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Author/Reader Discussions > THE ADULTS Author/Reader Discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Hi guys and a very happy June to all of you!

TNBBC has partnered up with Alison Espach to give away 6 copies of her novel The Adults this month.

The giveaway is for residents of the US only, and will remain open through June 9th.

Come and grab your copy so you can discuss with us in July!!!

message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Go winners, go!!!
Were you one of them? http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...

message 3: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (iandssmom) | 30 comments Already got it from the library!!! :)

message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Our discussion with Alison begins July 15th. Who's got the book? Who's started reading?

message 5: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments Haven't gotten my book yet and I'm bummed...have the 4th off and a whole weekend to myself. Plenty of uninterrupted reading time...hurry, book, hurry!!

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

page 68- I'm loving it!

message 7: by John (last edited Jul 11, 2012 07:04AM) (new)

John | 3 comments I read "The Adults" soon after it came out, and am one of the ones who posted favorable reviews of it at Amazon. (It is also posted here at GOODREADS.) (As an aside, I attended one of her first public readings in New York City; in the audience was her literary agent, who also represents the estate of my high school English and creative writing teacher, the writer Frank McCourt.)

A couple of good questions to ask Alison could be:

1) As a writer whose debut novel is set in suburban Connecticut, how much have you been influenced by Rick Moody's novels, especially "The Ice Storm" and "Purple America"?

2) With the possible exception of Rick Moody, which writers have you found most important as both sources of inspiration and as those whose literary styles are comparable to yours?

3) What do you think of the burgeoning interest in coming-of-age novels with adolescent girls and young women as key protagonists? Do you consider your novel "The Adults" as an important literary milestone in this trend?

message 8: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Thanks John, for those questions! It's a great way to get the discussion rolling tomorrow!

So who's started the book? What's your initial impression?

Alison joins us tomorrow, so if you've got some questions to throw out there early, now would be the time....

message 9: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I just stareted this morning and so far I really like it

message 10: by John (new)

John | 3 comments Lori, you are most welcome. I would amend my first question to read as follows:

1) As a writer whose debut novel is set primarily in suburban Connecticut, how much have you been influenced by Rick Moody's novels, especially "The Ice Storm" and "Purple America"?

On an entirely different note, I am delighted that the book club enjoyed reading "Angela's Ashes"! That is a book that will endure for ages.

message 11: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments I loved it. Once I started I couldn't put it down. Really looking forward to the discussion!

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished. I loved it. I really connected with the writing- the style and word choice - very smart.

message 13: by Alison (new)

Alison | 5 comments Hey everyone. I'm so pleased to be starting our discussion today! I hope you all have read and enjoyed the book, and as Lori has said, I'll be happy to answer your questions. So let me get straight to it!

John, I am a big fan of Rick Moody, though as far as influences go, he's not my main influence. I loved The Ice Storm, the specificity with which the narration moves and how well he captured the voices of both the young characters and the older characters. The main thing reading Rick Moody has given me is the confidence to tell the domestic Connecticut/Fairfield County story -- that even though it's been told before, there are always new and original ways to tell it. Originally, I was writing a book about four men and copper theft in Missouri and it fizzled about 70 pages in. The subject interested me (for about 70 pages) but I realized I was writing it for all the wrong reasons -- 1)fear that nobody would take a female protagonist seriously, 2) fear that people would think it was my story since I grew up in CT and 3) fear of writing about sex/girls. And fear is never a good place to start fiction. So I suppose this gets to your question about the burgeoning interest in coming-of-age novels with female protagonists. I started writing very young, high school/college, and it took a lot longer than you may think to find my voice in the "Western Literary Tradition" and embrace the female protagonist. It took a lot of false starts, a lot of small press reading, a lot of dealing with my own preconceptions when it came to gender in fiction, to realize that you absolutely can write dark literary fiction about "This Girl's Life" the same way Tobias Wolff can in "This Boy's Life." Reading authors like Grace Paley, Lorrie Moore, Amy Bloom, Criz Mazza -- the spirited voices, the subversive humor, the bold female characters -- all of it gave me confidence in the the kind of story that I really wanted to tell, which ultimately ended up being Emily's story in The Adults.

message 14: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Welcome Alison! Glad to see you made your first comment :)

How is it for you to share your writing with the world at large? Are you a review reader?

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Alison- I'm curious as to how you picked this subject. Was it emotional writing Emily's story? Do you feel finished or that there may be more to Emily's story? Thanks so much.

message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (wsbecker) Hi everyone! I am still reading, but I am very much enjoying it so far! I find myself intrigued to read more and laughing out loud at some of the comments/thoughts Emily has. Thank you and can't wait to get to the end :)

message 17: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments Hi Alison! You said above you wanted to tell a story that ultimately ended up being Emily's....did you have a specific plot in mind when you began, or were you more focused on Emily's character? Did you envision how she would "end up" through various circumstances or did Emily develop differently than you expected as you wrote?

message 18: by Alison (new)

Alison | 5 comments Lori - I wish I wasn't a review reader. But I can't help myself. I pretty much read everything that's said, good or bad. Which is part of why it's absolutely terrifying to share work with the world, but equally exciting that someone is actually taking the time to comment on what you wrote.

