Author & Editor: Jess Walter and Cal Morgan
Tuesday June 19, 2012
Jess Walter and his editor, Cal Morgan (a Center for Fiction board member!) discussed Beautiful Ruins, and the process to get this book published.
With Beautiful Ruins, perhaps Walter’s most widely appealing novel yet, this emerging literary star weaves a poignant, enveloping tale that spans fifty years and explores the tension between the lives we dream and the lives we actually live.
The narrative alternates between a tiny coastal village in Italy in 1962, where the young proprietor of a fledgling hotel falls in love with a mysterious, ailing blond American starlet who has sought refuge there, and present-day Hollywood, where the now 72-year-old Italian man has come to find the actress he met almost fifty years earlier. As this imaginative and surprising story of love and delusion unfolds, it explores the lies we tell each other, and ourselves, as we construct our reality. Tracing these and other characters through five tumultuous decades, it is an accomplished joyride of a novel, full of Walter’s trademark unforgettable characters and observations.
Read Janet Maslin's fantastic review of Beautiful Ruins in the New York Times.
A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Playboy, McSweeney's, ESPN the Magazine, Details, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe among many others. His books are The Financial Lives of the Poets, Time Magazine's #2 novel of the year; The Zero, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, the 2007 PEN Center Literary Award and the 2007 LA Times Book Prize and winner of the 2007 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award; Citizen Vince, winner of the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel and a finalist for the ITW Thriller of the Year award; Land of the Blind; Over Tumbled Graves, a 2001 New York Times notable book; and Every Knee Shall Bow (rereleased as Ruby Ridge), a finalist for the PEN USA literary nonfiction award in 1996. His new novel, Beautiful Ruins, will be published in June. Walter lives with his wife Anne and children, Brooklyn, Ava and Alec in his childhood home of Spokane, Washington.
Cal Morgan is publisher of It Books and editorial director of paperback originals for Harper Perennial, two imprints at HarperCollins Publishers. Among his authors are the novelists Jess Walter, Tom Piazza, Ben Greenman, Nick Arvin, and Blake Butler. Cal also runs the website Fifty-Two Stories, where he publishes new short fiction by authors as diverse as Louise Erdrich, Mary Gaitskill, Ray Bradbury, Carol Windley, Dennis Cooper, and Simon Van Booy. A graduate of Yale University, he has been with HarperCollins since 1999.