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Sculptor, Painter, Author A debut novel’s outsider character captures a Hollywood insider’s attention By Scott Kearnan

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ith her very first novel, Annie Weatherwax is enjoying the kind of success that more seasoned authors envy. All We Had (Simon & Schuster) was released last year to strong reviews and was an editor’s pick for Oprah’s Book Club—a major coup in literary circles. The attention is only growing: All We Had has caught the eye of Katie

Holmes, who optioned the book for a movie the actress hopes will mark her directorial debut. Not too shabby for a literary newcomer. But to call Weatherwax a “writer” is only half right. “To me, writing is a visual art,” she says. “Mechanically, something similar happens in my brain.” That’s because before picking up a pen, Weatherwax had already built a successful career as a painter and sculptor. As a child, dyslexia made reading troublesome for Weatherwax, but writing has always been a different matter. Her artistic aptitude was developed early, and she instinctively approached a blank page as she might a mound of clay: she visualizes a story’s people and places from all angles—as a sculptor would. She writes in piecemeal passages, gradually smoothing them into a narrative, just as a painter might bounce between corners of a canvas, returning over and over to refine incomplete areas. She uses words as brushstrokes: adding, blending and massaging them until her wholly complete image finally snaps into view. In the case of All We Had, that image is a fully realized small town populated by a young girl, Ruthie, her

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