books

Lisa Grunwald Discusses Writing Time After Time

On a 1937 December morning, as sunrise light streams through the high, arched windows of Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds spots an out-of-place young woman near the station’s famous gold clock. After coming to the woman’s aid, Joe learns three things: Her name is Nora Lansing, she’s a wealthy Manhattan socialite, and she absolutely captivates him.

This serendipitous meeting begins an unlikely love affair that defies both time and tragedy. As Joe and Nora find each other again and again, they slowly unravel the mystery surrounding Nora’s strange circumstances even as the threads of their lives wind tighter together.

Lisa Grunwald Discusses Writing Time After Time

Spine Podcast, Season 3, Episode 3: Sarahmay Wilkinson

For this episode Holly Dunn interviews Sarahmay Wilkinson, Associate Art Director at W. W. Norton. They discuss some of Wilkinson's book cover designs, including the fascinating backstory to her design of Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls. Also talked about is Wilkinson's journey into publishing after having first established herself as a designer in the beauty industry.

Spine Podcast, Season 3, Episode 3: Sarahmay Wilkinson

Lindsey Drager on Writing The Archive of Alternate Endings

In The Archive of Alternate Endings, author Lindsey Drager has penned a historical fiction which follows the 75 to 79-year passes of Halley’s Comet and answers the questions: What things change? What stay the same?  

Expertly crafted, The Archive of Alternate Endings weaves stories of our past with fantastical peeks into the future, at a rapid pace. Blending fact with fiction is challenging. Writing it so that the reader believes it as all true is an art. “Historical fiction is speculative … in the vast majority of cases it is our own brains that fill in gaps," Drager told Spine. “If you are going to speculate history, it should be for a good reason.” She did just that, by touching upon important moments in history and reminding us that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Lindsey Drager on Writing The Archive of Alternate Endings

The Writer's Practice: Paul Matthew Maisano, Bindi

A writer uses tools and techniques, creates outlines and charts that impose order on characters and places, chronologies and narrative flow. These things matter to the writer. These things are real and useful, and can be employed to manage multiple perspectives and geographies. These things, Paul Matthew Maisano relied on when he was writing his first novel Bindi.

The Writer's Practice: Paul Matthew Maisano, Bindi

Q & A with Author / Literary Agent Eric Smith

Michigan-based author, blogger, and literary agent Eric Smith is no stranger to the public eye. A popular and engaging social media user, the New Jersey native regularly and enthusiastically interacts with his literary followers and has gone viral several times. 

Smith’s book-themed ramblings have appeared on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, Publishing Crawl, and Barnes & Noble’s blog. His own books have been published by Bloomsbury, Quick, and Flux. 

Smith, who began his publishing career in social media and marketing at Quirk Books, received his BA in English from Kean University and his MA in English from Arcadia University. 

He spoke to us about the intersection of his two equally compelling careers

Q & A with Author / Literary Agent Eric Smith

The Writer's Practice: Rebecca Kauffman

Writing her first novel, Another Place You've Never Been, Rebecca Kauffman figured out what kind of writer she was: a slow one. She wrote a paragraph a day, and couldn't write more. She struggled, too, with stress and anxiety. Why was she spending so much time on this project, this fictional thing that might, only might, someday become a book?

The Writer's Practice: Rebecca Kauffman

The Writer's Practice: Ashley Woodfolk

No writing during the week = no fun on the weekend. That's how author Ashley Woodfolk gets it done.

Woodfolk's first book, the YA novel The Beauty That Remains, releases on March 6 and she has two more books in progress. At the start of each week, she sets a writing goal. Because she works full time for a children's book publisher, she has to wake up early early early if she wants to write. She's not fond of early early early, but she is fond of hanging out with her friends. So she bribes herself. Get up early. Do the writing. Enjoy the weekend.

