Joyce Maynard has been a writer all her life. Now she is living every author’s dream, but she’s not getting much sleep. That’s because her new novel was just released at the same time a film based on a previous book is premiering at international film festivals.

As if this isn’t enough, her controversial memoir, first published 15 years ago, was just reissued, and last week she recorded its audiobook.

Oh yes, and she recently got married and moved from Marin County to Oakland.

I caught up with her as she was returning from the Telluride Film Festival, where “Labor Day,” directed by Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up in the Air”) and adapted from her 2009 novel of the same title, was given the prime opening-day slot. Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, it’s the story of an extraordinary weekend in which an escaped convict hides in a house and forever changes the lives of an emotionally scarred mother and her 14-year-old son.

I won’t give away any more of the plot except to say that pie-making plays a key role, so much so that the producers flew Maynard to the set to teach Brolin the intricacies of the process. “That’s my pie” in the film, Maynard says proudly. She’s also proud to report that after the film’s first public screening, at Telluride, “Michael Moore [director of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and other documentaries] told me there were a bunch of men sniffling in the restroom”—a testament to the film’s poignant ending.

After Telluride it was off to Denver to promote the new novel, “After Her,” a psychological thriller loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case from the late 1970s. Then to San Diego for more book readings, then Toronto for a red-carpet screening for the film, and then New York to promote both the book and the film.

And in a freakish coincidence, this year’s Telluride festival also saw the premiere of a new documentary by Shane Solerno that focuses on the life of J.D. Salinger, the celebrated author of “Catcher in the Rye” with whom Maynard had an affair when she was 18, and who she– in retrospect– considers a “victimizer.” Although she is quoted in the film, she says she’d had no idea it would be screened at Telluride, competing for eyeballs with “Labor Day.”

Maynard’s recently reissued memoir, “At Home in the World,” discusses the affair. When it was first published 15 years ago, she says, “I was astonished that I was so vilified, but it mattered a lot to me to see the book in print.”

After her whirlwind travels, Maynard—the author of 15 books in all—will return to the home in Montclair that she shares with her new husband, attorney Jim Barringer. She plans to start work on a new book, which she can’t yet comment on. Having lived for many years in Mill Valley, Maynard says she’s “thrilled” to be in Oakland: “In Marin, I had coyotes and stars. Now I see bridges and city lights—and the weather is better.”

She also says that she likes the absence of “preciousness” in Oakland, and that she’s enjoying getting to know our city’s neighborhoods and people.

“I’ve had huge downs and ups in my life,” she says. “So I appreciate every minute of the good.”

Joyce Maynard will be reading and signing books at Montclair’s Great Good Place for Books on Oct. 12 and at the Lafayette Library Oct. 22. She’ll also take part in Litquake, the Bay Area’s annual literary festival, on Oct. 19. You can learn more at her website,




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