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Monday, July 22, 2019

Brunch With Lisa Grunwald and Adriana Trigiani

Me, Lisa Grunwald and Adriana Trigiani
Yesterday I took a trip to Bay Ridge Brooklyn for a brunch with fans of Adriana Trigiani and Lisa Grunwald at Cebu Bar & Bistro, organized by The Bookmark Shoppe. Close to 60 of us gathered to hear these wonderful authors talk about their creative process.

Many in the crowd were being introduced to Lisa Grunwald, whose novel Time After Time is the highlight of the summer for me. (My review is here.) Adriana Trigiani has been raving about Time After Time on her weekly Facebook Lives, and it sounded so intriguing I had to read it.

Time After Time tells the story of a young woman, Nora, who is killed in a horrific train crash at Grand Central Station in New York City in 1925. On the anniversary of her death in 1937, a railman named Joe sees Nora at Grand Central, looking disheveled and out-of-place, but beautiful. He offers to walk her home, and on the way there she disappears.

Every year on the anniversary of her death, Nora reappears. She and Joe fall in love and manage to create a life within the confines of Grand Central, as they discover that she is safe within those walls.
It's a beautiful love story, one that completely absorbs the reader in that time and place with these two people.

Lisa Grunwald was researching for another book when she came upon a book about Grand Central Station in the 1940s. She found a story about a man who saw a woman there who asked him to walk her home. She disappeared on the way, but the man continued to the address where he found a woman who lived there, and when he told her his story she said that it was her niece, who died a dozen years ago at Grand Central and that this happens every year on the anniversary of her death.

Grunwald did a great deal of research for this brilliant novel, reading every book she could find about Grand Central's history, going on Ebay where she found uniform buttons for railmen, maps, ticket stubs and more. She called it "going down the rabbit hole." Her attention to detail in the book is what makes the reader feel like she is right there.

She spoke of the main theme of her book- how much do you sacrifice for love? Nora is stuck in this one place and if she and Joe want to be together, is he willing to sacrifice everything else to be with her?

Trigiani and Grunwald spoke about their different styles- Trigiani writes a book a year, Grunwald takes three to four years to complete a book. They spoke about the importance of gestating ideas, just sitting and thinking, which is difficult to do in this fast-paced, immediate gratification world we live in.

An audience member asked if the authors know the endings to their books when they begin to write. Grunwald says that she likes to think she does, and 50% of the time she is right. In the new book she is writing, she knows the ending but not the beginning as of yet. Trigiani says she always thinks she knows the ending, then as her deadline approaches, she keeps adding and changing the ending.

It was an interesting event, and I met some lovely people at my table, Reggie and Joanne, and we had a wonderful discussion about our favorite books and authors. If you ever get the chance to meet an author, take it. It's fascinating to hear about the process of writing.

Both Time After Time and Triagiani's latest book, Tony's Wife (which comes out in paperback on Tuesday, July 23rd- my review is here) have stunning book covers, and they are both set in the 1940's. If you want to get lost in a different time and place (and with all the current national discord, who doesn't?), pick up these lovely novels.

I love the covers of these books

Lisa Grunwald's website is here.

Adriana Trigiani's website is here.

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