Storytelling as a Calling: A Book Love blog post

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

Storytelling is a calling: we manufacture meaning out of events through the act of storymaking. After all, the human experience doesn’t really make sense on a day to day basis. Story is a fabric laid transparent over the bumps and bricks of random occurrence, a map showing the past and the future. It is as if we weave a web of story, from inside ourselves, like a spider, and live in it, and call it world. I believe that story is in fact all powerful in our lives. To be truly human is to tell stories. Without stories – without that rhythm of beginning, middle, and end, without that hopefulness of meaning being given by seeing the pattern of a story – I believe that we become less than human. I believe that storytelling is what makes us human. We are homo storytelli or homo significans, the storytelling creature. This idea of the importance of storytelling was first brought to my attention by the wonderful little book The Dark Interval: towards a theology of story, by John Dominic Crossan. The critic Frank Kermode also wrote a book called The Genesis of Secrecy: on the interpretation of narrative that made an early impact on me. And finally, Annie Dillard’s book Living by Fiction also influenced my ideas about what was possible in fiction. Today, I write stories because they give me a way to make sense of the world. The world is a complex place, so I don’t restrict myself to one genre or one style. I’ve now written three novels that have ranged across the spectrum of storytelling, from mystery to historical fiction to young adult literary fiction. In telling stories, I can also help others to also make sense of this often-confusing and often frustrating world as well. The web I weave can be of use to many people. I’ve discovered this to be true most recently through talking to readers of my bestselling novel The Eagle Tree. In this novel, a young boy on the autistic spectrum wrestles to bring together his disintegrating family as he strives to climb an old growth tree. He is trying to make sense of his reality, and in this poignant and difficult story, he finds a great meaning and purpose for his life. I thought The Eagle Tree  was a unique and unusual story. Yet what I’ve been happily surprised by is that many readers have written me to tell me that I successfully captured part of their story of life on the autistic spectrum. They have said to me that I have “told their story” or that my story “helped to show that my son’s life makes sense.” I’ve also been told by...

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Was Hemingway Right? Write Drunk, Edit Sober

Posted by on Jan 8, 2017 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

Created by Australian writing blog, The Expert Editor, “The Science Behind Writing Drunk and Editing Sober” reveals that Hemingway was definitely on to something. Using a variety of studies, “The Science Behind” demonstrates that at a fairly low threshold of alcohol, the brain actually is stimulated in creative ways the sober brain might not be. The part Hemingway got wrong, however, is that at the point of legit drunkenness the quality of one’s writing goes south, pronto. The author of For Whom the Bell Tolls may have built up an elephantine tolerance for alcohol, to the point where he could drink a fifth of whiskey and still crank out prose that would be studied decades later, but that doesn’t mean you can too, Guy Who Wants To Write a Roman a Clef About Working at Gimlet. Have a further look at the infographic below to see how Hemingway’s idea tracks. [via...

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The Wonder of Lichens: A Resource List

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

In writing my new novelette Holy Trinity, I was able to learn a lot about Pacific Northwest lichens. Lichens are a fascinating species, not merely because they have never been bred or artificially synthesized by human beings, but also because they’ve influenced so much of human history. Yet they’re largely invisible to literature. Perhaps, with my story Holy Trinity, I can go a little way to changing that status. I am sure my main character, March Wong, would find lichens entrancing. In my story, March turns his bedroom into a lichen incubation laboratory, and discovers something new to science — I’m told by reputable lichenologists that this kind of discovery does happen semi-regularly in real life. So who knows, if you learn more about lichens, you could discover something interesting as well!       Here are a few of the books I recommend to people interested in learning more about this fascinating species: Holy Trinity: An Eagle Tree Story is my own (fictional) contribution to the field of lichen studies. Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest is a great guide to lichen species in the Northwest area. Lichens of North America is the definitive guide to lichens across the United States, Canad and Mexico. This comprehensive guide is referenced in my story and used by March as a resource. Lichens, an overview book that is part of the Smithsonian’s Natural World series, touches on lichens from around the world. Keys to Lichens of North America is very helpful as an identification tool for lichens, and is used by scientists in the field to identify lichens. Mosses, Lichens and Ferns of North America is a great photographic field guide and a classic resource. Lichen Biology is the standard academic overview and a valuable reference for both students and researchers interested in lichenology. A field guide to California Lichens is a useful guide if you happen to live in...

