Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Gina Wohlsdorf

Gina Wohlsdorf was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. She triple majored at Tulane University. Following graduation, she lived in northern Florida, southern France, and Minnesota. She held a variety of jobs that afforded her time to write, including bookseller and massage therapist. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She currently lives in Colorado.

Wohlsdorf's new novel is Security.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
First, a confession: I don’t read fiction while I’m writing it. It’s probably an unfounded superstition, but I’m scared others’ styles will bend my voice. So, between my novels, I gobble up fiction like Cookie Monster at a Chips Ahoy factory. But when I’m writing a novel, I stick to nonfiction.

And, with the exception of about two weeks while my editor read my second book for Algonquin, I’ve been writing for six months.

In those two weeks, I stuck my head into Tim Johnston’s Descent. Bombs could have exploded in my apartment building and I wouldn’t have noticed. Compelling, textured characters. A nifty, nervy, roving structure. Cooookieeee.

I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of really talented new authors while doing events for Security, and their ARCs were sitting there on my shelf whispering, “Come play with us, Gina.”

So: The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield (I talked to him for two minutes and he shot to my Top Twenty Favorite People I Know Casually; his book is sad and funny and unique and all-around cool) and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad (really bold, nuanced writing; I’m excited to see what she does next).

Now I’m in nonfiction, where I’ve discovered Atul Gawande way after everybody else, but better late than never. I started with Complications, then Being Mortal (wept in the bookstore at that one), and now I’m into Better. He’s a study in clarity. I’m learning a lot — about writing and about medicine. Though I will continue my life-saving practice of not doing surgery on people.

Lastly, I can read poetry anytime, and I do. Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts by Lawrence Raab. I bought it for one of the best titles I’ve ever heard, as well as for the beautiful cover. The poems inside were still better, an excellent surprise.
Visit Gina Wohlsdorf's website.

The Page 69 Test: Security.

--Marshal Zeringue