Conversation with Kerry Madden

Kerry Madden’s in the house!
Literally – she’s been visiting from LA with her 18-year-old daughter, Lucy who will be going to college near me. So why not do a quick conversational interview before I have to take her to the train?
Katie: First, Kerry, thanks so much for treating me to God of Carnage last night. (The play by Yasmina Reza starring James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, and Marcia Gay Harden).

Kerry: You’re welcome – thanks for having us stay at your house!
Katie: I can’t believe we bumped into Alison James! (Here is a bad iPhone picture to prove it – that’s Kerry on the right!)
So. You live in LA yet you wrote the Maggie Valley trilogy (Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song, Jessie’s Mountain) which take place in the south. What up with that?
Kerry: My husband grew up one of 13 kids and I was desperate to write something real. I was writing shadow soap – like a ghost writer for soap opera, writing lines like, “my, that bathrobe looks familiar.”Katie: I know what you mean. Years ago I worked as a copywriter for an ad agency and we had a big supermarket chain client. I was writing stuff like, “Meat today, meat tomorrow, meat on Wednesday.” It was brutal.
Kerry: I know! I was mortified and if I couldn’t write something I was proud of, then forget it. So I quit the soap gig and started the trilogy.
Katie: And of course, the money was comparable.
(Kerry and Katie laugh hysterically at the complete lack of humor in that comment).
Kerry: I was missing the Smokey Mountains and seasons, and lightening bugs and real summers of my childhood memory.
Katie: And now you’re going to have that full time, right?
Kerry: Yes I’m moving to Birmingham Al. Gulp. To teach creative writing at UAB.
Katie: Oh man, teaching college students? Yikes. Did you make up a syllabus? How do you know what to teach?
Kerry: I’m teaching creative nonfiction, fiction writing and children’s lit. Friends who teach at other universities around the country are sending me sample syllabii. This year will be a gigantic year of change.
Good luck, Kerry! And thanks for the signed copy of your latest book, Up Close: Harper Lee

Recent Comments

  • Anonymous
    April 22, 2009 - 11:11 pm · Reply

    Thank you, Katie…and since we’re on the theme of light-hearted theatre, you have to go see AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY. It’s pretty stunning. And thanks again for a lovely lovely time!!


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