Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jenny Shank, author of 'The Ringer'

It starts out as a typical Saturday. Denver police officer Ed O'Fallon spends the morning coaching his 6-year-old daughter's tee-ball team, the Purple Unicorns. Later, he leaves home to join up with the S.W.A.T. team, to assist on a residential search warrant. But during that no-knock raid he shoots and kills a Mexican man. In the aftermath, Ed O'Fallon can't find typical anymore. His world becomes a tangle of guilt and pain.

The suspect's wife, Patricia, a nurse and mother of two, carries her own guilt: If she hadn't separated from her husband, he wouldn't have been in the house, which is exactly how her teen-aged son, Ray, sees the situation. Desperate to keep Ray out of the gang-related culture she sees him gravitating toward, Patricia signs him up for a competitive baseball league.

Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong, offers this comment about Jenny Shank's novel, The Ringer:

"This is a story in which two families from the opposite sides of town, from opposing cultures, are forced together because of violent death, and one of the things that saves them is baseball. Amazing! And it's even more amazing that Jenny Shank (or any other writer) can pull this off and make us believe it -- and keep us reading to the final out."

During this evening's program, Jenny Shank will talk about The Ringer, her first novel, and the ten-year process she went through to get it published. She'll also tell us how she balances writing, working, and caring for two small children.

Find out more about Jenny Shank, listen online, and/or sign up for The Write Question podcast.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio. It is also broadcast over the Yellowstone Public Radio network, and it's available at the Public Radio Exchange.

The Write Question is supported by Humanities Montana, Montana's Cultural Trust, and by public radio listeners.

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