Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Author Interview – Maggie Harryman

What are your goals as a writer? I strive to write beautifully and still tell a compelling, plot driven, multi-layered story with a lot of characters, time passage, depth and dimension.  I want my readers to feel very satisfied when they finish one of my books, to remember the characters later and to feel that they have been told a great story.

What books have most influenced your life? In grad school I was absolutely dumb struck by the beauty of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.   The Dubliners really struck me for its use of language. Much later, I was very taken by everything Richard Russo wrote and loved Empire Falls.  When I read that book I knew that’s the sort of thing I wanted to do—create a big, multi-layered story with lots of characters.

Who is your favorite author and why? I would have to say Richard Ford.  His use of language is exquisite.  From what I’ve read, he attributes this to a youthful struggle to overcome dyslexia and how it made him look at—really see—every word he read.  That’s the way he writes, as though every single word matters deeply.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Definitely!  I mapped a novel in the late fall and plan to have a first draft by the end of May, 2013 with a pub date of late 2014.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself having published a total of three novels (including Here Among Us).

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I just finished A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I’m a big fan of John Irving.  As I mentioned, I’m a huge Richard Ford fan and so I’ve just ordered Canada.  I’m also reading a non-fiction book that was suggested by a friend called, The Power of Full Engagement.  The authors studied the habits of athletes for years and the book’s about time management and the absolute necessity of recovery when you live a busy life.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? I don’t know that she’s a new author, but I absolutely adore Elizabeth Strout. I think Olive Kitteridge is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

What contributes to making a writer successful? Only one thing I can think of—writing.

Do you have any advice for writers? I always tell students that there’s no mystery about the process.  It’s just hard work (satisfying, exciting work, but hard work) and a lot of practice.  Sam Maloof, a famous furniture maker, made thousands of his signature chairs. The first one looked like a twisted disaster.  The 2000th was in the Museum of Modern Art. Practice. Practice. Practice.

 

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – R (Strong language, adult themes)

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