Noted author Elizabeth Berg to speak at community center

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 10, 2017

 Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg

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TROY — Elizabeth Berg’s two favorite books from the 26 she has written are the first one and the latest one. 

The award-winning author has published about one book a year for the past 25 years, many of them ranking on the New York Times’ best-seller list. 

“Durable Goods,” the first novel she published after writing for magazines — including Parents Magazine for 10 years after she left a nursing career — had been her favorite until she finished her latest one, “The Story of Arthur Truluv.”  

Berg will share how she became a writer and what it takes to be a writer at the Troy Community Center at 7 p.m. May 23. She said she will also talk about libraries and librarians, and how important they are. 

“I am so excited to have her, as she’s a New York Times best-selling author, extremely popular, very well-known,” said Troy Library Director Cathy Russ. “What a great coup for the Troy Public Library to be able to have someone of her caliber come and speak.”

Berg said she got her first rejection for her writing when she was 9 years old, and she didn’t write for years after that. 

She came back to it because “you have to write because you have to write. It’s exquisite trying to say something, and (then) you get it on the page. I write not only to explore and understand the world — but myself,” she said. “Writing is one of my favorite things to do.” 

“Durable Goods” is the fictional story of a 12-year-old Army brat, Katie, who loses her mother to cancer and lives on an Army base in Texas with her abusive father and her older sister. When her older sister decides to run away with her boyfriend in the middle of the night, Katie goes along. 

Berg said she was also an Army brat. 

“My father is a big source of inspiration for me. So is my mother, an avid reader who showed me the joy and enchantment of books.” 

She said she was inspired to write “The Story of Arthur Truluv” by an image she had in her mind of an old man at a cemetery, sitting in a folding chair by his wife’s grave, eating a sandwich. The book will be released by Random House in November. She has already written the sequel, which she still has to edit. 

Her most recent release is the self-published “Make Someone Happy,” a collection of short works from her online output.

Berg said that women in transition is a common theme in many of her books, although it was not something she intended. She said she learned about the human spirit and resiliency from her years in nursing. 

She doesn’t plot beforehand, and she edits what she has written the next day. Both of her favorite books, she said, “wrote themselves in about two months’ time.” 

She writes most days, Mondays-Fridays, unless life events take her away from that. 

Berg said she has been lucky in her career, but aspiring writers shouldn’t be daunted by rejection. She said it may not be a reflection of a writer’s work, just not a good fit for the publisher. 

“Writing is so deeply personal — when you get rejected, it’s painful,” she said. 

She said she is surprised and pleased when, after a speaking engagement, people say to her, “You’re really nice, you’re so down to earth, you’re like my girlfriend.” 

Berg’s books will be for sale at the event, and she will sign copies. Register for the event at troypl.org or call (248) 524-3534. The Troy Community Center is located at 3179 Livernois Road.

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