Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her latest novel is Small Damages.

From Kephart's Q & A with novelist Caroline Leavitt:

You are now the diamond in the sky. A rave NYT review, praise everywhere, and rightfully so, for a novel that is as luminously moving as it is smart. You and I have talked about the struggle to be published well, to find the right home with a publisher, to feel appreciated, and the absolute joy when that happens. So tell us about it, the struggle and the joy. Did you know when you were writing this novel that it was somehow different in some way, and that you were going to shine?

You and I have talked, first of all, because you are such an incredibly generous and open writer who yields so much to others. So that first.

Second, Small Damages is my fourteenth book. It arrives after five memoirs (in which life’s big questions were examined, as opposed to Epic Personal Tragedies), an uncategorizable foray into poetry and history, a twisted corporate America fairytale (which became corporate Everywhere fairytale after a dozen translations), and several young adult novels that have primarily been read by adults. In short, I have not been an easy writer to peg, my work hasn’t always been easy to shelf, and I fear I’ve been more of a conundrum than anything else. I have not made for easy publishing fodder.

Through all these years I have been working on Small Damages, a book inspired by my travels to Spain, where my brother-in-law lived for a long time. Place is story to me. Seville and its rural outposts was a world I could not leave in my imagination. I read, I thought, I dug deep into history, I took photographs, I interviewed people, and I wrote eighty drafts of a novel that kept changing its foreground, but never its background. A few times this book seemed close to...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Beth Kephart's website.

The Page 69 Test: Small Damages.

--Marshal Zeringue