Monday, October 8, 2012

Insights from warm, witty & wise best-selling author Jess Walter

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting best-selling author Jess Walter when he came to give a reading at Purdue through our Visiting Writers Series. I was part of a group of MFA students who got to have dinner with him before his reading, and he is one of the most friendly, funny, and genuinely nice people I've ever met!

An amazing read! You should buy it right now!
 I took notes during his question-and-answer session after his reading so I could share his incredibly insightful, comforting, funny and wise thoughts about the writing life with you:
  • I'm interested in collisions of emotion: the intersection between laughing and crying.
  • You turn the oven on for a "novel cake" and you have no idea how long it will take to bake.
  • As a writer, you are working against the grain of the culture. I love working against expectations -- working against what the reader expects in a really satisfying way.
  • There's an incredibly fast-moving river of culture, and as a novelist you have to step out of the river and observe what's around you.
  • We (as writers) can't focus on the number of people we reach. We can only focus on the depth of that relationship (with readers.)
  • I sometimes feel like an alien on the planet, and I think that's a really healthy way for a writer to feel -- at a remove from the rest of the world, watching.
  • Hollywood reflects us back at ourselves. 
  • So much of fiction writing is a kind of empathy.
  • On aging: Even as physically we start to fade, we become the best versions of ourselves.

It is so special when you greatly admire a writer's books, and then get the chance to meet the writer in person -- and like them even more! Jess Walter is a rare breed. If you're looking for fiction that will move you, make you laugh, crack open your world and fill it with light -- I could not recommend his books more highly!

No comments: