American Buffalo by Steven Rinella

by Steven Rinella, author of American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon

 I’d be lying if I said that I wrote American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon for a high-school audience. In fact, I didn’t write the book for any particular “audience” at all, besides the five or six buddies of mine that I hang out with most often.  Whenever I had to make a decision about what to put in the book and what to leave out, I’d just asked myself whether or not these buddies would be interested in it. Those were the parts that made it into my manuscript.

I would never suggest this writing strategy to anyone. But it does open you up to some surprises when it’s time to start traveling around and talking to different audiences about your book. Namely, it’s interesting to find out what sorts of people are interested in your subject, what sorts of people are troubled by it, and what sorts couldn’t care less. For me, the biggest of these surprises happened on the handful of occasions when I was fortunate enough to speak to high school classes in environmental studies or American history. Through all the interviews and book store events and literary festivals, these were the only people who regarded me as a historical contrarian and rabble-rouser. (more…)