Archives for posts with tag: novel


Credit: Charles Schultz, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


In 2011, journalist Hari Kunzru interviewed Joan Didion for a British magazine and covered many topics, including  her 1969 Corvette Stingray, made famous in photographs Julian Wasser shot for Life Magazine in 1972. Here are some excerpts. (Find more at this link.)

HK: I read an old interview with you this morning, from when you were living in California [‘Joan Didion: Staking out California’ –  Michiko Kakutani, Joan Didion, Essays and Conversations] which said that the 1969 Yellow Corvette Sting Ray Maria drives in Play It As It Lays was actually your car.

JD: It was my car.

HK: Do you still feel connected to that woman? The woman who drove along the coast road to Malibu in a Yellow Corvette Sting Ray?

JD: No. At some point in the past year I think I twigged to the fact that I was no longer the woman in the Yellow Corvette. Very recently. It wasn’t five years ago.

HK: When you said you ‘twigged to that’, was that a moving on, a sense of loss –

JD: Actually, when John died, for the first time I thought – for the first time I realized how old I was, because I’d always thought of myself – when John was alive I saw myself through his eyes and he saw me as how old I was when we got married – and so when he died I kind of looked at myself in a different way. And this has kept on since then. The yellow corvette. When I gave up the yellow corvette, I literally gave up on it, I turned it in on a Volvo station wagon [laughs]

HK: [laughing] That’s quite an extreme maneuver.

JD: The dealer was baffled.

HK: The Corvette driver would mutate into the Volvo driver. Was that because you were leaving California?

JD: No, we had just moved in from Malibu in to Brentwood. I needed a new car because with the Corvette something was always wrong, but I didn’t need a Volvo station wagon. Maybe it was the idea of moving into Brentwood.

HK: You were really trying to embody that suburban role. So the Corvette was the car you were driving down the foggy road and trying to work out where the turn for your drive was, and where was just a steep cliff.

JD: Yes.

Photo: “Joan Didion and her 1969 yellow Corvette Stingray” Julian Wasser (1972), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. DOCTOROW




Excerpt from You Don’t Own Me, a novel by Vickie Lester

Billie sat from morning to early evening in an editing bay at USC putting together a three minute 16mm film… She liked working with her hands. She liked the process: putting on the thin white disposable cotton gloves so her fingers wouldn’t mark the footage, breaking down the raw film reels on a Bell & Howell splicer and hanging it on neat strips on a rack over a bin at her workstation. She liked running the strips back and forth on the illuminated bed until she found where to trim and where to splice. She liked the physicality of it, the finality of it, positioning the film sprockets down exactly on the pins, swiping the blade across the film, sanding down the edges of the cut, applying the glue, dropping the plate to make the weld. Repetitive, detailed, and from bits a pieces of celluloid she could make a cohesive narrative…Three minutes of film, it was short, but it was whole, it made sense, and she was in control…control, she really liked being in control.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vickie Lester’s people came from Moscow and a London slum called Whitechapel. When the British portion of the family arrived in New York they headed out to Seattle by train, way before the plane was invented. Finding only rain, and more rain, mud, and wooden planks for sidewalks (a segment of which appeared to be an orange crate from sunny California) they immediately booked tickets south…Or so the story goes. And thus, Lester’s father’s grandparents came to LA. Her friends and family continue to toil in the industry, and she tells her tales of beguiling Hollywood under the name Vickie Lester.  Visit Vickie Lester at her website, BEGUILING HOLLYWOOD, where she features rare photos and insider stories about tinsel town.

NOTE:  “On a Silver Platter,” a 2,000-word excerpt from Vickie Lester’s novel You Don’t Own Me, will appear in the Silver Birch Press upcoming publication Silver: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose, scheduled for release on November 15, 2012.


“Quivering, I made my way through the crowds that stood in the shade like palm trees leaning over a riverbank in the morning. They were standing all in a row, as if they were waiting for God’s mercy to bring a ram down from heaven for them. But that didn’t happen. Walking through the village in my flowing white robe, I looked like the mast of a ship whose sails are caught in a gust of wind. Wad al-Kababish: of the twenty-seven villages in the area, this was the last that remained. The mere mention of its name aroused sorrow. The elders said that this village was once an oasis that stretched to the horizon, a vast green disc against the yellow of the desert, and that it supplied rams and goats and camels to the north, east, and west. They said that no other village raised such large numbers of animals, and none had broader pastures, for none of them had any lakes that were as big or had such sweet water as the one that had been here. Sometimes the treacherous currents in its deep basin would cause it to overflow in rage, wreaking havoc on the surroundings, but that lake provided every living creature grazing in that vast valley with ample water the whole year round.” From The Palm House by TAREK ELTAYEB

Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of DEBT, a novel by Rachel Carey. Welcome, Rachel!

The tone, style, setting, and subject matter of DEBT  bring to mind  THE BONFIRES OF THE VANITIES, Tom Wolfe’s exploration of the financial masters of the universe. More than twenty years later, it’s a very different financial picture – everybody has gone bust, or is on their way there. The extensive cast of characters – many of a comic bent – calls to mind the crime capers of Donald Westlake or the antics described in books by P.G. Wodehouse.  Bottom Line: Great story, engaging characters, funny, witty, clever, incisive, insightful, and original.