December 27, 2013

Who by Fire wins Notable Literary Fiction Award

I want to share this news with my friends and, one can always hope, readers—though that last is a tough one. I certainly have kept in mind and heart and action Grace Paley's advice to the artist: "Keep your day job," and I hold in my heart Tillie Olsen's words of solace from her brilliant book Silences: 


“Literary history and the present are dark with silences; some the silences for years of our acknowledged great; some silences hidden; some the ceasing to publish after one work appears; some the never coming to book form at all.

“These are not natural silences, that necessary for renewal, lying fallow, gestation, in the natural cycle of creation. The silences I speak of here are unnatural; the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being, but cannot. In the old, the obvious parallels: when the seed strikes stone; the soil will not sustain; the spring is false; the time is drought or blight or infestation; the frost comes premature.”

But every now and then, one can take a measure of courage to continue.

I salute all of you who read, all of you who support the arts and all of you who struggle alone in the silence of your attic, in the breath of your spirit.

My publisher announces the news that Who by Fire has won Shelf Unbound's Notable Literary Fiction Award.


See the margin of this website for the full view of the Notable Fiction Award.

October 30, 2013

Lifting the curtain: What recording my novel for AUDIBLE.COM taught me

I'm gonna lift the curtain on my novel Who by Fire and why you might want to listen to it via Audible.com. Here's the scoop.

I put aside this novel that was finished when my husband said after 22 years of marriage, oh-so-Greta-Garbo, "I need to live alone."

This event stopped me in my tracks—and eventually I blogged my life while I was living it. And that turned into the memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story. Yes, there is sex after sixty.

That book like Who by Fire is a love story but oddly one that fiction would probably not find credible. You know the line: Truth is stranger than fiction?

I have a twist on that one.

I learned through these two books that the fictional account of my story has greater emotional truth and intellectual significance than the factual one that you can find online and in the 2011 Valentine’s Day issue of Real Simple Magazine where my husband and I tell our story.

Here’s how I learned what the so-called real story didn’t reveal. I am the reader for the audible.com version of Who by Fire. While reading it aloud in an NPR recording studio, I discovered my own book as if for the first time.

I realized I’d written this novel to find the man I somehow knew on the unconscious level I was losing. Good fiction, meaning you know while you’re reading that the writer is risking her life, can go to this place of hard truth in a way that memoir because of its hold on the so-called facts can’t do. What you’ll get here is the close-to the bone story that answers the deeply Jewish question, Can memory lead to forgiveness? I hope you’ll decide to read it--or, perhaps better, listen to it.

But don’t trust me. Trust a man.

How about Pulitzer prize winner Robert Olen Butler who said, "Who by Fire is a lovely, innovative, deeply engaging novel about how it is that human beings make their way through the mysteries of existence." Or, trust Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin who said, "Who by Fire, is a lyric meditation on love and desire, one that will catch you up in the blaze of its eroticism, its tender evocation of love and the passions and accommodations of a life lived through the flesh and through the imagination. Who by Fire explores the question, Can memory lead to forgiveness? in a story I won’t soon forget."

With thanks here to Anthony Policastro, CEO of Outer Banks Publishing Group, for choosing this book that I had put aside because I thought it unworthy and who says this about the novel he published:

Who by Fire breaks new literary ground: A complex tale of love, betrayal, and
the search for self. A male narrator tells the story he does not actually know but
discovers through memory, through piecing the puzzles of his marriage, through
his wife’s goodness and her betrayal. He confronts paradox with music, science
and a conflagration he witnessed in his native Iowa. Underlying his search is
the quest for heroism and for his own father. Who by Fire has earned its place
among books that matter.Outer Banks Publishing Group


October 17, 2013

Radio Interviews: Updated list of artists, writers, directors, poets, the literary, the fascinating


Radio interviews with the fascinating. My radio show via Rare Bird Blogtalk Radio now has logged in twenty shows.

One caveat: When you click on a link below, a short pause and an ad (about 10-20 seconds) may first appear, not of my making, so do forgive, but then you'll hear the show as it ran live. Each show is thirty minutes. Listen at your leisure to all or part of any of the shows.

You can also find on my Facebook Page news for upcoming radio shows and the newest column I've written on the arts, culture and love—or for the latter, click the bird and the flower in the right-hand margin of this page.

