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You Know When the Men Are Gone | Author Olivia Boler

Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
March 3rd, 2013

Pour the House Wine

It’s so great to be in March. February was definitely a marathon, a brutal marathon. Maybe more like an ultra-marathon with endless days spent running for 26 to 40 miles with a pack of work and obligations on my back.

But March! March is a walk in the park. March is a leisurely hike. A stroll. Welcome, March.

And by the way, March 23, if you happen to be in San Francisco, I’ll be at the Noe Valley Authors Festival part of Word Week. Yes, I’ll have books for sale and I’ll be giving away candy and The Flower Bowl Spell bookmarks. If you buy my book at the Festival you’ll be entered in a raffle for a cool prize, TBD. The Noe Valley Authors Festival takes place at St. Philip the Apostle Church Hall at 725 Diamond Street, San Francisco, and goes from 2 to 5 p.m.

BTW, one awesome thing about February: I got to see my very good friend Siobhan Fallon, who was in town for a dramatic performance at Z Space Word for Word of two of the stories from her award-winning collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone. She also invited her good friend, middle grade author Anne Ylvisaker (Dear Papa, The Luck of the Buttons). Anne and I hit it off, which is great because it really is hard to find friends among writers, I don’t know why. (Insert snide joke about social awkwardness, backstabbing bastards, etc.)

Anne, Siobhan & Me at Z Space Word for Word
Anne, Siobhan, & Me at Z Space Word for Word


After the amazing and moving performance, Q & A with the directors and author, and book signing, we three ladies headed back to Siobhan’s sweet Union Square hotel. We got drinks at the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel, which was an interesting experience since it was packed to the gills with party people. The photo portraits on the walls lent the place a Haunted Mansion for Grown-ups feel. The three of us, writers with kids who are often cooped up alone with our work, had a ball, staying up late talking shop and life over glasses of wine.

I highly recommend nights like these.

January 16th, 2013

Stories Come to Life

In 2011, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (Penguin) published my dear friend Siobhan Fallon’s debut short story collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone. (If you didn’t know, Amy Einhorn is the editor who gave readers The Help by Kathryn Stockett.) Siobhan is a U.S. Army wife, and her stories delve into the lives of military families at Fort Hood in Texas over the course of a year while their soldiers are deployed to Iraq.

A poster in my neighborhood for the Z Space Word for Word stage production of YKWTMAG

A poster in my neighborhood for the Z Space Word for Word stage production of YKWTMAG

And now, some of the stories from her collection, which are linked, have been adapted to the stage. If you happen to be in San Francisco from Jan. 1 through Feb. 24, 2013, get tickets to the Z Space Word for Word production. I saw an early version of it last year, and it was fantastic. Her stories are already powerful and moving—comparisons to Tim O’Brien and Raymond Carver have been made—and seeing them played out by this fine troupe of actors does nothing but enhance them.

For more information, check out the Word for Word webpage or blog.




October 26th, 2011

Reading your stories aloud is a good thing

Two nights ago, I attended an unusual reading of two of my friend Siobhan Fallon‘s short stories from her collection You Know When the Men Are Gone. It was at Z Space, a gallery and performance venue in San Francisco, presented by Word for Word and part of their Off the Page series. They’ve also performed stories from other books like Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

An ensemble of actors read the stories while acting them out, complete with he said and she said, and all the description of internal thoughts, action, and place. The two stories, “The Last Stand” and “Gold Star” are linked by a central character, Kit, who is a wounded soldier returned from the Iraq War (all of Siobhan’s amazingly written stories are about the soldiers and families of Fort Hood, Texas during this war), and seeing them played out was truly an unforgettable, moving experience.

It also reminded me about the importance of reading our work aloud to get an idea if it’s working or not. Of course, once your story or book is published, readers will be living it out on the movie screen of their imaginations, silently (for the most part, one hopes!), but the hard work you do as the writer—and that includes going hoarse from mumble-reading drafts to yourself as you pace the floor in front of your computer—will make it come wonderfully alive.

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