I talked with Angolan author Ondjaki for this month’s issue of Numéro Cinq. You may remember that I reviewed Ondjaki’s novel, Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret, this past summer, and we got to communicating shortly thereafter. We chatted via email for several months to construct the piece, with messages exchanged every week or two. The wonders of technology! Read everything we had to say here.
My time at Numéro Cinq stretches back close to three years now, which is kind of crazy, since I still feel like the new kid on the block. Anyway, I’ve hung around long enough that the powers that be (read: Doug Glover) decided to feature some of my writing in the “Top of the Page” slideshow accompanying this month’s issue. I’m super grateful for this, and I think DG chose some nice pieces to revisit. Click on through to read a little blurb about me, and visit the home page to see some of my older reviews, author interviews, and stories.
I’ve always been interested in hearing why short form writers decide to take on a novel. So, over at BuzzFeed Books, I assembled 18 amazing short story writers to talk about their decisions to tackle the long story. I really had fun talking to everyone. Some folks I already knew, and others I’ve admired from afar for quite some time.
Take a peek at what everyone said right here.
A month or two ago, I talked with Courtney Maum for PW. Maum’s debut novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, is pretty amazing. Make it one of your summer reads.
Our phone conversation lasted a good half hour, so the finished piece is only a fraction of what we talked about. Really great stuff got chopped, but what remains provides some insight as to Maum’s inspiration and sensibilities.
Bonus! Here’s a question that got cut from the final draft:
Do you think the characters of Anne, Richard’s wife, and Lisa, Richard’s lover, share similar outlooks on happiness?
Anne is French, so they can never share the same idea of happiness (laughs). It’s a very American thing, this idea of happiness as achievable and tangible. I think their answers to this question would be completely different. Lisa would see happiness as a state of mind that can be accessed by doing certain things, whereas Anne would be more pragmatic. She would scoff at the idea of “happiness” as something you could check off on a list.