Now a full-time novelist, Carolyn Wall worked for twenty years as a freelance writer, serving as Fiction Editor for Byline magazine and Senior Staff Writer for the award-winning Persimmon Hill magazine. She lectures on university campuses and in conference centers across the country, conducting intense workshops in Fiction and Novel Writing and Journaling. She has taught writing students for twenty-five years and is known for motivating writers everywhere.
In 1995 she wrote for and edited the book Braced Against the Wind, the only literary history of the bombing of Oklahoma City. In 1998, the U.S. Department of the Interior awarded her a writing residency at Devils Tower, Wyoming. She is one of two writers in a five-state region to have received the Crème-de-la-Crème award from the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Her debut novel, Sweeping Up Glass (Random House, 2009) received that year's Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction. Her second novel, Playing With Matches (Random House, 2012), was chosen as Target's July Read for 2012. Her first two novels have sold in nine countries and have been translated into several languages. Wall is currently at work on her third novel.
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I was teaching a group of writing students in my living room, and the subject for the evening was following the heart. I used baseball as the metaphor. When the mind sets up chatter, I said, the heart cant remember its name, let alone watch the ball.
At the time, Id sold several hundred articles, short stories, columns, and reviews, and as a wife and mother of four, I had become more subservient to the Texaco bill and the electric company than any elusive chamber of the heart.
But that night, I swept my class out the door and, still revved from the emotion of my own lecture, I went to the computer and fingered the keys. Out fell a scene from Sweeping Up Glass... I had no idea where [it] came from.
Still, I knew how to be a stubborn child, so I backed up and let Olivia boil over. I knew what it was like to adore a father, and experience hellfire with a maam, so much of this book is culled from my life. The first character to be spun from thin air was Love Alice. Her name, and its reason for being, burst in my head like a kernel of corn popping.
Love Alice was the first chirping robin of spring, and...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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