The Writer's Practice: Ashley Woodfolk

Open Letter Books, Translating Stories from Acquisition to Publication

Open Letter Books brings world literature to English-language readers. Working in conjunction with the University of Rochester's Literary Translation Studies program, the nonprofit press publishes ten titles a year. To explain how Open Letter moves a title from acquisition to publication, Publisher Chad W. Post walked Spine through the process on two recent titles.

Open Letter Books, Translating Stories from Acquisition to Publication

The Writer's Practice: Aimie K. Runyan

Aimie K. Runyan has been drawn to historical fiction for most of her life. It “has the ability to transport you through time and space, where contemporary fiction has less of that. It requires so much more description, and makes the writing so much more vibrant, which is one of the joys, and challenges, of the genre,” said Runyan. In her latest book, Daughters of the Night Sky, Runyan takes the reader to the front lines of World War II in Soviet Russia, and tells a tale of war, flight, and women’s rights.

The Writer's Practice: Aimie K. Runyan

Minko & Bindas, Creating Before The Sun Wakes Up

Successful college students master the art of the juggle: multiple classrooms in multiple buildings, multiple courses with multiple projects, plus roommates and classmates and jobs and on the best days, eating and sleeping. After finishing her second year in the film and animation program at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she's focusing on 3D animation, student Alyssa Minko decided to take it up a notch: She agreed to illustrate a children's book.

Minko & Bindas, Creating Before The Sun Wakes Up

Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney on Writing A Secret Sisterhood

A Secret Sisterhood explores four literary friendships: between Jane Austen and her brother's playwriting employee Anne Sharp; between Charlotte Brontë and her strong-minded schoolmate, feminist writer Mary Taylor; between George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author of Uncle Tom's Cabin; and between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, whose complicated friendship other biographers have reduced to rivalry.

Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney on Writing A Secret Sisterhood

The Writer's Practice: Felicia Yap

In her first novel, the high-concept thriller Yesterday, Felicia Yap explores memory and its effects on relationships. Half the book's characters are "Duos," who can only remember the last 48 hours. The remaining characters remember even less; "Monos" only recall yesterday. While characters constantly write in journals ("iDiaries") to save present details for future review, in many ways their lives are a constant surprise.

The Writer's Practice: Felicia Yap

Akemi Dawn Bowman, Exploring Emotion with YA Novel Starfish

Messy family dynamics. Social anxiety. Abuse. Healing. As a teenager, Akemi Dawn Bowman struggled through all of it. Looking back, she realized a book addressing these difficult experiences would have helped. So she wrote it.

 Akemi Dawn Bowman, Exploring Emotion with YA Novel Starfish

The Writer's Practice: Peter Manseau

To write the story of 19th century charlatan photographer William Mumler is to write much of the story of the American 19th century itself. In Peter Manseau's latest book The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost, the award-winning author tells many tales: of the rise of photography, of the development of a distinctly American popular culture, of a nation left grieving in the wake of the Civil War, of a people aching for something to believe in — and finding it in Spiritualism and in William Mumler's "spirit photography." 

The Writer's Practice: Peter Manseau

Spine Podcast, Bonus Episode: Erika Swyler

We’re taking a break from our usual design discussion to bring you this bonus episode. 

Earlier this year when we were developing this podcast we took a look at several different formats for the show. One of the thoughts we had was to discuss with authors the process of bringing one of their books to life. Which led us to record an interesting conversation with author Erika Swyler. Erika's first novel was the Book of Speculation. She has a fascinating story to tell as to how she became involved with the pitching process for that book. We also talked to her about writing, and a little bit about her current project.

Spine Podcast, Bonus Episode: Erika Swyler

The Writer's Practice: Linda Sue Park

Raffa, the short-statured, brave-hearted hero of Linda Sue Park's Wing & Claw trilogy, possesses the encyclopedic knowledge of flora required of a young apothecary. He easily recalls each plant's physical and medicinal properties, and comprehends how best to combine and manipulate to achieve the desired affects in human subjects. But Raffa holds something more inside him than most "pothers." Witness: 

"[Raffa] pounded the stem and leaves of the scarlet vine to a pulp, then added some to the poultice. As he stirred, the paste began to take on a gentle vermilion glow, and in his mind he heard something that sounded like a faraway cowbell … ."

