Saturday, February 24, 2018
Books

What's Amy Grace Loyd reading?

Nightstand

Amy Grace Loyd

Loyd's 2013 novel, The Affairs of Others, was released in paperback this month. It is the story of a young widow, Celia Cassill, whose quest for a quiet life is interrupted when a new tenant brings turmoil into the building.

Loyd is a former fiction and literary editor at Playboy as well as the former executive editor at Byliner Inc., a digital publishing house. She also worked in the New Yorker's fiction department and was associate editor for the New York Review Books Classics series.

What's on your nightstand?

I'm working on a new novel, so I'm reading a lot for research. I've got Tying Down the Wind (by Eric Pinder). It came out in 2000. It's about Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I find it mesmerizing and beautifully written. (He) writes about beauty and terror and horrors of weather. It is such an extraordinary book. And I'm also reading Jonathan Franzen's Strong Motion. He was young when he published it. It's about a series of earthquakes in Boston. My new novel has a good deal to do with weather, so I'm just enthralled.

Does this mean you read Franzen's Freedom first?

Actually, no. This is the second time I've read Strong Motion. I think the first time I read it was when I was an editorial assistant at W.W. Norton years ago. I wanted to revisit it now. I still find it really good. I think what I found I liked most of all was the youthful smarts and energy for Franzen. You can see how excited he was to write.

At Playboy, as a woman, did you find yourself always in a defensive stance?

When it came to the writers, finding writers and their stories, I had to really work hard at the art of persuasion. I worked there from 2005 to 2012. I had money to pay the writers, of course, but persuasion was something I had to finesse a great deal. I had to say look, I know about the nudity, but first, it's pretty quaint. I'd also point out that what Playboy could do that other magazines like the New Yorker couldn't do is we could convert those who might not be readers into reading fiction. I thought Playboy was an amazing tool with a lot of readers that were not usually interested in picking up a literary novel.

How was your thinking about the magazine different when you left your post?

I think when I left, I was hoping my editorial career would get easier, that I wouldn't be so engaged with the Achilles' heel of "the breast.''

And did that happen? Did the editorial part of your career get easier?

Actually, in some ways, no. No matter how I feel about Playboy, it was excitement. I knew that I had everyone's attention.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

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