That brings you up to date. And boy am I glad I met Paulette. Her book, Mulberry, is really good and grabbed me on page 1. It's that rare combination of literary but very readable (kind of like Pat Conroy). And her writing is extremely visual. I'll get to some examples in a minute. First, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Mulberry is a gripping and beautifully written tale of family crisis and personal strength that focuses on Maddy, an eleven-year-old girl struggling to keep herself and her three younger brothers, afloat in small-town segregated Mississippi in the early 1960s.
Okay, here are some examples of how visual her writing is:
1. "'Oh, yeah,' she said, gazing out through mulberry leaves braised by the late August sun."
2. "...but I also felt slow-growing anger. The feeling curled inside, whipping around like a lizard's tail."
3. While watching her house on fire - "There was something glorious but pitiful about being singled out by a fire."
4. "The neighbors parted away from my brothers and me like a receding wave, exposing us like minnows washed ashore."
5. "She stood over me now, her thick, well-fed body like a cotton bale on legs..."
6. I won't quote a long paragraph here, but just go to page 230 and read about a fight between Miss Glenda and Mrs. Hazel. You will feel like you are watching them in person.
There are a million examples. In fact #3 and #4 came from the same page! Pretty impressive, don't you think? As we all know, a book is more enjoyable when you can "see" what's happening. The other impressive element of Mulberry comes from something Barry Eisler said at his launch. This really stuck with me. He said that he "gets to know" his characters before he worries about the plot details. I never could understand why I connected with the protagonists in some books and not in others. And in many cases, I have connected with protagonists in books with mostly local exposure and didn't connect with those in nationally prominent books (sorry, but The Girl on the Train is definitely one of the latter!). I get it now. Paulette obviously worked on getting to know her characters, because I connected with all of them.
In case you haven't figured this out, I highly recommend that you read Mulberry. And in case you want to meet Paulette, buy a book, and get it signed, she will be out in front of Recycle Books in Campbell on Sunday morning, May 1, from 9:15:-12:15. (I'm also working on having her be our RBC author for June. Fingers crossed.)