(And See!) the Latest from Joyce Maynard by Jami Kelmenson
- New book!
- New movie about existing book!
- New cover for another existing book (by Richard Avedon, no less!)
- New husband!
Not bad for one summer huh? Well author Joyce Maynard will tell you it took a lot more than a few months to reap all of these fabulous rewards in her life.
New Book: After Her
At the New York book signing for her latest novel, After Her—based on the true story of two California sisters whose formative years were shaped by a series of grisly murders in their town over which their charismatic father presided as homicide detective in the 1970’s—she was quick to express her reaction to this latest confluence of good tidings in her life: “I feel enormous gratitude,” she said. “I’m not an overnight success. It didn’t start in 1973 (when she published her first memoir, Looking Back, at the ripe old age of 19). It really started for me, in 1960, in Humpty Dumpty magazine.”
She then went on to explain, in the signature hold-nothing-back style that has made her a kindred spirit to millions of women and a few good men, that while she appreciates every second of her current success, it hasn’t always been so easy. The way she makes sense of the world is to ”put it down on paper.” She feels fortunate that she gets to write for a living, “it’s the only job I’ve ever had,” she said with earnest reflection.
New Movie: Labor Day
Her 2009 novel Labor Day, about a prison escapee who forges an unlikely relationship with a lonely New Hampshire widow and her 13-year-old son, is being made into a movie starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, due out in December. The movie is directed by Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno, Thank You for Smoking) so we look forward to seeing Joyce on the red carpet come Oscar time! No Josh or Kate sightings at the reading but if they’d been there you can be sure I would have asked them what they are reading.
New Cover: At Home in the World
Joyce shared with us the evolution of the new cover photo and updated preface for her 1999 memoir At Home in the World—which chronicles her sad marriage, her sad divorce, and the “forbidden story” about her relationship with J.D. Salinger. (Catcher in the Rye, did I really have to tell you that?) The photo which now graces the cover is one she originally hated when it was taken by Richard Avedon in 1973 for Vogue. Now, she looks back, and appreciates both it and the celebrated portrait photographer, for capturing exactly who she was at that time.
New Husband: Jim Barringer
Joyce’s July wedding to Jim Barringer in a New Hampshire meadow was profiled in The New York Times’ “Vows” column. While she calls him “funny” and “serious,” I call him her “Robert Kincaid” (the male protagonist in The Bridges of Madison County) since he’s a dreamy photographer. Of marriage, she confided to some of us at the reading, “I want to be an inspiration to older women,” then she double-backed, “not that marriage is the be all and end all.” She double backed again, “not that I mean ‘older’ either!”
I had the profound experience of meeting and receiving coaching on my writing from Joyce at her beautiful home on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Joyce being Joyce (a woman who once decided Steve Martin was her soul mate) and me being me (read of my tales of love in NYC at my personal blog), her critique of a personal essay I had written about a summer tryst in France turned into a love coaching session rather than a writing one. “What are you doing with these men?!” she questioned emphatically, throwing down my pages upon realizing my heart was in greater need of critiquing than my words.
Since then we’ve remained friends (okay mostly through Facebook) but sharing these few hours of “truth telling” with a spirited audience of fellow Guatemala alumni, friends and fans hosted by Union Square Wines & Spirits (now that’s my kind of book signing!) made me realize that there’s always still more to learn about writing—and love—from one who’s not afraid to dive into either.
Here are some highlights from the NY reading/signing for After Her:
Look who stopped by to wish Joyce well – fellow authors Elinor Lipman (The View from Penthouse B, Then She Found Me) and Nora Raleigh Baskin (Anything But Typical, Surfacing, Runt) – authors supporting authors, gotta love it!
A special moment between authors Joyce Maynard and Elinor Lipman – more than 20 best-selling books between them!
My signed copy of After Her: “For Jami who bravely submitted to a TOTAL re-working of her manuscript and lived (and wrote) to tell the tale!”
Decisions, decisions. What to read next?
Are you a fan of the sometimes divisive Joyce Maynard? What do you think about her latest endeavors? Please leave your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page!
Jami Kelmenson is a freelance writer and blogger living and loving in New York City. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel, Crossing Paths. See more ShelfPleasure posts from Jami, including her roving reporter coverage at BookExpo America (BEA) 2013, and read of her ongoing tales of travel, life, love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC at her blog, www.jamikellywriter.tumblr.com.
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