Q & A with Christie Grotheim
On Tuesday, April 30th we were honored to host Christie Grotheim for the launch of her novel The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live. Did you miss it? Christie was lovely enough to answer some questions for our blog--check it out below!
How did you come to write The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live?
Marjorie Moore is a flawed protagonist who is always searching elsewhere, a perpetual seeker, who is unsatified in her own life—and not very present in it for that matter—and I have known people like that in my life both in Dallas and here in New York. I feel it’s a very unhealthy outlook, and I wanted to explore themes of escapism, consumerism and self-awareness (and lack there of) through Margie’s sometimes desperate search for fulfillment. These concepts inspired me to create my satirical but very authentic character, whom we can laugh at a little—but relate to, and I found myself relating to her more than I cared to admit: my way of rationalizing things, my own search for escapes, my own struggle to be present in the moment. I wanted to make a social comment through my protagonist’s insatiable desires and misguided antics that hopefully sheds light on our own search for self, and begs the question: can we ever really change our mindset and our inherent nature?
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading lots of advanced readers copies and newly released books—one of the perks of connecting with other debut authors! One I’ve just completed and has blown me away is The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill by James Charlesworth. I wanted to read it based on the title alone (!) and it didn’t disappoint. From the point of view of four disperate and estranged siblings, the story unfolds across time and place (including wild road trips—always a great element) to finally converge in Omaha, Nebraska, the place where their father is living out his final years in his mansion. I was impressed with the strong character development of not just one or two protagonists, but an entire family of of fully-realized, totally unique characters. The prose is clever and powerful and full of winding sentences (which I love), and the writing is as imaginative as the story.
And I want to mention my favorite book of last summer: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. I found the language mesmerizing, underling so many sentence that it almost defeated the purpose of highlighting them. I was fully immersed in the world she created and described of Brooklyn and the Navy Yards in the 1930s.
Do you have a personal favorite book of all time?
I have so many favorites that I find this question almost impossible to answer! But the two books that have probably moved me the most over the past five years are All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Both are hauntingly beautiful, dark and thematically deep with a compelling plot, page-turning pace, and complex structure that pulled me in entirely—and both writers play with language and metaphor in beautiful ways.
What's next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I’m currently deep into the second draft of my next novel—it’s very different than the first, and darker, in my opinion. But I feel it’s too soon to say much more about it. Beyond that I am keeping busy with Marjorie Moore—including readings around the city this spring and summer and book festivals in the fall in Brooklyn and Nashville. Check out my website, christiegrotheim.com, for more information on upcoming events! And please feel free to follow my on Instagram @christiegrotheim and Twitter @cgrotheim and Facebook author page.
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