The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Bivald

Bookstore Setting Brings Small Town Back to Life

An exclusive Authorlink interview

By Diane Slocum

April, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
by Katrina Bivald
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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Katrina Bivald, Sourcebooks – Sara and Amy are pen pals – Amy in small town Iowa, Sara in Sweden. Across the seas, they share their love of books and Amy’s stories of the inhabitants of Broken Wheel. The bookshop where Sara works closes, she has few friends other than the characters in all the novels she reads and Amy invites her to come for a visit. The only trouble is, when Sara arrives, the town is concluding a funeral – Amy’s. The residents insist Sara must stay as planned, and Sara doesn’t know what else to do. Broken Wheel is a dying town, but the residents, each with their own quirks, come together with new vigor to make Sara welcome, which includes joining in her plan to open a bookstore to share Amy’s vast library with the town, whether they love books or not. None of them, including Sara, can imagine what changes in their lives this sets in motion.

“I would place [the book’s genre] it under Happy Endings When You Need Them.. . .”

AUTHORLINK: What shelf would your novel be on in Sara’s bookstore?

BIVALD: Well, I don’t think it’s revealing too much considering the genre to say that I would place [the book’s genre] it under Happy Endings When You Need Them.

AUTHORLINK: What book would Sara choose for you to read?

BIVALD: Oh, that is a great question! At the moment I’m reading a lot of comfortable, cozy books, so I think Sara would like to challenge me a little bit. Perhaps something by Toni Morrison.

“Yes, the book recommendations are very much based on me. “

AUTHORLINK: Are you as much of a book lover as Sara and Amy? Does Katarina Bivald Recommend all the books mentioned in the story?

BIVALD: Yes, the book recommendations are very much based on me. I haven’t read Remembrance of Times Passed, but other than that, all the recommendations are my own!

AUTHORLINK: Which minor character intrigued you the most or most forced his or her way into more prominence in the story?

BIVALD: I think in a way all the minor characters intrigued me very much, until they did not turn out very minor at all. They all found their way into the story, demanding a part of it. Andy, for example, with his troubled past and boyish enthusiasm, or Grace, with the gun.

AUTHORLINK: Have you had a pen pal?

BIVALD: Nothing like Sara and Amy, although I would very much like one. There’s something very reassuring and timeless in the physical act of writing real letters.

AUTHORLINK: I came from a small town (population 100) in Minnesota. How did you learn about small town life in the American Midwest?

BIVALD: The same way I’ve learned about most things in life: from books. I was born in a small Swedish town close to Stockholm, but in a way it still feels as if I’ve grown up in small town America: with Fannie Flagg and Annie Proulx and Louisa May Alcott.

“I think, for me, the main lesson is one of community. That it’s possible to find it . . . “

AUTHORLINK: What lesson do we learn from Sara and the residents of Broken Wheel?

BIVALD: I think, for me, the main lesson is one of community. That it’s possible to find it, even if it sometimes happens in ways you wouldn’t expect. But there are also lessons about books – that they can transform your life, but that you sometime have to venture outside of them.

AUTHORLINK: How did you feel when you learned your first novel would be published?

BIVALD: I learned about it through a phone message from my then soon-to-be publisher, who said she had read my book and loved it, and it was a surreal, confusing, life changing thought – that my book and my characters now existed in someone else’s head, who loved it.

AUTHORLINK: What are you working on next?

BIVALD: At the moment, I’m working on a novel set in Oregon. I might look out on puny Swedish pine trees and birches, but in my mind I am very much among the more magnificent trees in central Oregon, in a small, fictional town, of course, where people are currently lonely and struggling and waiting to see what will happen with their lives.

Right now they are probably thinking: if only the author could get a move on and make something happen!

About the Author:

Katarina Bivald lives with her sister near Stockholm, Sweden, in a house about as full of books as Amy’s. She grew up working in a bookshop.  This is her first novel.

Diane Slocum
Regular Contributor:
Diane Slocum

Diane Slocum has been a newspaper reporter and editor and authored an historical book. As a freelance writer, she contributes regularly to magazines and newspapers. She writes features on authors and a column for writers and readers in Lifestyle magazine. She is assigned to write interviews of first-time novelists and bestselling authors for Authorlink.