A big thanks to this spectacular book club in Boise, Idaho! I Skyped in for a wonderful discussion about The Art of Floating. Nothing like a glass of wine and good book talk. (It was my first book club visit in Boise, Idaho!)
“No mud, no lotus”
This is my mantra as I write this new novel, continue sharing THE ART OF FLOATING, and shift into 2015.
The necklace is a Christmas gift from my hubs. The wisdom on writing (& life) comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk I’ve been following for years.
Happy New Year, all!
Crazy busy, wonderful week for me and THE ART OF FLOATING! Three book club visits and today, a reading at Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, MA. I’m a bit hoarse from all the talking, but happy, happy that so many wonderful readers want to talk about Sia and Toad and floating and sorrow and things lost/found and love. And oh, yes, plovers!
A big thanks to the book clubs who hosted me this week! Y’all made me laugh and think. Great combo.
Earlier this week, I had a terrific discussion about THE ART OF FLOATING with another marvelous book club! The host, Maria, put together a delicious spread (beach themed, of course)! And offered a perfect wine for the occasion (Plum Island wine, to honor the setting of THE ART OF FLOATING).
Since most of the book clubs I’ve met with have been made up of women, it was fun and informative to have a couple of men in this conversation. All in the book club were smart, thoughtful readers with great senses of humor. Thanks for hosting me!
Live near Webster, Massachusetts? Come on out on Saturday, September 20, to Booklovers’ Gourmet for an afternoon of crazy booklove!
Author Holly Robinson and I will be reading from our novels (mine THE ART OF FLOATING, hers BEACH PLUM ISLAND), answering questions about writing and life, talking about Plum Island (the setting for both of our novels!), and much more.
When: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Place: Booklovers Gourmet in Webster, MA
- You’re an insatiable reader.
- You love to discover new authors.
- You read our novels and can’t wait to talk with me and Holly.
- You are a writer.
- What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
- You want to know why the heck plovers (see photo at right) are relevant to this conversation.
- So, so, so many reasons!
See you there!
I’m oh-so-thankful for this beautiful review of THE ART OF FLOATING. There’s more, and if you’re compelled to read the entire review, click here:
“…What is so beautiful, haunting, and even bewildering, about this novel is the way in which Bair O’Keeffe can first introduce us to a story we think we know, and twist it into something symbolic, surreal and highly-bodily, which immediately removes The Art of Floating from the common “beach read” section and propels it to the realm of literary fiction—and presents it as a gorgeous example of literary fiction, at that.
“When I was first introduced to this title, I did the unthinkable thing—something that I am very guilty of doing on a regular basis, despite my extreme dislike for spoilers: I read the back cover. And I knew, deep in my gut (perhaps in the same place where Sia finds her flopping fish), that this book was different. In the first line of the synopsis, it summarizes, “When her beloved husband, Jackson, disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating.” I read that line over and over, gushing with excitement, at the sheer potential of the novel being refreshing and different. When the book arrived at my home, I wanted so badly to break the reading order of books I had “scheduled” before this one, but I held my ground, clenched my teeth, and waited until it was Bair O’Keeffe’s turn—and, boy, was it worth the wait.
“It was more than I could have bargained for, expected, or dreamed of. The events detailed on the back cover do indeed happen, for real, within the context of this novel. This reality is created and made acceptable—made beautiful and strange and heart-felt—within the first several pages of the book, when Sia discovers the man on the beach (who she names “Toad”) and feels a literal wave of his sadness enter her body—as well as a large, flopping fish in her stomach, which she feels move whenever she feels empathy for another person. Obviously, this is outside the operational realm of our bodies and the abilities of them; but that, in the end, is what makes these surreal moves so beautiful and true, when we are given that image that is, at once, strange and capable of retelling those emotions that we otherwise feel are beyond the reach of description. In their surreal nature, they apply truth….”
So yesterday, while I was sitting in a meeting at my day job, the note below arrived via email. It’s from someone who just read The Art of Floating. And although I’m not known for tearing up during work meetings, yesterday I did. In fact, I was so moved, I could have collapsed into an all-out ugly cry. Thankfully I somehow managed to hold it together, but, oh man, you should have seen my ugly-cry last night. Hearing from readers who read and love this book melts me. Thank you.
Aug 28th, 12:05pm
Dear Kristin, I have never written an author before, although I have read many books that have affected me greatly. Many things I absolutely loved in your story, The Art of Floating. Most especially, the unfailing love between the characters. Husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and daughter. I was encouraged by the respect shown for humanity and nature. My favorite part was when M and Stuart were outside watching the sky in hopes of seeing Sia floating. I loved that after Stuart carried the sleeping M into the house, he went back out into the yard to continue watching for their daughter. Either he loved his wife so much that he supported her even if he did not believe in floating, or he loved his daughter so much that he would do anything to bring her close. Maybe both. You must have a great capacity to love deeply. I long for a relationship like this. Thank you for this gift. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sob. (ugly cry for happy reasons) Sob.
I loved giving away two audio editions of THE ART OF FLOATING last week! Lots of fun! Thanks to all for playing!
Last weekend, over at the blog for the New Hampshire Writers’ Network, Jamie Wallace wrote a shining review of THE ART OF FLOATING that has my heart singing. Here she is, talking about FLOATING. (There’s lots more…just click here to read the entire review.)
“It has been a while since a book swept me off my feet.I had forgotten what it feels like to get so lost in a book that time slips away and chores go undone. It’s a lovely feeling. Secret. Intimate. Delicious. The temptation and the anticipation. The savoring and the rationing – how many chapters left? How many pages? I can’t wait to read the next bit, but I don’t want the affair to be over.
“I bought the book on Sunday afternoon and our whirlwind tryst was over by Tuesday night. Four hundred some odd pages devoured in a matter of hours. The story drunk down in stolen sips and unabashed gulps, leaving me intoxicated. For the two weekdays that I was entangled in the book, it was difficult to concentrate on any task – domestic or professional. I sat at the desk in my home office, feigning focus on the screen but really just counting down the minutes until I could find an excuse to sidle up to the dining room table – only a few feet away – and read just one, quick chapter. . . .”
On Friday night, I’ll be meeting with another book club to discuss THE ART OF FLOATING, and this one has stolen my heart! Mind you, all book clubs rock, but this one has gone over the top in marvelous ways. It is:
- hosting a beach-themed dinner to accompany the discussion [THE ART OF FLOATING takes place in the Newburyport (beach town) and on Plum Island (beach).]
- having every member make a list (as main character Odyssia Dane is a major list maker)
This is going to be so much fun. (And guess what? I’m even making my own list!)
Will update with photos after our discussion!
NOTE to BOOK CLUBS: If you’re interested in reading THE ART OF FLOATING, there are discussion questions (written by yours truly) at the end of the book. And I’d love to join you for a discussion, either in person (if you’re close) or via Skype/phone. Check out the “Book Clubs” page for contact info.