The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Author/Reader Discussions > There is No End to This Slope Author/Reader discussion:

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
Next month, we'll be discussing There is No End to This Slope with author Richard Fulco... and his publisher has given us a total of 10 copies to give away (a mix of print - limited to US resident, and digital - open internationally).

I'm excited to be sharing this book with you. I fell so hard for it when I first read it and I know you will too!

In order to be considered, you must comment here or on the blog for a shot at winning one and secure a spot in the discussion that kicks off June 15th:

http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...

This giveaway will run through May 8th.

Winners will be announced here and via email (if you provide one) on May 9th.


Here's how to enter:

1 - Leave a comment here or in the giveaway thread over at TNBBC on goodreads, stating why you'd like to receive a copy of the book, what format you prefer, and where you reside (remember, only US residents can win a paper copy!).

ONLY COMMENT ONCE. MULTIPLE COMMENTS DO NOT GAIN YOU ADDITIONAL CHANCES TO WIN.

2 - State that you agree to participate in the group read book discussion that will run from June 15th through June 21st. Richard Fulco has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for him.

*If you are chosen as a winner, by accepting the copy you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion right here in this thread next month.

3 - If your goodreads profile is blocked (set on private), please leave me another way to contact you.


message 2: by Xian Xian (new)

Xian Xian (xianxian) I somehow found out about this book awhile ago. I don't remember how, but the cover looks familiar. The plot sounds like something up my alley. I do remember being interested in this book when I found it. I live in the U.S., Jackson, New Jersey.
Physical edition is preferred if that's okay. I agree to participate in the group discussion of the book at the TNBBC reading blog. My post sounds badly written.


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy (judygreeneyes) | 409 comments This looks like a great book! The story sounds intriguing. It would be happy to participate in the group discussion on it. If I win I would love to get a paper copy. I'm in gorgeous San Diego, CA.


message 4: by Nigel (last edited May 03, 2014 02:37AM) (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) I'm in the UK, so no dice on the paperback giveaway. Still looks good and I'd like to be in the ebook list - nigel.bird7@btinternet.com will do the job (fingers crossed)and I'd be up for some discussion.
Thanks.


message 5: by Guruprasad (new)

Guruprasad Jambaulikar (docguruj) | 3 comments This looks like an appealing read, and I would be more than happy to get my hands on it and participate in group discussions. How one event can have a particular effect on someone and maybe not on others, is the essence of the human experience. I live in Maryland, and will prefer to get a digital copy. My email is docguruj@gmail.com.


message 6: by Kara (new)

Kara (kara2u) | 6 comments This does look like an interesting read. I live in Virginia and would prefer a copy for my Kindle. I enjoy reading about how people spend a lifetime reacting to something they did in the past, how that shapes their lives and makes them who they are in the present. I will enjoy participating in the discussion on this book regardless of whether I get a free copy or not!


message 7: by Laura (last edited May 08, 2014 09:38AM) (new)

Laura (lauramhartman) | 4 comments I am intrigued, and would love a copy of this book (either format is fine with me). I call Oswego, IL home - but usually say I am from Chicago because it is easier than explaining where Oswego is :)

I'm in for the discussion also!

Laura


message 8: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments I would love the print copy of this book. This looks like a great group, and I will enjoy it like always. I am in Chicago Illinois and my email is videogamermom@aol.com

Thanks,
Deanna


message 9: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Heinzman (vasandra) | 33 comments This looks good and I would like a copy of the book (either format is fine; maybe Kindle is preferable). I live in VA and will participate in the discussion in June. My email is hearthome1@verizon.net.


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (pattimyself) | 5 comments This book looks excellent and I would love to win a kindle copy of it. I live in England so lucky for me that's my only option anyway. It would be my pleasure to participate in the discussion about this book in June.


message 11: by Jay (new)

Jay Naen (Jay214) | 5 comments I've never read this book, but after looking through the synopsis, I think it looks relatable. I’m graduating with a degree in Economics in August and recently announced to my family I was going to pursue creative interests like acting and writing instead of anything relating to my degree. I feel like this book will express a lot of the feelings I've developed and am developing. I agree to participate in the week-long discussion of the book, would prefer receiving a print copy, and reside in Utah.


message 12: by Alma Q (new)

Alma Q (staticatku) The synopsis already tickles my imagination, so I'm willing to try my luck and later participate in the discussion! (:

I live in Finland and would thus like a digital copy.


message 13: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
Hey everyone! Good news! I've decided to make you ALL winners! Check your email inbox (for an email from mescorn@ptd.et) or your goodreads inbox - I've sent you an email detailing what I need from you.

