When two people — both fighting to escape their desperate histories — cross paths at a used car parking lot, an unexpected kinship grows between them.
This relationship is the subject of Michael Parker's sixth and latest novel “All I Have in This World,” which he will be reading from at Flyleaf Books Tuesday night.
The novel, published by Algonquin Books, will officially hit shelves Tuesday. The story follows two characters, Maria and Marcus, and their encounter in western Texas. Despite only meeting for the first time, they both agree to pull together their funds to buy a 20-year-old, sky blue Buick Electra.
Parker said he really wanted to work through the idea of two strangers deciding to buy a car together. His main motivation in writing these characters was to find out what would happen after they decided to share a car.
“I don’t know where my books come from, except that this one came from an image I had of a man and a woman who were strangers who meet in a used car lot and decide, after knowing each other for an hour, that they were going to buy a car together,” he said.
“That’s all I had. That’s all I ever have really is an image or sketchy scenario, and then I write the book to find out why people would do such a crazy thing.”
Parker, a UNC alumnus, is currently a professor in the Master of Fine Arts writing program at UNC- Greensboro. Parker said he began writing his latest book in the fall of 2010, with the first draft only taking about a month to write.
“I wrote the first draft in 28 days, which is insane, because it usually takes me anywhere from a year or two years to write a draft of a book. But it just came really quickly,” he said.
This innovation is largely what drove Flyleaf owner Jamie Fiocco to host Parker. Fiocco said Parker is unique because he is a literary professor, making him able to give others an interesting perspective on the writing process.