Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Cornelia talked about what is was like for her as a teacher at DeSisto.
"Endless faculty meetings that would devolve into screaming group therapy sessions which was really terrifying - you never knew when the entire room was going to turn on you for some imagined or true character flaw - the exhaustion
of that just wore people down, broke them down and they started to go along with the system and it was really astonishing to see people who fought against it at the beginning just knuckle under and become convinced that in fact it was a positive experience."
I hope you get to listen to our conversation either tonight, on Sunday morning at 9am, or on KAXE's archives.
I had a really interesting conversation with Cornelia about writing. We talked about writing in terms of how the imagination works - how fascinating the creative process can be...
"When I was writing the first draft of "Field of Darkness" I was about halfway through with it and I was calling my main character, Madeline Dare, Caroline Dare - which is an anagram of my name. I suddenly thought THAT'S NOT HER NAME! Her friend was going to show up and I knew that she would call her Madwoman Dare and it was when the name changed that she really began to work as a character. Sometimes you'll have a character do something on the page that you absolutely didn't see coming and I remember the first time that happened to me: I called my sister and said, "Oh my god - I feel like I'm channeling someone - I just hope it's somebody with talent."
Monday, February 25, 2008
Tonight is the last big event for The Big Read of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". All month long, along with discussing the book and watching movies we've been reading mysteries.
I've had the privilege to read MINNESOTA mysteries this months - thanks to the fine folks you see in costume here - Carl Brookins, Ellen Hart and William Kent Krueger.
Each writes mysteries set in Minnesota that are unique to the genre. Ellen's are more of the "cozy" type - involving amateur sleuth/restauranteur Jane Lawless. This doesn't mean they are timely or pertaining to current events. In her latest "The Mortal Groove" Jane's father Ray is running for Minnesota governor. What could be more timely than political races that dig into the private lives of candidates?
The author of over 20 novels, Ellen is a five-time winner of the Lambda award for Best Lesbian mystery, and twice winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime & Detective Fiction. She was made an official GLBT Literary Saint at the Saints & Sinners Literary convention in New Orleans in 2005, and she has been awarded the Alice B. Readers Appreciation Medal. She teaches mystery writing at the University of Minnesota and at the Loft Literary Center.
Carl Brookins latest "Bloody Halls" is set on a college campus right in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. Jack Marston is an administrator who has been asked to look into the murder of a student. Brookins writing is sharp, funny and compelling.
Carl has written crime fiction reviews for Mystery Scene Magazine, two Internet sites, Reviewing The Evidence and Books n' Bytes, and for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. An avid sailor, he is the author of a sailing mystery series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney, published by Top Publications. They are titled Inner Passages, A Superior Mystery, set in Wisconsin's Apostle Islands, and Old Silver, published in May, 2005. His first detective novel, featuring PI, Sean NMI Sean, was released in September 2005 in hardcover from Five Star Mysteries called The Case of the Greedy Lawyers.
William Kent Krueger is the award winning writer of the mysteries with Cork O'Connor at the center. The latest "Thunder Bay" sets Cork on the trail of his spiritual advisor/Mide's long lost son and long lost love. Krueger's work is set firmly in the wilds of Northern Minnesota and Canada, with setting almost important as character. In Thunder Bay he also writes a seering love story, a tale of a Native medicine man, and a contemporary family drama.
His first two books, Iron Lake and Boundary Waters, received a number of awards including the Anthony award for Best First Novel, the Minnesota Book Award and the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award. His third novel, Purgatory Ridge, won the Minnesota Book Award for 2001; his fourth, Blood Hollow, won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of 2004. One critic has dubbed him the Michael Connelly of the Midwest.
Join us tonight for the free event at Itasca Community College. It's at 7pm at Davies Hall!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Hibbing Public Library 10:30am
April 3, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Memoir Writing Workshop
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Kent's mysteries take place in fictional Aurora, Minnesota - a landscape that he says "cried out to him". Kent went on to say:
"A fiction writer looks for conflict. Conflict drives great stories.
Aurora has conflict in the land, conflict in the weather and conflict within
the community. Stories rise not just out of the landscape but out of the
incredible melting pot up north."
