An introduction to Antoine Laurain, author of the novel The President’s Hat (Gallic, 2013; originally Le Chapeau de Mitterrand). A fifth-generation Parisian, Laurain is a journalist, screenwriter, director, antiques collector, and novelist. His previous books include Ailleurs si j’y suis, Fume et tue, and Carrefour des Nostalgies. Talking with Laurain after he arrived in the US to begin his book tour, there was an air of excitement to the uncommonly sunny San Francisco day. A certain light shown through his personality befitting of the afternoon and the thoughtful playfulness behind The President’s Hat. There was already a hint of the surreal in the atmosphere before Laurain shared a story about the cover for the French edition of the book. After, there was nothing to do but marvel at how fiction and reality mingle in unexpected ways: Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘books’ Category
An introduction to Bruce Littlefield, author of Moving In: Tales of an Unlicensed Marriage, which chronicles the first year of home ownership with his partner of 20 years, Scott Stewart. Littlefield’s other books include Airstream Living, Garage Sale America, Merry Christmas America, The Bedtime Book for Dogs and the best-selling My Two Moms (written with civil rights advocate Zach Wahls), and Use What You’ve Got (written with ABC Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran). Originally from South Carolina, Bruce has designed and owned two award-winning restaurants, and Edgewater Farm, his 1940’s Catskills farmhouse, which he renovated and decorated himself, has been featured in numerous publications. Bruce’s number one tip for a happy life is, “Laugh. A lot!”
An introduction to Richard James Bentley, author of the novel Greenbeard (Exterminating Angel Press, 2013). Before writing fiction, Bentley was a technical writer, so it isn’t a surprise that he collects mechanical adding machines and dictionaries. When asked how his experience writing technical manuals influenced the way he approaches storytelling, he answered:
The written word has always been part of my environment, and the narrative always part of my internal landscape, which is to say that my head has always been filled with stories. In the end, I suspect, everything is defined by narratives. When I worked as a technical author, trying to pick engineers’ brains for the information that I needed to do my job, one of the psychological tricks I used was to get the guys to reminisce about the history of the project. Then, instead of a grunted list of facts and a bundle of paperwork thrust at me, I would instead get a coherent account of how the project had come to be its current state. A narrative. A story.
An introduction to Jennie Shortridge, the author of Love Water Memory (Gallery Books, 2013). Her previous novels include When She Flew and Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe. The story unfolds in Love Water Memory as Lucie explores the mystery of her past, and gets to know herself as if for the first time while recovering from amnesia. When Erica Bauermeister interviewed her at Rakestraw Books, Shortridge explained that writing a mystery “became like a little dance—how much to reveal when.” Shortridge also shared the fun fact that “all of the characters were named for someone’s favorite grandparent.” That started with Grady, named for Shortridge’s grandfather, and as she talked with other friends about their grandparents, she started a quiet tribute by using their names for characters in the book. After Bauermeister and Shortridge discussed the writing process, and what it’s like to work with agents, editors, and publishing companies, Shortridge brought it all together with a simple point: “We write because we love stories.”
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An introduction to Charles McLeod, author of the novel American Weather and a collection of stories called National Treasures (Outpost19/Random House UK). His fiction has appeared in publications including Conjunctions, DOSSIER, Eleven Eleven, The Gettysburg Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and the Norton anthology Fakes. McLeod was born in Texas, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and now lives in Colorado. Since 2000, he’s held eleven addresses in eight states. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Peter Mehlman, author of Mandela Was Late: Odd things & essays from the Seinfeld writer who coined yada, yada, and made spongeworthy a compliment (The Sager Group, 2013). Mehlman is a multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominee, known for his work on the sitcom Seinfeld. He has won acclaim for his NPR commentaries and hilarious and poignant op-eds and personal essays in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Esquire. Host of the Webby-nominated YouTube series Narrow World of Sports, Mehlman grew up in Queens, New York, graduated from the University of Maryland, and now lives in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Aaron Shurin, whose latest poetry collection is Citizen (City Lights Books, 2012). Shurin is the author of over a dozen books, both poetry and essay collections. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council. He cofounded the Boston-based writing collective Good Gay Poets and was the director of the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.
When asked if he has a philosophy for how and why he writes, Shurin answered, “Poetry is attention, and it is the means of attending experience. Attention is the key word both for what it requires and what its nature is.” And that sense of attention comes through when you read his work. One of the pleasures of Shurin’s poetry is the focus on sound and rhythm. It makes for a powerful experience to hear him read. He doesn’t rush the words—each phrase has its own breath, deliberately chosen to add meaning, and momentum builds throughout the poem. Shurin graciously read some poems exclusively for this interview. Read the rest of this entry »