Monday, June 01, 2009


The Perfect Age to Get Published

The lovely and talented novelist, Tayari Jones, has a little essay I wrote over at her site. She chose eight debut novelists to feature on her site this summer, and I'm grateful to be included, along with fellow Graywolf author Tiphanie Yanique.

Here is the first paragraph:

I wrote the first draft of my novel when I was thirty-one. My husband, who is Scottish and warm and funny but schooled in that British way, read the early manuscript and murmured: “Hmm. I like this one paragraph.” So I put the novel aside, then wrote and published short stories for a while. At thirty-five, I dragged the manuscript back out again. The one paragraph is the only thing from the original draft that is still in my book.

As I said, Tayari is a novelist and blogger herself, and her site a wonderful resource for writers at all stages of their career. Hop over and spend some time there--I try to do so every week. Tayari is very generous with all that she knows, and something of a virtual mentor to a great many young writers; I'm honored to be on her blog! And do check out her two novels: The Untelling and Leaving Atlanta.

Marie! I am even more jazzed to meet you at Bread Loaf after reading the story of your road to publication. Like you, I will make my debut as a novelist much later than I would have wished for --oh, heck, I'll go ahead and say it: I'll be 40 when the book is released in February 2010!
I started writing my book in earnest in 2003--after year's of writer's block --
Looking back now, I realize those years of silence and stuckness could not have gone any other way. I needed those years to grow in confidence in my artistic vision.
So, here I am with a debut novel that is a coming-of-age story at 40. Well, at least, it's almost here.
Congrats! Looking forward to reading your book!
Well, I'm really jazzed to meet you too. I think there are more of "us" than we realize, and that we really aren't that "old," it's just that the fuss is made over people younger, which I do understand, but it can make a sensitive girl, well, sensitive!

Can't wait to meet you in person and to talk and learn more about your work. I sent you my email. I hope to be in touch!
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