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Kevin close-up in elevatorSo, Bonnie, what exactly is a chupacabra and why do you have one in your new linked collection, What Happened Here: a novella & stories?

Well, Bonnie, there are a lot of different people’s versions of chupacabras, which means goat suckers in Spanish. Some even think they’re extraterrestrial. I tend to go with the story that says they were first spotted in Puerto Rico, then moved into South America and Mexico, and more recently have been seen in southern parts of the United States. They’re part wolf and part dog, and yet can jump like kangaroos. They’re missing a lot of hair.

Alena Graedon by Beowulf SheehanDid you know that some parts of your novel are hard to understand? I’ve heard it’s your first, and I thought I should tell you so that you can fix that for the next one.

You’re right. Sorry about that. There are some pretty obscure words in the book, like “dulcarnon” and “panicles.” Partly, it’s because the narrators work together at a dictionary, so they come across words that the rest of us don’t, and sometimes they use them. It’s also, though, because one of the protagonists is reading a dictionary while she writes her account.

JLportrait4So you’ve written a novel called “The Geometry of Love.” Sounds like a love story.

That’s right, it is.

 

What does geometry have to do with love?

There’s a love triangle in the story that turns into another love triangle. The protagonist, Julia, has to choose between two men. Then the man she longs to be with has to choose between her and another woman. So there are two connected triangles, as it were.

AuthorPhoto_TomSpanbauerSo Tom, you have the EOB blues once again, yah? 

Some people call it a nervous breakdown. I call it EOB, End of Book. What else can you feel really, when you’ve created an entire world, created characters you loved, went to places you didn’t know existed, languished in these places. The fictional world is always more important, more dramatic, more real than ordinary life, your ordinary life.

Megan-Milks-Kill-Marguerite-author-pic-web“Milks.” That’s a funny name. Are you a funny person?

Nope. Not even going to deliver an anti-joke here. But I’m interested in comedy, for sure, especially the comedic grotesque and “stupid” writing. My fiction definitely has a sly side. Lots of deadpan humor, the occasional very bad pun. Plus talking insects, acts of gods, and winkingly insincere morals.

Kim ChurchHas anyone told you that you misspelled the title of your novel?

My family, when we were together over Christmas. I reminded them it’s only my first book; what did they expect?

 

If you could read your book to anyone in the world, who would it be?

My grandmother, if she were still living. We would sit at her kitchen table and I’d read to her, short bits, just as she used to dictate to me. For years, I was her scrivener. One afternoon every week, I wrote letters for her. She had terrible arthritis and it pained her to write.

EricMay

Tell us something about Bedrock Faith.

The story is about a guy named Stew Pot Reeves who gets out of prison after 14 years and moves back home with his widowed mom. She lives in Parkland, a middle-class African-American neighborhood on Chicago’s far South Side. Stew Pot’s staid neighbors are worried about his being back since he was quite the terror before being sent away. Neighbors soon find out that Stew Pot has had a religious conversion while in prison. With his newfound religious fervor, he appoints himself the moral judge of Parkland. He gets into it with one neighbor after another, each encounter escalating in intensity and violence, leaving many community residents irrevocably changed.

Cari (online small)What ran through your head when you heard about the self-interview?

It struck me as sadistically brilliant.  But as it sunk in, I realized there was considerable pressure to try to be interesting and/or insightful and/or witty on both sides of the Q and the A.  But, I wouldn’t have to worry about being misquoted.  Then again, if I didn’t end up sounding interesting/insightful/witty, I couldn’t blame it on being misquoted.  Apparently, they don’t call this The Nervous Breakdown for nothing.

(c) Nick EliotWhat happened to your accent? I mean, I know you live in California, but you supposedly grew up in Alabama. So, what gives? Did you lose your accent on purpose?

1) It wasn’t on purpose.

2) You haven’t heard me talk about beer yet. When I talk about beer, my accent totally comes back. Also, when I hear other Southerners talk. Once, I watched an entire season of Friday Night Lights in one weekend, and by Monday I sounded like I’d just come from revival.

Art_Edwards_2012_Author_Photo_Oregon_CoastAfter researching the 17,000 previous TNB Self-Interviews, I realize you’re the first ever entirely self-published novelist to be granted such an interview. Why you?

I don’t know, but I’m honored.

 

You’re also the first one to have once been the bass player in a semi-famous band.

Yes, I did it! Fie, James Greer.

Nors, Dorthe (Simon Klein Knudsen) JACKET smallOkay, Karate Chop, 15 short stories from Denmark, and you want to be interviewed in which language, English?

Yep.

 

And you are aware of the fact that I’m Danish too and that two Danes having a conversation in English is pathetic. That’s the kind of thing we did when we were fourteen and hung out in places where no one knew us. Remember? We would act as if we were English and have fun with people in stores. But how old are we now, 43?

I would prefer to say 35, but between you and me—yes, 43.

WrightPlease describe what your novel is about.

The life of Robert Johnson, a blues musician born on May 8, 1911, has remained a mystery since his death on August 13, 1938. What little is known has been obscured by his own myth. Some reasons for the lack of accurate information concerning Robert Johnson’s life are that he not only had numerous families across the Mississippi Delta but also went by a variety of names. Play Pretty Blues, narrated by the collective voice of his six wives, illuminates the details of Robert Johnson’s life through the use of both fictional exploration and historical research. It attempts to create a broader, more compelling, and denser portrait of a musician most people know only for the legend of how he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for skills on the guitar.

Conescu_WilliamFor starters, William, tell us about your new novel, Kara Was Here.

It’s sort of a literary ghost story-mystery-character story-humor/suspense novel hybrid.

 

Obviously.

It tells the story of this charming, life-of-the-party actress, Kara Tinsley, who moved from North Carolina to New York to make it…and didn’t. And she has died suddenly at thirty-four.

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You’ve been working on this book for five years. Presumably, then, you’ve bored several hundred people at holidays and cocktail parties, talking about your novel that’s “almost” done.

Czeslaw Milosz once said that when a writer is born into a family, the family is finished. The same could be said of writers and parties.

 

Ravi_Mangla_b&wHow long did it take you to write The Lowland?

I didn’t write The Lowland.

 

Are you sure?

Pretty sure.