Here's the list of the twenty radio interviews so far. Click on the name and you'll be taken to the radio show:

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, painter, poet and Big Sur presence

Anne Marie Ruff, journalist, author of Through These Veins, plant biotechnology, AIDs, art

Richard Kramer, producer, writer of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life and a new HBO series

Marc Schuster: book reviewer, author of The Grievers

Henry Jaglom, distinguished, independent filmmaker, director, screenwriter

Jaki Scarcello, author of Fifty and Fabulous: The best years of a woman's life

Douglas Rogers, author of The Last Resort: a memoir of mischief and mayhem on a family farm in Africa

Peter Cox, British literary agent

Margaret Brown, publisher of the digital magazine Shelf Unbound: What to read next in independent publishing

Maureen Stanton, author of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

Robert G. Pielke, author of Rock Music in American Culture

Alan Cheuse, author and NPR book reviewer

Jacquie Kubin: managing and senior editor of The Communities at The Washington Times

Sarah C. Harwell, poet, author of Sit Down Traveler

Derek Haines, self-published author of more than 14 books, novels and essays

Ravi Shankar, poet, author of Deepening Groove

The Third Man and Déjà Vu: A Love StoryConversation with journalist Harvey Black about the Graham Greene screenplay and movie starring Orson Welles and the Henry Jaglom film (See the interview link above.)

Dana Gioia, poet, former head of the National Endowment for the Arts and author most recently of Pity the Beautiful, poems

Eduardo Santiago, Cuban author of Tomorrow They Will Kiss

Molly Peacock, poet, memoir writer and author of The Paper Garden: An Artist {Begins Her Life's Work} at 72

Michael Johnson, journalist who lives in Bordeaux France and writes for The International Herald Tribune, Open Letters, Facts and Arts, The Columnists--and more.

Enjoy and do let me know what you think. Comments always welcome.

October 11, 2013

Jewish Literary Festival: Local Author Fair

Live in or near DC? The DC Jewish Community Center has held a competition to choose local authors and you can hear each of them give a three minute pitch about why you should consider reading a book each put heart and soul into. It's free and you'll get wine and cheese for showing up.

Amazon: Fine Paperback and Kindle version, Audible.com coming soon 
Sound like fun or torture for the chosen? I'm not sure which, but I'll be there with my pitch for Who by Fire.

Yeah, I got picked: Thanks to the committee that made the selections.

Perhaps I'll later post here my pitch  (just two and a half minutes: shorter is better, right?). Supporters welcome and needed: You can report here how it all went.

Here are the details: Sunday, October 13, 7 to 8:30 pm, 1529 16th Street, NW. 

Read the short story "The Burglar"  from The Woman Who Never Cooked--kinda like a wine-tasting, dontcha think?

Here's how it went:

JCC Clip from Mary Tabor on Vimeo.


October 04, 2013

History and Wine Interview


Sometimes a girl gets lucky: Jacqueline Coleman interview on writing, life and art.

Find out who Jacqueline is and read our conversation on her History and Wine blog, given the seal of approval by Wordpress, Freshly Pressed. 




Thank you, Jacqueline.

August 08, 2013

Radio Interviews: Updated List of artists, writers, directors, poets, the literary, the fascinating


Radio interviews with the fascinating. My radio show via Rare Bird Blogtalk Radio now has logged in nineteen shows.

One caveat: When you click on a link below, a short pause and an ad (about 10-20 seconds) may first appear, not of my making, so do forgive, but then you'll hear the show as it ran live. Each show is thirty minutes. Listen at your leisure to all or part of any of the shows.

You can also find on my Facebook Page news for upcoming radio shows and the newest column I've written on the arts, culture and love—or for the latter, click the bird and the flower in the right-hand margin of this page.

Here's the list of the nineteen radio interviews so far. Click on the name and you'll be taken to the radio show:

Anne Marie Ruff, journalist, author of Through These Veins, plant biotechnology, AIDs, art

Richard Kramer, producer, writer of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life and a new HBO series

Marc Schuster: book reviewer, author of The Grievers

Henry Jaglom, distinguished, independent filmmaker, director, screenwriter

Jaki Scarcello, author of Fifty and Fabulous: The best years of a woman's life

Douglas Rogers, author of The Last Resort: a memoir of mischief and mayhem on a family farm in Africa

Peter Cox, British literary agent

Margaret Brown, publisher of the digital magazine Shelf Unbound: What to read next in independent publishing

Maureen Stanton, author of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

Robert G. Pielke, author of Rock Music in American Culture

Alan Cheuse, author and NPR book reviewer

Jacquie Kubin: managing and senior editor of The Communities at The Washington Times

Sarah C. Harwell, poet, author of Sit Down Traveler

Derek Haines, self-published author of more than 14 books, novels and essays

Ravi Shankar, poet, author of Deepening Groove

The Third Man and Déjà Vu: A Love StoryConversation with journalist Harvey Black about the Graham Greene screenplay and movie starring Orson Welles and the Henry Jaglom film (See the interview link above.)

