Connecting readersPublished 10:55am Friday, April 19, 2013
Page Turners author Peter Geye visits Austin
As Peter Geye puts it, books are ways to form relationships with people.
“What I’ve discovered … is that we write, I write, so that I can connect with people I don’t know,” he said Thursday night at a talk inside Austin Public Library.
The author of “Safe From the Sea” toured Austin Thursday, forming new connections with Austin High School students and residents as the 2013 Austin Page Turners author.
He gave several talks, culminating with a discussion about his process and work at the library.
Geye is a Minneapolis native who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree from the University of New Orleans, and his PhD from Western Michigan University.
“Safe From the Sea” is his first book, published last year, and revolves around a son’s struggle to reconnect with his dying father, as well as the way families interact as years pass.
His debut novel was well received by hundreds of residents in various book clubs throughout town, and many residents found his experiences and advice to be interesting.
“I really liked his writing style,” said Emily McAlister, Austin High School senior. “He wrote like nine drafts, and I’ve never really heard of that many drafts before.”
Geye shared his experiences writing the novel, which he started when he was in his 30s. Though he knew he wanted to be an author and wrote many short stories, he felt he didn’t have a story to tell until a few months before he began work on the book.
“I had no idea that the book was going to be about a dying father, and relationships, and infertility issues,” he said.
He approached the book by thinking about its setting at the North Shore area near Duluth, Minn., constantly drawing a man in a car by Lake Superior or a man fishing. Before long, his characters took shape through multiple drafts and planning.
Page Turners Planning Committee co-chairwoman Bonnie Rietz said Geye’s insightful and frank speech about being an author was a boon for the event.
“He did a beautiful job,” Rietz said.
Though Geye’s time in Austin is done, the Page Turners are far from finished. Rietz said the group will have a final meeting this spring before pausing for the summer to explore more books by Minnesota authors, which they will bring together this September.