Ann Hood, author of THE OBITUARY WRITER, her latest novel published on Monday of this week.
On Wednesday evening of this week, two days after the release of her new novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, Ann Hood spoke to nearly 50 admirers in the salon of Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square. An energetic and entertaining speaker, Hood talked about the lint catcher in her brain, and how all the lint comes together to create her novels. She's always amazed, she said, "by what the lint catcher has caught". (Humility at its ultimate!) "It's always a wonder as to what stays and why, which is why I never take notes on my ideas or experiences . . . I just write!" After revealing a good bit about her personal life, she told her audience that she had been sitting next to a fellow from the Middle East on a plane, and after conversing for a while, he made her promise that if he ever died, she would write his obituary. She agreed. Shocking as it was, he died the following week, and his family contacted Hood to write his obituary. She tells of how she called the fellow's family members and friends in order to put together a description of the deceased for the obituary, but all she got was a "resume" of facts, until she called everybody back again, and this time the stories started to come. It was this experience that inspired her to write her latest novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, which, by the way, judging from her reading of it, is NOT depressing, but both humorous at times, and steeped in historical fact.
A flight attendant early in life, Ann Hood compared writing to the way an airline pilot once described flying an airplane -- the most crucial, the most exciting moments are the 7 minutes of take off and the 11 minutes of landing. The computer takes care of the rest. "I feel that writing's like that . . . but after you write the first draft, it takes 2 years of revising and tweaking!" Then, again, she commented that it takes her 6 months to a year to write 50-60 pages of a novel, and "once I've got that, then I can go and write all day." She admitted that she'd been writing stories since she was 7 years old, and in those early days, she actually sent samples of her writing to Bennet Cerf.
When asked about writer's block, she said, "There's no such thing. . . you just need to give yourself time . . . take a walk, take a break, do something that helps you think, knit." (She's a committed knitter, as evidenced by the titles of several of her previous novels.)
Hood confessed that her favorite novel "is (even though this seems like a cliche) THE GREAT GATSBY." She loves the authors Willa Cather, and Ann Tyler -- in fact, she confessed, reading DINNER AT THE HOMESICK RESTAURANT helped her write her first novel. "And where is your favorite place to write," asked one admirer. "I like to be comfy, and so when I finish my morning's errands, I like to take my computer into bed with me, snuggle up with my quilts surrounding me, and write!"
|Ann Hood, a faculty member in the MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School in New York City, addresses her admirers at Stellina's Restaurant|
|Ann Hood reading from THE OBITUARY WRITER|
|Ann Hood signing a copy of her latest novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER.|
|Books written by Ann Hood
Ginnie Curcio, owner of Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square, welcomes the folks who have gathered in the salon of her restaurant, to meet and hear Ann Hood speak on the publication of Hood's latest novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER. To be notified of other book events at Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square, email firstname.lastname@example.org.