Coming Home to Hart

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I’m from a small town in rural West Michigan, and this week, I returned to my hometown library a published author. Though it wasn’t a huge crowd–maybe twenty or so–extra chairs had to be brought out to accommodate those in attendance, among them my old teachers, former neighbors, and high school classmates. The questions were personal and intelligent and heartfelt, … Read More

Some Thoughts on “Self-Promotion”

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I’m generally not into offering criticism of anyone but politicians on the Internet. But this post, entitled, “Try Hard in Clown Shoes,” mystifies me, and perhaps my thoughts here might be useful to other debut authors faced with the task of self-promotion. The author of this article seems to hold that promoting your own work is embarrassing at least and … Read More


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by Josh Cook, published May 18th on The Rumpus. Picture this: a curbside juggler with a rose between his teeth. That’s the opening image of Susan DeFreitas’s powerful debut novel, Hot Season. Vivid (and sometimes strange) images strike again and again, conjuring ponderosa pines, cafés, old houses, and new characters. The book is firmly set in the fictional town of Crest … Read More

Interview with Between the Covers

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Recently I had the pleasure of talking with one of my favorite literary conversationalists, David Naimon, host of the Between the Covers podcast. (If you’re not already a listener, I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast, whose archives include interviews with everyone from George Saunders to Maggie Nelson.) In addition to discussing my debut novel, Hot Season, we talked activist … Read More