Special Guest Appearance!
I joined the ones and onlies Margaret Willison, Kathryn VanArendonk, and Andrew Cunningham for a freewheeling, incisive, and deeply irreverent podcast about teen detectives, which Friends friend would be eaten first in a monster movie, and the back half of Stranger Things. With of course a special shout out to Barb, Most Valuable Inadvertent Pop Culture Icon of Summer 2016.
Bellweather Rhapsody on BookTalk!
It was crazy fun talking with Cyd Oppenheimer about Bellweather Rhapsody, and the second half of the show is a FLIPPING FANTASTIC discussion of the book with guests Tui Sutherland and Alfie Guy. Thanks again for inviting me, Cyd–and thanks to you, Tui, and Alfie for giving Bellweather the kind of deep, curious and generous read that turns a writer’s eyes to little pink hearts.
Talkin' bout revision at Pleiades
"With revision, I had a way of looking at my writing diagnostically, retrofitting the close-reading tools I had acquired in undergrad literature classes for use on fresh prose, examining new stories, my own and others, for their component parts (voice, character, setting, plot, tone, the very sentences they were built from). Mastery over the parts allowed me to diagnose what ailed the whole, then excise and remake those parts without the paralyzing fear of destroying something mortal. Revision was the first time I took my own work seriously, because I could see just how unserious it was. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t precious. The act of writing was demystified; the reality of being a writer, deromanticized. I’ve always felt mildly allergic to the word ‘craft’—it can sound so pretentious, unless you take it on very literal terms. Writing is just as much a craft as woodworking, painting, knitting. It’s a skill. A trade."
"Writing a novel on spec is a kind of hope marathon, where you’re occasionally buoyed up by fantastic writing days, those bright moments when you solve thorny plot holes, but day to day sustenance comes from force of habit and hope, kept steady on a low flame. You have to wake up every day with a certain amount of faith in both the necessity and urgency of literature in general, and your own specific faith (which can border on delusion) in the made up people and places in your head, and the bizarre things you’re asking them to do."
Celebrating Murder, She Wrote
Becoming Jessica Fletcher
At The Toast
"I have been prepping to be an old lady my entire life. When I was in third grade I had a subscription to Reader’s Digest. I ate Raisin Bran for breakfast. And every Sunday night at eight, after 60 Minutes, I plunked myself in front of the television and waited, rapt, for the noodling piano that announced the start of Murder, She Wrote."
Guest post for the Boston Book Festival Blog
“I came to get serious about writing, to get my MFA from Emerson College, but what I really ended up getting was a ten-year degree in Boston.”
Interview with Gina Damico
"Always be careful what you wish for from an author, because SHE JUST MIGHT DO IT."
Chatting with Sistina Giordano and Jim Teske on WSYR's Channel 9 Bridge Street about Bellweather, dead bodies and band geeks!
"I don’t have any tattoos because I’m afraid of needles but, if it did, I’d probably get this Kurt Vonnegut quote tattooed up and down my arm: 'Many people need desperately to receive this message: "I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone."'"
ABC Book Review Podcast
It's my very first podcast! AND CARI AND I SPENT IT GEEKING OUT ABOUT BASSOONS.
Book Notes: Bellweather Rhapsody
“I outlined Bellweather as a piece of music, with a prelude and a postlude and four movements, each representing a day over a single four-day weekend and marked with a tempo that grows from an andante to a scherzo to an allegro. I thought of my eight close third-person main characters as soloists, some of them literally represented by an instrument, but all of them moving in and out of each other's plotlines, aggregating, as those plots come together, like notes in a chord.”
The Campaign for the American Reader
Writers Read: “The last book I fell in love with was My Misspent Youth: Essays by Meghan Daum.”
The Page 69 Test: “Bellweather was built from a mix of memories and love—love for music, for mysteries, and for the capacity of humans to solve the mysteries of their own selves.”
My Book, the Movie: “I love movies. They’re a part of how I learned to see the world and to tell stories. I gravitate toward vivid visual and auditory elements in my writing, and I always thought of Bellweather Rhapsody in cinematic terms.”
Interview with Louise Miller
“I taught myself to keep a writing practice the same way I taught myself to go to the gym (though the former has stuck a little better): I made it a habit that fit in my life.”
Research Notes: Bellweather Rhapsody
“It’s 1991. I am eleven.
I’m lying on my stomach on the couch in the family room, reading Ellen Raskin’s mystery novel The Westing Game for the first time. It’s the trial scene, where the young Turtle Wexler interrogates each of the sixteen heirs named in Sam Westing’s bizarre will in her final push to solve his murder. When Sydelle Pulaski hauls herself up on her crutches and blows into her pitch pipe, preparing to sing “America the Beautiful,” I understand. I run to the kitchen for a pen and paper, and I solve the puzzle — a missing-word puzzle — at the same time that Turtle and the heirs do. True, it’s only half of the solution; Turtle wins the windfall without my help. But this book has managed something altogether magical: it has reached into my world at the exact moment I reached into it.”
“Summertime has always been about happily glutting myself on books.”
Interview with Whitney Sullivan
“I set out to write a novel like a collage, with characters and plots and mysteries all overlapping—but I’m a compulsive organizer, so there had to be method to the madness.”
Sitting down with Chris Brandolino and Tanja Babich on NewsChannel 9 WSYR's Bridge Street to yak about This Must Be the Place
Interview with Kevin Fanning
“And I like working, I like being busy and having set times for different kinds of employment and thoughts. After all, Wallace Stevens sold insurance his whole life.”
“It was my first lesson in creative magical thinking.”