Hurray!! And I look forward to seeing you over here next month!


message 14: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (pattimyself) | 5 comments WOW thank you so much. I am really looking forward to reading this book.

Patti xxx


message 15: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
10 days till Richard Fulco joins TNBBC to discuss THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE. Everyone all set? Books at the ready?!


message 16: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Heinzman (vasandra) | 33 comments So we need to have finished by book by then, correct?


message 17: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
It makes it easier to participate in the discussion with the author if you read it before hand, yes.


message 18: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments I'm almost done. The book is different,I definitely have questions for Mr. Fulco :-)


message 19: by Alma Q (new)

Alma Q (staticatku) I'm done too! My only problem is that I liked it so much it's hard coming up with sensible questions :D


message 20: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) Hi.

First of all, thanks for the book. I appreciate it.

I'm only about a short distance through, so I'm going to hold fire until I feel there's something meaty for me to ask.

Apropos of nothing, I was in Brooklyn over Easter and was lucky enough to get to stay with relatives who live on Sackett St. The Cobble Hill Coffee Shop on Court was a stone's throw away and I was blown away by the city in general and Brooklyn in particular. The books I had with me were there to help my experience and were mixed. I tried Brooklyn by Colim Toibin and didn't get too far - it was clear it wasn't to my tasted and life's too short. I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Auster's Brooklyn Follies, but it wasn't my favourite by Mr Auster as I didn't feel it had the usual power and rhythm. Finally, I read Gravesend by William Boyl and I'd be surprised if I read a better book this year. It's superb.

I guess this is leading to a question. Which books that are set in Brooklyn would you recommend to me for my next visit? I'm happy to look at work from pretty much any period.

Thanks again,

nigel


message 21: by Xian Xian (new)

Xian Xian (xianxian) Wait are we suppose start asking questions yet? This thing is really inactive and I'm confused.


message 22: by Alma Q (new)

Alma Q (staticatku) I suppose we are, it's 15th after all :) Guess Lori and Mr Fulco will jump in when they have time and something to answer to / discuss about.


But I too would like to start on my behalf by thanking both of you. The novel was really enjoyable read and felt incredibly real (how much of it was??) and it's kind of amazing to that this kind of opportunity is offered us and that we can participate here. So thank you.


I am only working on my review just now and hope to have more to say after I'm done with it, but there is one thing I'd like to ask right away:
As John does not recommend writing, should we listen to his advice or is it just better (not to mention in our powers) to avoid ending up where he did by working harder than he?


message 23: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauramhartman) | 4 comments I would like to know your writing process. Did you have a strict schedule? Write furiously for a few months then edit?

Thanks for the insight!

Laura


message 24: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
Hey guys! I worked today and am just getting a moment to pop online.

Yes, Lixian, we are supposed to start interacting today!!!

Richard will pop on at some point tonight as well!

Happy Father's Day Richard!


Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the discussion and for making so many copies available to the group! I really loved the book when I first read it and am really looking forward to what the group thinks!


message 25: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Richard,

Great Book! I liked it more than I thought I would, after reading the summary. I could not believe how far John let his life deteriorate just by doing absolutely nothing. My first question is, and just because I am curious, was John in fugue states or having hallucinations? I could never figure out if Havannah was real or not! Was that on purpose? Or am I just making a simple street character more complex than she is?

Deanna


message 26: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hey Deanna,

Great question!

I had possibly the most fun with Havannah. She began as a footnote and by the final draft had developed into an important figure in John Lenza's life.

I based Havannah on the Greek soothsayer Teiresias. She is quite prophetic and clairvoyant, yet John disregards just about all of her warnings simply because she's a junkie.

Another way of looking at Havannah - I guess - is that she's John's conscience or superego. There are times when John can be quite reckless and impulsive. For instance, one day he decides that he's going to show up at Dawn's front door, unannounced. Havannah suggests that he doesn't, but John does not heed her warning and show's up at Dawn's door anyway.

Thanks for asking such a thought-provoking question.

Best,
Richard


message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments I hope I'm doing this correctly. I think I just deleted my answer to Laura's question. If I have, I will respond again.

I am a ludite.

Best,
Richard


message 28: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments I think writing a novel is a grueling undertaking, and I'm always surprised by the number of people I meet who say that they'd like to write or that they have a story that they'll write one day.

I often ask, "Why do you want to write," to which most folks don't have a reply.

There are so many things to do in one's lifetime, why sit in a quiet room, on a hard chair, behind a computer screen when you could be falling in love, making love, falling, or making?

