July 28, 2013

Author Q & A: VOW WOW

J. Courtney Sullivan follows the success of her novel 'Maine' with a much-anticipated look at marriage in 'The Engagements.'

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN will read from and discuss “The Engagements” at 7 p.m. Wednesday as part of the “Writers in the Loft” series at The Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress St., Portsmouth, N.H. This is a ticketed event that includes a reserved seat, book and bar beverage for $41. Call (603) 436-2400 or visit themusichall.org.

There are four marriages in the book; each takes place in a different decade. Together, they tell the story about how marriage in America has changed over those decades.

Q: Which leads to my next question. You set this book in various times, spanning 60 years. Why?

A: I felt like I wanted to get at this idea of time and the passage of time and what it has done with marriage and how marriage has changed. Each marriage takes place in a moment where marriage is in flux at the moment.

Q: You just got married. Care to discuss that event in the context of this book?

A: In some ways, I start writing a novel to answer questions I have in my own mind in some way. When I started writing "The Engagements," I was not yet engaged. But most of my friends were getting married, and some had been married for 10 years. I started asking, "What makes a marriage last? What are ingredients for a good marriage?" I wanted to throw all of that into a story.

Q: Did you have a big wedding? 

A: We had 120 (guests). It was great. There were a lot of people at the hotel who had read "Maine." My husband and I did a first look, where we did the pictures before the ceremony. I was walking down the porch at The Colony, and he has his back turned to me. The photographer was snapping away, and a woman on the porch grabbed my arm and said, "I loved your book," which was very nice. And then she started asking a question about it. I said, "Umm, I'm kind of busy right now. Can I talk to you a little later?" It was very sweet.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:


Twitter: pphbkeyes


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