Dana Gioia, poet, former head of the National Endowment for the Arts and author most recently of Pity the Beautiful, poems


Eduardo Santiago, Cuban author of Tomorrow They Will Kiss

Molly Peacock, poet, memoir writer and author of The Paper Garden: An Artist {Begins Her Life's Work} at 72

Michael Johnson, journalist who lives in Bordeaux France and writes for The International Herald Tribune, Open Letters, Facts and Arts, The Columnists--and more.

Enjoy and do let me know what you think. Comments always welcome.

July 18, 2013

On Writing a Novel: Publisher of Shelf Unbound Margaret Brown asks the question, How?


Published originally 12 february/march 2013 unbound 13
Amazon: Fine Paperback and Kindle version, Audible.com coming soon
Margaret Brown's interview with      
Who By Fire author
Mary L. Tabor

Outer Banks Publishing Group

Shelf Unbound: You have your main character creating the story of his deceased wife’s affair through memory and invention. It’s a novel approach to narrative — how did you arrive at it?

Mary L. Tabor: It’s fascinating to me that you use these two words memory and invention. Robert invents the story he didn’t know as he tries to discover what his wife actually did while she was alive. Perhaps the biggest risk I take in the novel is that use of invention. But I still have to make clear to the reader that real time, what I call the “now” or the present action of the story, is always operating, driving the plot forward, driving my narrator Robert forward. As Robert and I invented the story he didn’t know, my own memories invaded as they inevitably
will for the writer of any story. 

Mary L. Tabor’s
ingeniously constructed
and emotionally rich
Who by Fire has a
middle-aged widower
traversing the downward
spiral of his marriage.
Highly recommended
for your book club.

Memory by its very nature is flawed, but the need to revisit memory over and over again is part and parcel of being human and alive. Revisiting memory is the way we search for meaning in our lives, for the narrative of who we are and who we might become. In some sense, we’re inventing. But in fact we’re searching for emotional truth. As writers, we aspire to find that. When fiction rings true like a bell, we believe it.

Shelf: The story reveals the fissures in two marriages. You’ve written about marriage
before — what interests you about the subject?

Tabor: The ultimate challenge to our humanity gets played out day in and day out in marriage.
When E.M. Forster asserts in the epigraph to Howard’s End, “Only connect…”, he sets the challenge
for all of us. In a committed relationship with another, whether there be a contract or not, we
romantics hope for transcendence in love. But, of course, our flawed humanity that includes the
baggage of our past gets played out in daily living. It gets played out in the ordinary: buying the groceries,
commuting, sweeping up the messes that occur again and again. The only way through all
that, I think, is to believe that transcendence in love comes hand-in-hand with the transformation of
one’s self — not the other, not the beloved. But that’s only part of my answer. Marriage as subject
provides for me a solid place to search for answers about the meaning of existence. Not to get too
philosophical on you, but the search for meaning is the reason I write — and read.

Shelf: One of the main female characters is named Evan. I’m wondering why you chose
a masculine name for her?

Tabor: Until you asked me, I hadn’t realized Evan is a male name. The unconscious mind
is tricky, isn’t it? I love the character Evan more than anyone else in the book. The answer
might be as simple as this: As I’m heterosexual, perhaps I unconsciously gave her that name.

Shelf: You’ve taught creative writing. What did you learn in the process of writing this
book that you would share with your students?

Tabor: Save everything. I think most writers are hoarders. When a student has told me after
a workshop that he’s going to trash a story, I’ve reacted in horror, but until I wrote this book,
I’m not sure I fully understood why. Many years ago, I read an article in the newspaper about
a baby’s bones found in a suitcase in the attic of a house after it had been sold on Veazey
Street in DC. I cut it out and saved it. Didn’t know why, just couldn’t forget it. Later I wrote
a short story about what might have happened and titled it “The Suitcase.” That story reenvisioned
became a key part of the novel.

Shelf: You recently posted on your blog: “I’ve written a novel entitled Who by Fire, ten
years in the making, and I’m pretty sure not many folks will ever hear of it or read it.”
What would it mean to you if people did read it?

Tabor: I know from all your questions that you understand the risks, the unusual structure
of this novel. If it ever got read, I would cry because I’d be so indebted to those readers,
as I am to you. I would cry in gratitude.

