|Photo by Joe Noga, Cleveland.com|
Things got serious when Searles talked about being bullied as a child; he wasn't athletic and spent a lot of time in the library. He began to pursue writing as a career after his younger sister died, knowing that life is too short not to try.
There were many friends and family in the audience, including his parents and brother, co-workers from Cosmopolitan magazine, his editor and others from his publisher William Morrow, fellow writers from Yaddo, bloggers he has met, and perhaps most telling about what kind of guy he is, two friends who worked with him at a restaurant when he was in high school were there. If you still have friends from high school willing to drive a few hours on a Monday night to hear you speak, you are a good guy.
While working at the restaurant, Searles would write notes on napkins, and he recently found them in a box of his stuff packed away. They came up onscreen, and they were hilarious and sad all at the same time, showing his frustration and talent. (One note described a rude woman who insisted on discussing the crouton count of her salad with Searles, claiming that "six croutons on a salad is a ripoff." Anyone who has worked in the service industry knows this woman.)
This was one of the most entertaining, enlightening evenings I have been to in a long time. Lamb (everyone's idea of the perfect high school English teacher- I'm seriously jealous of any student who had him as a teacher) asked great questions about where Searles dark stuff comes from, how long it took him to write this book, his process and where his wicked sense of humor comes from.
Lamb closed the evening by telling us to go read Help For The Haunted because "I f*#king loved it!" I read it too and totally agree with Lamb's assessment. It has everything you want in a good read- suspense, a murder mystery, a coming of age story, interesting characters and brilliant writing.
My review of Help For The Haunted is here.
Wally Lamb has a new book, We Are Water, publishing this month and you can get more info here.
|Lamb and Searles|