You are viewing:

Table For Two: Interviews


Table for Two: Debora Black Interviews Abigail Thomas

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 2 comments


Abigal Thomas [photo by Jennifer Waddell]

Abigal Thomas [photo by Jennifer Waddell]

Debora: Congratulations, Abby, on the release of your new memoir, What Comes Next and How to Like It. I’m delighted to be able to speak with you about this meaningful book and your writing life.  Your writing is truly impressive—precise and perceptive. It often surprised me, the particular way you shined the light. For example, in the final chapter, reflecting back over the events in your book, you write:

Love can accommodate all sorts of misshapen objects: a door held open for a city dog who runs into the woods; fences down; some role you didn’t ask for, didn’t want. Love allows for betrayal and loss and dread. Love is roomy. Love can change its shape, be known by different names. Love is elastic.

And the dog comes back.

This is the best definition of love I’ve ever heard. It’s beautiful. Poignant (for the person who has read your book), except that it’s stronger than that, in control of itself. And then so practical and funny at the end, this dog love. All I could do was close the book, and hold it to my chest while all of the emotions and thoughts flooded through. The total of which has me wondering this: When you write, do you sense the quiet power of what you’re writing? Is it something that forms on its own from an unconscious space or do you construct it purposefully?

Abby: First, thank you for saying such extremely nice things. It’s not really a conscious choice, the way I write, except when I revise to make it succinct. I love what you said about its forming on its own from an unconscious space. That describes exactly what writing is like. Continue reading →

Table For Two: An Interview with Jim Nichols

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: Be the first to comment


jim CloserAlltheTimeCover

Debora: Jim it’s lovely to have you with us at Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour. Congratulations on your new novel Closer All the Time, published by Islandport Press, available now—and at last, for established Jim Nichols fans! I’m a newcomer, Jim, and wish to say that I love this book for the tenderness in the writing and the expressiveness of the characters. It’s clear that there is a lot of experience and wisdom behind these pages.

Jim: Hi Debora, it’s a pleasure to discuss CATT with you and to be part of Bill & Dave’s…one of my very favorite literary sites. And thanks for the kind words, I’m really happy you enjoyed the book. Continue reading →

Table for Two: An Interview with Melissa Falcon Field

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 2 comments


Melissa Falcon Field and Noah

Melissa Falcon Field and Noah

Debora: I’m so pleased to be among the first to announce your debut novel, What Burns Away. Kudos! How does it feel to know that bookstores all over the country are unboxing your book and making room for you on the Newly Released shelf?

Melissa: Well Debora, I have to say that it is wildly exciting. Publishing a novel has been a dream I have been chasing since my college days, back when I had a big spiral perm and wore stonewashed Daisy Duke cutoffs. Always, in those years, I carried an enormous bag full of books with me everywhere I went, furiously reading Stephen Crane, Annie Proulx, Jane Smiley, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Willa Cather, Andre Dubus, Stuart Dybeck, Mary Karr, Annie Dillard, and so many more. I read literally everything I could get my hands on, studying plotlines, and working hard to develop my own with a ferocious appetite, I still read to inform my craft. But the debut, holding my own work in my hands, it feels like a big deal—a graduation of sorts, a kind of birth, and a sense of legitimacy after chasing the dream and working as hard as I have to understand how to write a novel, for some twenty years now. And, mostly, I am full of gratitude for all the great mentors and literary friendships that gave me doses of the necessary tough love along the way. Continue reading →

Table for Two: An Interview with Debut Author Annie Weatherwax

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 10 comments


 

Annie Weatherwax

Annie Weatherwax

Debora: Annie, if we were really here at Bistro C.V. here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I live, you would be able to see how edgy this place is. It’s a good pairing for your new novel! Let’s go sit at the bar. My friend is bartending this evening. She knows all about the wines—which are fabulous here. And we’ll have the opportunity to sample a nice variety, since I want to find out everything about you and your book. But first, Annie, welcome to Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, cheers and congratulations on All We Had.

