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!
author, speaker, freelance writer
founder of Write On! Books and Write On! For Literacy