June 20, 2013

Radio Interviews: Poets, Writers, Directors, the Literary, the Fascinating

Radio interviews with the fascinating. My radio show via Rare Bird Blogtalk Radio now has logged in seventeen shows.

One caveat: When you click on a link below, a short pause and an ad (about 10-20 seconds) may first appear, not of my making, so do forgive, but then you'll hear the show as it ran live. Each show is thirty minutes. Listen at your leisure to all or part of any of the shows.

You can also find on my Facebook Page news for upcoming radio shows and the newest column I've written on the arts, culture and love—or for the latter, click the flower in the right-hand margin of this page.

Here's the list of the seventeen radio interviews so far. Click on the name and you'll be taken to the radio show:

Marc Schuster: book reviewer, author of The Grievers

Henry Jaglom, distinguished, independent filmmaker, director, screenwriter

Jaki Scarcello, author of Fifty and Fabulous: The best years of a woman's life

Douglas Rogers, author of The Last Resort: a memoir of mischief and mayhem on a family farm in Africa

Peter Cox, British literary agent

Margaret Brown, publisher of the digital magazine Shelf Unbound: What to read next in independent publishing

Maureen Stanton, author of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

Robert G. Pielke, author of Rock Music in American Culture

Alan Cheuse, author and NPR book reviewer

Jacquie Kubin: managing and senior editor of The Communities at The Washington Times

Sarah C. Harwell, poet, author of Sit Down Traveler

Derek Haines, self-published author of more than 14 books, novels and essays

Ravi Shankar, poet, author of Deepening Groove

The Third Man and Déjà Vu: A Love Story: Conversation with journalist Harvey Black about the Graham Greene screenplay and movie starring Orson Welles and the Henry Jaglom film (I hope to interview Jaglom in June! We'll see if I can catch him...)

Dana Gioia, poet, former head of the National Endowment for the Arts and author most recently of Pity the Beautiful, poems


Eduardo Santiago, Cuban author of Tomorrow They Will Kiss

Molly Peacock, poet, memoir writer and author of The Paper Garden: An Artist {Begins Her Life's Work} at 72

Michael Johnson, journalist who lives in Bordeaux France and writes for The International Herald Tribune, Open Letters, Facts and Arts, The Columnists--and more.

Enjoy and do let me know what you think. Comments always welcome.

April 18, 2013

LA Times Festival of Books Party: Come on Over!

Starting Saturday April 20 with a party at a terrific bookstore with some great folks. In Los Angeles?  Come on over. I'll be there and would love to meet you.


Also on Sunday stop by the Rare Bird Booth #065 at the LATFB

I'll be signing books from 2:00 to 2:30. 

Monday April 22, 7:30 PM: Beirut Fiction Night w/ Eduardo Santiago, Richard Kramer, and Mary L. Tabor

Pi On Sunset (Next to Book Soup)
8828 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 657-1774

Should be fun... Hope to see you there ...



April 06, 2013

The Next Big Thing: Is it a book or could it be a magazine about books or both?

Last month, I posted The Next Big Thing and am reposting today because I've added, yes, two more books and authors you're gonna wanna check out. And the new Shelf Unbound is now out!

Poet Derek Walcott said in a 1997 lecture, “All art has to do with light.” And that’s what each of us, in this game of tag, is doing: Shedding light on literary works we love.

The Next Big Thing is a game of tag among literary folk.

If you’re lucky, someone loves your book and tags you to “PLAY.” Playing means you love the art of the novel, the poem, or know the best reader of both.

I was tagged by Anne Marie Ruff who wrote Through These Veins: Scientific intrigue, love and a look into the cure for Aids. We’ll be talking soon on the  Rare Bird Radio Show where we’ll get more of the scoop on her writing life. Link back to her and see her answers to the ten questions that, with some variations as needed, are part of this game of literary tag.


Catch them if you can:

The marvelous Margaret Brown publishes Shelf Unbound and it is The Next Big Thing. Brown has a blog to go along with the mag. Margaret Brown is doing what every published writer who has worked in the solitude of a literal or metaphorical attic could hope for: She reads to find the next big thing. She’s inspired by stories that matter and by writing that cares about the way that language expresses our humanity. She has created a digital magazine that is so gorgeous you can’t resist opening its pages on your computer, your phone or you iPad and every book she discovers links to the place you can buy it—and Shelf Unbound is free. Did an angel send her?

