Sunday, May 14, 2006

Visiting T.C. Boyle

Authors' web sites, like other commercial sites, are often one-dimensional, offering visitors the opportunity to, well, mainly, make purchases.

I finally wandered around T.C. Boyle's site, and discovered that he's taken the time to offer something more interesting, and more interactive.

In addition to lists of his books, he also includes a "news" section that's a bit like a blog. His latest entry, dated April 25, has the author recalling how he nearly "froze" to death on a recent book-tour visit to Chicago and Madison, musing about the labor pains related to his next novel and mentioning a recent elbow accident.

Visitor to Boyle's site can also chat with each other on a message board (but why does the first page lead to the oldest entries, rather than to the most recent entries?); read excerpts from his fiction; view pix of the author; take a look at the films made from his books (The Road To Wellville, not a recommended movie), and those in development, including The Tortilla Merchant, Budding Prospects and Peep Hall; and enter contests centered on questions related to his books.

I'll definite return to Boyle's site. And, hey, it served its purpose as a marketing tool, based on my response: I think I'll have to read Tooth and Nail, his 2005 collection of short stories. I read the titular story during one of my fiction workshops with Dr. John Fleming at the University of South Florida.

Fleming, author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman and numerous short stories, had the class read and discuss The Best American Short Stories, 2004, edited by Lorrie Moore. I owe a debt of gratitude to John, and to Rita Ciresi, professors in USF's graduate creative writing program, for their immense help with my fiction writing; both served on the graduate committe for my thesis, a short-story collection titled Cracker Etiquette: Stories From Somebody's South.

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