing AND a Tom Waits tune in the soundtrack of her life is a person to know!
It’s true. It’s all true. All she does is wander the store around asking people to practice The Lift in a gravelly voice.