SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 28, 2014

'The Art of Falling' author at Spirit of '76

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Kathryn Craft doesn’t mind if you call her first novel, “The Art of Falling,” women’s fiction.

“It’s about the emotional journey of a woman, and that’s all women’s fiction is,” Craft said. “It will not revolve on the romantic contribution of a man.”

But Craft, who will be at Spirit of ’76 Bookstore in Marblehead tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. to sign copies of her book, prefers the description “book-club fiction.”

“That’s the description I value most highly, because I love a book that looks at certain issues prismatically,” she said. “The issues in mind, the biggest ones, are body image and issues with food.”

“The Art of Falling” is about a dancer who, in the opening pages, can’t move much of her body and can’t remember how she got that way.

The story is driven by her learning to cope with the former and figuring out the latter.

“That opens these two strands of story that I interweave through this book,” Craft said. “With those two questions in mind, her stronger question is, how will I live my life without the movement that gave it meaning?”

Craft, who lives in Pennsylvania, danced for many years and also was a longtime dance critic for a newspaper in Allentown.

In switching from journalism to fiction — she quit her newspaper job in 2002 — she needed to master the storytelling techniques that drive a novel. She turned to writing fiction after her husband committed suicide in a standoff with police in 1997.

“I knew out of this crazy chaos that my sons and I had just been through that writing would be my way through,” she said.

But she wanted her first book to be about “miraculous survival” rather than self-destruction. She will address themes relating to her husband’s death in her second novel, which will be published next year.

“It will be completely tragic and completely hopeful all on the same day, because that’s what life is,” Craft said.