Cuban novelist Eduardo Santiago loves to play. Read Tomorrow They will Kiss, where Cinderella meets her match in New Jersey among the Cuban immigrants who struggle to hold body and soul
together. You gotta love his women and him! He helps literary folk as if it's his mission. And in 2006 he wrote an op-ed for the LA Times that includes one of the funniest, most candid bits I’ve ever read on meeting Fidel Castro by accident in the offices of CBS news! And here’s a scoop: He’s got a new novel coming soon.

Sarah Harwell, poet, author of Sit Down Traveler writes evocative poetry that will haunt you. In Sarah's book, you’ll hear echoes of T.S. Eliot, Kafka, Pablo Neruda and, believe it or not, Tarot cards and the evocative question of predicting the future. In one of her poems, the speaker says, “I have the number of a psychic,/ but when I phone, I answer.” She explores life, love: The good, the hard and the unpredictability of it all with the Tarot Cards as her guide and ours.

Ravi Shankar, poet, is a philanthropist of the heart because he sheds light on other writers wherever his name appears. He’s written Thirty Stills, a seamless collection where, like Wallace Stevens, Shankar creates “his unreal out of what is real” and amazingly blends the poems of this book into another: Deepening Groove that won the 2009 National Poetry Review Book Prize. The link here is to his literary journal Drunken Boat. We'll find out soon, where he will play and shed light.

Jaki Scarcello wrote Fifty & FabulousJaki quotes Joan Erickson, the wife of psychologist Eric Erickson. On her 94th birthday Joan said, “Our bodies wear out, our thoughts come more slowly. But our life cycles are our most creative effort. We can’t ever not be in them, right? The struggle is to try and obtain a sense of participation in your life the whole way through.”

Jaki is a living, breathing example of this spirit. She'll be my guest on Rare Bird Radio on May 8 at 4 pm eastern time. Tune in then or go to the Goodreads book club and listen after it's run.


Douglas Rogers wrote the memoir The Last Resort, that recounts the harrowing story of his parents and their farm in Zimbabwe. His first book by this established journalist has been widely and well-reviewed. Douglas will be my guest on Rare Bird Radio on April 10. Tune in live at 4 pm eastern time go to the Goodreads Book Club to hear the interview once it's run.

Here are my answers to the Ten Questions that are part of this literary game of tag (Writers I've tagged will adjust their q.s as needed so that this all makes sense—or so we hope):

What is the title of your book?

Golly, thanks for asking. Who by Fire

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I saw a fire in Iowa, a controlled burn of an old wooden storage bin, and I knew I would write about it. But lost love is closer to the heart of the book.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dare I say literary fiction? It’s a love story but so unconventional that I can’t call it a romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since I recently met the gorgeous Lena Olin and since I love all her work and since Lena is the name of my main female character, it’s gotta be Olin. She has a husband and you’ll have to pick an actor who can stand up to Olin. I don’t dare. Lena has a lover named Isaac, aka Pierce Brosnan. Isaac is married to Evan, such a dear soul that I see Laura Linney in the role. But this is all make believe and wishes and dreams.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Love and betrayal and the interminable chain of longing may lead to forgiveness if you’re willing to search for heroism in the ordinary.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Agency: Outer Banks Publishing Group

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two years and then eight more to figure out how the narration works.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I hope I learned something from Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair but somehow I think D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love is deep in my unconscious mind.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The deep-seated fear that I was losing the man I loved.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

This excerpt, I hope: I’ve heard that color can’t be remembered or that color memory is a gift like perfect pitch. Whether or not one has perfect color memory, color evokes memory, the way of all the senses. Like the scent of apples and pears—her skin. Like the sound of the first four notes of the Schubert in G flat—the echo of her climax in my mind. The red-orange-pink of the tiles I see in the old brick in the buildings where I live on 21st Street—her mouth when she slept and then when she was gone, when all that was left was memory and my obsession with fire (blue, red, white, green, black fire) and with perspective.

Bonus: Margaret Brown, publisher of Shelf Unbound, the magazine that is in the business of shedding light, was my guest on Rare Bird Radio on March 27. Here's the interview with this visionary for books

Listen to internet radio with rarebirdradio on Blog Talk Radio
Here's the April/May cover.
photo credit: Theron Humphrey, www.maddieonthings.com 
Discover more books that matter.

March 14, 2013

The Next Big Thing: Is it a song, a radio show, a movie—or could it be: A BOOK or Magazine?


