I spent a few hours today wandering around the Gaithersburg Book Fair, an event with multiple tents, multiple authors, and many multiples of readers. There was probably a method to who spoke where (tents named for authors, most with a Maryland connection, from the "Edgar Allen Poe Pavillion" to those named for Rachel Carson, H.L. Mencken, Gertrude Stein, et al.). A few bits and pieces that I picked up:
- Voice is the key to writing historical fiction. Google Ngram can help by figuring out how common (or not) a word or phrase was at a certain point in time---David O. Stewart, The Babe Ruth Deception.
- Structure is important, especially in a mystery. In a third draft, author Burt Solomon changed his ending, which meant going back to put in clues along the way.---Burt Solomon, The Murder of Willie Lincoln.
- When his book was made into a TV series, Nathan Hill had lawyers asking him about how he wanted to contractually handle such possibilities as if the show wanted to kill off a character. (He decided he didn't have a problem with that.)---Nathan Hill, The Nix.
- An event like this makes you decide to read a book you never would have picked up otherwise.---A male audience member at a session presented by memoir authors Seema Reza, Joan Rough, and Betty Hafner.
- Newspapers provide ideas. A circa 1950s ad in the Village Voice to "rent a beak[nik]" to attend staid social events made it into Dominic Smith's novel, with some of the language verbatim.---Dominic Smith, The Last Painting of Sarah Vos.
- So she wouldn't have to deal with Cass Elliot's death (which, in fact, did not involve a sandwich), author Penelope Bagieu ended her biography of the musician just as California Dreamin' hit the airwaves.--Penelope Bagieu, California Dreamin'.
- While her book is about vaccine development in the 20th century, Meredith Waldman finds interviewers and others ask her about the issues of today.---Meredith Waldman, The Vaccine Race.
- When you write yourself in a corner, just put that part aside for a few weeks.--Ted Sanders, The Keepers.