Humor, history and hope on the chat of adult authors

Five authors shared why and how they wrote their next books – funny but cringe-worthy stories about racism, imaginative short stories, a unique perspective on the civil rights movement and open-hearted Hollywood memoirs of a millennial – during Wednesday’s Adult Authors Chat at the American Book Fair.

Sisters Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar started the conversation with memories of their 2021 bestseller You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism. Lamar, who worked in health care and social services, recounted a time when she mentioned her parents during a meeting. A colleague interrupted him saying, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop! You’ve of them parents? Because, you know, normally you’re raised by single mothers.

The message of the book is clear: “You might hear this. You may see this. You might be doing that. And you have to stop,” Lamar said. “We thought [the book] was going to end racism in the world. He didn’t.” So they’re back with a new collection, drawing on their family’s experiences in their hometown of Omaha to The World Record Book of Racist Stories (Grand Central, November).

When challenged against racism, “white people will say ‘Lalalala! I do not like it! Said Ruffin, a comedienne, putting her fingers in her ears. Humor can overcome that hurdle, but while the sisters may ‘bark’ like ‘goofuses,’ racism is no joke, a said Ruffin. “Better to learn this in private from a book than in public via HR.

To view the video, click here to register for the US Book Show.)

Renowned British fantasy writer Alan Moore talked about taking readers to new worlds and the fun of stretching your own imagination. His next book, Illuminations (Bloomsbury, Oct.), is her first collection of short stories. He didn’t claim to be prescient but, he noted, a story, set about ‘the coming of the apocalypse in the town of North Bedford’, was written a year before the pandemic emptied the streets across England.

Moore described the “enormous joy” of polishing each story like a miniature gem after decades of award-winning comics and graphic novels such as Guardianand launches his 1,000 page, 600,000 word bestselling novel Jerusalem in 2016, which took him 10 years to write. “Life is too short” to do that again he joked.

“I’ve always loved the form of short stories. I think it’s the best form for any writer to start and probably end their career,” Moore said. There’s no end in sight for Moore, however, who said he’s embarked on a fantastic new five-book series, Long London (Bloomsbury 2024 version), exploring new techniques and “stretching my imagination”. When this world “gets a little boring”, he said, “it’s always good to have another world at your disposal”.

Author Thomas E. Ricks, an expert in military strategy and history whose 2021 bestseller, Fiasco, reviewed the war in Iraq, said that of his eight books, his favorite is the one that comes out. Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968 (Farrar Straus & Giroux, Oct.) details how the civil rights movement was “extraordinarily well organized in the same way as the successful military”. Ricks cited the key elements: “Recruitment; training; preparation; indoctrination; discipline in the message; discipline in direct action.

Ricks called the book a “tribute” to the movement, from its leaders and strategists to the little-known people who managed the logistics and organization from top to bottom, who slept or prepared meals for walkers or waited outside. exterior of a prison with a rescue car in case a jailer tried to turn over an arrested Freedom Rider to the Ku Klux Klan.

“I would say that every major civil rights campaign exemplifies or demonstrates some sort of military principle or operation,” Ricks said. He concluded: “I found it all inspiring and took away some hope for today.”

Hollywood film and TV star Constance Wu (seen on TV shows Fresh off the boat and movies boobies rich asian and Hustlers) describes his memoirs, Create a scene (Scribner, Oct.), as “an intimate story of growing up”. Writing it “helped me understand myself and heal from some traumatic experiences in ways that I hadn’t really anticipated or explored,” Wu said.

The book includes lighthearted moments, like his first job at a bakery, and sidesteps like his brief stay in a Buddhist monastery. But her book doesn’t shy away from difficulties: what discussions of Asian American representation in the media really look like; the time she was separated from her mother; how she suffered sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace; lessons learned after unwittingly provoked a social media crowd in 2019 with ‘controversial tweets’ about Fresh off the boat.

The therapy helped, Wu said. So does an acting rule: “You never want to judge your characters. You want to understand them. Now, Wu said, she’s eager to reach readers who may feel lost in “a millennial malaise.” She will tell them, “You don’t have to be perfect. You can learn a lot by going through the mud, which I have. She concluded, “There is a light on the other side.”

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