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Our Brand-New Website
Just last week, after LOTS of hard work on the part of the awesome web designers at Grunge Muffin Designs, we launched our brand-new Blydyn Square Books website. It looks amazing, and you can finally buy books directly from us. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!
Blydyn Square Book Club
Our new and improved Blydyn Square Book Club kicked off with a bang last week on July 9, as we talked about Delia Owens’s novel Where the Crawdads Sing—and the discussion got a little heated at times. Book club is so much more fun when people disagree! In case you missed it, you can catch the video from our discussion here.
Our next meeting will be August 13, when we’ll talk about This Is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila. You can join the club on our Facebook page. Hope to see you there!
Our Novel Thirty-three Cecils Is Becoming a Movie!
I’m going to turn things over to author Everett De Morier for a bit, so he can give you the latest news about his novel Thirty-three Cecils:
Hi, my name is Everett De Morier. Blydyn Square Books released my novel Thirty-three Cecils back in March 2015. It won some awards, became required high school reading, and—through a prison writing program—came to the attention of a film production company that optioned the rights to the book in late 2015. Since then, they’ve been working slowly but surely to get the book ready for the big screen: having me adapt the novel into a screenplay, drafting budgets, finding talent, searching for a director, and doing all kinds of stuff we book-business people don’t really have much of a clue about.
From what the movie folks tell us, it usually takes about 3 years to get a major motion picture made. Some take longer—even a LOT longer (the movie people used Gladiator as an example, which supposedly took 10 years!).
All that waiting and wondering is the worst part about having a film made from your novel. The producers ask you to send books to directors and actors who’ve read the screenplay and now want to read the book, so you’re signing books—YOUR book—for actors and directors you’ve admired for years, people everyone knows, and you want to grab the phone and call your friends and scream, “You’re never going to believe this!”
But you can’t. You have to keep everything confidential until the film moves into the next phase when everything can be shared publicly. And that part stinks.
But I can tell you this: The movie folks had a meeting just a few days ago with someone whose name you’ll definitely recognize about maybe directing Thirty-three Cecils. They told me this person has “a beautiful vision for the execution of this film.” Which, I’m pretty sure, is Hollywood talk for the fact that this person really likes it. Not only that, but there are a few other very well-known names who’ve verbally committed to the project.
Sorry I can’t share more specifics, but stay tuned—we’ll keep you posted!
Thanks, Everett—and now back to our regularly scheduled newsletter.
This month, we’re profiling the newest addition to our Blydyn Square family, author Andrea Kott, whose memoir Salt on a Robin’s Tail: An Unlikely Jewish Journey Through Childhood, Forgiveness, and Hope is a number-one new release on Amazon. I caught up with Andrea to ask a few questions about her and her book:
Q: Where are you from?
A: Most recently, Sleepy Hollow, New York
Q: What is the title of your book?
A: Salt on a Robin’s Tail: An Unlikely Jewish Journey Through Childhood, Forgiveness and Hope
Q: How did you get the idea for this book?
A: I’d written an autobiographical essay for Lilith about my atypical, traumatic, and un-Jewish Jewish childhood, which hit a chord with many readers, who said, “There’s a book in there.”
Q: How long did it take to write it?
A: Six years
Q: Why is this book different from other books in the same category?
A: It reaches many different audiences: people who have questioned/struggled with Judaism, mother–daughter issues, trauma, not fitting in, the search for God, to name a few.
Q: Are there other books that inspired you to write it?
A: The Glass Castle, The Memory Palace, Running with Scissors, and A Piece of Cake—all books about people with dysfunctional families/mothers.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Joan Didion, Kent Haruf, Richard Ford, Anne Patchett, Isaac Bashevis Singer, for starters.
Q: Describe what your book is about.
A: The memoir describes my journey as a “welfare Jew,” having spent decades looking for belonging in Jewish community and, even more importantly, trying to understand why such belonging mattered. The daughter of a single mother whose depression and drinking pitched us into poverty, my stormy life defied every stereotype that I associated with being Jewish—having an intact family, material wealth, and becoming a bat mitzvah. Alienated and ashamed, I felt ineligible to be Jewish, yet hungered for connection to the tradition and God. It took a near-fatal accident, my mother’s death, marriage and motherhood, and losing a beloved brother for me to find my Jewish home. Salt on a Robin’s Tail is for all readers, especially those who have struggled with mother-daughter issues or longed to reconcile a painful past.
Q: What is your personal goal for this book?
A: To reach as many varied audiences as possible.
Q: What is the one thing you would like prospective readers to know about this book?
A: It has a happy ending!
Q: What was the most difficult part of the book to write?
A: Admitting that I do not abstain from alcohol and that I spent years unknowingly looking for my father by dating and sleeping with older men.
Q: What was the easiest part of the book to write?
A: Fond memories of my mother and brothers and falling in love with my husband.
Q: What’s the best part about having your book published?
A: It’s out of my system and it has a stamp of legitimacy.
Q: What’s the worst part about having your book published?
A: I’ve thoroughly exposed myself.
Q: What is your ultimate goal for this book?
A: To have it stay in people’s heads.
Q: Who could benefit the most from reading this book?
A: Anyone struggling with issues related to Jewish identity, mother–daughter struggles, family dysfunction, class, wanting to belong.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: It literally popped out of my head. No kidding.
Q: Were there other titles you considered?
A: Yes. We thought about using the title Why Can’t I Have a Christmas Tree?, but we decided Salt on a Robin’s Tail was better because it makes the reader want to know more about what the title means. Plus, we worried the other title might make people think it was a book about Christmas—which it definitely isn’t!
Q: Do you write things other than books?
A: Short nonfiction and material on public health (for money!)
Q: This book is traditionally published. Did you consider self-publishing? Why or why not?
A: I wanted the feeling of professional legitimacy that I wouldn’t have gotten if I’d self-published. Having Blydyn Square want the book made me feel like it was really worth something.
Read more about Andrea’s book here.
Brain Teaser of the Month
At Blydyn Square Books, it’s our job to make you think, so every month, we’re including a trivia question, quiz, or puzzle to do just that. Last month’s trivia question—What was the world’s first novel?—went unanswered. The correct answer was The Tale of the Genji, written by Murasaki Skikibu. Apparently, you guys aren’t super observant and completely missed your chance to win an easy prize. Oops! Here’s hoping you do better this time around. ????
And so, here’s this month’s question (email us the correct answer and you could win an Amazon gift card):
What was the first book ever printed in English?
Quote of the Month
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
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That’s it for this month. Hope you’re enjoying your summer and finding plenty of time to read and relax!
See you next time,
Editor in Chief
Blydyn Square Books