National bestselling author, Lynn Cullen visited the Lockport Public Library Tuesday evening to discuss the background of her latest novel, Twain’s End. This was part of the 10th anniversary of the “One Book, One County” program. About 70 people were in attendance for the event.
Until she wrote this book, Cullen had little background with Mark Twain. However, once she started reading about the relationship between Twain and his secretary, Isabel Lyon. Once she realized the complexity between the two people, especially in the wake of their abruptly ended friendship, she knew she had to write their story.
The main source of Cullen’s book was Isabel’s diary. Lyon was crazy about Twain. Cullen believes that the feeling was mutual, and that the reason behind his vitriolic attack upon Isabel and her new husband was because he was furious with her “treason.” In a letter, Twain said of Lyon:
“A liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Cullen laughed at this quote and said, “I think he was protesting just a little bit too much.”
According to Cullen, “this book is just connecting the dots. So much is known. It’s just a matter of adding things up and coming up with a plausible story.” Despite that being seemingly straightforward, Cullen said that writing this book was a “really hard project,” and that it took two years to write.
The Lockport Public Library continues to deliver top-notch programs to its patrons. Where else can you have bestselling authors speak with the public in a free program? Some of the greatest stories behind the some of our favorite books come during these talks. It’s not just about how they wrote the books; it’s about why they wrote the books.