Food for Thought by Deb Tiffany

bookcoverThanks so much to all of you who have dropped by to celebrate the release of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. It’s been a blast so far! The following essay can be found on my author page at Hachette Book Group. It explains a little bit about the background of the novel. Enjoy and happy reading in 2009!

People are always asking me how I came up with the idea for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, and I always tell them the whole thing belongs to Truly.

Truly is not “real” of course—except that she kind of is. Before this version of the novel, there was another incarnation, one where the story belonged to the Morgan men. Well, Truly was having none of that. Her voice barreled in over the narrative, broke it into smithereens, and told me to pick up the pieces and start over, her way. I would, it seems, be telling the story from her perspective, with her words, whether I liked it or not.

She has been a singular muse, to say the least—chatty, bossy, and stubborn as all get-out. But also forgiving, tender, and full of regret. In other words, totally human. People often ask if Truly is some version me, and of course, in a way she is. She is my answer to the question of why we die the way we do.

I didn’t necessarily set out to write a book about that subject, but over the course of writing this novel, several friends and family members passed away—some from old age, some from disease, some, I guess, just because their numbers were up. Then I got pregnant in the middle of it all and almost miscarried my son. As I lay in bed wondering if I would be able to have him, I found myself asking the questions that Truly confronts at the end of the novel: When one of the needs in life turns out to be death is it murder or a mercy?

Enter Truly—a kind of spirit-guide of mortality who brings these issues to the table, but who is also constantly reminding us that life is a feast. There’s more, of course, to writing a novel than just “tuning in” to a character’s voice, but not much. Writing, I think, is as much an act of listening as anything else. Luckily, I chose to shut up and open my ears to Truly, even when I didn’t always like all the answers she was giving me, even when we sometimes fought.

Finally, like Truly, I also spend a lot of time cooking, and I believe there are similarities between writing and the culinary arts. For instance, I don’t really think you can be a good cook if you don’t like to eat. You always need a secret ingredient. You should never give away your recipes, and most of all, in my opinion, whatever you’ve made always tastes best when it’s shared. Truly, I’m sure, would absolutely agree. I hope you enjoy The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.

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13 thoughts on “Food for Thought by Deb Tiffany

  1. I had the great pleasure of reading an ARC of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (thanks to Tiffany and her publicist!) and I just adore this book. I hope that everyone who sees this book on the shelf this weekend and throughout the year will pick it up and be as entertained, pleasantly surprised and forced to think about things as I was.

    You can read my review of Tiffany Baker’s exquisite debut novel at http://planetbooks.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/book-review-the-little-giant-of-aberdeen-county-by-tiffany-baker/

    Cheers!

  2. I love how characters barge into a story and won’t shut up. I’m glad you listened to Truly! And your love of cooking really comes through in the book.

  3. I’m intrigued by the story of the Morgan men, but of course I’m glad you let Truly have her way!

    Reading this sentence: “She is my answer to the question of why we die the way we do” makes me want to read it all over again with that statement in mind…

  4. Glad you all enjoyed. And Karen and Julie, thanks for reviewing the book and helping to get the word out! Today is the OFFICIAL launch day. Yipee!

  5. I’m busy reading, enter me anyway. But if I win can I have a t-shirt, I already have the book.

  6. Oh Tiffany – this is ALL so exciting. Hope you are having a fabulous week! And no, Mom, it’s not pick your own prize week! It’s Little Giant of Aberdeen County week! Besides … you didn’t even enter the contest to win the t-shirt! (p.s. did you know your daughter was the Contest Maven?)

  7. I’m sorry to be the late commenter today, Tiffany!

    I am so excited for you–for the fun of your launch and for the promise of future success. It’s a privilege to be at the Ball with you!

    (Eve’s Mom cracks me up.)

  8. I am so itnerested in this book. It’s a great concept, one I think is under-explored in the world of literature. I will hopefully be reading it soon.

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