PRAISE FOR TELL ME ONE THING:
"[A] dynamic, character-driven debut... Schlottman acutely nails the misty, gold-hued atmosphere of the 1980s, and deeply explores themes of class and privilege...This thought-provoking work will put readers on the lookout for what the author does next." --Publishers Weekly (link to review).
Booklist calls it: "Vivid."
The book has been blurbed by prominent writers including Chelsea Bieker, Rachel Lyon, Matthew Specktor, Jakob Guanzon.
Chelsea Bieker (author of Godshot and Heartbroke) writes: “A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book.”
Jakob Guanzon (author of ABUNDANCE, longlisted for the National Book Award) writes: “Tell Me One Thing will both compel and confront readers with questions that only the finest of novels can posit.”
“Kerri Schlottman has delivered us the richest of reading experiences. I read Tell Me One Thing voraciously with equal parts intrigue and admiration, thinking how did she pull this off? Slinking expertly between time and location and point of view—the contrasts here are bright and nuanced, honest and vulnerable, jagged yet tender. This is a novel of great heart, examining the lines we draw as we become who we are. A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book.”–Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke
“At once the expansive story of two women navigating two disparate, intersecting lives, and a thoughtful meditation on the transtemporal power of photography, Kerri Schlottman's TELL ME ONE
“In TELL ME ONE THING, two women's stories begin in an instant—with a shutter click. Divergent yet inextricable, the paths and aspirations of a photographer and her young subject leap and shatter through the passage of four decades and at the mercy of American dearth, all of which Schlottman relays with understated grit and unflinching humanity. As we follow the photographer through seedy 1980s New York to today's commercially sterilized iteration, Schlottman proceeds to vivify a Polaraid snapped in a Pennsylvania trailer park, infusing viscerality and tragedy into a portrait that would have otherwise hung static on a collector's wall. By reframing an object to be admired as a child to be protected, TELL ME ONE THING
“Fans of The Vanishing Half will love this novel written in alternating points-of-view: each one a perspective rooted in a starkly contrasting experience and yet one that echoes the longings of the other. Reading this was a much-needed exercise in empathy, one tempered by clear, endearing prose. In the parallel universes of two unforgettable characters, Schlottman renders on the page a simple and beautiful expression of our shared humanity. In TELL ME ONE THING, we see the private struggles of a famed photographer making it in the wild days of New York City and how her seminal work exposes and yet neglects the harsh truth of one of her subjects. My heart broke and rooted for both characters, and long after I’ve turned the last page, I am still thinking of them.”–Cinelle Barnes, author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir and Malaya: Essays on Freedom
“I loved the way Tell Me One Thing follows two women trying to find their ways in the world — Quinn, the starving artist whose work rescues her from grinding poverty, and Lulu, a subject of Quinn’s photography, whose own ways of working only mire her further into destitution and desperation. Kerri Schlottman’s vivid writing skillfully recreates 1980s New York City and rural Pennsylvania; we’re invited to witness both the heady art-world scene of the era and the foundations being set for the opioid epidemic. It’s such a smart and well-crafted novel, bursting with life. I couldn’t put it down.”–Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and other novels
“An intimate look at the way art transforms the lives of both artist and subject, and not always for the better. In crisp, descriptive prose, Kerri Schlottman draws a portrait of both rural Pennsylvania and a transforming New York City, as she—and her characters—probe the murky line between inspiration and exploitation.”–Wil Medearis, author of Restoration Heights
“Stunning and vivid... Two women cross paths almost by accident, and the story follows each of their efforts to overcome the hard lives they’re living. These characters are so realistic, we start rooting for them moments after meeting them....For all of their hard times, this book is full of unexpected moments of fulfillment, surprising flashes of grace.”
–Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Universe of Two and The Baker's Secret
ABOUT TELL ME ONE THING:
Outside a Pennsylvania motel, nine-year-old Lulu smokes a cigarette while sitting on the lap of a trucker.
Recent art grad Quinn is passing through town and captures it. The photograph, later titled “Lulu & the Trucker,” launches Quinn’s career, escalating her from a starving artist to a renowned photographer.
In a parallel life, Lulu struggles to
survive a volatile home, growing up too quickly in an environment
wrought with drug abuse and her mother’s prostitution.
Decades later, when Quinn has a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art and “Lulu & the Trucker” has sold at auction for a record-breaking amount, Lulu is surprised to find the troubling image of her young self in the newspaper.
She attends an artist talk for the exhibition with one question in mind for Quinn: Why didn’t you help me all those years ago?
While writing, Kerri Schlottman—who has a background in art and writes from a place of authenticity—was inspired by Mary Ellen Mark’s famous 1990 photograph, “Amanda and Her Cousin Amy,” which depicts nine-year-old Amanda smoking a cigarette in a kiddie pool in rural North Carolina.
Upon Mark's death in 2015, NPR interviewed Amanda and asked her why she allowed herself to be photographed.
Her reply was: “I thought, ‘Hey,
people will see me, I'll get attention, it will perhaps change things
for me.’ I thought it might be a way to get out, but that was not the
Weaving back and forth between Lulu's and Quinn's perspectives, TELL ME ONE THING explores life-shaping moments in each of their stories—doubt, love, pain, and ambition—and unknowingly links one to another through a fierce determination to better their circumstances.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kerri Schlottma's novel Tell Me One Thing is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing on January 31, 2023.
Kerri is a native Detroiter who has worked in the arts in New York City in various capacities since 2005, most recently at Creative Capital where she helped to fund new projects by artists, performers, filmmakers, and writers, including Maggie Nelson, Paul Beatty, and Dana Spiotta.