Today is the first day of this year’s Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. I was only able to get to one event today, although I had my eye on several on the schedule, but it was a good one.
The title of the fiction program was “Behind Closed Doors” and I had no idea what it was going to be about, but the panelists were all novelists so I decided to give it a shot. (It turns out the title may have something to do with some dark secrets that the book deal with.)
The first author was Matt Matthews, author of Mercy Creek from Hub City Press, about a 16-year-old boy on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Next was Pamela Redmond, author of The Possibility of You, from Simon and Schuster. Last was David Winner, author of The Cannibal of Guadalajara.
All three were engaging, but I was particularly interested in what Redmond had to say. She described her book as being set in 3 time periods: 1916, the 70s, and the present. And the section she read was 1916. Because the book I’m working on is set in two time periods (1916 and the present) I was curious about both structural and thematic linkages for the different parts of her story. Her answer was terrific. She said that she did a close reading of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and, at least initially, structured her book the same way. Hmm. So now I have to read Redmond’s book and Cunningham’s (I own it and should have read it a long time ago) before I get back to work on my new novel . . .
I’m hoping to hit a couple of panels on Thursday.