The Writer's Practice: Linda Sue Park

The Writer's Practice: Tor Udall

Kew Gardens, the historic, 299-acre botanical garden in southwest London, sits at the heart of Tor Udall's first novel, A Thousand Paper Birds. The main characters — a widowing musician, a struggling origami artist, a grief-stricken linguist, a curious child, and a quiet gardener — push through time, through grief, even through the porous borders separating the living from the dead. As their narratives intertwine, the characters crisscross Kew Gardens, from memorial bench to glasshouse, from woodland to pond. 

The Writer's Practice: Tor Udall

The Writer's Practice: Julie Israel

Novelist Julie Israel describes her writing process in no uncertain terms. 

“It’s kind of like a bell graph,” she says, “where the thing being measured is chaos.” Similarly chaotic is her unconventional route to debut author stardom. Though she holds the expected B.A in creative writing, Israel prides herself on the more atypical entries in her resume - like her experience teaching English in Japan, which she best summarizes as “HOLY CULTURAL EXPOSURE, BATMAN.” 

The Writer's Practice: Julie Israel

Julia Fierro Talks Writing, Gypsy Moth Summer & Sackett Street

Simmer. Smolder. Bubble boil churn stew.

When Julia Fierro isn't writing the next big thing, her brain chews on the next big thing, spitting out bits and bobs that Fierro saves until she has a towering pile. 

"Sometimes I'll write what I hope will be a first chapter, but I send myself notes most days," she told Spine. "It might be one line. Last night at two in the morning, I'm struggling for my phone in the dark."

Julia Fierro Talks Writing, Gypsy Moth Summer & Sackett Street

Kris Waldherr, the Intuitive Author

Mothering a daughter taught author Kris Waldherr just how ubiquitous one particularly popular storybook character— the elegant princess— can be.

“I was confronted by how impossible it is to avoid the marketing of princess clothing, toys, and films,” said Waldherr.  “From there, I began researching the historical realities of what it was really like to be young, royal, and unmarried. Turned out it was kind of awful for the most part despite the fabulous gowns and tiaras. Historically speaking, most of the time you were married off to someone who wasn’t Prince Charming to form political alliances, and then were under a lot of pressure to cough up a male heir.”

Kris Waldherr, the Intuitive Author

Discussion with Author Ann Mah

A peek at writer Ann Mah’s Instagram feed reveals crusty bread, sunny Parisian kitchens, and candids of her 3-year-old daughter in New York City. As a travel journalist and novelist, Mah firmly embraces the belief that a writer is ideally a wanderer: perhaps there’s a home base, but the inspiration of new experiences and surroundings is a necessity. 

Discussion with Author Ann Mah

Erin Fitzsimmons on Replica, Process & Typography

"While in school I had dreams of being an artist or a photographer, but I didn’t quite have the skill or talent to make those dreams a reality. I did love photo editing, however, and my first couple jobs out of school involved photo editing and research. One day, my art director asked if I wanted to try designing a book cover and I figured I’d give it a try. I was instantly hooked.'

Erin Fitzsimmons on Replica, Process & Typography

Interview with Designer Sarah J. Coleman

"I drew and drew as a little girl and have never stopped - at school I would trade little drawings of pretty ladies for 50p pieces, or sweets, and then would sew or paint different logos onto people’s bags and jackets in exchange for cassette tapes or coins, so the art of commerce (or the commerce of art) was installed in me early on!"

Interview with Designer Sarah J. Coleman

Bickford-Smith Channels Victorian Bookbinders for The Fox and the Star

Long before she created her award-winning children's book "The Fox and the Star," before the prizes and acclaim, before the career, even before the university degree in Typography and Graphic Communication, designer Coralie Bickford-Smith had an idea for a story about a little girl.

Bickford-Smith Channels Victorian Bookbinders for The Fox and the Star