Ever since Phil Donahue and Oprah first encouraged regular Americans to share their personal stories with the nation, and ever since “reality TV” proved that millions will tune in just to watch people fight with their roommates or discipline their children, the number of people drawn to the idea of writing their memoirs has skyrocketed.
In a place like Montclair -‚Äì where, as author David Henry Sterry puts it, you shake a tree and a half-dozen writers fall out -‚Äì it’s likely your next-door neighbor will be huddled over a keyboard tonight, detailing his or her wacky collegiate adventures or life-changing career triumphs.
Which means that Sterry and his wife, writer and literary agent Arielle Eckstut, have come to the right place…
The couple, who moved to Montclair last year, wrote “Putting Your Passion Into Print,” among other books, and are teaching a workshop called “The Art of the Memoir: Telling and Selling Your Life Stories” at Watchung Booksellers on Monday night.
They’ll share the stage with another Montclair author — Laura Schenone, who happens to be repped by Eckstut and was a force behind Sterry and Eckstut’s move from northern California to Baristaviille. (Sterry says Schenone told them all about Montclair’s thriving creative community and cool vibe. But on arrival they found the place even friendlier than they’d expected. “We moved in,” he says, “and people actually came and brought pies!”)
The workshop explores both the creative process of writing a memoir and the challenge of getting it published and then sold to the reading public. The speakers will be taking questions on Monday night and even doing a bit of one-on-one consultation, sharing what they’ve learned during their years in the publishing industry. (Sterry’s latest book, “Master of Ceremonies,” is pictured here.)
Odds are this workshop will draw a considerable crowd. But if you can’t squeeze into Watchung Booksellers’ intimate space, or you’re thinking a one-night workshop just isn’t enough, take heart: Sterry and Eckstut do private consulting.