Ann Patchett is the author of six novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, and State of Wonder. I’ve read each one. She’s one of my favorite authors. I met her in Danville at a reading event for her collection of essays, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Today I heard her interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
Ann talked about her dog, Sparky, who works at her bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee. Sparky greets customers with a big tail wag and drops to the floor to show his spotted tummy. He sits on laps, plays with the children, and helps create a positive association with reading and with dogs. Sparky isn’t the only store dog. Ann’s co-owner, Karen Hayes, brings Lexington to help at the store too.
When asked what her work day is like, Patchett said she takes Sparky out for a walk, makes breakfast for her husband and Sparky, and starts to write at around 8:30. Non-fiction is easier for her to write than fiction. When she wrote Bel Canto, she played an aria that the character, Roxanne Coss, sang in a particular scene, otherwise, she doesn’t like to listen to music when she writes or reads.
Ann edited Best American Short Stories 2006. She says “A short story captures the very specific moment in time when things turn. In a novel, that could be many years. In a story, it pulls those years into a single instance.” In 2012, Ann was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.
Here is a link to Ann Patchett on the Colbert Report. Worth watching since she has him speechless. thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/tqad40/ann–patchett