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Debut novelist stops at Sanibel Public Library

By Staff | Mar 9, 2016

Although Lindsay Starck wrote numerous stories when she was little, it was not until becoming a grad student that a novel came to fruition after taking a creative journaling class while studying abroad.

She found an editor who enjoyed her book “Noah’s Wife” and signed a contract with G.P. Putnam’s Sons in June 2011. Starck spent the next five years revising her debut novel before it was published in January 2016.

“It’s a stronger book. I really believe in the editing process,” she said. “I think that every novel is the work of many voices. I really leaned very heavily on friends and family. It took this whole community to write this book.”

Her debut novel is a contemporary spin off, “a loose adaptation,” of the biblical flood story. “Noah’s Wife” is set in the pacific northwest region, in the same town that used to be famous for its big zoo, where it rains every day. The continuous rain raises the river, floods the streets and zoo.

“I’ve always been interested in the retelling of old stories,” Starck said. “I knew I wanted to take an ancient mythical, or biblical text, and rethink it.”

The debut novelist began working on the book in her early to mid 20s. She found when she was not writing, she and her peers were talking about relationships, which began a new train of thought.

“I started thinking of parings and what makes a friendship last and marriage last, or fall apart,” Starck said, which was incorporated into her book.

At the same time she began thinking more about Noah’s Ark, as she saw it everywhere in popular culture. Starck said she noticed it was really popular for children, due to it being a common theme of baby showers and nursery’s.

“The story itself is very dark . . . destruction of the world. It doesn’t seem very systematic in a kid’s room. I wanted to explore some of those darker themes in my novel,” she said.

During the process of writing the novel, Starck said the hardest thing was making decisions because when sitting down to write a book it could go any possible way – the sky is the limit.

“I like to imagine all the avenues my characters can take,” she said.

In addition to writing the novel, the revising was also difficult. Starck said her editor shared that although “Noah’s Wife” had a great setting with characters, it needed more conflict, things happening.

“It was a struggle to figure out what the story was, what the characters wanted, what their conflicts were. That was the weakness of the first draft,” she said.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, Starck will make an appearance at Sanibel Public Library where she will talk more about “Noah’s Wife.” Copies of her book can be purchased and signed during the event.

“The library on Sanibel is such a beautiful space. I spent a lot of happy hours there reading. It’s kind of fun to be returning as a writer,” she said.

Starck spent many spring breaks on Sanibel throughout the years due to her grandfather owning a house on the island.

The author has begun sketching her second book, which will explore families and relationships. Starck is attending graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.