OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “TANGO: AN ARGENTINE LOVE STORY,” BY CAMILLE CUSAMANO; “SHUFFLE AN IMPULSE,” BY BILL DELOREY and “CLEMENCEAU’S DAUGHTERS,” BY ROCKY PORCH MOORE, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.
WEEK OF JAN. 5-11:
“AFTERMATH LOUNGE,” BY MARGARET McMULLAN.
This book, a collection of short stories, is a wonderful example of how larger-than-live events sometimes meld fact and fiction together.
Margaret writes: “Katrina hit my parents’ home in Pass Christian, almost destroying it, but not quite. Immediately following the storm, my father was among the first to rebuild. During this time, we witnessed so many unusual and small acts of heroism that inspired me to write about the community and its people, and how tragedy shapes our character. In 2010, I was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship to complete the project.
“One of the first temporary buildings that went up in Pass Christian after the storm was a restaurant to feed volunteers and any locals still there. It was called Kafé Katrina. Many folks wanted a bar as well, so the owner of Kafé Katrina added on a Karaoke bar called The Aftermath Lounge.”
That brave attempt to return to normal is the incubator for Margaret’s story collection. The author of six previous novels, she obviously did her work well, based on this review:
“Each entry is a shot to the chest…Writing a good short story is no easy feat. Writing one consisting of a few paragraphs that not only fills the frame but paints a heartbreaking picture is an awe-inspiring talent.”
“GLASS,” BY KATE KORT
In this era of copycat plots — romance, vampires, serial killers, international spies — it’s always refreshing to come across something as original as “Glass,” Kate Kort’s debut novel. And my first question, as always, was: “Where in the world did this idea come from?”
Kate explains: “This book began as a short story for a creative writing class in college. Every day on my way to class, I would walk through the student art gallery, which always seemed so still and peaceful. Elements of the story began to form in my mind. I wondered what it would feel like to destroy something so perfect. Could someone get relief that way? Would it be a catharsis and a pathway to healing, or would it feed those negative impulses? After graduation I knew I wanted to expand the story and develop those ideas. The story itself came quickly and easily, in a matter of a few months, but revising and polishing took considerably longer. I put the manuscript away for a few years after a couple of rounds of rejections (mostly by agents). But I found the motivation once again, completed the final revisions I had been putting off, and placed it with the right publisher.”
This is a story about mental health and the struggle some people go through to maintain it. I applaud her publisher for taking a chance on it and for the cover, which in my humble opinion is one of the coolest I’ve seen.
FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY
I skipped the December edition of this feature because we were already listing all the Snowflakes books as part of our Christmas promotion.
This week, we’ll revisit “Things Unsaid,” by Diana V. Paul, “Think Like a Writer,” by Tom Bentley, “The Skeleton Crew,” by Deborah Halber, “The Solarbus Legacy,’ by Nicki Brandon), “Mercedes Wore Black,” by Andrea Brunais and “Homecoming,”by Kate Hasbrouck.”
NEWS AND NOTES
I’m not much for ranking books, because the process is so subjective. If 10 of us read the same dozen books and were asked to list them in order of preference, we would probably come up with 10 different rankings.
Moreover, how much attention a book receives can be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which is the author’s skill in using social media to draw potential readers.
Having said all that, though, I recently received my season-ending “scoreboard” from Word Press on this blog, and these were the five Snowflakes books that received the most Internet clicks. If your book was one of them, congratulate yourself for having done something right. If it’s not, nothing to worry about.
Here they are, in order of appearance (not rank):
“Island Dogs,”by Brian Simpson. “The River Caught Sunlight,” by Katie Andraski; Mercedes Wore Black,” by Andrea Brunais; “Dead in a Ditch,” by Heather Osting, and “Clemenceau’s Daughters,” by Rocky Porch Moore.