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October 12, 2007

‘Big Fish’ author to speak at Larkwood Club

“Big Fish” author Daniel Wallace said the fictional small pond of several of his novels was based on Cullman where the novelist spent several summers of his youth.

Wallace is one of two Alabama authors who will be in Cullman Monday to discuss the craft of writing, read from their latest works and sign books during an event at the Larkwood Club.

“Cullman had a big part in my work,” said Wallace, 48, whose grandparents once owned the All-Steak Restaurant. “It’s kind of the place I think about when I’m setting my characters down in a place.”

Ashland, the fictional small town that is the setting of both “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions” and Wallace’s third novel “The Watermelon King” is an embellished version of Cullman according to Wallace.

“It all takes place in Cullman,” he said about the books. “Cullman is so important to me as a writer and part of my whole history as a person.”

Wallace, said he enjoys speaking engagements like the one he will participate in Monday. In fact, he said talking about his work helps him to better understand it.

“I think a lot of people are under the misapprehension that a writer writing a book is ... fully aware of everything that is going on,” said Wallace whose newest novel, “Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician,” was released in July. “I probably get more out of the experience than the people I’m talking to. I hope there’s not too big of a disparity, but I do enjoy it for that reason.”

Author Sonny Brewer will also speak in Cullman Monday. According to Brewer, public speaking is essential to a novelist’s success because of the thousands of novels published each year.

“You better be out there reminding people what your name is,” said Brewer, the author of “The Poet of Tolstoy Park” .

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