You Always remember your first … Novel

Where did you get the inspiration for your first book? Local authors pinpoint the personal experience that launched their writing careers.

Where did you get the inspiration for your first book? Local authors pinpoint the personal experience that launched their writing careers. –Jessica Godart, Christina Marino and Ariel Yong


Sharon Patricia Burtner
Photo courtesy of Carl Larsen.

Sharon Patricia Burtner
First Book: ‘Witness Unalive’; Self-published; Infinity, 2001

 “A lot of different parts of my aunt were donated when she died, and my mother received a note from the person who received her kidney…[She] wanted to write back of course and reach out but it was sort of difficult for her because my aunt – a woman who had a lot of amazing qualities and was a very sweet and dear woman – also suffered from mental illness and she was kind of concerned…We started thinking, ‘What is transferred or not transferred?’ It did come from a real concern on my mother’s part to not want to upset them…My aunt had incredible qualities that they could receive or maybe they don’t get anything at all.”


Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Photo courtesy of Davide Lorenzi.

Natalie Dias Lorenzi  
First Book: ‘Flying the Dragon’; Charlesbridge, 2012

“When I was in Japan and I felt what it was like to be a minority, it was very eye opening. I would be on the bus, and the Japanese people are very polite, and so they wouldn’t stare at me but I could tell they were looking at me. If I would look up, then they would all sort of look away. I just remember thinking that it was almost like a glimpse into what it would be [like] to live as a minority perhaps and not speak the language and not understand. Not being able to make yourself understood is very frustrating.”


 Kathleen McCleary
Photo courtesy of Kathleen McCleary.

Kathleen McCleary
First Book: ‘House & Home’;
Hyperion, 2008

“My husband and I bought our first house [in Portland, Oregon]…[After] 12 years, my husband got a job transfer…and it was really wrenching for me to sell the house because it just had so much of my early life with my nuclear family invested in it…So I sat down and wrote this paragraph about a woman who had to give up a house she loved so much she decided she would burn it down so no one else could ever have it. Of course, I would never [do that] but there were times where I have to admit in my most petty, baby-ish moments, I thought, ‘I don’t want anyone else to ever live in my house.”


Karen Cantwell
Photo courtesy of Candace Schwab Photography.

Karen Cantwell  
First Book: ‘Take the Monkeys and Run’; Cantwell, 2011

 “[After I moved to Reston,] a neighbor told me a story. Her kids came running in the house screaming that there were monkeys in the trees. And when she went outside there were in fact monkeys in her tree…They jumped from the tree to her roof so she was trying to figure out how to get them handled…Of course, Reston back then, that was the boondocks. Eventually she said a van pulled up onto her street. Some people got out dressed in white, and…they managed to lure the monkeys and took off and never ever said thank you or explained who they were or anything. And I just always thought that was a fascinating story.”


Check out these happenings to fill your agenda for National Novel Writing Month.

Hooray for Books!
1555 King St., Alexandria ▪ 703-548 4092

(Black Friday) temporary hours
Nov 28: 6-8 a.m. 30 percent off, 8-10 a.m. 20 percent, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 10 percent off

Small Business Saturday
Nov 29: Invited authors will be in-store working as booksellers

Barnes and Noble
12193 Fair Lakes Promenade Drive, Fairfax ▪ 703-278-0300

In-store book signing
Nov 11: Callista Gingrich, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and Newt Gingrich,“Breakout”, 1-3 p.m.; Nov 30: Lisa Scottoline, “Betrayed”, 1-3 p.m.

One More Page Books
2200 N. Westmoreland St., Suite 101, Arlington ▪ 703-300 9746

Author Talk & Book Signing
Nov 13, 7 p.m.: Barbara Bonner, “Inspiring Generosity”; Nov. 19, 7 p.m.: Maya Corrigan, “By Cook or By Crook”

Small Business Saturday
Nov. 29, all day.
Local Author Event  Nov. 20, 7 p.m.:hosted by Alan Orloff, for more information go to jccnvarts.org

(November 2014)

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