Two Colorado authors team up at Tattered Cover on November 14

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What’s better than an author talking about books at Tattered Cover?

Two authors, both talking not just about their new books, but about their lives as active writers.

Denver award-winning Wendy J. Fox, who recently won her second Colorado Book Award for short story collection What if we were somewhere elsewill join Cynthia Newberry Martin, whose Fish dishes is available now in paperback, at Tattered Cover McGregor Square on Monday, November 14. “I’ll probably never do an event by myself again,” says Martin. “It’s so awesome and so much more fun to do with another writer.”

Thus was born Martin’s fifty-state literary strategy: traveling to every US state, joining in each with another writer for an event at a local independent bookstore. “It’s a crazy idea, but it came to me when I found out I didn’t have one, but two books coming out, plus the paperback,” Martin recalls. “It was once in a lifetime, so I thought I’d go big. I wanted to celebrate my books, but also give back in some way.

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Bonhomie Press/Santa Fe Writer’s Project Press

For his appearance in Denver, Martin chose to partner with Fox, who had mentioned Fish dishes in an article she wrote for News Feed on great books of small press which deserved the attention of the reader. “I saw his books come out, also small presses,” Martin says, “and I fell in love with them. Especially his newest one. So immediately when I thought of who I wanted to read in Colorado, I I thought of Wendy. Immediately.”

Fox, too, says she’ll probably never do solo readings again. “Even for authors who come from big houses, it’s a good idea to reach out to the literary community as a whole to tap into that massive support,” she explains. “It’s wonderful when you have a book and someone invites you to share it with them, with their work. Not only is that recognition from your peers, but the literary landscape has changed so much that writers must also be marketers.

Events like this Tattered Cover pairing are also a way to “breathe new life into interesting titles,” Fox adds. “A book is always new to a new reader, even if it’s not new to the industry. So one thing that I thought was really cool about this event is the conversation. We can talk about the books on the other. It’s more interesting for the writers and for the audience. It’s not just you and your book sweating behind a podium.

According to Martin, she and Fox have a plan to evoke that sense of conversation. “I’m going to choose a page from Wendy’s book to read,” she says, “and then I’m going to say why I chose it. This reinforces the idea that we as writers are readers first. He invites the audience into the process.

Both authors are champions of small presses, which have always been important in the literary landscape. This is where marginalized voices first find an audience, where experimentation is not only welcomed, but celebrated. “It’s truly an honor to be chosen by a small press,” says Martin. “They choose the books they publish because they like those books.”

Fox, of which News Feed column focuses solely on the small-press publishing industry and the books that are produced by it, agrees wholeheartedly. “There is interest in this specific market from readers,” Fox says. “They sometimes have distribution issues and they tend not to have the marketing muscle. But at the end of the day, what you want for any book and any writer is for that title to work well. To make this title sound. And sometimes small, independent presses are just the right place for that to happen.

Ultimately, Martin and Fox agree that what they want most from their combined event is engagement. “It’s more about literature and community,” Fox says. “It’s not pure promotion. It’s not ‘Show up and buy my book.’ It’s more “Come for the evening and let’s talk.”

Cynthia Newberry MartinFish dishes) and Wendy J. Fox (What if we were somewhere else) are bringing their books and author perspectives to Tattered Cover McGregor Square, 1901 Wazee Street, at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 14. The event is free; books by both authors will be available for purchase and signing.

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