Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kim McLarin

Kim McLarin is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels Taming It Down (1999), Meeting of the Waters (2001), and Jump at the Sun (2006), all published by William Morrow. McLarin is also co-author of the memoir Growing Up X with Ilyasah Shabazz. Jump at the Sun was chosen as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. The novel was also nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and selected by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book.

From Caroline Leavitt's Q & A with McLarin about her latest book, Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men and Midlife:

Tell us how the book sparked? What got you to writing it? And how did you change through the writing?

The truth is that I was at a low point with my real work, writing fiction. Not low in terms of inspiration but in terms of dealing with the reality of being a so-called "midlist" writer, meaning great reviews and not-so-great sales. People, including my editor, suggested I write a memoir in the hopes of gaining readership. But I'm not really that interested in memoir. I believe there is a difference between what's real and what's true, and that the mania for memoir too often focuses on the former to the detriment of the latter. There is great truth in the novels of Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Graham Greene, etc, truth that has shaped my life, and that's where my heart was and remains. So the compromise was this book, a collection of autobiographical essays. It started with a version of the essay on online dating, which I'd published in The New York Times and which generated a lot of, um, feedback.

As to how I changed during the writing, I'm not sure. I hope I'm always changing, and I'm always writing, so it's hard to say.

So much of the book's issues--race, divorce, being a woman-- are thorny ones. Did anything surprise you in the writing?

The one thing that consistently surprises me in all my work is that on paper I turn out to be...[read on]
Learn more about Divorce Dog at Kim McLarin's website and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kim McLarin and Stella.

Writers Read: Kim McLarin.

--Marshal Zeringue