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Delphinium Books

Writers and Celebrity: Why Everyone Is a Genius

in Pop Culture by

Whenever an author publishes a book, perhaps the best form of publicity is a profile written in a national magazine that is devoured by avid readers. I read one of these profiles the other day and was struck by the fact that the journalist who wrote the piece positioned the writer to come off like some kind of off-beat genius. Indeed, during the interviewing process, the word “genius” was used to describe this writer, who, I must say, seemed very comfortable with the title. It was yet another one of those situations where a writer is being made into a celebrity and, I’ve said this before, book publishing and its most well-known authors more and more resemble the creatures of Hollywood. In…

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The Ever-Changing Climate of Book Reviewing

in Potpourri by

A good friend of mine (who started her career more or less at the same time) reminded me the other day how it used to be when a writer of literary fiction published a book. All the reviews would appear within a couple of weeks, and there were quite a few of them at that. I remember, for example, whenever I had a book out in the UK, it would get reviewed the day of publication, and often that same day, in several different places at once. Now, except for the most prominent of writers, the climate has changed. Due to declining revenues, the space for newspaper and magazine book reviews has considerably shrunk while the number of books published…

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Sorting Through Fiction and Non-Fiction Narratives

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At Delphinium, we often ponder the difference between fiction and non-fiction narrative, and it seems more and more that these two literary distinctions are being blurred. Even though the memoir genre is still thriving, it’s now generally understood that memoirs are embellished, truth laced with invention; and yet it’s also true that many memoirs could not be successfully published as novels. With a memoir, it’s the very idea—or in some cases, the illusion—of confession that makes a book saleable. The premise is that a memoir will attract a reader who can believe they have gone through an experience similar to the one they read about. For this reason, memoirists—and their publishers—may be reluctant to divulge whatever is actually invented. Could…

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Advice to Writers: Be Determined and Stay in the Game

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My tenth novel will be published in September. I began writing it more than four years ago. The delay in its publication is mostly due to the fact that I parted ways with my former literary agent as well as my former publisher. When I broke ranks with them I knew I was taking a risk: unless you are incredibly successful and have a stellar track record, it’s difficult to begin again in mid-career. Going out on my own actually turned out to be a lot more difficult than I realized. Part of this was coming to terms with the fact that the publishing business has more and more become like the movie business. I’ve said this before in other…

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The Privileges and Difficulties of Editing Greatness

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I’ve had the privilege of editing the work of writers who have published many books and have come to Delphinium later on in their careers. Editing a master is very different than editing a new writer. Established authors have managed to stay in the game for decades and beyond their sheer talent, they’ve had to develop a dogged perseverance to keep writing and publishing despite the success or failure of their previous books. Not to mention the fact that each of these authors have had bad experiences with editors who, while admiring their work enough to publish it, perhaps never digested it fully enough to be able to edit carefully and successfully. Being a writer myself and watching the relative…

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My Favorite Short Story: “The Captain’s Daughter”

in Potpourri/Stories by

Writers and editors are often asked to name their favorite novel but seldom are asked to name their favorite short story. This fact may be determined by the short story’s brevity and that there are many more “perfect” short stories than there are “perfect” novels. Then again novels are not necessarily called “perfect” but rather just “great,” and it is generally agreed that greatness does not preclude having flaws. All this notwithstanding, “favorite” implies a subjective point of view; and yet I think for most readers it’s difficult to choose a single short story that lives on in one’s mind above all the rest. But I actually have an all-time favorite, the only short story I continuously and ritually reread about once…

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Q&A with David Plante, Author of ‘American Stranger’ and ‘Difficult Women’

in Fiction by

Brought up in a secularized Jewish household on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Nancy Green knows little about her parents’ past. She knows they were World War II Jewish refugees who were able to escape Germany with precious family heirlooms that are constant reminders of a lost life and a world about which Nancy knows very little. In David Plante’s novel, American Stranger, (Delphinium Books; January 9, 2018) the main character, Nancy, has a longing for some kind of spiritual connection that first leads her into an encounter with a Hasidic Jewish man who, unable to find meaning in his own religion, has taken vows to become a monk. She then becomes romantically involved with Yvon, a Catholic college student in…

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A Life in Books: Author Kathleen Hill Talks About the Power of Words and Writing Her New Book

in Non-Fiction by

Before I spoke with Kathleen Hill for the first time, I had been talking with a friend about aging and watching the adults in our lives, some who’ve passed away, struggle with memory in their later years. We were both saying how we wished they had written down some of the stories of their lives, memories of events that would have given us and our children a bit more insight into family histories and reveal how certain events in the lives of those who are connected to our pasts ultimately impact who we are in the present. So we both committed to writing our own memoirs. I became keenly aware, early in the process, that everything I wrote was linked…

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