Category Archives: Literary Fiction

A Day in the Life of a Writer: Julia Fierro

Posted by November 10th, 2015

CUTTING TEETH revised coverWriters, if you don’t know of Julia Fierro yet, it’s high time you did! Julia is the founder and director of Brooklyn’s Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, the author of the sharp, darkly comic novel CUTTING TEETH (also a Landmark Title on Book Country), and a truly delightful literary personality. Recently, Julia moved with her family to Los Angeles, but luckily for us in New York, she visits regularly to take part in readings, conferences, and panels (like our “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel at BookCourt this fall). She photo-documented a day in her life on one of her trips back to the East Coast this fall, showing us what it’s like to be in the thick of the literary scene in New York City.

8:30 am

Julia 1The water is choppy today on the Long Island Sound. Brrr. Definitely not in LA anymore, but the fall chill (my father calls it fresca!) is lovely after the heat in CA. Just a few more hours visiting with my parents in Mekamah Beach.

9:00 am

Julia 2My dad made me breakfast (including soup from the vegetables in his garden). He’s wearing his favorite Diet Coke hat. Continue reading

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Andrew Unger: Q&A with BookCourt’s Events Manager

Posted by October 26th, 2015

Andrew UngerToday we welcome Andrew Unger to the Book Country blog. Andrew is the Events Manager at BookCourt, the celebrated Brooklyn bookstore famous for its well-stocked events program featuring New York’s most distinguished authors as well as brand new talent. Andrew will be on the “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel co-hosted by Book Country on Wednesday night, October 28th, 2015, at 7pm at BookCourt.

Lucy Silag: Tell us about BookCourt and how it fits into the Brooklyn community of writers.

Andrew Unger: “BookCourt is a monument, a university, and a party in slow motion. It doesn’t have to take over the world because it is the world.” — Jonathan Lethem

It’s no surprise that Jonathan Lethem said it best. The store was opened by Henry Zook and Mary Gannett in 1981. It was one room, a former barber shop, with a modest selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s titles. They bought the building in 1983. In 1996 Albert, who owned the flower shop next door, wanted to move to Florida and so sold his building to Mary and Henry in 1996. In 2008, they removed the greenhouse behind the old flower shop and added what is perhaps the store’s most defining characteristic, a giant, book-lined reading space. Hoisted above the ceiling, at the apse of the room, is a beautiful skylight. Today the store boasts one of the largest inventories in Brooklyn.

With the addition of the “Greenhouse,” the events series at BookCourt hit a high gear. In the seven years since it was built, the store has grown to accommodate the flush of writers and the wave of gentrification overtaking the neighborhood. In a given week, BookCourt might host ten different authors, four writing workshops, a book club, and a number or stock signings. It is a haven for readers, it’s an intellectual playground to a whole generation of neighborhood children, and it’s a university to writers from across the city.

BookCourt interior

Interior at BookCourt, courtesy of Google Maps.

LS: Why should writers hang out at Bookcourt?

AU: BookCourt is like a living, breathing MFA program. We’ve hosted Junot Diaz, Richard Ford, Don DeLillo, David Sedaris, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, and I could keep going. It’s such a stupidly impressive list of authors. Those events give you goosebumps. Junot Diaz talked for over an hour about his process, his growth as a writer and listened and responded to almost every single attendee, a room of over 300 people. This is an amazing opportunity. But this isn’t entirely the reason writers congregate at BookCourt. Continue reading

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Meg Mitchell Moore

Posted by October 7th, 2015

THE ADMISSIONS coverMeg Mitchell Moore‘s new book, THE ADMISSIONS, came out from Doubleday in August. Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand said of THE ADMISSIONS, “This book was brilliant and enjoyable on every level. I LOVED IT! It’s my money-back guarantee of 2015.”

Today we’re following Meg through a typical day in her life as a writer in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. On deck is writing time, of course (check out the gorgeous writing space she rents downtown), and a book club event at the Reading Public Library, proof that getting involved in your community is a win for both writers and readers.

