Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jess Montgomery

Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries. Under her given name, she wears several other literary hats: she is a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News; Executive Director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop at University of Dayton; and is an adjunct mentor in the Seton Hill University Low-Residency Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program.

Montogomery's new novel is The Widows.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I tend to have several books going at once.

I try to read one poem each morning. Currently, I’m reading from Mary Oliver’s collection, A Thousand Mornings. One of her poems was in the program at the church I attend, a United Church of Christ congregation, and I found her work breathtaking in showing the depth of human experience in understated, quiet ways.

I’m reading texts for research on my next novel in progress.

And I’m reading stories from Lee Martin’s terrific collection, The Mutual UFO Network. These stories peer into the heart of the human condition in quirky, yet touching ways, showing how lonely, yet connected, each of us are. I love that tension between loneliness and connection, and how Mr. Martin brings it into sharp yet subtle focus.

I also am reading a work of nonfiction, just for fun—The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin. The premise of the book is that, regardless of other personality traits or attributes, we each have a tendency for how we respond to expectations, either from others or from ourselves. (Ms. Rubin does admit that each tendency can be on a spectrum.) It seems overly simplistic, but I was drawn to the book after listening to her podcast, “Happier.” And I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the book has helped me recognize not only my own tendency but the tendencies of others around me, and doing so has made me more patient with others—and to recognize that my own tendency might sometimes frustrate others. (I’m a “Questioner,” which means I am more than willing to meet internal or expectations—after I’ve asked a lot of questions and figured out the “why” of the expectation.) Honestly, I, well, questioned the premise at first (and I still have plenty of questions about it as I work my way through), but I’m glad I’m reading the book.
Visit Jess Montgomery's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Widows.

--Marshal Zeringue