Monday, July 7, 2014

Maryanne O’Hara

A graduate of Emerson College's MFA program, Maryanne O'Hara was a longtime associate editor at Ploughshares magazine. Her short stories have been published in Five Points, The North American Review, The Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth.

O’Hara's debut novel is Cascade.

From her Historical Novel Society Q & A with Stephanie Renee dos Santos:

Stephanie Renée dos Santos: Why did you choose to make your protagonist in Cascade an American female painter in the 1930’s?

Maryanne O’Hara: I was originally interested in writing a short story about artists who painted for Roosevelt’s New Deal arts projects during the Depression. Then I saw a wonderful exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts: A Studio of Her Own, Women Artists in Boston, 1870-1940.” I realized I wanted to write about the particular struggles of the female artist.

SRDS: What compelled you to include and focus on art and artists in your historical novel?

MO: I’ve always been fascinated by the human impulse to create art. And I’m fascinated, too, by what cultures deem worth saving. I liked the idea of using a doomed town threatened with extinction as background for a story about an artist trying to create lasting works of art. I hoped that this juxtaposition would give readers a lot to think about.

SRDS: What drew you to your specific visual art medium, art work, and characters?

MO: I never really decided that Dez would be a painter. She just kind of was one, from the start. The way Dez paints and thinks about painting is the way I write, so it was easy to substitute one art form for the other. I think that all creative expression comes forth from...[read on]
Visit Maryanne O'Hara's website and Facebook page, and view the Cascade trailer.

The Page 69 Test: Cascade.

Writers Read: Maryanne O'Hara.

My Book, The Movie: Cascade.

--Marshal Zeringue