Saturday, March 06, 2010

An Impromtu Writers Cabal

I had a very enjoyable evening the other night - something of a surprise get together of fantasy writers.

I'd headed out to South Hadley to see Jedediah Berry and Paul Tremblay read at the Odyssey Bookshop. On arrival, I see Robert Redick is there too. I happen to be reading his Redwolf Conspiracy - and enjoying it very much - at the moment, so it was great to reconnect with him and say so. Also in attendance was Holly Black of Spiderwick Chronicles fame! I'd almost crossed paths with her a bunch of times, but this was the first time we properly met. Lots of chatting ensued.

Of course, we were there to hear Jed and Paul read. That they did, and an engaging reading it was. Paul went first, opening with - I kid you not - a Powerpoint presentation that had mostly to do with his treatment for sleep apnea and resulting severing of his uvula from his body. Strange? Yes it was, but in a tangential way it had everything to do with the protagonist of his weird boiled novel, the narcoleptic private investigator Mark Genevich. Paul then read a bit from No Sleep till Wonderland: A Novel. Good fun.

Jedediah began with a reading from his Crawford Award winning The Manual of Detection. Terrific stuff, also of a detective nature but with a healthy dose of hard to categorize fantastical elements. After that he read from another story he's been cooking up. It was on a pack of cards, which he shuffled and had audience members cut, etc. He then read the segments of the story on the cards in that random order, creating a surreal, comical, strangely cohesive narrative.

That's how readings should be - fun, interactive, playful but still honoring the words and the readers of them.

And then we all went out for food and beer! Now, I've been at a table filled with accomplished - famous even - writers before, but it's also been part of some event like a con or festival or award ceremony. The cool thing about this was that it just happened one Thursday night, pretty much on home turf.

A good time was had by all, I think. Holly didn't even seem to mind being asked several times if she liked the film version of Spiderwick. (She does.) And I learned which of these authors always gets emotionally upset (as in tears flowing) while writing, which one never does, and which one just did so for the first time and considers it a troubling development.

Of course, having tempted you with that, I'll offer no more details. You'll have to join us next time to find out...



Blogger Josiah Jubilee said...

The covers are beautiful.

*closes his eyes and groans* You don't need anymore books, you don't need anymore books, you don't need anymore books.

: (

12:19 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

They are all nice, aren't they? Have you tried Robert VS Redick yet? If not, you should. He's good.

9:59 AM  
Blogger BHer said...

I second that. It was a GREAT read - had substance, yet was fanciful and very enjoyable.

Very excited to read "(The Rats and) The Ruling Sea"!

BTW - why is it publishers don't think rats will sell in America but will in Engalnd??

12:12 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I don't know. Doesn't make much sense to me. I will say this - that some important decisions aren't made collectively. They aren't even necessarily made within a publishing house. Sometimes individuals in powerful positions - like a major bookbuyer - can change things just by saying they like one title or cover better than another. I've known of many instances when a publisher changed something not because they really wanted to - but because they'd been told such and such chain wouldn't order many copies if they didn't. Sad, but true.

9:49 AM  

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