Maynard is a familiar byline for longtime readers of the Tampa Bay Times. Her Domestic Affairs column ran in the features section in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She is also known for her book At Home in the World, a memoir that revealed details of her relationship, when she was 18, with writer J.D. Salinger. This month marks the re-release of the memoir, with a new preface by Maynard, as well as publication of her new novel, After Her, based on real-life murders that took place in Marin County, Calif. We caught up with Maynard on Sept. 2. She had just attended the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, where she saw the premier of Labor Day. That film is based on Maynard's 2009 book of the same name and involves a single mother (Kate Winslet) who gets involved with a mysterious stranger (Josh Brolin).
What's on your nightstand?
I've got a collection by Dan Chaon (Stay Awake). He's a writer that I love. I also recently picked up the Leonard Cohen biography (I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen). I would have to say that much of my literature is more music. I listen to a lot of music when I'm writing and beginning the writing day. It evokes the mood. For every novel I write, I make a soundtrack. For example, in my new novel, After Her, to stir up that summer of 1979, I must have played My Sharona 500 times.
After Her is a novel, but it's based on real events. Are there other authors who you think handled this type of storytelling better than others?
Libra by Don DeLillo. It's inspired by Lee Harvey Oswald. It's a brilliant book.
Concerning the release of the new book and movie about J.D. Salinger and the news of five unpublished books by him, did this come as a surprise to you?
Anything I have to say about Salinger is in the new preface of my re-release of At Home in the World.
Can you share some of your first thoughts as you watched your story Labor Day unfold on a movie screen at Telluride?
It's a writer's dream for such a thing, and so often when a book is translated to film, the writer ends up feeling like the book was violated or abandoned, and with this, none of that is true. There's not one thing that I would change about this movie. I had seen it once before, but to see it with the audience was something. I cried both times. It's funny, part of my process of writing a novel is really beginning with a movie going on inside my head. I want to fully engage my own imagination and emotion. I want to reach in and get to the reader's heart, so I'm making a low-budget movie while I'm at my keyboard.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer