Juliet in August by Dianne Warren
The Canadian town Juliet plays the main character in this tale of how a quirky cast of characters handles knowing everyone's business but not speaking of it.
You're from Saskatchewan in Canada—is this book inspired by your life?
I would be lying if I said there's nothing in the book that I didn't pull from people I met. There were a couple of brothers in my town that ran the drive-in movie theatre and an electronics store. They were so eccentric. I remember going into their shop for something one day—and I can't claim that the two brothers in my novel are anything like them—but the idea of these two brothers running the theatre at night and fixing people's radios during the day was where they come from.
It seems like the time frame of the book could almost have been a short story.
It did start as a short story. It was really just about the character, Lee. But then I thought I really wanted to go in depth with the character. But it's not a collection of short stories because none of the sections can stand-alone.
Do you have a favorite summer beach reach?
What comes to mind is Larry McMutry's Lonesome Dove. I was reading that at the lake with our two kids. I remember feeling bad that I wasn't spending enough time with the kids because I had my nose buried in this book and I just couldn't stop turning the pages.
Canadians are often mocked for one reason or another in American pop culture.
Well, on Mad Men, one of the characters, Megan, she's from Canada so that's a different picture. I do know what you're saying. But I think that our two countries are really not all that different. People in Canada are not offended by the jokes because we do kind of laugh at ourselves, too.
Juliet in August will be published July 5.