Jillian Medoff at Greenlight Bookstore

Last night, as part of the author/blogger series I curate at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, I invited Jillian Medoff to come talk about her new novel, I Couldn’t Love You More. As I mentioned in my introduction to the audience, this novel has one of the most deeply embedded “fakeouts” I’ve seen in a long while. You spend half the novel thinking that the story is going to follow one path, and suddenly something happens that sends it caroming off in a completely different direction (although there’s still plenty of aftershocks from that first setup. And then you realize, over time, that scenes you thought were peripheral to the story you thought Jillian was telling you are actually integral to the real narrative.

When I was looking for Jillian’s conversational partner, the first and only person I invited was my friend Gretl Claggett, who’s recently published a poetry collection (Monsoon Solo) but whom I also know as a blogger for SheWrites.com and as a frequent guest contributor at Head Butler. In fact, they did a preview of the bookstore event on Head Butler with a Q&A that digs into some of the book’s themes—and the ways in which readers have reacted to them:

“This is a novel, not a memoir, and it’s certainly not a novel or a memoir about these readers’ lives. The question isn’t whether a reader would or wouldn’t act a certain way; the question is whether or not Eliot is behaving in a way that’s true to, or consistent with, her character… I’m just surprised, I guess, by how virulent people have been about it. On the other hand, I love that readers are having such visceral reactions. It means I’ve done my job.”

Here’s another part of the conversation, in which Jillian explains why she steers clear of much of the argument surrounding the amount of coverage women, especially those writing commercial fiction, get in the book sections of American newspapers and magazines. For her, it’s about a choice to focus on making herself a better writer…

(Sorry about the handheld shakiness in spots…)

17 July 2012 | events |

Let’s Meet Up at BookExpo America

BookExpo logoWe’re coming up on BookExpo America, the annual bookselling industry’s national trade show, in a few weeks—and I’ll be pitching in at a few events again this year. First of all, on Monday, June 4, I’ll be a panelist at the Book Bloggers Conference, one of several folks who’ve been invited to talk about how to make money as a book blogger. Except that I won’t actually be talking about how to make money blogging, but about my recent efforts to produce an app version of Beatrice, delivering “premium content” that expands upon the mission I’ve been working on at this site all these years—introducing readers to writers. I’ll be joining BlogHer senior editor Rita Arens, Thea James of The Book Smugglers, and Sarah Pitre of Forever Young Adult; we’ll all be fielding questions from Scott Fox, the author of Click Millionaires, a handbook for creating “Internet lifestyle businesses” designed to draw upon your passions and expertise so you can start working more for yourself. I’ve just started digging into it, but I’m looking forward to talking about his ideas while we’re all on the stage.

Then on Tuesday, June 5, I’ll be introducing everyone who swings by the Downtown Stage at 11:00 a.m. to four of the authors of this year’s buzz titles: novelists Antoine Wilson, Rachel Joyce, and Vaddey Ratner, plus memoirist Susannah Cahalan. This is rather a short session, so I’m planning on staying out of the way and letting these writers tell you about the books they’ve got coming out later this year, and why you should keep an eye out for them. (I’m starting to get my advance copies in the mail, and I’m looking forward to digging into them next week!)

Oh! And on Monday night, you should totally swing by Lady Jane’s Salon, the monthly reading series dedicated to romance fiction I helped launch three-and-a-half years ago. Our guests that evening are Cara Elliot, Taryn Rose, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund, and Beatriz Williams—and we’re hoping that a lot of romance fans who are coming to New York City for the BookExpo will drop by and introduce themselves! At the end of the year, the net proceeds from our $5 cover are donated to a local women’s charity, so you’ll be supporting a good cause as well as having a good time.

Then, of course, there’s all the wandering around the Javits Convention Center I’m likely to do while BookExpo is in full swing: catching up with publishers from outside New York, taking notes at industry panels, standing in line to get autographed books… If there’s any decent cell-phone reception, which is unfortunately never a given at the Javits, I’ll be tweeting some highlights, so keep an eye out!

21 May 2012 | events |

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