Families torn apart by the Civil War, a frantic writing process and maple sugar all found their way in as topics for my interview with author Glenn Pearsall this month in North Creek, New York. He and I sat in front of an audience at the Tannery Pond Center to discuss his first novel Leaves Torn Asunder. We spoke for more than half an hour, a live version of my "Author Visits" series. We talked about plot, characters and history, but it was his writing process I found the most interesting. Glenn said he did not outline the book, but would instead frantically type the words and paragraphs as they came to him. Sometimes he said the ideas would rush at him much faster than he could type. The author also admitted he'd sometimes have whole Civil War battles playing out in his mind as he tried to engage in dinner conversation with his wife Carol! His wife, by the way, acted as editor and critic during the creation of the novel.
Board member of the Johnsburg Historical Society Suzie Anderson wrote after the event, " The interviewer, Paul Larson, and Glenn Pearsall easily moved from discussing broad themes, such as the specter of slavery hovering over the nation, to small details of the soldiers' daily life. The audience appeared fully engaged in the dialogue between Larson and Pearsall from start to finish."
It was an enjoyable evening that also included a slide show from Glenn showing real places and people who had inspired his work of Adirondack war fiction. Glenn's showcase of photo concepts for the book cover that did not succeed, plus the one that did, revealed how many authors and book publishers also struggle over decisions about the visual representation of a book.
Leaves Torn Asunder focuses on subjects rarely covered in Adirondack literature, those of farming families facing the horrors of war, on the battlefield and at home.
The book release party in North Creek concluded with refreshments and a book signing by the author. Photos by David Braley.