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6:00 am

mmm1 600My day begins as exotically as all my weekdays begin: lunchboxes! Hooray. Also, cappuccino (not pictured). I’m a Nespresso fan. Did I say fan? I meant addict.

7:40 am

mmm2 600After the usual rush of do-you-have-your-homework and did-you-brush-your-teeth and where-is-my-other-sneaker the three kids are out the door. The middle schooler goes first (6:55 bus but today her nice dad gives her a ride so she has a few extra minutes) followed by the fifth-grader and third-grader on a later bus. By 7:40, they’re all gone. Whew. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Erotica Author Olivia Glass

Posted by September 9th, 2015

oliviaglass.comHow would I describe Book Country member Olivia Glass to someone who doesn’t have the pleasure of knowing her yet? First, I’d say that Olivia is one of the most community-oriented writers I’ve ever come across: very active in the communities around the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (where she got her MFA), the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, adjunct faculty organizations, Philadelphia-based writers, and erotica writing. Second, I’d say that she’s an intrepid explorer of the rapidly changing publishing landscape: eager to try new ways to reach readers and enthusiastic about connecting with them online.

Today we are celebrating the release of her novella FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF, which she published right here on Book Country. Check out the heap of praise Olivia has gotten for her erotica:

“Angsty and hotter than hell . . .” Iris Blaire, author of Exposure

“Yes, this is a good story, but it’s a hot story. Glass is an author who knows how to write a blush-inducing sex scene . . . You’ll absolutely want to read this well-crafted, deliciously written lesbian love story again.” Erika Almond

“Glass takes readers on an emotional journey as three women learn to live and love again after heartbreak . . .” Elizabeth Franklin, Portland Book Review

“Olivia Glass spins a mesmerizing story of lust, love, betrayal and so much more… hot erotica wrapped up inside a strong, compelling story.” Jon Pressick

FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF lo res

Lucy Silag: Tell us about writing your erotic novella FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF, and how it was originally published. Continue reading

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Posted by September 1st, 2015

Kicking off a new blog series here on Book Country is the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and graphic novelist Marisa Acocella Marchetto. Marisa’s 2006 book, Cancer Vixen, was a huge critical success, and today her new graphic novel, ANN TENNA, comes out from our friends at Knopf. Kirkus Reviews said of ANN TENNA: “Zany with a touch of uplifting. You will be measurably hipper after reading it.” Marisa’s husband, Silvano Marchetto, is also the owner of the trendy restaurant Da Silvano here in NYC. Below she gives us a slice of a typical day in her busy writing life.

7:11am

fridge editedI got up and went to grab the one thing I need to finish my cartoons today, and GAH! No coffee. I need it just as much as I need my fine line Black Sharpie pen to rough out my cartoons.

7:35am

acocello desk editedAfter a trip to Jack’s down the street, I got back to the drawing board. (I have a new book, ANN TENNA, coming out. Look for subtle product placement throughout this post.) Continue reading

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COVER REVEAL + VIDEO: Andrea Dunlop, LOSING THE LIGHT

Posted by August 31st, 2015

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountryAs you know, Book Country member Andrea Dunlop‘s book was picked up by Washington Square Press (an imprint of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster) last fall. We’ve pretty much been in a perpetual state of celebration since then!

Today, we have lots of exciting updates for you on Andrea’s book, originally workshopped on Book Country with the title THE SOJOURN.

First off, THE SOJOURN has a new title: LOSING THE LIGHT.

Secondly, LOSING THE LIGHT will come out on February 23, 2016! You can already preorder it from retailers. Woo-hoo!

We’re also super excited to reveal the cover for LOSING THE LIGHT this morning! Check it out: Continue reading

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Book Country at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference 2015

Posted by August 19th, 2015

We are so excited to be headed back to Brooklyn for the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference 2015!

