As we approach the second annual Book Club Blast, MinnPost has invited participating authors to answer a few questions about their writing and inspiration. Responses from our Keynote Speaker, Speed-Chatters, and Meet & Minglers will be published over the next two weeks. To meet this remarkable lineup of Minnesota authors, register here and reserve your spot at the Book Club Blast.
MinnPost: Tell us about your recent book release and current writing projects.
John Reimringer: My first novel, “Vestments” — released in September by Milkweed Editions — was named one of the best books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly. It’s about a young Catholic priest who has kissed the wrong woman (which, in the case of a priest, would be any woman) and is home on leave in St. Paul, where he comes into renewed conflict with his barfighter father, and renewed contact with the girl he loved in high school. Clearly, he has some decisions to make.
I’m working on a new novel set in St. Paul in the 1920s. And it’s a relief to be writing something that isn’t “Vestments,” because I worked on that for a long time.
MP: Which authors have had a strong influence on your own writing?
JR: Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, John McGahern and Andre Dubus. Most of them Catholic, all of them strongest in the short story.
MP: What do you love most about living in St. Paul?
JR: For me, moving to St. Paul in 2001 was coming home to a place I’d never lived. I was born in Fargo, grew up in Kansas. But my great-great-grandfather became a citizen in St. Paul in 1856 and owned a saloon and grocery downtown. At the second-ever Winter Carnival in 1887, my great grandfather got drunk, fell off a sleigh, cracked his skull, and died. My grandfather, father, and brother were all born in St. Paul. When we moved here, I felt instantly at home. I’m the fifth generation of my family to live here, and part of writing “Vestments” was reconnecting with that history.