What is it like to have a book published? Bill Broun, an English professor at ESU, answers this question at a reading discussion structured around his new release, “Night of the Animals.”
“When I see an author read at a discussion, I feel like there is a wall,” said Broun.
Broun explained that he, as a reader, normally gets the impression that he is prohibited from knowing about the experiences of publication of the novels he attends readings of.
In his discussion, Broun uses the terms “magical” and “mysterious” to define the wall.
“Night of the Animals,” Broun’s debut novel, was released over the summer and has received critical acclaim.
Broun’s book reading and discussion was the first of several events held as part of the Provost’s Colloquium this semester.
After an introduction from Provost Joanne Bruno, Dr. Peter Hawkes, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences took the podium.
Hawkes asked, “How is everyone doing? Is everyone having a good day? Is anyone having a bad day?”
He then shared his friend’s reaction to someone’s bad day.
“Things could be worse. And they are.” Hawkes used this metaphor to describe the plot of Broun’s novel. He stated, “Things in the future are going to be a lot worse than they are now.”
The effort Broun has placed into “Night of the Animals” is sizable. He began writing the novel around the year of 2002 and has spent 14 years bringing it to a finish.
“The hardest part in writing a long novel is keeping track of things. It kind of has to be like an orchestra that you constantly hear every part,” he stated.
Struggling with writing was not the only thing the author encountered. Broun said he made sacrifices in his roles as a professor and a father, along with a significant amount of his personal time.
He explained in the discussion that both he and his wife are consistent writers, and their 10-year-old son Toby has experienced child care growing up.
He gave many thanks to Hawkes for his support and influence throughout the writing.
Throughout the discussion, Broun shared the various obstacles the novel encountered. It was first rejected by around 100 agents before earning its status as a critically acclaimed novel.
Broun stated that he drafted the book from start to finish three times before its publication.
Furthermore, Broun envisioned the publication to be mild; he had not expected it to receive the amount of acclaim it has.
“The book has received a flood of national and international attention. I’ve had interviews with the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, the Guardian, and reviews in pretty much every major paper. That was all a total surprise,” said Broun.
Broun’s novel “Night of the Animals” can be found in bookstores everywhere including the ESU bookstore.
For more about Broun, visit BillBroun.com or visit Broun in his office in Stroud 309.
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