Justin Kramon to read at Prairie Lights

BY JOSIE JONES | JULY 19, 2010 7:20 AM

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Justin Kramon enjoys playing the piano, though he’s not very good at it. So looking to make a difference, Kramon turned to writing fiction instead.

“I really felt as if there were things I wanted to express about the world, and I wanted to find a way to do it,” the 29-year-old said.

In his first novel, Finny, Kramon express his feelings about relationships and growing up.

The author will read from the book at 7 p.m. today in Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. Admission is free.

Finny is a love story and a coming-of-age novel. It follows the story of Finny — a defiant and lonely young woman — and the big adventures she has over 20 years of her life. Like Finny, all the characters the reader meets along the way are humorous and larger-than-life.

Kramon didn’t want the story to have a moral or some lesson Finny learns. But he did find the process to be an exploration of life.

Most of the big coming-of-age novels that Kramon loves, such as David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, are from a young man’s perspective. Kramon was interested in what it would be like to tell the same story through the life of a young woman.

“What I really wanted to do was look at the way a young woman enters the world and the type of events that are big and meaningful for her that might be different from the events for a young man,” he said.

His literary agent, Ayesha Pande, found this approach to be inspiring.

“I thought it was very courageous of him to write a novel that was a new take on a classic,” she said.

When Kramon writes, he enjoys being able to step outside of himself. This, he said, allows him to say something more universal or more interesting.

“I thought there was a real authentic quality to the writing,” Pande said. “He manages to create characters whose experiences resonate on a deeply personal and universal level.”

Kramon is able to reach these levels with his readers because he pours his personal feelings about relationships and people into his work. The Baltimore native hopes this helps the novel exist outside of when he’s writing the story.

“I think having that feeling of reality, like the book is bigger than just the events that you’re writing about, is something that allows readers to immerse themselves in it,” he said.

While Kramon’s work is limited to fiction pieces, he also puts his feelings and things he observes into his writing. He likes finding ways to use his own life experiences and transform them into something he feels is much more interesting and that appeals to all types of people.

“I want to express a point of view in the world that’s just a little bit at a slant, a little bit different from what people would expect just watching the scenes in the book,” he said.

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