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Holy Trinity: An Eagle Tree Story

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

The Eagle Tree was published by Little A Books in 2016 and became a national bestseller, delivered to over 80,000 readers. Thank you for being part of this marvelous publication journey in 2016! Ned Hayes worked with Kindle Select to provide a set of New Year specials to thank readers of The Eagle Tree for their support: UNITED STATES: Holy Trinity: An Eagle Tree Story is a special Kindle-only release for the New Year that is discounted for this week only for US readers to $0.99. The author created a brand-new addition to the Eagle Tree storyline as a “thank you” to readers for 2016.  Read the NEW EAGLE TREE STORY here >> UNITED KINGDOM: UK 12 Days of Kindle Christmas featuring The Eagle Tree — holiday promo 12/23/2016 thru 1/5/2017. (0.99 GBP) Get the UK Kindle deal >> AUSTRALIA: Australian 12 Days of Kindle Christmas with The Eagle Tree — holidays 12/25/2016 thru 1/5/2017. (0.99 AUD) Get the Australian Kindle deal  >> “THE EAGLE TREE” PAPERBACK:  Now available in paperback, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.  This unique novel was endorsed by authors Temple Grandin and Steve Silberman and embraced by readers worldwide. Read THE EAGLE TREE >>   THE EAGLE TREE by Ned Hayes, is now available in print, e-book and audiobook from indie bookstores and from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.               > All about the story & history of THE EAGLE TREE > Book Club Guide and Discussion Questions for THE EAGLE TREE (PDF version) > Resources about topics in THE EAGLE TREE  > Book Trailer for THE EAGLE TREE > Endorsements for THE EAGLE TREE  > Listen to a Reading of the book at the Rainier Writing Workshop > THE EAGLE TREE is now available for purchase – print, e-book and...

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New SINFUL FOLK book translations – in French, German, Italian

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

Exciting to see three new editions of my novel SINFUL FOLK — now translated into French, German and Italian. If you read these languages, you can get the novel in your language here:   ((Amazon))   FRENCH edition >>   GERMAN edition >>   ITALIAN edition  >>     ((Barnes & Noble))   FRENCH edition  >>    GERMAN edition >>    ITALIAN edition...

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Book Club Guide

Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 in All Other Posts | 0 comments

THE EAGLE TREE is now available from your local bookstores,  Amazon and Barnes & Noble. “The Eagle Tree is a gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature. Credible, authentic, powerful. A must-read.”–– Steve Silberman, New York Times bestselling author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.     > Download Book Club Guide and Discussion Questions for THE EAGLE TREE (PDF)   Discussion Questions for readers:   1. How is March Wong, the main character, different in his perceptions from you? How would March describe these differences? 2. The main character, March Wong, is entranced by a tree in the first paragraph of the story. Why does the author introduce this obsession so early in the story? 3. What is the relationship between the main character’s parents? How do we know about this relationship? 4. How reliable a narrator is March Wong? Are there critical pieces of information that are left out of the story? How is this information communicated to the reader? 5. If your family were friends with March Wong’s family, what might you or your children think of March? What would your interactions be like with him on a daily basis? 6. Which characters serve as mentors to March? Which characters see themselves as helping March? Which ones are seen by March in that capacity? Is there a difference in perception? 7. The author has stated that the story is a “Romance,” and has talked about romance novels as a model for this story. If the story is a romance, then who are the “lovers” in this romance and who do they love? 8. To continue the romantic theme, many romances involve complications that separate potential lovers. What are the complications in the book? 9. Do other characters see these events or activities as complications, or as necessary parts of March’s experience in the world? 10. The author has stated that he does not want to characterize the main character as “autistic”. Why would that be the case? What does the author gain from this position? What does the book gain or lose? 11. What role does the work and writings of Annie Dillard play in the story? 12. Christianity and theological perspectives inform the story in the book. How does March’s perspective in the book differ from a “standard” perspective on Christianity? How is his perspective different? 13. The book is set in Olympia Washington. What critical information do you learn from this book about the area of Olympia? What important information about Olympia does March not share with you? 14. At the beginning of the book, March pointedly refuses to use...

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