By Joe Rector
Best-selling author Wally Lamb did speak to an audience of 900 who attended the 2013 Carry the Torch Luncheon at the Knoxville Convention Center. It is sponsored by the Volunteer Ministry Center as a fundraiser for its programs. Lamb also mingled with a group the night before.
Lamb’s most personal appearance occurred on Wednesday morning before the luncheon. In the dining room at the VMC, he sat down with fifteen local writers over coffee and pastries and talked about writing. Such an intimate setting excited attendees, and they all agreed that the $15 charge for the breakfast meeting was a deal.
Lamb said the idea for “She’s Come Undone,” a New York Times best seller and selection for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, came while he was showering at home after the birth of his first son.
“I heard a voice in my head of the first fictional character and scribbled some things down on paper,” he said.
He found the note in the summer and then began developing the book.
Lamb encouraged writers to stick with their craft. He urged them to find writing groups and workshops to attend for feedback on their writing and for support.
Lamb says he doesn’t write an outline to follow for his novels. Instead, he sits down each day at his desk and lets the story naturally unfold. Each book is special to him.
“Each novel is a learning experience, and they change me, for the better I hope.”
Lamb says that he enjoys living in the world and meeting people and wants to keep the balance between that and his writing.
“Sometimes writing fiction is a lonely thing.”
Lamb welcomed the youngest person in attendance. Ruby Miller handed him a page she’d colored, and the renowned author stop everything to accept the artwork and to assure her it would be placed on his refrigerator.
Writers were surprised at Wally Lamb’s down-to-earth personality, and when the session ended, all felt as if they’d made a new friend.
Wally Lamb helped VMC to raise money for its programs, but just as impressive is the way he won over fans with his easy-going style. He left Knoxvillians hungry for his next book, “We Are Water,” which is due out in October.
By Joe Rector