Slice Literary Writers' ConferenceHere’s a description of the conference courtesy of the editors at Slice magazine:

Slice Literary’s fifth annual writers’ conference will take place on September 12 and 13 in downtown Brooklyn. Our panels and workshops will cover topics from the craft of writing (plotting, dialogue, characterization, poetry, and more) to the business of writing (pitch letters, landing a book deal, and beyond). Top editors, agents, and authors will discuss crucial steps to help launch a writer’s career. But a book deal is just the beginning of a writer’s professional journey. We invite leading professionals to offer trade secrets about how they transform a great story into a bestselling book (and what writers can do to help them get there).
Where: St. Francis College, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY
When: 10am – 5:00pm, September 12 + 13, 2015
Who: Click here for the list of agents, editors, authors, and publishing professionals who will take part in the conference this year.

All of the many panels are sure to be fantastic, but one of the most unmissable is, of course, the panel I’m moderating called “Unconventional Paths to Publishing.” Here’s the info for that one: Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Valerie Emmerich

Posted by April 14th, 2015

Member Spotlight: Meet Valerie EmmerichWe’re happy to have Valerie Emmerich on the Book Country blog! Valerie is currently workshopping a literary fiction novel titled ROOM TO SPARE, which was a December Editor’s Pick. Valerie shares how she developed the idea for ROOM TO SPARE and advice for fleshing out characters. 

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Janet Umenta: Growing up, what books inspired you?

Valerie Emmerich: I don’t think I can point to one book or books that specifically inspired me. I’ve always just loved to read and write. There were lots of books around our house, and I practically inhaled them. I loved Dickens and I remember being enthralled by THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO, THE DIARY OF ANN FRANK, THE GOOD EARTH, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, all quite different books. As I got older I ventured into the “grownup” books on the living room shelves and remember reading MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR (yes! A Jewish girl from the Bronx!) and IN COLD BLOOD. That may have set me up for my proclivity for reading contemporary literary fiction in my adult life. Continue reading

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Book Country Member D.J. Pizzarello on Publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others

Posted by January 13th, 2015

Book Country Member D.J. Pizzarello on Publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others

Congratulations to Book Country member D.J. Pizzarello on publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others! D.J. workshopped several short stories on Book Country and received outstanding feedback. We recently featured D.J. on the Member Spotlight. In this Q&A, D.J. shares what surprised him most about the publishing process and advice he would give to other writers considering the self-publishing route. You can purchase COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others on Book CountryAmazon, and other major online book retailers. 

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Janet Umenta: After years of writing, what was the moment like when you decided you were ready to publish?

D.J. Pizzarello: I’d actually decided to publish some years before I finally took the plunge. I felt strongly that my stories should be told, that I had something to say others might find interesting, perhaps even thought-provoking. I’ve always loved language, loved trying to express myself in inventive ways. So I spent some years working on stories I’d already written, revising, and revising, and revising—and at times, creating new ones. At a point, fairly recently, I decided that my work was ready to be published. How did I feel at that point? Ready, eager, energized. Raring to go. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Andreé Robinson-Neal

Posted by December 3rd, 2014

Member Spotlight: Meet  Andreé Robinson-NealWelcome Andreé Robinson-Neal to the Book Country Member Spotlight! Andreé is currently workshopping FROM REALITY’S EDGE, which was featured in the Waiting to Be Discovered section in October. She recently published AFTER with Christine F. Anderson Publishing & MediaConnect with Andreé on Book Country.

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Janet Umenta: NaNoWriMo 2014 ended last week. When you finished NaNoWriMo 2013, what did you do afterwards?

Andreé Robinson-Neal: When November 2013 ended, I celebrated making my word count. By November 27th, I had passed the 50k word count and was thrilled. And then I panicked. After all, I was ‘finished’ — now what? I had a mess of words on a page that had made me bleary-eyed for the past month. I set them down and concentrated on a few other things before getting back to the business of editing it.

JU: How does being an editor influence your writing process?

AR: I know that editing has helped me in more ways than I can describe. I see things that make me think, Wow! That was a great image — I felt that character’s experience! and then there are things that make me think, Wow! I hope I never do that! Editing certainly keeps me on my mental toes because I have to research things to make sure I am offering the best advice to a writer. I don’t just write things like, ‘Consider revising this sentence — it is unclear.’ I like to offer support by saying why something is unclear or indicating what I think the writer meant so he or she can take that information into consideration during the after-edit review. Continue reading

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