Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talking With: Angie O'Gorman, First-Time Novelist

Angie O’Gorman’s first novel, The Book of Sins, is just out from PlainView Press of Austin, TX. Well-known for her human-rights activism, O'Gorman, a longtime St. Louisan, teaches "Theology for Peacemakers" at St. Louis University and is a staff member at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Her essays and articles have appeared in America Magazine, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter, and Natural Bridge.

What is the best thing about publishing your first novel? There is great relief when a publisher – no matter how small – accepts your novel for publication. But the greater satisfaction comes when readers find something of value in your work; something worth thinking and talking about. The actual placing of your work into public hands is a terribly unnerving event.

Please describe the plot in 35 words. Against the backdrop of life in the United States in the year 2034, after Christianity has become a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of capitalism, an odd grouping of women come into each other’s lives, and all hell breaks loose.

What are your hopes for The Book of Sins?
On one level, the story’s premise is that Christianity is becoming capitalism’s philanthropic arm. On another level, the story probes the consequences of this odd merger on those most negatively affected by it – the poor. I hope this narrative might incite doubt in readers about the status quo’s own narrative.

What did your editors like about your novel? This was a niche thing. My novel and PlainView Press’s mission statement were a perfect match.

What advice do you have for people wanting to write and publish a novel? Write what you have a passion to write, regardless of what the market is buying. Then go to the independent, small presses first. After you’re a known quantity (and quality), go for the agent and the big publisher.

What is the worst aspect of writing a novel? Losing all objectivity. While involved in writing a long work, the writer can become absolutely unable to hear or observe the small, subtle things that can make or break a good story.

What inspires you to write? The world I see rubs my soul the wrong way. I know we can do better. The friction causes me to write.

Angie will be reading from and signing her book March 21 at the Center for Theology and Social Analysis (CTSA), 1077 S. Newstead, 4:00-6:00 pm; March 29, will guest on Literature for the Halibut, KDHX, FM 88.1, 9:00 pm; April 9: Reading and Book Signing: Plowsharing Crafts, St. Louis, 7:00 pm; April 21: Reading and Book Signing: Left Bank Books, St. Louis, 7:00 pm. Her book can also be purchased from

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