By Shaileen B.
What better way to kick off the Adult Summer Reading Program than an evening with three of Maryland's favorite authors? Last Tuesday Sheri Booker, Dan Fesperman, and Sarah Pekkanen delighted an audience in the Poe Room by chatting about their recent books and writing lives with Tom Hall of WYPR's "Maryland Morning."
Sheri Booker, whose memoir Nine Years Under describes her work in a Baltimore inner-city funeral home, told hilarious stories of driving through McDonald's with a dead body in the back of her car and hiding her father's copy of her book to prevent him reading its "sex scene." Under deadline pressure, she said, she wrote virtually the whole first draft of the book, which was her graduate school thesis, in an amazingly short span of time, in South Africa: "I went to the mountaintop, and I wrote 100 pages in a week."
Dan Fesperman recalled how Double Game, "a spy novel which is very much about spy novels and the love of them," grew out of an interview he read where novelist John Le Carre said he had toyed with the idea of working for the other side just a little bit, while spying for Britain. An exploration of duplicity in the world of spies, Double Game is also a "father-son novel" where a son tries to discern the truth about his dad, Fesperman said.
Sarah Pekkanen, whose book Catching Air is about two sisters-in-law starting a bed-and-breakfast, noted that her books "all circle around the important relationships in a woman's life, because women have such interesting, rich, complicated relationships," and joked that when she ran out of major relationships she'd write a book about "a woman's relationship with her checkout person at the Giant." Since she has three boys, Pekkanen said, she tends to "write on the fly," beside the pool, for example, or at a soccer game.
Many lucky audience members had the bonus pleasure of mingling with the authors and one another at a reception before the event, where they received free copies of the authors' books.
Listen to the whole program on the Library's podcast page. And join the fun of 2014 Adult Summer Reading by telling us what you've read lately either here or on a paper form at your neighborhood Pratt Library.
A special thank you goes to Ann and Sandy Jacobson, who raised nearly $3,000 for the Adult Summer Reading Program from their friends and family by suggesting gifts be made to the program in honor of Sandy's 75th birthday!