Save the Date! A week from today, Stewart will be featured on Rick Sebak’s Nebby: People Who Write Books Around Here. Tune into WQUED at April 26, 2018 8pm!
In the Chicago Tribune:
Hollywood doesn’t have a benevolent reputation when it comes to nurturing novelists, but F. Scott Fitzgerald, it seems, had little grounds for complaint.
In fact, the down-on-his-luck writer used the opportunity to work as a highly paid day laborer on screenplays including “Gone with the Wind” to rejuvenate himself personally and professionally before his sudden death at the age of 44. Those rewarding final years in Hollywood are the subject of Stewart O’Nan’s 14th novel “West of Sunset” and appearance March 21 at novelist Elizabeth Berg’s Writing Matters event at the Hemingway Museum in Oak Park.
We caught up with O’Nan for a few quick questions about Fitzgerald, “West of Sunset” and his admiration for people who react to dire circumstances with resilience and endurance.
And a reminder:
Author Stewart O’Nan discusses his novel ‘West of Sunset’
7 p.m. March 21
Hemingway Museum, 200 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park
“An Evening With Stewart O’Nan” will be held March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Mellon Middle School as part of Mt. Lebanon Public Library’s Joseph Wertheim Memorial Author Lecture Series. It’s free. No registration necessary.
Do you read the reviews or your books — good or bad?
I’ll read them to see if they say something interesting and tell me something more about the book that I might not know. Sometimes people are pretty insightful, especially in this case for this book. I am being reviewed sometimes by people that know more about Fitzgerald than I know, which is great. I think for the Huffpo [Huffington Post] and also for the Fitzgerald Society there was a woman who is writing a nonfiction book about, I think, Scott’s time in Hollywood.
Have you found yourself embraced by the Fitzgerald fans?
Yeah, yeah very much so. I think because they are interested just the way I’m interested. I think they are fascinated. They want to get closer. I think that is always the feeling you have with someone you admire, whether that is a good instinct or a bad instinct, especially for celebrity.
Q: What attracted you to the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Los Angeles?
We’ll always be fascinated with Scott and Zelda’s fall from grace from the pinnacle of celebrity and fame. That attracts a lot of writers and readers. But I want to talk about that later story when he gets up off that mat and becomes himself again. I want Scott’s point of view, and you can only do that though fiction.
Q: What is happening to Fitzgerald when the book begins?
It’s 1937. His wife Zelda is in a private asylum in North Carolina, and he realizes that she is not getting better. His daughter is in Connecticut, and he’s deeply in debt to his agent. He has no other prospects, and he has no choice but to try screenwriting for the third time.