1. What is the title of the book? SPIRAL BOUND BROTHER
2. Where did the idea of the book come from? Like everything, from childhood. Reality felt pretty oppressive and cruelly absurd a lot of the time for my little family, so my parents would take me to Disney World every year. Not fiscally sound policy when you’re totally broke, but it did make for an important mental fracture for me as a creative type. And Disney World is an extremely interesting place—especially when you get to know it intimately. It’s a classroom, where the characters in the book are constantly finding themselves. But as a kid, I learned to be present for the fun of the moment while simultaneously staying aware of the larger picture of sadness and longing. We were a family of dichotomies and intense feelings, real love and serious delusions, so that’s pretty much what the novel is.
3. What genre does your book fall under? Fiction
4. If applicable, whom would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I have three almost equally weighted main characters (Craft, Lila, and Duke) that comprise a sort of shared multiverse of consciousness, and also a couple of supporting characters that I feel are pretty memorable. I actually would love to make this into a film someday—someday meaning now. So let’s assume I was introduced to a financier who loved the book to the tune of a couple hundred thousand. I’d use the actors I’ve worked with in my writers’ group, Lab Twenty6: Ben Bode as Craft, Jessica Goldapple as Kaye. I’d love to get a crazy-talented young actor I met while teaching a workshop, Nick Healy, as Duke. Lila, I don’t know… she’s sort of my favorite character. I haven’t found anyone who IS Lila and all her madness yet. Someone in the mold of Chloe Sevigny I think.
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? Two lost-and-found siblings and one burned out English teacher discover the powerful links to one another and embark on journeys across America to confront the man whose life of violence connects them.
6. Will your work be self published or represented by an agency? I’m not sure if that question is entirely lucid as a one or the other proposition, Ms. Next Big Thing Blog Hop Person, but the fact is it’s being published by Perfect Edge Books—a great experience so far.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? Two years exactly. Three more to make it a good book. And one more year to push it into the world. I’m hoping to cut the process in half for the next one.
8. Who or what inspired you to write this book? The seemingly sentimental but honest answer is the surprise existence of what would grow into my son, Seamus. Even though I did an MFA program (or because I did an MFA program), I considered myself primarily a songwriter throughout my 20’s, but when this kid burst onto the scene, I took a look at my life. It was time to write a book.
9. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre? You know, I’ve often said THE FAMILY FANG, by Kevin Wilson. I like that book a lot, although I’m not sure how similar it is to what I’m doing when you scratch past the surface. The shifting perspective and sometimes absurd tone may remind people of SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, by Gary Shteyngart…or not. I’ve heard WONDERBOYS from some bookish friends, which I realize is praise, though I haven’t read it. Some other people have mentioned some Russians…but I’ll leave that alone.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I gravitate to reckless stories. I don’t much appreciate the honed, measured, wise perspective of intelligent/poetic third person. I know writers like Karen Russell are geniuses and everything, but this book is just sort of the opposite, because I’m none of those things. It’s reckless, method-style first person, written in mad language that feels extremely disarmed, like a picked scab maybe, when I read it now. Somehow it still comes off with a whiff of Zen, I tend to think. I like that sort of thing, so I did it.
Come on down for the first public reading of a chapter from the book. It’s part of the Roar Shack monthly reading series at the fantastic Last Bookstore downtown. The good times start at 5 on the clock.
How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller.
“There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbours will say,” Cyril Connolly wrote, and we believe he was right.
Perfect Edge seeks books that take on the crippling fear of other people, of what’s correct and normal, of how life works, of what art is.
Our authors disagree with each other; their styles vary as widely as their concerns. What matters is the will to create books that won’t be easy to assimilate. We take risks, not for the sake of risk-taking, but for the things that might come out of it.
— Duke digs this section of a poem he found while rifling through Carrie’s backpack one day at work. Makes him think about maybe giving it a shot someday.
The Future is Befalling You
You think it’s the ocean
when you put that
seashell up to your ear.
But really it’s the echo
of the world having crawled
out of its shell –
calling to you
as you stand there
holding the shell
up to your ear.