Annie: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for inviting me and I can’t wait to try a little wine! Continue reading →

Table For Two: Debora Black interviews Annette Berkovits

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 10 comments


Annette Berkovits

Annette Berkovits

 

Debora: Annette, thanks so much for being here on Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour. Some day soon we must actually meet for a martini or two. But for now, a cyber setting. I thought, given the complex outcomes of the narrative you’ve written, tea and cookies by this warm fire at Three Peaks Grill would be fitting. We can watch the alpenglow spread over the ski mountain as we discuss the pages of your beautiful new book: In the Unlikeliest of Places, How Nachman Libeskind Survived the Nazis, Gulags, and Soviet Communism. Continue reading →

Tour de Blog: Bill and Dave Join the Great All-Universe Blog Tour

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: Be the first to comment


Bill and Dave were invited to participate in the MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR by Dinty W. Moore, a truly remarkable individual (ask him sometime about Paul McCartney’s ashes) who also happens to be a kick-ass writer, and who just happens to be the editor of the first and best online journal, Brevity, which is devoted to short nonfiction.  The Brevity Blog is one of the greatest on earth, though Bill and Dave’s is quite a bit better.  Dinty loves to garden and crack jokes.  His books show greatness and include Between Panic and Desire; The Accidental Buddhist; and The Rose Metal Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction.

Bill’s and Dave’s answers to the four Blog Tour questions follow below, and our nominations come after that: Continue reading →

Table for Two: Bill Interviews “Nightingale” author Suzanne Congdon LeRoy

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 5 comments


Elisabeth Congdon (third from left) playing Field Hockey, 1909 at Dana Hall

 

Bill: Greetings, Suzanne, and welcome to Bill and Dave’s.   And warm congratulations on the publication of your astonishing true story, Nightingale: A Memoir of Murder, Madness, and the Messenger of Spring.  It’s such a complex story.  How would you summarize it?

Suzanne: Nightingale is the story of my grandmother, Elisabeth Mannering Congdon, who was heiress to a mining fortune and victim of one of Minnesota’s most notorious homicides. As the eldest granddaughter, I was entrusted with the burdens and joys of memory as I detailed a family legacy of love, loss and perseverance. Elisabeth Congdon emerges not as heiress or victim but as the messenger of spring and the key to my survival as I tried to escape my own mother, a dangerous serial criminal falling deeper into madness. My grandmother’s early efforts to nurture a foundation of hope, optimism, and the power of possibility led me to advanced education, a beloved nursing career and the discovery of the ineffable relationship between healing oneself, service to others, and the connection to the spirit and beauty of the earth that made me whole again. Continue reading →

The Remedy for Love Pretend Dinner Party and Group Interview

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: Be the first to comment


It’s such a pleasure to talk about a new book with friends and acquaintances that I thought I’d host a dinner party to do just that, invite a bunch of writers, readers, booksellers, radio hosts, filmmakers, and musicians, among others, to a bash in celebration of The Remedy For Love.  We’ll meet somewhere nice, since it’s all going to be pretend anyway.  I’m thinking Kauai, the garden isle of Hawaii, and will foot the pretend bill for all that pretend travel to a pretend luau, complete with fire dancing and hula lessons, all under a flapping tent, ocean breezes, tropical warmth, a fine contrast to the weather in the new novel, which is cold, cold, cold, a blizzard of epic proportions.  I’ve given my guests just a little to go on—a quick description of the novel (a small town lawyer tries to help a homeless woman and ends up stuck in a cabin with her during the storm of the century…) , and the quotes above from Peter Heller and David Abrams (two terrific novelists I had the good fortune to meet on the Life Among Giants tour).  Because, I don’t want to give away too much!  And now, everyone’s assembled, huge round table, cheerful (and well-tipped) servers dropping fabulous food, bowls of rum punch, bottles of wine.  Everyone has a gift copy of The Remedy for Love, still gaily wrapped (do not open until October 14, 2014, which is publication day!).  The dancing has yet to begin.  Amid the laughter, someone speaks up, gets us started. Continue reading →

Absinthe

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 2 comments


 

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”    — Oscar Wilde

.

Absinthe. Wormwood. The Green Fairy. Rumors of hallucination and poisoning have surrounded this emerald drink since Oscar Wilde said it made him see flowers growing in cafes, but in truth, it is simply very strong alcohol—over one hundred proof—and has been legal in the United States since 2007. Continue reading →

Read, Read, Read Everything: An Interview with Poet Cynthia Atkins

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews

comments: 2 comments


Cynthia Atkins (photo Alexis Rhone Fancher)

 

.

I have known Cynthia Atkins for years as a fellow teacher, wonderful poet, and generous friend. What her poetry has taught me, however, is that she’s also a powerful mental health advocate. We spoke on the occasion of the publication of Cynthia’s latest work, In the Event of Full Disclosure, which takes on issues of family and mental health with a voice that is both wry and wise. 

Mary: “In Plain Sight” begins with contradiction: “I am certain of only one thing– / I am in a team of (n)one.” I love how the confidence of the voice is undercut by the impossibility of any certainty in this world view. Where did this poem start for you in its initial draft, with those lines or something else? Continue reading →