As you may remember, I reviewed Debra Dean‘s most recent novel The Mirrored World last month, and even interviewed her on this blog! So imagine how thrilling it was to meet her in person yesterday night!
Debra presented her newest novel and also spoke about her first novel The Madonnas of Leningrad. Debra shared about her writing experience. For instance, she had first considered doing a short story, but her agent pushed her, and it became a novel. In fact the publisher agreed to published her collection of short stories only after she would have sent her first novel!
She also reflected on her inner journey as she writes. With both novels, only after they were done did she realize what it meant for her. Debra has some deep questions: what is essential in life? why and how do we survive? what’s of value apart from our intelligence? What’s of value when we lose our brain? We are much more than our intelligence, right? And yet, it is so much easier to get rid of stuff (for instance stuff kept in storage for years, as both authors experienced!) than to lose our reason and intelligence.
These big questions are actually behind both her novels: the heroin of the first is Marina, an elderly woman suffering of Alzheimer during the siege of Leningrad, the heroin of the second is a Russian saint, Xenia, who became literary mad with grief.
Debra explained also about the intriguing title:
- there is a lot of mirror imagery in the book
- it i also about the self-conscious Russian society of the time
- it is a lot about extremes
- the two cousins Xenia and Dasha are close but different
- the image of the lake has a large place.
Her talk was at Anderson’s Bookshop, in Naperville, IL.
It was the first event for LUIS’SALON: WRITERS RAILROAD: A LITERARY SALON.
Naperville’s award-winning author Luis Alberto Urrea (link to his website, or on facebook) had the idea to create a platform where writers would help writers, by inviting them to some local events, in bookshops, or even to your own book club!
He also talked about his books, centered around some of his close ancestors. Keep an eye in the news for Into The Beautiful North, there’s some BIG news coming! I don’t see it yet on the web, so I can’t tell you, but that’s BIG! Did you get it? Well, wait and see, wait and read…
Luis is also on Twitter @urrealism.
If you live around Chicago, be sure to check Anderson’s bookshop, they invite so many famous authors every week.
HAVE YOU RECENTLY MET AN AUTHOR?
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN A COMMENT PLEASE