This Is The Author | Jen Waite

“It is about basically finding an email when my daughter was three weeks old that led me to the discovery that my husband was not who I thought he was. And showing the really perfect fairy tale ‘before’ aspects of our relationship and then the ‘after’ parts, where I’m just uncovering lie after lie and kind of unraveling this double life he had been living. I wrote my book because I actually didn’t feel like I had a choice not to. It kind of wrote itself in four months and it felt like I was writing to survive.”

Learn more about  A Beautiful, Terrible Thing.

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This Is The Author | Michelle Kuo

“My book, Reading with Patrick, is about a student of mine named Patrick, and this remarkable literary and intellectual awakening we experienced together in a county jail in Arkansas. He was a student in my class who was incredibly bright, really quiet, and just had trouble coming to school. I really encouraged him to come to school to write and to read and we had this incredible year together where he improved incredibly. Three years after this, I’ve left Arkansas—it’s a place where a lot of people leave—I agonize about it, I decide to go to law school. My parents are like, “what the heck are you doing in Arkansas?” Three years later, I’m in law school and I find out from a friend that Patrick had gotten into a fight and killed someone. I was totally devastated. I was shocked. I went back to Arkansas to visit him in county jail and I discovered that his reading skills had regressed. They were worse when I first met him in the eighth grade, and it’s because he had dropped out of school the year after I left the Delta. The heart of the book is really about us reading together in jail for seven months while we’re waiting for his trial, and about the incredible agility and the power of reading together and writing together. And it’s also about me grappling with my own failures and trying to think about the legacy of racism and poverty in the Mississippi Delta.”

Learn more about Reading with Partick.

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This Is The Author | Sarah Sentilles

“It took me 10 years to write DRAW YOUR WEAPONS. I wrote it after seeing two photographs. The first photograph I saw was a picture of a man and he was holding a violin, and I read the newspaper story about him. It turned out he was a conscientious objector during World War II who’d protested the internment of Japanese Americans, and was put in prison. While he was there, he built a violin. And the newspaper story I read about him was about his grandson completing that violin and giving it to him on his birthday. And everything in my body said, ‘you have to write about this person.'”

Learn more about Draw Your Weapons.

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This Is The Author | Anne Helen Petersen

“I found myself writing about a lot of these women in my day job, which is a culture writer at BuzzFeed. And it seemed clear to me that there was something that was changing. I used to be a professor, and I focused on media studies but also gender studies. And so I was very familiar with the ways that attitude towards women, an embrace of feminism, and unruliness generally, kind of ebb and flow over decades.”

Learn more about Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud.

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This Is The Author | Victor LaValle

“The story behind my book THE CHANGELING is that I became a new father and started taking endless numbers of photos of my son, and posting them to Facebook almost immediately. And then I had to ask myself why in the world was I sharing something so private.”

Learn more about The Changeling.

This Is The Author | Alan Alda

“The book is about communicating and relating to other people, and it’s called IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU, WOULD I HAVE THIS LOOK ON MY FACE? And that’s really what it’s about, it’s about the value of relating. I think the basis of communicating is when you understand what’s going on in the head of the person you’re talking to or communicating with, whether you’re talking to them in person or in a written piece of material. You’ve got to know what they’re going through—otherwise, you’re just spraying information at them.”

Learn more about If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

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This Is The Author | Maile Meloy

“My book is about two families who go on a cruise together down the coast of Central America. They meet an Argentinian family and everyone goes ashore. And then a series of small things go wrong and the six kids go missing. So the novel goes back and forth between the parents, who are frantic, and the kids, who are more resourceful than anyone knew, including them.”

Learn more about Do Not Become Alarmed.

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This Is The Author | David Gessner

“After I graduated from college, I set about becoming a writer and playing ultimate frisbee. And I kept doing those things for about 15 years. I wrote about a lot of things—I wrote about my dad’s death, I wrote about the natural world—but it never really occurred to me to write about ultimate. And then after my first book was published I got picked up by a big agent at ICM, and she looked over all my stuff and said, “This is what we should do.” And it was a quick proposal I’d written about going back and playing with the Boston National Champion Ultimate Team. And I would go back in a kind of George Plimpton fashion and play with them and write about the season.”

Learn more about Ultimate Glory.

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