Fall for the Book

Posted on September 30, 2012. Filed under: Books, writing | Tags: , , , , |

I recently volunteered to be a driver at George Mason’s annual “Fall for the Book.” Basically, I was supposed to pick up authors who were featured in the Fall for the Book series, drive them to their reading, and then return them safely to their hotel. It turns out it made more sense to walk them than to drive them in most cases, so next year I am going to insist on being called a volunteer walker. Might not have the best ring to it, but gosh darn it, it’s accurate!

I had a great time volunteering. I got to meet and speak one on one with three very different authors, not to mention attending their readings and Q&A sessions.

The first author I escorted was Mat Johnson. I am currently reading his novel Pym. I am really enjoying it. The main character hooks you right from page one. Sadly, I did not finish it before meeting him, but mostly I spent my time asking him about writing as a career. I wish I had some great advice to impart, but mostly I was just amazed to learn that he has a day job, as do the other two authors I met, and he said even Toni Morrison has a day job!

We need to pay writers better so they can quit their day jobs to have more time to write. I’ll start the petition later this week – as soon as I get all my work done at my day job.

I really enjoyed meeting Mat Johnson. He’s from Philly and went to Columbia. I’m from NJ and went to NYU, so we had a little bit to discuss as far as our backgrounds. He was a pretty funny guy and, at his reading, he made the audience laugh quite a few times, which I think is important. It seems to me if people like you, when they aren’t already your fans, that they are more likely to buy your books. I also found out he has several graphic novels published – which I can’t wait to look into – so we geeked out a bit together discussing Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, my comic book writing heroes. He is also a very funny Twitter fiend so follow him here.

I met another Matt, this one with two Ts, Matt Bondurant. I just finished reading his book, “The Wettest County” which was recently made into the movie “Lawless.” I really want my novel – the one I will finish and get published any year now – to be made into a movie, primarily, let’s be honest here, because it pays well. So I asked Matt a lot of questions about that process and was surprised to learn that his book agent, in NY, got his book in the hands of a movie agent in LA. Apparently, they do a lot of that – pairing books with movie companies. I guess the trick there is to find the right agent.

My final author was Nick Arvin. I am reading his novel “Articles of War.” When I looked at the three books he has out I chose “Articles of War” because it takes place during World War II and I find that era fascinating. I am almost halfway through the book and don’t want to put it down. The main character, Heck, is so well drawn and interesting, I really can’t wait to find out where the rest of the story goes.

At the reading, Nick read from his new novel, “The Reconstructionist.” It’s a truly unique topic and I am definitely going to buy it after I am done with all these other books! It’s about a guy who works as a reconstructionist – someone who goes to the scene of an accident, or investigates all the evidence after an usually fatal accident, and reconstructs what happened during the crash. I think it will make for some great reading. Nick is a blogger and you can follow his writing and reading career here!

I am going to volunteer again next year. I really enjoyed meeting some very talented authors.

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[…] them (though I got to meet 3 very talented published writers at the Fall for the Book Drive – Read about it here), but I have managed to glean a little bit of wisdom from these successful […]


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