I got tagged in this chain letter blog fiction thing by the incomparable Laurie Ann Cedilnik, so here are some questions and some answers to those questions.
What is your working title of your book?
Unchecked Savagery - I guess it’s less the “working title” and more the “actual title” since it comes out in the next week or so. Buy it here!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s a collection of flash fiction without any particular linking motif, other than an analysis of popular culture’s invasion and effect on American life and safety. Not like, “Oh man movies/video games are so terrible for us!” but the way that our learning is informed by those mass artistic outlets. When people are killed in a gun massacre, as is so often the case in this country, many people’s attitude is to imagine all of the movies they’ve seen in which gun battles are antiseptic and precise, and the hero always shoots the villain before any harm befalls the spectators, therefore there should be more people with guns. Popular art forms have taught us it’s easy to shoot somebody at a seconds’ notice, and we could all easily be heroes, but that’s just not true. I’m not saying this influence is wrong, but it’s something that interests me. Movies, tv shows, and video games have influenced people to become doctors, soldiers, and teachers as well.
What genre does your book fall under?
Flash fiction – I think the longest story in it is 700 words.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hm, there’s a lot of stories. Maybe Kristen Wiig could play Diane in “Soul Train.” She’s really funny. The story isn’t, but I always presume if a comedian can be funny on cue they can easily be sad on cue – sadness is a contemporary human’s default state.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Unchecked Savagery is a collection of little stories about emotional neuroses amidst a glittering landscape of American malaise.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is being published by Ricochet Editions, an imprint of Gold Line Press. Check them out!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The earliest story was written in 2007, and while the most recent story was written in 2010, the revision process continued right up until the final proofs were sent to the printer in December.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I definitely owe a lot of gratitude to Thomas Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator, and Lydia Davis’ Samuel Johnson is Indignant. But those are the books that got me started on flash fiction in general, and Bernhard’s been dead for years. A couple other books that I’d say it’s sort of similar to are One Hour of Television by Kristina Born, and The Map of the System of Human Knowledge by James Tadd Adcox (who I’ve tagged below!).
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
There are a series of seven stories spread out across the book that are white text on black background, with a little bit of the story that precedes the title. Each of those pieces is inspired by a particular genre of movie – romance, horror, western, teen sex comedy, sci-fi, war, and action. The resulting pieces often probably owe more of a tonal debt to those genres then a structural debt. I’ve seen a whole lot of movies in my life. Who hasn’t?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The design is great – by Scott Massey, whose work you can find here. Here’s the cover!
Ok, next week will be Andrew Brininstool, who I’ll be posting about here, and James Tadd Adcox, whose blog you’ll find right here.