I don't think John is a writer. He appreciates literature, sure, but that doesn't make him a writer per se. John never asks himself why he isn't writing. He has it in his head that he should be writing. He should be doing something else perhaps.

He detests his day job and has vague literary aspirations, but he is neither qualified nor prepared to write a play.

Best,
Richard


message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hi Laura,

Thanks for the question.

It took me nearly seven years to write my debut novel, There Is No End to This Slope. The first 2-3 years were an apprenticeship, for I was learning how to write a novel. I have written songs, poems, short stories and plays, but never a novel and I was not equipped to write one back in 2007.

I have always been an evening writer, but with TINETTS I learned quickly that I would have to write any time of day, and that's what I did. I wrote in the mornings before I taught, but mostly when I returned home from 5pm-?

I completed the final draft before my twins arrived in the summer of 2011. I'd work on a chapter at a time. Before every session, I'd read what I had written and just tear it to shreds. I'd cut everything that I didn't like, everything that didn't work, everything that I was on the fence about.

It was important for me to be critical of my work, be as discerning as possible, but it's also important to acknowledge the successes as well. I'd criticize, curse and scoff, but I was also kind to myself when it was appropriate.

When Wampus Multimedia committed to publishing TINETTS, I worked hand-in-hand with an editor from January 2013-June 2013 (8pm-5pm every day, including weekends).

I hope this answered your question, Laura.

Thank you,
Richard


message 30: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hi Nigel,

Three novels that come to mind are Motherless Brooklyn, Last Exit To Brooklyn and Desperate Characters.

Let me know what you think.

Best,
Richard


message 31: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
I adored Motherless Brooklyn. great recommendation!

Richard, what's the most flattering thing someone's said to you or written about the book? What's the most painful?


message 32: by Xian Xian (new)

Xian Xian (xianxian) While reading this novel and reading your responses, Richard, why do you think people write? Do you think people write for the same reasons for why they read? Do you think we, readers and writers, do all of this to help understand a person or a certain obstacle in life? Does my question even make sense?


message 33: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) Thanks Richard. Last Exit I've read The others are not on the list. Thank you. :)


message 34: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hey Lori,

Love this question...I think the most flattering thing (thus far) has been that so many of my friends and family members who aren't necessarily "readers" have read the novel. Their support has been overwhelming.

On the flip side, however, the Portland Review wrote something particularly harsh about the novel: "There Is No End to This Slope might have been a novel that Fulco needed to write but not one that we needed to read."

Their review, I find, is extremely personal and unfair. Critique the work, rip it to shreds, dissect it and defame it, but don't get personal. That's below the belt, but it says a great deal more about the critic than either me or my book. Don't you think?

Best,
Richard


message 35: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hi Lixian,

Thanks for your question. And yes, it makes sense.

I think people write in order to make some sense of trauma. For me, I needed to recall as well as analyze a crucial period in my life and apply it to my protagonist, John Lenza.

For several years, while I was working on the book, it was something that I needed to write. It was cathartic (cliche, I know), and helped me to purge so many of my demons (cliche, again), but once it became something that I wanted to write the novel blossomed into something far beyond me and my experiences.

I think readers are also trying to make sense of trauma. I'm often amazed by human folly and shortcomings. It's what drives me and steers my writing. Why does John make reckless decisions that he knows full well going in that it's going to be the wrong decision?

To some degree, most of us are guilty of this. Why do we choose to suffer?

I'm also a teacher, and nearly every semester a student will ask: "Why do we read such depressing literature?" For years, I didn't know how to properly respond to this question - I'm not sure that my response now is proper - but now I say something like, "When you're in a great mood, flying high above the world, feeling optimistic about life, what do you do? Do you sit down and write a book about how wonderful you're feeling? Maybe. Most of us would rather enjoy life with our family and friends than write a book about it. When life sucks or when somebody really pisses us off or when our heart gets broken, we try to make sense of our pain. So we write it down, attempt to articulate the suffering and ask 'why it might have happened or how it can be resolved'."

Does my answer make any sense?

Best,
Richard


message 36: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) That answer makes a lot of sense. Well put.


message 37: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Thanks, Nigel.


message 38: by Xian Xian (new)

Xian Xian (xianxian) Your answer is pretty awesome. I read it but I don't know how to respond to it. However, sometimes i feel like I read books because I want to feel others pain, misunderstanding, isolation, so I know that I am not the only one.


message 39: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Hey Lixian,

You are not alone. I think, some of us find comfort in pain. As ridiculous as that might sound, there is such brutal honesty in sorrow that might provide us with solace.