I didn't really pick this subject. Or rather, I don't think of it as a subject. I just sort of got lost in the relationship between Emily and Mr. Basketball and carried it through to what I saw as the end for them. I see it as the end because in my mind Emily will never see Mr. Basketball again. She somehow got him out of her system and that was the feel I wanted for the ending. And yes, Emily certainly changed as I wrote her. Your characters have to surprise you sometimes, just like real people you know very well can still somehow be surprising.

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I was surprised at myself at times to actually be wanting more from Emily and Mr Basketball- but I do like and appreciate the fact she was able to question him and remind him of her age at the time etc. It felt complete to me at that point.

message 20: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
As you read Alison's book, check out her interview on Flavorwire:

message 21: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
So where is everyone at? How are we enjoying the book?

Alison, What do you do when you aren't writing? What's your favorite way to pass the time?

message 22: by Maria (new)

Maria | 1 comments I loved the subtle changing perspectives of Emily as she view adults and becomes one. Did you plan that theme initially, or did it emerge as the story developed?
Also, any plans for this to be movie? I'd love it!

message 23: by John (last edited Jul 20, 2012 11:07AM) (new)

John | 3 comments Allison, I think the nature of the relationship between Emily and "Mr. Basketball" distinguishes "The Adults" from other, highly touted, newly published "Coming-of-Age" novels, along with the dynamics of the relationships which Emily has with her friends all through adolescence. That's why I still regard "The Adults" as one of the most important literary debuts that I have read which have been published since 1984. Of recently published debut literary fiction, I find it worthy of comparison with Teju Cole's "Open City" and Eleanor Henderson's "Ten Thousand Saints".

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Alison, I really enjoyed Emily's internal dialog- she made me laugh and feel things right along with her- she was very real to me. I think about her now, and where she will go with her life- how her relationships will play out. She has stuck with me long after I finished the book- as a well drawn character should!

message 25: by Alison (new)

Alison | 5 comments Maria, thank you! I knew I wanted the book to be shaped by Emily's maturing perspective. The book definitely started as an exploration of the line between being a kid and growing up. I've always been very interested in that break, and how eye-opening (and horrifying) it can be when you begin to really understand what's been happening to you and around you.

John, thank you! That's high praise.

Jamie, thank you, so glad you liked the dialogue. I'm very much into writing dialogue (I had to cut a lot out of the initial draft, if you can imagine). What often draws me to a book is the way the characters speak to each other, so it was important to me that the conversations they have in The Adults felt right to me (and now always entirely authentic, but right for the feel of the book).

message 26: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Alison, do you have any questions for the group?

I was wondering how everyone was getting along with reading?

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Alison, I think writing dialogue is difficult! So if you had even more to cut- another round of kudos to you!

The age difference was really interesting to me through Emily's life (between she and Mr Basketball) - the age difference between my husband and I is more than Emily/Mr Basketball- we did not meet/date at 15- but I was 22 and as I watched their relationship grow and change (and was it even a relationship in the beginning!) it made me reflect on my own relationship's growth.

Do you think that Mr Basketball ever really understood that when Emily was 15, the choices he made were wrong? Do you think he felt remorse?

message 28: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments Alison, do you think you'll pick up the copper theft story again or is it dead? What are you working on right now?

message 29: by Alison (new)

Alison | 5 comments April, I may pick it up again. I often go back to old works and revamp them. In fact, that's where most of my fiction comes from.

Jamie, I am having a hard time answering that question. It's strange for me to think about what Mr. Basketball was thinking, because I was so deep inside Emily's had, I mainly had to ask myself what Emily thought Mr. Basketball was thinking, if that makes any sense. When I am doing First Person POV I really have to make it an effort to enforce that limitation, because that's what makes the First Person so interesting -- that limitation of being stuck inside someone's brain, of having to use context clues and body language to figure out what another person is thinking.

message 30: by Alison (new)

Alison | 5 comments had = head

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Great answer and thank you- the writing process is so interesting to me. I really appreciate your time and answers here.

Do you have something in the works now? I'm looking forward to more of your work.

message 32: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Well, the end of the month is upon us. I want to take a minute to thank Alison for making copies of her book available for us, and for joining us here at TNBBC!

It was so great to hear her responses to your questions about THE ADULTS.

Alison, thank you so much for being here and hanging with us!!

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Ditto- Alison, thanks so much for the book (Lori, thanks to you as well) and thanks for taking your time to talk to us. I really enjoyed your book and I've told all of my reading friends about it! My daughter is reading it now- can't wait to hear her perspective.

Alison, I'm looking forward to your next book! Please keep writing- I love your style.

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