I have been tagged by Shana Youngdahl, V. Wetlaufer, and Molly Sutton Kiefer to answer some questions. So I will. Thanks for thinking of me. N.b., my answering these questions does not compromise my skepticism about ‘nextbigthing’ness. I am the next small thing. Or the continuation of the small thing I already am? Okay, shhhhhh. I will answer these questions for the book that’s coming out in August.
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Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing
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What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The manuscript was very different from how it will be published. Until last spring it was a record of bewilderment and loss especially tracked through a pretty punishing relationship I had while living in England. It got so that I could hardly even look at the poems. I didn’t want the book to exist. I was angry and hurt and didn’t want to revisit that. At the same time, the book was under contract and had to be finished. With the gift of extra time, I went back to it and the solution came to me almost like a dream: I would just delete, erase, this person from the book. What was left? Me. That the book could be a gift to myself and a space that could purposely exclude that other person was something I had never considered, but it was from that point that the book as it is departed.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ha! Insofar as there are characters at all, I’d like Audrey Tautou to play my speaker. The girls speaking to one another in ‘How it all began’ could be played by Quvenzhané Wallis. The artworks by Kiki Smith could play themselves. So could Paris.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Relationships between people who are outside the center of things have a nourishing power.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. I was under contract for it from the time my first book was bought by Milkweed. Perhaps to their chagrin.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It came together over three years, but I wasn’t writing exclusively for it that whole time. The draft that became the book took about two months to get together. The Kiki Smith poems, which I wrote specifically for the book, I wrote in about a week, and then revised over the months of putting the manuscript back together.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think I will leave this for others to do.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Living in England and France, learning how to be an outsider; my close friendships with women in England; some sort of grown-up loss of innocence; doing a PhD and reading lots of theory.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has a really pretty cover.