On the professional book-slingers list of most obnoxious questions, this one’s in the top five, just behind “Where do you get your ideas?” and “Who’s your favorite author?” And the problem with smart-alecky answers (e.g., the title of this post), is that no one likes a smart aleck. And they don’t do much for books sales–neither the snappy answer nor the lack of an actual perfect and irresistible come on. When asked to describe what your book is about, it’s almost always a good idea to make the sale.
Some days it just all works. This afternoon my intermediate/advanced fiction group discussed the Nathan Englander story “Free Fruit for Young Widows,” and everyone in the room, all thirteen of us, seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. Unusual for the second week of school, and something that sometimes never happens at all.
For three of the last four years I have related to anyone who would listen my elaborated tale of the reasons A STAR IN THE FACE OF THE SKY could not find a home. Then, in late August, just a few days ago, it finally found one. I am grateful to the folks at New Rivers Press/MSUM for welcoming me back into the fold. They published RIGHT BY MY SIDE AND HEATHENS, two of my earlier books—long before their move to Minnesota State University Moorhead, they did that—and I am looking forward to renewing my collaboration with this fine publisher.