"Are you ready for some exciting news?"
Those were the words with which Emma Törzs' editor/agent opened a phone call. The news was this: Her novel "Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe" (now in stores) was chosen as the "Good Morning America" book club pick for June.
Törzs (it sort of rhymes with "verge") lives with roommates in south Minneapolis and does not technically have a TV (they're putting together plans to stream "GMA"). She was "bewildered" by the news, which will significantly boost awareness of the novel about two sisters and a collection of magical books.
A native of Massachusetts, Törzs came to the Twin Cities for the cultural studies program at Macalester College, where she now teaches. Her stories have earned an O. Henry Prize and an NEA fellowship, but "Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe" is her first book. Although it takes place in a fantasy world, it could also be said it's a classic example of "write what you know," as Törzs, 36, revealed when she spoke about the "GMA" announcement.
Q: What are the book's origins?
A: My own beloved sister has been for many years telling me she wanted me to write a fantasy novel about magic sisters. So I wanted to write something my sister would like.
Q: You've always been a big reader?
A: Huge. Obsessive. An hours-on-the-couch, wouldn't-listen-to-teachers kind of reader. They wouldn't sit me next to bookshelves in elementary school because I would just read everything.
Q: You started writing "Ink, Blood" in 2019?
A: Yes. I was just starting to feel good about where I was going and what it was about when the pandemic hit, and then George Floyd was murdered in south Minneapolis, in our neighborhood, more or less, and I got really involved in social activism. I didn't write a word for five months. Then, when I came back to it — it was the fall of 2020 — it was a total escape for me. I really wanted that fantasy world. I was really excited to write it every morning. I wanted to keep it fun and interesting for myself, so I could keep going.
Q: What was the biggest surprise about the book?
A: I like all genres — literary fiction and speculative fiction the most — and so I did want it to be a big mix of genres. Even though I was playing with all these genres, I thought it might be a standard fantasy book, but readers who don't necessarily read fantasy have told me they enjoyed it.
Q: What do you have to do for "GMA?"
A: I'm lucky enough to be required to fly to New York this weekend to tape a live segment, so I'm on live Saturday morning. And they'll tape a longer, recorded interview that will run later in the month. Then, I send them little videos that they will post on their social media. That's about it. It's quite cushy on my side!
Q: So, with teaching, is summer your primo writing time?
A: You would think! I have trouble writing in the summer. I'm actually a better winter writer because I have less FOMO then. My summers get busy fast because I love to travel, but I have a writing residency in August [in Maine] and I'm looking forward to making time to write. I'm in the beginning stages of another book, hopefully.
'Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe' book launch
Where: Moon Palace Books, 3032 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls. Masks required.
When: 6 p.m., June 1.