Dolly’s will hold signing with writer and part time Parkite Grant Ginder
January 11, 2013
Part-time Park City resident Grant Ginder teaches expository writing at New York University.
His parents, Deborah and Steve, have a second home on Marsac Ave. in Park City and have been spending their winters in town since their son was in elementary school.
So, it will be a special event when Dolly’s Bookstore hosts an author event on Sunday, Jan. 13, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., for Grant Ginder who recently published his second novel, "Driver’s Education."
The book is about an elderly man, Alistair, who gives his grandson, Colin, a task to bring his old ’56 Chevy Bel Air named Lucy from New York to San Francisco. So, Colin and his grumpy friend Randall embark on the adventure with a three-legged cat named Mrs. Dalloway.
Although Ginder’s first book, "This Is How It Starts," which is based directly on his personal experiences as a speechwriter in Washington, D.C., was written rather quickly, he approached "Driver’s Education" in a more thoughtful way.
"There were two seemingly unrelated threads that came together to form this book, and I end up writing about things that I’m obsessed about and trying to figure out." Ginder explained.
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One was his 90-year-old grandmother.
"I’m very close to her and she’s gets confused often and doesn’t remember a lot of things," he said. "But when I was growing up, she would tell me these incredible stories about her life and my mother’s life."
Ginder loved these stories and now, he finds himself telling these stories back to his grandmother, who has forgotten quite a bit of her past.
"When I do retell them to her, there is an impulse for me to brush them up and make them a little better," he said. "So, storytelling was one thread I wanted to explore with the book."
The other thread is the relationship between a father and a son.
"While the characters in the book are not based on anyone in my family, I do think the experiences of a son trying to relate to his father, and vice versa, are universal," Ginder said. "All children have that period where their fathers stop being that perfect patriarch and they begin realizing their fathers are human and flawed. While I’m very close with my dad, but I do understand that experience."
Weaving those strands together was made possible by introducing the road trip, which was based on a true event, into the book, Ginder said.
"I did it with my friend," he said. "We drove cross-country for the purpose of researching the book, so I would have things to write about regarding the things we did and the facts about the cities we visited."
As opposed to "This Is Where It Starts," which was written in four months, Ginder took his time with "Driver’s Education."
"I worked closely with my editor Sarah Knight, and it was a much more roll-up-your-sleeves project," he said. "It took me a couple of years to finish."
Ginder became interested in storytelling while in grade school, because he wanted to be creative, but art wasn’t his strong point.
"Even my stick figures look abstract, so I didn’t think there was much of a future for me in visual arts," he laughed. "But I remember in my elementary school in Southern California, we had an activity called the Invention Convention where students were required to come up with an invention or come up with a story. And for the first few years, I tried to come up with an invention, and he only one that did well, actually, was a ski map that you could hang around your neck. I did it because every time my dad and I were in Park City on a ski lift, he would want to check out a map and end up dropping a glove. So, I wanted to fix that and made a map he could hang around his neck."
While that invention worked well, Ginder eventually turned to writing.
"I don’t remember if any of my stories won the convention, but I remember how much I loved writing and storytelling," he said.
Ginder began his speechwriting career in Washington, D.C., after graduating with a degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, but eventually got bored with politics.
"I still liked the storytelling aspect of speechwriting, because within each speech, it didn’t matter if it was about climate change or national security, it was still writing a story," he said. "I found that I wanted to write stories that I come up with, rather than giving voice to someone else, and that’s when I ended up writing ‘This Is How It Starts.’"
Ginder is now 140 pages into a third book, but is looking forward to his appearance at Dolly’s.
"I would like people to come, because it’s a special event for me because of all the times I’ve visited that store," he said.
Writer and part-time Parkite Grant Ginder, author of the novel "Driver’s Education," will be at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., on Sunday, Jan. 13, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. for a book signing. The event is free to the public. For more information, visit http://books.simonandschuster.com/Driver%27s-Education/Grant-Ginder/9781439187371