Red Audrey

On hatred of the artist as a young person

November 30, 2017
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I was listening to Neil Gaiman discuss why he waited to write the Graveyard Book until he was a good enough writer to do the story justice. He told about two aborted attempts to get into the characters. The years of thinking it had taken to try a third time, and how he’d been disappointed with that effort, too, until he’d shown it to his daughter and she’d asked for more. It’s curious to...

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What is your tone?

November 22, 2013
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I didn’t really get tone until college. What is the author’s attitude, they’d ask us on tests. How the fuck should I know? Why can’t we just read it and have our own attitudes? But I get it now. It’s not much of a conversation if our reading experience is limited to our own response without any consideration of the writer’s perspective. In a similar way, as an adolescent I had a limited understanding...

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Leaving

October 16, 2013
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Leaving Hawaii broke my heart. For years, it was all I could write about. The tropics and heartbreak. I couldn’t separate them in my head, in my relationships. I’d flinch if you touched me. Even my skin felt wrong. In the cold, saltless North. And place can break your heart. I believe that. Hard luck, few opportunities, poverty, meanness. It feels like somewhere else will give you a proper chance. Somewhere else you can...

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Please praise what you love

April 10, 2013
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I used to dread the question: What’s your book about? Um. It’s a kind of love story. (Red Audrey.) It’s a tragedy. About martyrdom. And family.(Field Guide.) Yes. Yes, way to pitch, Jill Malone. But now, I look forward to you asking because fuck, I’m excited. I’m so excited. Giraffe People is the book I hoped to write. The story I meant to tell you. The one about being young and striving, about being...

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The Next Big Thing

January 30, 2013
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Brett Norris, dynamic writer, tagged me to contribute to The Next Big Thing. A chance for writers to dish some dirt on their forthcoming work. Let’s get filthy. What is the working title of your book? The working title was Tales of a Vocabulary Black Belt, but happily that got dropped in favor of Giraffe People as I kept working. I don’t think I’ve ever had a title that suited the work as well...

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My interview with my wife. Not on video.

July 16, 2012
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“Wanna interview me?” “Sure. Oh, you mean, now?” “Kinda.” “I don’t get time to think about my questions?” “No, you do.” “HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK? ………….. Jill, that’s the first question.” “Oh, we’re not interviewing on video?” “No. You can write it. Answer the question.” I wrote Red Audrey as a short story when I was in graduate school. The story had almost the entire arc: Emily, Audrey,...

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Serious people don't write about sex. And other lies.

July 13, 2012
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Long before I realized it, I was writing about power. My novels are concerned with sex. With the complex, troubling, joyous experience of sex. With the mess. With the fuck ups of fucking. With the vulnerability. Too often sex is portrayed in books as this unlikely experience — a kind of pyrotechnics to make flat characters seem more lifelike. Or it’s truncated as though we must not speak of it. Like some teaser from...

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Hope all the things

July 6, 2012
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I told you I wrote a list, right? I wrote this list. It was three pages long and had “three wishes” phrasing. I labored over the items on this list. I wanted them to summon exactly the person I described. My list was a roadmap to the destination of somebody perfect for me. Not perfect full stop. Just perfect for me. The space between those two sentences is a big fucking space. So? So,...

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Mean reds

October 3, 2011
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My first book struggles with grief. A woman who returns to Hawaii after nearly a decade of absence, and finds herself stuck, still processing her mother’s suicide. I don’t have any suicide in my family. But I have heard, over the years, from readers who do. And grief is so familiar. Heavy and daily in that awful boring way. Eighteen months ago, my coworker’s son took his own life. Since then, she has started...

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Firestarter

September 8, 2011
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“You have an impulse, occasionally, to burn shit down.” I say this to myself sometimes. In fact, years ago I wrote that line of Audrey’s, “I think you destroy things, people, just so you can grieve them.” Or something like that. Yeah, something like that. But when she says it, she adds, “If I had a different kind of ego, if I were prone to panic, your impulse would have gotten in the way...

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