January 2014 through December 2014 - Page 10

W elcome back to The Writer’s Jar, where we go behind the scenes with today’s most intriguing minds in the publishing industry. Today, we’ve invited novelist Lisa Howorth to join us. Not only is Lisa known for her critically acclaimed novel, Flying Shoes (Bloomsbury, 2014), she and her husband Richard own Square Books in Oxford, Miss., the famed indie that was named Bookstore of the Year 2013 by Publishers Weekly. writing only about the murder, and writing it as nonfiction, was not going to work for me. I wanted it to be more like life really is. Tragedies—no matter how awful—don’t occur in a vacuum. In the novel, thirty years have passed since the murder. The protagonist, Mary Byrd Thornton, is more reflective about what happened and is able to see her family’s story in the context of other tragedies that occur in the book. She’s no longer overwhelmed by it as she once had been, so we see her engaging with Julie Cantrell: Welcome, Lisa. We’re honored life, although I did mean for readers to think to have you with us today. Please pull a topic about the ways the murder affected, even from our writer’s jar. damaged, Mary Byrd and her family. From the Writer’s Jar: “How can personal Julie Cantrell: I like how you say she tragedy be mined to write fiction?” engages with life. In fact, the book ends up Lisa Wingate: What a fitting topic for you, focusing not all that much on the crime. Lisa. We each experience some form of tragedy It spins into its own story, as Mary in our lives, but yours was particularly brutal. Byrd’s life moves forward. What does Could you share about the trauma your family experienced this say about the human condition? and how this led to your debut novel, Flying Shoes. Lisa Howorth: The crime drives the Lisa Howorth: We never think something terrible will novel slowly and circuitously, jumping happen to us or to someone close to us. In 1966, when I from character to character and substory was fifteen, my nine-year-old stepbrother was molested to substory, because this is the way I and murdered. see life. We are messy beings in a messy world. I did not Julie Cantrell: I cannot imagine anything worse than the want to wallow in the crime and its grimness. I was much abduction and murder of a child. I admire you for bravely more concerned with how people recover from tragedy. tackling this topic in your novel. Was this your first Lisa Wingate: In life and in writing, we are often inspired attempt to confront the tragedy in writing? by those who have come before us. Were there writers or Lisa Howorth: Well, there are worse things—being the works that guided you in this journey? parent of a murdered child, or children who are never Lisa Howorth: I sure don’t mean to hold myself up found. I began writing Flying Shoes in the early 90s. I to the literary achievement of Harper Lee, Carson had a full-time job, ѡɕչɕ䁱)5 ձ̰ȁ5ɝɕЁ5эЁ$͕䁹ٕ)IɐЁMՅɔ ̸$ɕ锁܁ѡЁЁ݅́٥ͽѡݥѠٕ́Q-)ٕ䁡ɐѼѼѡЁѥ Ё$܁$5ɐQ!Ё́1!չѕȰٕ)ݽձɥєаͽ丁]䁍ɕݕɔɽݸ]Ѡѡ]ѡ͔ɕ͕Ёѽ՝)$Ё5ݕ͡Q́ѼչٕѥɅѕ́ݡЁɥ)չȁݸЁѡѡɽ)ձѕݽɱ̸Q䁕ɥȁݥѹ́Ʌ)1̈́]єQѽɥ́'eٔɥͥѡ)Ёѡ䁅ɔЁхݸѡɅյQ٥ٔ)ЁٔѡЁ́ɥѕȸ))ձ ɕQԁȁ̰1̈́)ԁɥѡ́́ԁݽɭѼ͡ɔͽѡͼ٥ѥ́Ѽѡݽɱ她M̹)ͽ)ԁٔѥ́ѡЁԁȁɥѥɕ)1̈́!ݽѠ%Ё݅́ձЁѼѽ՝Ѽ) ѥՔѡٕͅѥѡ]ɥѕˊé)ȁ)ٔѡЁ䁡ѡѥ$ե䁙չѡ)聡輽ܹQ]ɥѕ)((Mѡɸ]ɥѕ((