The View From Hemingway's Attic

Culture, politics, literature

William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
chicago, Illinois, usa
January 27
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of four novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. He lives in Chicago.


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APRIL 22, 2012 11:18AM

That First Novel

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You have no idea what you are doing. You just start doing it. Somewhere after college the bright idea of writing a novel comes along and so you sit down and make an outline and start with that first scene that has been bobbing around in your head for years and you write it out like a streak and finish it and sit back. Now what? You have no idea but you know one thing, you love writing fiction. And so you continue until you have this three hundred and fifty page blob. Again you sit back. Now what?

So you read your piece of clay. Hmmm. Brilliant. But reads like a diary. You start to rewrite, a process that goes on for years. You still have no idea what you are doing but you are learning. The novel stretches over the years and so do the rejection letters. And you keep working on it. It has changed a lot since that first day and so have you. You are now a writer working on other books but still keep sending around that first one, your first testament. And then finally, someone bites.

And your first novel gets published to little fanfare. Good reviews. Some good book orders. Libraries order up. But nothing in your life really changes except everything. You are published. You go though the same process with your second, third, fourth. You think you are getting the hang of it. And then one day you go back and read that first novel. It is now very old. Almost historic. You read it in a Kindle.Times have changed. You dig up  the paperback. It has a lot of heart. A good story. Maybe a little over the top.

You finish your first novel and put it down. The book just sits an old friend.

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