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Topic of the Week: Novelography, or Thinly Veiled Memoir August 3, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in fiction, novelography, women's fiction.
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Karen Weinreb

Karen Weinreb

Last week’s LitChat topic was The Fine Line Between Fact and Fiction, a discussion of narrative and creative non-fiction in personal essay and memoir. We’re taking the conversation to the opposite pole this week with discussion about novels written specifically to mirror an author’s real life experience. For lack of a better word, we’ll call this autobiographical style of fiction novelography. (Adopting the term “novelography” from a Twitter post last week.)

When Karen Weinreb‘s financier husband was arrested, prosecuted and jailed for bilking millions of dollars from investors, Weinreb’s life went from society storybook to scandalous single title. Armed with two degrees in literature and a background in journalism, Weinreb pulled herself and her family through financial ruin and social ostracization.


Weinreb’s fiction debut, The Summer Kitchen (July, St. Martin’s Press), is a result of her efforts. Set in the Wall Street bedroom community of Bedford, New York, the novel portrays a family much like Weinreb’s involved in a financial scandal mirroring her husband’s. Weinreb’s stunning diorama of the country club set and private school progeny is a smart novel of manners and personal transcendence, rather than a snarky rant against those who snubbed her.

Join us Monday and Wednesday at 4 p/et for LitChat open discussion of Novelography: the Thinly Veiled Memoir, then again on Friday at the same time when Weinreb joins us to discuss her novel and the process of writing a novelography.

Follow Weinreb on Twitter at @KarenWeinreb.


Topic of the Week: Finding the Fountain of Youth in Fiction July 20, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in fiction, women's fiction.
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The youngest boomers are entering their fifties now, the oldest are retiring and trying to reinvent themselves. If there ever was a fountain of youth, it can be found in fiction. We’re not talking about the urban fantasy of an aging Indiana Jones discovering Ponce de Leon’s legendary fountain of youth somewhere in Miami. The fountain of youth bubbles within the covers of smart, savvy, and sincere fiction from boomers taking on a new career as author of fiction.

Maggie Dana

Maggie Dana

Joining us on Friday, July 24th is Maggie Dana, whose first novel, BEACHCOMING, has just been published in London by Macmillan. When asked what inspired her to write Beachcombing, Maggie says it grew out of a challenge. She’d been complaining to a good friend that there weren’t enough novels about feisty, middle-aged women who tackled life head on, and was promptly told to quit whinging and write one of her own.

So she did, but it took half-a-dozen years and even more false starts to produce Beachcombing, which another friend described as, “A coming-of-middle-age story about girlfriends when you’re no longer a girl, about growing up when you’re already grown up, and the price you’re willing to pay for the love of your life.” Maggie’s editor liked this so much, he put it on the back cover.

In her misspent youth, Maggie was a cartographer, flight attendant, PA at Pinewood Film Studios, and script reader for commercial TV in London. Then came motherhood (her favorite career) followed by children’s author and, for the past 30 odd years, book designer and typesetter.

BeachcombingBorn and rasied in England, Maggie now lives on the Connecticut shoreline where much of her novel is set. In addition to writing, Maggie enjoys gardening, quilting, horses, and hanging out at the beach with her five grandchildren. She is now working on her next novel, Not Mine to Keep, about a birthmother who searches for the child she was forced to give up almost 40 years earlier.

Because Beachcombing has been published in England, it’s only available in the U.S. via online booksellers, including The Book Depository which offers free shipping to the U.S.

You can visit Maggie at her web site: www.maggiedana.com. Follow Maggie on Twitter at: @MaggieDana.