Sunday, November 26, 2017

Gary Blackwood

Gary Blackwood is the award-winning author of more than thirty novels and non-fiction titles for children and young adults, including the bestselling Shakespeare series. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, he now lives in Canada.

Blackwood's latest novel is Bucket's List.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Blackwood's reply:
I’m convinced that, in most cases, whether or not a particular book or a particular author speaks to us depends on how willing we are to listen.  In real life, of course, we tend to seek out people whose opinions and outlooks coincide with ours.  But in the case of books, though obviously it’s important what an author says, I think how he or she says it is just as important.  The truth is, I generally spend a lot more time with authors than I do with any of my flesh and blood friends, so I like them to be good company.

D. E. Stevenson is delightful company.  I discovered her only within the last year or so, when I stumbled upon a reissue of the charming Miss Buncle’s Book.  I’ve been seeking her out ever since, most recently between the covers of her WWII-era saga, Amberwell.  Though Stevenson (or, Dorothy, as I call her—or would, if she were still alive) has long been dismissed as a writer of “light romantic novels,” that assessment does her a definite disservice.  She has a droll sense of humor that rivals Anthony Trollope’s—I often found myself laughing out loud--and her portrayal of the relations between men and women sometimes give her the feel of a latter-day Jane Austen.  It’s true that her stories aren’t always very tragic or very profound, but neither is life, most of the time.  And the fact is, Stevenson offers some very shrewd insights, some really moving moments and some heartbreaking dilemmas, especially in Amberwell.  Its scope and depth certainly qualify it as far more than a “light romantic novel,” and I found myself wishing I’d made a name for myself as a screenwriter so I could create a miniseries based on the book.
Learn more about Bucket's List.

My Book, The Movie: Bucket's List.

The Page 69 Test: Bucket's List.

--Marshal Zeringue