Tracker Pixel for Entry

Author to hold two readings

Writer's Block | November 12th, 2015

Fargo-Moorhead has a new author in town. Maryland native and current MSUM professor Liz Kisacky Severn has two readings coming up for her debut novel, “Luce Women,” recently published by Forty Press.

The first reading is scheduled for Nov. 17 at the MSUM Library Porch, as part of the McGrath Writers Series. The next will be on Dec. 8 at Zandbroz Variety in downtown Fargo, where the book will be sold.

“I had pretty much thought ‘Luce Women’ would never find a publisher,” Severn admits. “I had been working with an agent who would try to get me to write a novel a certain way, and I would try to do it and then she would say, ‘No, that’s not quite right.’ So I said to her, ‘I just can’t do what you want me to do.’ And a week later I heard from the editor at Forty Press and he said, ‘We’d like to publish your novel.’ I was so grateful because it was my MFA thesis in 1997 and I never gave up on it. I just kept going back to the women.”

The women are the narrator Trudy and her friends, Martha, Iris and Greta, who join to help her renovate an old house that she inherited from a reclusive millionaire named Lyle Staybler. Though Trudy plans to fix the house for charity, her project doesn’t win her the townspeople’s favor, as she becomes the target of their judgments and accusations when she’s named a suspect in Lyle’s mysterious death.

All this takes place in Luce, Minn., which is based on a town that no longer exists.

“It used to be a real town,” Severn says. “My grandmother grew up in Perham, Minn. She would talk about going to barn dances in this little town called Luce, between Frazee and Perham on Highway 10. So I thought I would use that as kind of a tribute to my grandma.”

Of her writing process, Severn explains, “Originally it started with the women focusing on the renovation of an old house. Then I thought, ‘What if Lyle died under a cloud of suspicion and Trudy is involved in some way, like she’s a suspect?’ And from there it developed more and more into a murder mystery. Was it assisted suicide? Was it suicide? Was it murder? Will Trudy be able to prove her innocence? How will the town react to her as she becomes more and more a suspect? How will these four women who have developed a friendship hold together? And they each have their own individual aspects of life that they’re going through.”

Research into the mind of the eccentric Lyle involved trips to a store that used to be located in the Plains Art Museum, before it was replaced with the Katherine Kilbourne Center.

“It was called the Old and New Store, and it was just stuff. It was like going through somebody’s attic, and there were some really fascinating things. I would go into that store because Lyle is a hoarder, he’s a recluse, he’s got decades of his family’s possessions and his own possessions. And I would just pick up items and I’d be like, ‘Oh, this would be something they’d find in Lyle’s house.’ So researching became a lot of fun in that respect.”

For more information on Severn’s work, or to keep updated on readings, head to lizkisackysevern.com.

IF YOU GO:

Reading and book launch

Nov. 17, 4:30 p.m.

Library Porch, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Reading and book launch

Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Zandbroz Variety, 420 Broadway N, Fargo

Recently in:

By Maddie Robinson  maddierobi.mr@gmail.comIn order to get affordable child care for her son, Paulina Erbele has to drive from her work in Gackle,…

By Michael M. Miller  michael.miller@ndsu.eduAs the Holiday Season continues, I extend Yuletide Best Wishes and a special Fröhliche Weihnachten greeting…

Sunday, December 10, 12-4:30pmThe Commissary at Fort Lincoln State Park, BismarckExperience what the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas were in the frontier Army with historic presentations on Victorian era holiday traditions,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comRemember the legacy of the NPL.Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting and dinner hosted by the Dakota Resource Council in Bismarck. I came in feeling a little defeated,…

By Ed Raymondfarggadfly@gmail.comDonald Trump: A Social-Psycho-on-Path Reproducing MAGA ZombiesI have been asking members of the Make Amerika Great Again (MAGA) cult for years to identify days, weeks, months, years, decades and/or…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comThe temperatures have dropped and so have the leaves in the Upper Midwest. That means it's now the holiday season. Part of the joy of this special season for me is eating. But first things first.…

The Aquarium, 226 Broadway North upstairs, Downtown FargoFriday, December 8, 7:30-11pmDoors 7:30 pm // Music 8 pm21+ // $10 advance // $12 DOSOver two decades, Christmas songs have appeared throughout Owen Ashworth’s recorded…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comAustralian filmmaker Kitty Green’s brilliant nonfiction movies, including the superb “Casting JonBenet,” laid the groundwork for the director’s recent interest in narrative features. In…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comA trio of Burleigh County artists are making their mark in Wing, North Dakota, to promote local foods and are quite literally painting the town, or at least the newly acquired Wing City Government…

By Eric Dallmanericd@hpr1.comWe recently watched “The PROM” at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, and it was an experience that left a lasting impact on us. The story, a heartwarming yet familiar one, follows a group of Broadway stars…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By Faye Seidlerfayeseidler@gmail.com On the first day of the month I ask people to thank a journalist they know or someone who contributes to papers in some meaningful way. When I grew up, my best friend's father was a journalist…