The Next Big Thing is a game of tag among literary folk. Poet Derek Walcott said in a 1997 lecture, “All art has to do with light.” And that’s what each of us, in this game of tag, is doing: Shedding light on literary works we love.

If you’re lucky, someone loves your book and tags you to “PLAY.” Playing means you love the art of the novel, the poem, or know the best reader of both.

 
I was tagged by Anne Marie Ruff who wrote Through These Veins: Scientific intrigue, love and a look into the cure for Aids. We’ll be talking soon on the Rare Bird Radio Show where we’ll get more of the scoop on her writing life. Link back to her and see her answers to the ten questions that, with some variations as needed, are part of this game of literary tag.





Catch them if you can:

The marvelous Margaret Brown publishes Shelf Unbound and it is The Next Big Thing. Brown has a blog to go along with the mag. Margaret Brown is doing what every published writer who has worked in the solitude of a literal or metaphorical attic could hope for: She reads to find the next big thing. She’s inspired by stories that matter and by writing that cares about the way that language expresses our humanity. She has created a digital magazine that is so gorgeous you can’t resist opening its pages on your computer, your phone or you iPad and every book she discovers links to the place you can buy it. Did an angel send her?



Cuban novelist Eduardo Santiago loves to play. Read Tomorrow They will Kiss, where Cinderella meets her match in New Jersey among the Cuban immigrants who struggle to hold body and soul together. You gotta love his women and him! He helps literary folk as if it's his mission. And in 2006 he wrote an op-ed for the LA Times that includes one of the funniest, most candid bits I’ve ever read on meeting Fidel Castro by accident in the offices of CBS news! And here’s a scoop: He’s got a new novel coming soon.




Sarah Harwell, poet, author of Sit Down Traveler writes evocative poetry that will haunt you. Sarah doesn't have a blog so her tagging will appear back here with me. In Sarah's book, you’ll hear echoes of T.S. Eliot, Kafka, Pablo Neruda and, believe it or not, Tarot cards and the evocative question of predicting the future. In one of her poems, the speaker says, “I have the number of a psychic,/ but when I phone, I answer.” She explores life, love: The good, the hard and the unpredictability of it all with the Tarot Cards as her guide and ours.



Ravi Shankar, poet, is a philanthropist of the heart because he sheds light on other writers wherever his name appears. He’s written Thirty Stills, a seamless collection where, like Wallace Stevens, Shankar creates “his unreal out of what is real” and amazingly blends the poems of this book into another: Deepening Groove that won the 2009 National Poetry Review Book Prize. The link here is to his literary journal Drunken Boat. We'll find out soon, where he will play and shed light.



Here are my answers to the Ten Questions that are part of this literary game of tag (Writers I've tagged will adjust their q.s as needed so that this all makes sense—or so we hope):

What is the title of your book?

Golly, thanks for asking. Who by Fire

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I saw a fire in Iowa, a controlled burn of an old wooden storage bin, and I knew I would write about it. But lost love is closer to the heart of the book.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dare I say literary fiction? It’s a love story but so unconventional that I can’t call it a romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since I recently met the gorgeous Lena Olin and since I love all her work and since Lena is the name of my main female character, it’s gotta be Olin. She has a husband and you’ll have to pick an actor who can stand up to Olin. I don’t dare. Lena has a lover named Isaac, aka Pierce Brosnan. Isaac is married to Evan, such a dear soul that I see Laura Linney in the role. But this is all make believe and wishes and dreams.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Love and betrayal and the interminable chain of longing may lead to forgiveness if you’re willing to search for heroism in the ordinary.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Agency: Outer Banks Publishing Group

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two years and then eight more to figure out how the narration works.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I hope I learned something from Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair but somehow I think D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love is deep in my unconscious mind.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The deep-seated fear that I was losing the man I loved.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

This excerpt, I hope: I’ve heard that color can’t be remembered or that color memory is a gift like perfect pitch. Whether or not one has perfect color memory, color evokes memory, the way of all the senses. Like the scent of apples and pears—her skin. Like the sound of the first four notes of the Schubert in G flat—the echo of her climax in my mind. The red-orange-pink of the tiles I see in the old brick in the buildings where I live on 21st Street—her mouth when she slept and then when she was gone, when all that was left was memory and my obsession with fire (blue, red, white, green, black fire) and with perspective.

Bonus: Margaret Brown, publisher of Shelf Unbound, the magazine that is in the business of shedding light, will be my guest on Rare Bird Radio on March 27. Here's the bonus scoop: her April/May cover.

photo credit: Theron Humphrey, www.maddieonthings.com