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How thinking about Glenn Beck can aid the writing process

It’s fall, which means a spate of new, big books. Coming out around this time are novels by National Book Award winner Alice McDermott ("Someone"), Kathryn Davis ("Duplex"), Lauren Grodstein ("The Explanation for Everything"), Swedish author Anne Swärd ("Breathless") and Barnes and Noble Discover author Eric Lundgren ("The Facades"). As usual, I asked them a series of questions with various verbal restrictions on some of their responses. 

Without summarizing the plot in any way, what would you say your novel is about?

KATHRYN DAVIS: It's a coming-of-old-age story.

ALICE MCDERMOTT: To borrow a phrase from Woody Allen — or maybe Tolstoy: Love and death.

ERIC LUNDGREN: Loss in the Midwest, both private and civic, experienced through a series of strangely designed public buildings, by a somewhat self-deluded guy who tries to be a detective.

LAUREN GRODSTEIN: It’s about understanding why some people need God and some people need science. It’s about parenthood and grief. And it’s about realizing that the worst thing that’s ever happened to you is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to anybody.

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