On sale starting today at Accent on Books: Wally Lamb's new novel, The Hour I First Believed. If you think it's been awhile since Lamb's previous novel you're right -- ten years, to be exact. In a lively and ingratiating interview with Publishers Weekly, Lamb talks about some of the circumstances surrounding the delay of this book, which was first due to be published in 2004. Not only did he have creative problems with the manuscript, but life situations such as the declining health of his parents and his job teaching creative writing in a women's prison also competed for his attentions.
Lamb also reflects on the extraordinary experience of having both of his first two novels chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. (Long before she started the club, Winfrey called him simply as a delighted reader of She's Come Undone.) His success may come from the extraordinarily high standard he set for his writing from the beginning: he wanted to write "a book that teenagers would read voluntarily." While his books may not have gone that particular direction, they have certainly found a large and enthusiastic audience.