As a wannabe-writer myself, it is always interesting to hear of the rituals that writers have. If you look at Kent's website you'll see he has a habit of writing early in the morning at a coffeeshop. For most of his career he did that at booth #4 at the St. Clair Broiler in St. Paul. I asked why he writes in a public place, he said:
"Ernest Hemingway had always been one of my favorite authors and what I
knew about Hemingway was that he loved nothing better than to rise at first
light and spend a couple of hours writing. He thought it was the most
creative time of the day - so I thought, well, whatever's good enough for
Hemingway....I was living a block from the St. Clair Broiler, a classic
coffeeshop in St. Paul - and they opened the doors at 6am. So I would get
up at 5:30, get myself ready for when they opened at 6 and write for about 1
hour and 15 minutes until the bus came to take me to work. "
"I tried to write at home but I couldn't do it for this reason: when
I'm at home what happens around my house demands my attention. At a
restaurant it all becomes white noise and I think myself really deeply down into
the imagining of whatever I need to work on at the moment. I think
we all have rituals - those elements of magic that help us accomplish this
incredible process that I think none of us understand."
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Help me compile this list and post what you are reading!!
Here's the Star Tribune's list for 2/16/08:
1. Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson. ($22, Graywolf).
A Norwegian man's self-imposed exile is disrupted by a neighbor.
2. The Appeal, by John Grisham ($26.95, Doubleday). A jury returns a verdict against a chemical company.
3. Duma Key, by Stephen King ($28, Scribner). A man recovers from an accident in which he loses an arm.
4. People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks ($25.95, Viking). A rare-book expert is offered the job of a lifetime.
5. 7th Heaven, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. ($27.99, Little, Brown and Co.). A fire in a wealthy community leaves a couple dead and detective Lindsay Boxer searching for clues.
1. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan ($21.95, Penguin). How to eat for good health.
2. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne (Beyond Words, $23.95). The law of attraction is the key to getting what you want.
3. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois ($27.95, Harper). A guide on preparing fresh breads.
4. Fair Game, by Valerie Plame Wilson ($26, Simon & Schuster).
A memoir by the former CIA operative.
5. The Dog Says How, by Kevin Kling ($22.95, Borealis). A collection of autobiographical stories.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Elisabeth is the daughter of a living literary legend - and has grown up in a wealthy and genteel old money world. She's bucked the family though, and studied and worked furiously at being a french pastry chef. Brother Rascal is fast usurping his father's writing career and Elisabeth is beginning to wake up and see her life for what it is: baking, farmer's markets and an occassional visit from her equally dysfuntional childhood love. She begins to see isolation is not all it's cracked up to be and plugs her nose and jumps into the deep end. Publisher's Weekly wrote:
"If it sounds chick litty, it is, but consider it haute chick lit; Palmer's prose is sharp, her characters are solid and her narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment. "
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
You've got to check out his website; it's hilarious!
He's got a special website for parents and kids for the Trucktown series too, along with a blog.
Jon mentioned some of his favorite children's books authors - including Adam Rex, Mo Willems and Brian Selznick.
We also talk about how to get kids reading, and how to get boys reading especially. We talked about Minnesota author Will Weaver's latest endeavor - a series of novels for middle-high school age boys about the life of a stock car racer called "Saturday Night Dirt". Will's got lots of information on his website and a blog on writing as well.
My other conversation on Realgoodwords is with Minnesota mystery author Carl Brookins, as part of The Big Read of Dashiell Hammet's "The Maltese Falcon". Carl's latest, the first in a series, is called "Bloody Halls". Carl and I talked alot about the process of writing...
"My detective in "The Case of The Greedy Lawyers", Sean Sean, just showed up in my office one day with a stack of files and said to tme that he had these stories he thought he wanted me to tell. One of the things that happens to people when they get what's called writer's block - I don't think it really is writer's block - it's when the characters refuse to do something that the writer is trying to get him to do that is out of character."
"I hear these voices and when the characters come to me sometimes I don't know where they are going. I sometimes say that I write these stories to find out what's going to happen just like the readers do...The reader and the writer have a contract -
you bring certain expectations to the book - I as the writer bring certain expectations. It's not a question of who wins - it's a question of whether I'm successful in writing the kind of a book that
will get A reaction from you - it may not be the reaction that I necessarily want, but some kind of reaction . To be ignored is the worst thing."
Carl also mentioned his favorite, first mystery as a kid, Freddy the Pig.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
"This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
Not only are we reading this book (or listening to it as I am), our very own Maggie Montgomery will join us for her perspective on what it is like to eat locally in Northern Minnesota. And, we'll gather together, 'round the KAXE fireplace with local food to share.
Join us on Tuesday March 11th at 4pm at KAXE!
Have you already read this book? What do you think?