Writers Talk at the Gaithersburg Book Festival

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.
 David O. Stewart and Burt Solomon spoke about writing historical fiction and the amount of research required to pull it off.

David O. Stewart and Burt Solomon spoke about writing historical fiction and the amount of research required to pull it off.

  • 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.
 One of the many "Author PAVILIONS." Fitzgerald and wife Zelda are buried in Rockville. 

One of the many "Author PAVILIONS." Fitzgerald and wife Zelda are buried in Rockville.