Novelist Jo Barrett visits Edwards Monday
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Author Jo Barrett has traveled and lived all over world, but she keeps coming back to Texas.
Barrett will discuss her latest novel, “Don’t Let it Be True,” a romp through Texas’ uppercrust of oil barons, debutantes and trust funders, Monday at The Bookworm of Edwards.
Born and raised in Japan; educated at the University of Texas, Georgetown, New York University, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and now bounding between coasts, Barrett still considers herself a true Texan.
“I’ve always felt like a Texan myself,” Barrett said while awaiting traffic court in the Houston area. “There are so many characters in Texas and I feel like I’ve met so many of them that I wanted to portray all those different people and personalities. A lot of Texas characters were from Larry McMurtry and westerns. There aren’t a lot of contemporary characters, and I wanted to change that.”
“Don’t Let it Be True,” Barrett’s third novel, may certainly set the bar for future fictional characters of Texas’ high society where folks booze cruise in couture on Saturday night and wake up with a Red Bull in the church parking lot on Sunday.
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Barrett tells the story of a debutante and her beau who find themselves suddenly and surprisingly broke despite their necessity to keep up the appearance of affluence.
Kathleen King is a flamboyant spendthrift who helms Houston’s see-and-be-seen annual event. Meanwhile, her longtime fella, Dylan Beaumont, is the would-be heir to an oil fortune ” if only his father hadn’t gambled it away.
Now both are penniless and desperate despite all eyes rarely being off them. At least they have each other, which is the crux of Barrett’s novel.
“I didn’t want a sappy girl-meets-guy romance,” Barrett said. “I wanted people in a committed relationship, a relationship that goes back to high school. Together they go through trials and tribulations and we get the perspective from each.”
Barrett said she opted for an omniscient story after writing her two previous novels ” “The Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom” and “This is How it Happened (Not a Love Story)” ” in the first person as to better portray a relationship and its tricky circumstances.
And in case you haven’t noticed, a fair amount of Texans frequent our happy valley, a connection that Barrett said runs deeper than ski slopes, cool climates and golf at altitude.
“Texas and Colorado have that feel where there are these offbeat towns that retain all their innate characters,” Barrett said. “Then you put those characters in situations outside their comfort zone, and sit back and watch.”
While her characters toil in their charade lifestyle, their creator is aggressively shopping her novels in Hollywood, believing she may have some Texas-sized hits on her hands.
“I’m shopping them in Los Angeles and getting a lot of interest,” Barrett said. “I’m definitely playing the Texas angle. When you mention Texas and film or television, people automatically think ‘Dallas,’ but there needs to be something modern done about Texas.”
“The Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom” was recently sold to CBS/Paramount Pictures and optioned by Hugh Jackman’s production company. “This is How it Happened” is currently being adapted into a screenplay.
Stephen Bedford works at The Bookworm of Edwards.
Who: Novelist Jo Barrett, author of “Don’t Let it Be True” and “The Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom”
What: Book signing and discussion
Where: The Bookworm of Edwards
When: 6 p.m. Monday
Cost: $20 (includes wine and appetizers)
More information: Call 970-926-READ or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com