Today on the blog, Bill Harris and I will be talking about his story, “That First Year the Business Was Wood,” from his award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, I Got to Keep Moving.
Bill Harris is a Wayne State University emeritus professor of English. He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic. His plays have been produced nationwide and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals of American history. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. http://www.billharriswrites.com.
It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you. Just click on this link below:
“I Got to Keep Moving” is available from Pages Bookshop here or Wayne State University Press here or Bookshop here or Amazon here.
I plan to continue discussing stories through the fall. Please let me know if you have a new book of short stories out so we can talk about it!
I HAVE THE ANSWER: MARKETING HELP NEEDED!
I Have the Answer has been out since April 11th. It was hard to market or even think about a new book this past spring, and if you are so inclined, I would love your help.
There are two main ways:
Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews at these places make a big difference and help drive sales. My hope is that people read the reviews and then purchase the book from their local indie bookstore like Pages Bookshop in Detroit!
If you have already read and enjoyed the book, please let your friends know on social media with either a picture or just a suggestion that they might want to buy the book. Here’s a link to WSUPress for more information: https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/i-have-answer Please use the hashtag with #IHAVETHEANSWER and please tag @WSUPress and @kfor24.
I recorded a podcast last week for Without Books and if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend the short messages they record by authors reminding us all about the importance of books.
Today Laura Thomas and I will be discussing the story “Sole Suspect” which first appeared in Midwestern Gothic and is included in her 2017 award-winning short story collection, States of Motion.
In order to get the most out of our discussion, you might want to read the story first and then listen to our conversation afterward. Here’s a PDF of the story. (Below the video, you will find a link to purchase the book.)
Bio: Laura Hulthen Thomas’s short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Cimarron Review,Nimrod International Journal, Epiphany, and Witness. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College. She currently heads the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan’s Residential College, where she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction.
This blog will return for regularly scheduled programming on June 15th, and will now include interviews and features with prose writers as well as poets.
In the meantime, I have listed some news, recommendations, and upcoming events below.
I didn’t want to ask Julia Glass (National Book Award-winner, Three Junes) for another blurb because she gave me one for Garden for the Blind, but I was thrilled when she wrote to me that she’d read the book:
“What a beautiful book! As I finished the last of these astute, moving, and often funny stories, I was reminded of something a fellow writer once said to an audience of fans: “What I want is not so much that you’ll get into my book but that my book will get into you.”
I was also really psyched when Nina Lorez Collins and The Woolfer endorsed I Have the Answer! Here’s what they said:
“Kelly is a longtime Woolfer, and a poet, and she lives in Michigan, where many of these Ann Beattie-esque stories are set. Nina LOVED this collection, and we also highly recommend Kelly’s poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House.”
Tuesday, June 16th at 7pm: I’ll be talking to the Harrison Public Library on Zoom. The event is free and open to all. Here are the details: Michigan Notable Prize-winner, Kelly Fordon reads and discusses selections from her new short story collection, talks about the writing process, and offers advice for aspiring writers. Her 30-minute presentation will be followed by time for Q and A. Sign up here.
Saturday, June 20th at 1pm: Workshop with Pages Bookshop (details below).
Saturday, June 27th at noon: St. Clair Shores Literary Walk with ML Liebler. More information to come.
Here are some other recent articles and reading lists, as well as an interview with Shelley Irwin at WGVU:
It’s been a few weeks now since the book was released and I think it’s fair to say it was not an optimal time to release any book, however I am grateful to those who purchased it and have posted and shared about the work.
If you’ve received your copy and have had a chance to read it, I would be so grateful for a rating or review. It takes about two minutes on Amazon or on Goodreads.
If you’ve never left an Amazon review before, this is how to do it:
Sign in to your account. …
Click the Orders menu. …
Locate the order containing the product you want to review. …
Click Write a product review next to the order. …
Select an overall star rating. …
Add a photo or video (optional) of the product. …
Type your review. …
Again, thank you for your support.
PS: I adapted this “help me with reviews” template from a writer I really admire, Cynthia Kane, who also released a new book in April 2020. I’ve enjoyed all of her work and her latest is called: How to Meditate like a Buddhist. I highly recommend checking out all of her books.
Please share some of your favorite books with me. I need more reading material!
I have one last update, however I do have to issue a trigger warning here, so if you are triggered by mention of assault or sexual assault in particular, please don’t read below the below this.
Last month, I talked about my sexual assault here on Bookstr.
And upcoming later in a June, an essay about the “real” experience will be out in River Teeth Journal.
As my friend Desiree Cooper says, it takes a long time to learn how to be an advocate. I’m not quite there yet. I want to be a part of the solution. I want to be open and honest. I have forced myself to write about it. I admire fierce advocates who can get up in front of people on panels and share their experience. It took just about everything out of me just to write that sentence above. I still go into a fugue state sometimes (even right this minute) when I think about it. Recent developments forced me to either face these grave injustices or remain silent, and remaining silent did not seem like the right personal choice given the tremendous bravery of other survivors.
It’s a sad fact that there’s no medal, and often much ridicule, for putting yourself on the line, but I’m also 100% sure the more people stand up and speak, the harder these crimes will be to ignore. Many of the people you talk to on a daily basis have been assaulted. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
Keeping that in mind, when you speak to anyone about sexual violence perhaps it would be better not to assume that they have been lucky.
On June 20th and July 18th I will be conducting two workshops in partnership with Pages Bookshop about writing through trauma in fiction and nonfiction. My hope is to offer a few pointers about protecting your own mental health while writing about traumatic events. In my own experience, writing has helped me unpack my feelings about the event, first by using fiction as a way to distance myself from it, and later by confronting it head-on in nonfiction. The goal of these workshops is to help other writers express themselves while taking good care of themselves at the same time.