How could I meet the authors without having read their books? When the Literary Orange conference in Southern California invited a range of authors – many I had not yet read, I began binge reading to prepare, starting with the keynote speakers.
Christina Baker Kline
Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, based on the true history of thousands of children shipped to the American Midwest in the 1930’s was a fast read, with the two characters – a ninety year old train orphan telling her story to a seventeen year old girl in foster care. Amazingly, they have a lot in common – misery, heartache, and the luck of a wonderful new life.
Her latest novel, A Piece of the World, imagines the story of Christina Olson, famously portrayed in Andrew Wyeth’s 1948 painting.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is my favorite story by Fannie Flagg. Her latest book, The Whole Town’s Talking, has that same country flavor as Flagg tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die in a small Minnesota town. As life goes on, ghosts are chatting in the cemetery, observing lives, catching up on the news as the newly dead join them over a century of changes – reminiscent of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. But the ending reminded me of Lincoln in the Bardo – we all have to move on.
Marcia Clark, the feisty attorney from the OJ trial came back into my radar with the recent televised “The People vs OJ Simpson” series. Since then, she has written a series of murder mysteries. Blood Defense is her latest, with an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as the star.
Other Authors Who Will Be There (hope I can get to all their books before meeting them):
- Martha Hall Kelly – Lilac Girls
- Victoria Peterson – This Vacant Paradise
- Jessica Vogelsang – All Dogs Go to Kevin
- Shanthi Sekaran‘s Lucky Boy
- Shilpi Somaya Gowan‘s Secret Daughter
- Stephen Rowley‘s Lily and the Octopus
- Sherri Smith‘s Fly Girl
- Jonathon Evison‘s This Is Your Life Harriet Chance!