This afternoon I attended a fabulous talk by author Mary Glickman, whose novel, One More River (Open Road, 2011), I reviewed back in August. Glickman is in Chicago as part of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies’ one book program. And as luck would have it, she spoke just twenty minutes from my home.
I met some friends there and ran into others. Mary signed One More River and her first published novel, Home in the Morning (Open Road, 2010) before her talk, which I thought was a wonderful idea. It gave people a chance to get their books signed if they had to rush home after the talk.
The Spertus coordinators kept us all on schedule. Mary was able to speak for almost an hour about her arduous and inspirational journey to publication. After completing her MFA at Boston University, she wrote a novel that won an award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. But that book didn’t sell. Nor did her next five novels.
With perseverance and–as she described it–luck, she found a publisher for Home in the Morning and One More River. It was fascinating to hear how her first unpublished novel was a good idea at the wrong time, whereas her two published novels came just as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help skyrocketed to amazing heights. With The Help‘s success, editors could picture a market for Home in the Morning and One More River.
Glickman also said that publishers look for series, which helped her because Home in the Morning and One More River are just that. She is now writing the third novel in her series.
She also spoke about Jews in the South–her forte–and how some of those communities go back to the 1700s.
After her talk, I raced to the signing table and was second in line. I bought of a copy of One More River for a gift and Home in the Morning for myself. It was great fun to chat with her in person after connecting on Facebook.
Today in Chicago we enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures, but I wouldn’t have spent my afternoon any other way.