'N.C. Bookwatch' Hosts Author Leah Stewart
Now Cameron is a 29-year-old research assistant with no meaningful ties to anyone except her aging boss, noted historian Oliver Doucet.
When an unexpected letter arrives from Sonia 10 years after the incident that ended their friendship, Cameron doesn't reply, despite Oliver's urging. But then he passes away, and Cameron discovers that he has left her with one final task: to track down Sonia and hand-deliver a mysterious package to her.
Now without a job, a home, and a purpose, Cameron decides to honor his request, setting off on the road to find this stranger who was once her inseparable other half.
Author Leah Stewart's "The Myth of You and Me," the story of Cameron and Sonia's friendship, is as intense as any love affair, and its dramatic demise captures the universal sense of loss and nostalgia that often lingers after the end of an important relationship.
In this episode of UNC-TV's local literary series "North Carolina Bookwatch," premiering Friday, Aug. 18, at 9:30 p.m., Stewart explores the universal themes of these important relationships and the challenges of writing about the friendships that exist in her new book.
"There's obviously model after model for a book about romantic relationships, [but] there aren't models for a novel driven by a friendship relationshipand I tried many different approaches," admits Stewart. "To sustain the mystery, I decided the novel should build up to the circumstances behind why Cameron and Sonia broke up."
Through the experiences of Cameron and Sonia, the Chapel Hill author also shares how her searingly honest new novel is a celebration and portrait of a friendship that will appeal to anyone who still feels the absence of that first, true friend.
"When I teach, I always tell students that you don't have to necessarily write what you know in a completely literal sense; you have to write what you know so there's a certain amount of emotional truth in the book, and I'd say that's the case for this book for me," says Stewart. "I had a bad breakup with a friend and then years later wondered why I was still thinking about it. And that was really the genesis of the book. The more I talked to people about it, the more I found that it was a universal experience. So, that was interesting to me -- to see just how many people respond to that kind of story."
While she attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Leah Stewart interned at The Tennessean (the Nashville daily) and The Commercial Appeal (the Memphis daily) and wrote a short story about a female reporter that later grew into her first novel, "Body of a Girl," which won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award and the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction.
She received her master's degree from the University of Michigan and is a member of the Sewanee Writers Conference staff. She lives near Chapel Hill with her musician husband, Matt O'Keefe, and their young daughter.
For more information about additional series guests and airdates, plus the all-new Bookwatch blog and online book club, see www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.
Funding for North Carolina Bookwatch is provided by UNC-TV members and by Quail Ridge Books and Music, Raleigh's independent, full-service bookstore, bringing readers and writers together since 1984.
More like this story