Thursday, April 19, 2018

Elizabeth Strout

Today, I was extremely lucky to be able to hear an author talk, presented by none other than Elizabeth Strout!

If you're not familiar with her books, Strout has written Anything is Possible, Olive Kitteridge, and many other titles. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Olive Kitteridge, and made Number One on the New York Times bestselling list with her novel, My Name is Lucy Barton--and she's just as talented of a public speaker as she is a writer.

Strout spoke with Scott MaLar, who is the Executive Producer of a daily news program called Smart Talk. Both Strout and MaLar gave an extremely captivating presentation, and if I ever have the chance, I will not be hesitating to see Elizabeth Strout speak again.

Strout shared that she had wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember, and that her mother was a very big help in her journey to become such a successful author. When Strout was a teen, she realized that she could only see the world through her eyes, and that made her sad, because everyone has a hidden side to their personalities that people might not get to see. So, she focused on exploring her own characters through different points of view, in order to compensate for the lack of being able to do so in the real world.

Strout's journey to becoming the well known author we know today wasn't a cakewalk either. Strout claimed that it felt as though she had waited tables in every restaurant on the east coast. She got many rejections on her road to being published, and after being momentarily discouraged, she went back to college to get her law degree, and interestingly enough, she took no writing classes, as she felt that the people in the class weren't the right ones to share her work with. She then worked as a lawyer for six months, and even later down the road, decided to apply for nursing school, but didn't, on account of not being able to fill out the unnecessarily complicated application form.

Thankfully, she got signed and published.

One of my favorite pieces of advice that Strout offered for authors is that you have to let your characters be themselves to the fullest extent, even if it's not what you had originally planned. She states that, "The more you think a character should be this way, the more one-dimensional they become." In other words, you have to trust your characters to make the right decisions for themselves.

I can feel myself merging into the Elizabeth Strout fan-base, just as many of her previous readers have done so already.

If you want to know more information about Elizabeth Strout or her books, you can find her website HERE.

This book talk and signing--combined with the fact that my dog found a way to get his leg stuck inside a lunch box--made my Thursday one of the best I've had.

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