"Misunderstanding is all you see" - John Lennon

Best,
Richard


message 40: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauramhartman) | 4 comments Richard wrote: "Hi Laura,

Thanks for the question.

It took me nearly seven years to write my debut novel, There Is No End to This Slope. The first 2-3 years were an apprenticeship, for I was learning how to writ..."


We all know how hard writing is, thank you for spelling out the hundreds (thousands) of hours it takes to get from manuscript to book!

Regards,
Laura


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauramhartman) | 4 comments OH I forgot to ask if the editors ever "strongly suggested" some kind of change you were reluctant to make.

Our manuscripts are our babies, and it is so hard to hand them over to someone else, even though it might make them much better - what if it makes them worse?! :)

Thanks for giving us an inside track writer's look at your processes.

Laura


message 42: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Laura,

One proposition jumps to mind: my editor suggested that in the final chapter it is revealed that John has written There Is No End to This Slope. I think this would have drastically altered the novel. The point is that John is unprepared for the writing lifestyle. He is unable to commit to the hard work, challenges and dedication that are required.

In the end, I think we made the right choice.

Best,
Richard


message 43: by Xian Xian (new)

Xian Xian (xianxian) I think the way plays are written is really cool. This sentence sounds weird but I can't figure out why.Is writing a play similar to writing a novel? How does it feel writing a play compared to a novel?


message 44: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Lixian wrote: "I think the way plays are written is really cool. This sentence sounds weird but I can't figure out why.Is writing a play similar to writing a novel? How does it feel writing a play compared to a n..."

Wow, that is a difficult question, Lixian. It's one that I've been thinking about ever since you posed it.

When I write a play - which has been a while - I'm always thinking of action, some sort of movement to complement the dialogue. Dialogue comes fairly natural to me but creating action doesn't.

I don't prefer plays in which characters sit around and talk for two hours, so I rebel against that in my own work.

Thanks again for asking a question.

Best,
Richard


message 45: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10004 comments Mod
Richard,

Seeing as how the writing process is cathartic and knowing that authors tend to pull in bits and pieces of their own lives into their fictional worlds, can you share a part or piece of the book that is pulled straight from your life, and one that is completely made-up and fictional?


message 46: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Lori wrote: "Richard,

Seeing as how the writing process is cathartic and knowing that authors tend to pull in bits and pieces of their own lives into their fictional worlds, can you share a part or piece of t..."


Like many first novels, There Is No End to This Slope is fairly autobiographical.

I can tell you that everything in the novel is based on an experience that I have had or a person that I have known. Most of these experiences, such as John's marriage, are embellished, for I've taken quite a few creative liberties. Most of the characters are based on friends and acquaintances, but they're real people made of flesh and bone and not nearly as interesting as characters such as Teeny Duncan.

Best,
Richard


message 47: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Thanks Richard,

I majored in English, so I am always looking for some inner meaning. Even if one is not there! LOL! Glad to know Havannah was who and what I was thinking she may be.
Deanna


message 48: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Richard wrote: "Lori wrote: "Richard,

Seeing as how the writing process is cathartic and knowing that authors tend to pull in bits and pieces of their own lives into their fictional worlds, can you share a part ..."


Richard,

I loved Teeny, I was hoping he was based on a real person, he sounds like a great person. However, what made you decide to have Teeny fall off the wagon? Was it just John's influence, or was Teeny on the way there already?


message 49: by Richard (new)

Richard Fulco (richardfulco) | 16 comments Deanna wrote: "Richard wrote: "Lori wrote: "Richard,

Seeing as how the writing process is cathartic and knowing that authors tend to pull in bits and pieces of their own lives into their fictional worlds, can y..."


The way I see it is that everybody falls off the wagon. After we fall, some get back up, while some don't.

Though John isn't particularly a good influence on Teeny, I don't think he's at the root of Teeny's addiction problems. With or without John, Teeny was going to trip and stumble, but hey, he gets back up, right?

He moves home with Carmen, takes care of his ailing mother and starts writing more seriously, whereas John moves home, thinks about taking Heather to the Madonna concert, relies on his mother's tender loving care and doesn't write a lick.

Teeny is John's foil.

Thanks for the question, Deanna.

Best,
Richard


message 50: by Kara (new)

Kara (kara2u) | 6 comments I think one thing that I liked the most about this book is that the characters seem to have at least some root in reality. There is not a pain-free happy ending. There is not a "just click your heels together 3 times and think 'There's no place like home.'" Everyone, including the hero, is flawed. That makes them more relatable, though not necessarily more likeable.


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