“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.
Read the review and listen to the podcasts of West of Sunset on Rick Kleffel’s The Agony Column!
Stewart is on the last leg of his tour — Asheville and Savannah this week:
ABA Winter Institute
The Man in Room 441: A Conversation About F. Scott Fitzgerald, With Maureen Corrigan, Stewart O’Nan, and Erik Larson
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 – 10:20am to 11:45am
Savannah Book Festival, 2/14/2015 4:10-5:10PM
Allison Hope Weiner of TheLip.tv interviewed Stewart on Media Mayhem! Check out the great interview.
Q&A: Stewart O’Nan on Fictionalizing F. Scott Fitzgerald
For all that has been written, said, extrapolated from, and culturally metabolized about F. Scott Fitzgerald, the last few years of his life are often dismissed as a steady downward slide from writing The Crack Up, published February 1936 in Esquire, to his premature death of a heart attack in December 1940 at just 44 years old.
But it was during that time that Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood, reinvented himself, repaid his debts and fell in love for the final time. Of course, he also failed to finish a new novel, felt the impact of his worsening health, and struggled to maintain a relationship with his beloved but committed wife, Zelda. It’s not the expat parties in Paris of the 1920s so often associated with the author. But it was an interesting time in the life of one of the most celebrated literary figures of the 20th century. In his newest novel, West of Sunset, Stewart O’Nan presents a fictionalized account of these final years, bringing to life scenes of Fitzgerald in Hollywood. We talked to O’Nan about fictionalizing such a famous figure and what he learned about Fitzgerald in the process.
Stewart is in Seattle today for two events!
The Pub @ Third Place Books, 1/30/2015
Elliott Bay Books, 1/30/2015