Tawni O'Dell Quotes

  1. The image I had was that Oprah books were fluffy.
  2. I’m a novelist, and I’m a woman, and I’m considered to be a serious author whether I like it or not.
  3. When you live in a community where people know you, it makes you want to be good and decent. It’s a strong influence.
  4. People, including me, can get so detached from everything, but when you can focus on a defined place, a home, it gets you back in touch.
  5. I write literary, not commercial, fiction – or so I’ve been told by my publishers who are proud I write literary fiction but secretly wish I wrote commercial.
  6. I’ve discovered as an author that the process of writing a novel becomes harder over time, not easier. I used to think the reverse must be true, that it would be like any task, and the more I practiced, the more adept I’d become.
  7. Here I am, this smart, bookish girl, and I have this biker-chick name.
  8. It turned out I really didn’t like journalism. I wanted to make up stories, not cover real events.
  9. I’m a novelist – not an expert on coal mining. I’m not a politician with an agenda to push. I’m not a reporter presenting facts, and I’m not a sociologist documenting the last struggling remnants of blue-collar America. I’m simply an author who sets her books in coal country because it’s where I come from, and it’s what I know.
  10. I saw myself as a writer, a novelist, even though I was living the life of a mother and housewife. Writing was – and is – what I do.
  11. I should have been deliriously happy. I had my dream come true. I’m a best-selling author. So why is everything in my life, including my writing, going bad?
  12. Each time a new disaster puts miners in the news, the press tries to make them into heroes, but they don’t quite fit the bill. They don’t march off to war or rush into burning buildings or rid our streets of crime.
  13. I was an avid tomboy, and as long as I could ride my bike just as fast, hit the ball just as hard, and catch just as many garter snakes, I was accepted as one of the boys and enjoyed all the perks of superiority.
  14. Writing an essay is like a school assignment: I have my topic, I organize my thoughts, and I write it. I have complete control over what I’m doing. Writing a novel is like setting out on a journey without knowing who or what I’ll encounter, how long it’s going to take, or where I’m going to end up.
  15. I don’t try to sugarcoat things, but I also think my books make positive statements about the people and values in small-town America.
  16. My mind is constantly creating and searching, but I can’t make myself put the right words on paper until I’m ready. Once I’m ready, I’m a focused, disciplined writer who will put in twelve hours a day at the computer, but I also spend a lot of time away from the computer getting to that point.
  17. When I begin writing, I have no idea what my novels are ultimately going to be about. I don’t have a plot. I never consider a theme. I don’t make notes or outlines.
  18. Mining is a dangerous profession. There’s no way to make a mine completely safe: These are the words owners have always used to excuse needless deaths and the words miners use to prepare for them.
  19. Coal mining is an industry rife with mismanagement, corruption, greed and an almost blatant disregard for the safety, health and quality of life of its work force. Everyone knows this. Everyone has always known it.
  20. I really, really missed the Pennsylvania countryside and hills.
  21. My experience growing up in a rough and tumble town in the blue-collar world of Western Pennsylvania in the 1970s was that anything a man did was always more important than anything a woman did.

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