Houston-based author Katherine Center tells us a few events from her real life made it into her just released novel, Happiness for Beginners. Center did have a wilderness experience similar to the one her character Helen has in the book (roughing it in the woods for a few weeks, depending only on her survival skills). Both ended a major relationship just before their trip (Center broke up with a boyfriend; Helen gets a divorce). One big difference? Helen has a beautiful young man chasing after her. At least we think that’s a difference. Center didn’t mention any such young man when we spoke with her recently.
Center’s fifth book, Happiness for Beginners focuses on a woman in the midst of self-discovery. It’s funny and sad, poignant and blunt at the same time. Helen starts off charmingly clunky and grumpy. By the end of the story, she’s still clunky but significantly less grumpy and figures out that a “not perfect” life can be a pretty good one.
A graduate of Vassar College and the University of Houston’s creative writing program, Center tells us her fan base is growing because she writes the books she wants to read. “If I would want to read it, I think other women like me would want to read it.”
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Center discusses and signs Happiness for Beginners at 7 p.m. Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial Drive. For information, call 281-497-8675 or visit bluewillowbookshop. Free.
Thu., April 2, 7 p.m., 2015