This old alligator photo has a vintage vibe I called upon when I created the setting for Lost Lake — a swampy, quirky resort with a heyday long since passed. This photo was also used as inspiration for the retro feel of the postcards designed exclusively for the book. You’ll find the postcards, which include some hidden alligator images, sprinkled throughout the pages of Lost Lake.
Tag Archives | Sarah Addison Allen
You fall in love with every book you touch. You never break the spine or tear the pages. That would be cruel. You have secret favorites but, when asked, you say that you could never choose. But did you know that books fall in love with you, too?
They watch you from the shelf while you sleep. Are you dreaming of them, they wonder, in that wistful mood books are prone to at night when they’re bored and there’s nothing else to do but tease the cat.
Remember that pale yellow book you read when you were sixteen? It changed your world, that book. It changed your dreams. You carried it around until it was old and thin and sparkles no longer rose from the pages and filled the air when you opened it, like it did when it was new. You should know that it still thinks of you. It would like to get together sometime, maybe over coffee next month, so you can see how much you’ve both changed.
And the book about the donkey your father read to you every night when you were three, it’s still around — older, a little worse for wear. But it still remembers the way your laughter made its pages tremble with joy.
Then there was that book, just last week, in the bookstore. It caught your eye. You looked away quickly, but it was too late. You felt the rush. You picked it up and stroked your hand over its glassy cover. It knew you were The One. But, for whatever reason, you put it back and walked away. Maybe you were trying to be practical. Maybe you thought there wasn’t room enough, time enough, energy enough.
But you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?
You fall in love so easily.
But just so you know, they do, too.
This essay first appeared as a Valentine’s Day 2010 “More in Store ” feature for Barnes & Noble’s Nook. It is reprinted here with permission.
Sarah’s latest novel is THE PEACH KEEPER, is now available in paperback:
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.
I still remember discovering Lee Smith as a sophomore in high school. Her writing was about people I knew. People like me. Southerners, not New Yorkers. I was amazed that that was allowed. I dove into her books and didn’t come up until I’d read them all. I swam to the surface with hope that someday I’d write stories like that– stories about people I knew.
Later on in high school I discovered Brett Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero and Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. These weren’t about southerners but they were about young people. I knew them too. I still remember the first line of Less Than Zero: “People are afraid to merge.” The main character is talking about driving, but it’s true about life too. I fell in love with words that could mean more than one thing.
It was also in high school that I discovered Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. I wanted to sit with them in French cafes and discuss the downfall of American society. I wanted to meet Catherine from A Farewell To Arms. I thought about naming my daughter Jordan after the spunky character from Gatsby. These people– who lived long before me and weren’t real– felt as near and as real as my classmates. And perhaps more in touch.
Still later I discovered Alice Hoffman, whose writing was positively lyrical. Her books were a feast and I devoured them all.
More recently it’s been Jodi Picoult, whose talent for metaphors is envy enducing. And Sarah Addison Allen, whose writing takes me to a place that is not rooted in any reality I know, even if her books are set in the mountains of my state. I love disappearing into her world, a true escape from my own.
I guess I don’t just have one literary first love. It is my love of reading that sparked this site, this community of other women who have first loves of the literary variety. What were your first loves? And does the sight of them still make your heart beat just a little faster? Welcome to the club.
Marybeth’s lates novel, SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY hit bookstore shelves last summer. You know what’s especially fun about this novel? She named the main character after me! And I didn’t even have to pay her.Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood playdates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection ” isn’t always what it seems to be.A novel for every woman who has looked at another woman’s life and said, “I want what she has, ” She Makes It Look Easy reminds us of the danger of pedestals and the beauty of authentic friendship.
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