Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Speaker: Mary Volmer

Mary Volmer Website
Mary Volmer: Basketball player turned historical novelist and teacher at Saint Mary’s College (CA). Interesting journey.

Review Snippet: “Mary Volmer’s Reliance, Illinois grabbed me from the first page. Staggeringly beautiful prose, a poignant story, the whip smart heroine Maddy who I rooted for all the way."
—Cara Black, New York Times bestselling author of Murder on the Quai

Conference Workshop: The Artist and the Athlete,
Session 2, 1:10 - 2:10

Lunchtime Author Round table, 12:00 - 1:00

Closing Panel Discussion, 3:55 - 4:45

Workshop Description: Athletics and art, in their purest forms, are not essentially different endeavors. In this talk, we explore the ways in which artistic and athletic disciplines inform one another.

Among the topics we will consider are structure and time, the efficacy of rules, and the primacy of faith, practice, and play in the development of athletes and artists. While I use examples from my own career, the goal of the talk will be to give you, even if you despise physical exertion, a new perspective and tools you might apply to your own creative process.

Mary Volmer was born in Grass Valley, California, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College and a master’s degree from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and now teaches at Saint Mary’s College. She is also the author of Crown of Dust. Reliance, Illinois is her second novel.

amazon.com description.

"Reliance, Illinois has it all—mystery, politics, war; love, death, and art. Every page is a pleasure."
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Reliance, Illinois
tells the story of a young woman faced with choices that will alter the course of her own future, and offers a brilliant window into American life during a period of tumultuous change. Illinois, 1874: With a birthmark covering half her face, thirteen-year-old Madelyn Branch is accustomed to cold and awkward greetings, and expects no less in the struggling town of Reliance. After all, her mother, Rebecca, was careful not to mention a daughter in the Matrimonial Times ad that brought them there. 

When Rebecca weds, Madelyn poses as her mother’s younger sister and earns a grudging berth in her new house. Deeply injured by her mother’s deceptions, Madelyn soon leaves to enter the service of Miss Rose Werner, prodigal daughter of the town’s founder. Miss Rose is a suffragette and purveyor of black market birth control who sees in Madelyn a project and potential acolyte. Madelyn, though, wants to feel beautiful and loved, and she pins her hopes on William Stark, a young photographer and haunted Civil War veteran.

Highlighted Review:

on May 24, 2016
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase

Normally I read a book cover to cover within a day or two, but I found when reading Reliance, Illinois that my pace slowed in quiet enjoyment. The characters and writing style were so well-thought out and developed that I found myself studying the characters in depth. Something I appreciate in a good book, but often do not find. Volmer strongly delivers in this area. The author's depiction of each character is vivid as she guides you through their strengths and weaknesses. I could go into details and my opinion on each individual, but then I would provide too many spoilers. Ultimately, that is for you to discover! ;)

Reliance, Illinois will take you through a gamut of emotions as the plot unfolds. I truly enjoyed sneaking a peek into this representation of a historical period, a mixture of fact and fiction, as Volmer opens a portal to an era gone by.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Mary's smile is so cheerful and her work is undoubtedly alluring. The topics she chooses for writing are fascinating. by the way I love the background colour of your site.