Literary Birthday – 20 July – Jess Walter

Happy Birthday, Jess Walter, born 20 July 1965.

Nine Quotes

  1. When I’m deep in a novel, I don’t pay bills and I walk around in one shoe, drinking two-day old coffee, and calling my kids by the wrong names.
  2. Without sounding overly sentimental about the process, I’d say trying to describe how you tend to conceive of a book is like describing how you tend to fall in love.
  3. My desk is an antique with bookshelves built into the side. I’ve turned the drawer over to hold a keyboard. We live in a 100-year-old house, and I work in an apartment above the carriage house.
  4. I pretty much drink a cup of coffee, write in my journal for a while, and then sit at a computer in my office and torture the keys. My one saving grace as a writer is that, if I’m having trouble with the novel I’m writing, I write something else, a poem or a short story. I try to avoid writer’s block by always writing something.
  5. For me, movies and television are interesting because they are the dominant storytelling form of our time. My first love will always be fiction, and especially novels, but I’m a writer… I write poetry and essays and criticism and I’d love to write a whole play, and sometimes I even write scripts.
  6. I think suspense should be like any other colour on a writer’s palette. I think it’s crazy for ‘literary fiction’ to divorce itself from stories that are suspenseful, and assign anything with cops or spies or criminals to some genre ghetto.
  7. Forget being ‘discovered’. All you can do is write. If you write well enough, and are stubborn enough to embrace failure, and if you happen to fall into the narrow categories that the book market recognizes, then you might make a little money. Otherwise, it’s a struggle. A gorgeous struggle.
  8. Stories are people. I’m a story, you’re a story… Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, our stories join into one, and for awhile, we’re less alone.
  9. I think some people wait forever, and only at the end of their lives do they realize that their life has happened while they were waiting for it to start.

Jess Walter is an American author. He has written six novels, including Beautiful Ruins, and a collection of short stories. His has won many awards including the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Walter also writes screenplays and was the co-author of Christopher Darden’s 1996 best-seller In Contempt.

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 20th July 2014